Archive for the ‘ Video ’ Category

Timelines in Final Cut Pro X

I’ve been using FCPX as my main editing application for over six months now and with the improvements that Apple have added via updates it has really grown on me. There are a few things that I would like to see improved but in general I think FCPX has made editing for me a much better experience, it seems to get out of the way and allow me to be more creative.

One of the things that takes a little getting used to with FCPX is the way apple have messed with our minds when it comes to naming conventions and how we manage our projects. What used to be Projects in FCP7 are now referred to as Events, and what used to be called sequences are now projects… not one of apples best moves in my opinion.

When using FCP7 or Premiere Pro you get used to creating sequences or timelines within your project but in FCPX the projects are separated from the events and are saved in separate folders. There is however a way to restore some normality to working with timelines in FCPX by utilising Compound Clips for your working timelines.

Compound clips are stored within the FCPX events much like timelines would be with FCP 7 and most of the functionality is the same as it would be in a project. The only exception is that it’s not possible to export an XML file from a Compound Clip, but then it’s a really easy and fast process to copy the contents from a compound clip to a project if you need to do that.

Watch this video from Richard Taylor at FCPX.TV for a great explanation.

Tell Me Whom You Haunt

This was another in a series of interviews shot at the Blain Southern gallery in Hanover Square, London.  This was my first shoot with the Kessler  Pocket Jib traveller and it was quite a challenging day where I really felt that my kit was fighting me instead of working with me. I travel to these shoots on the train so the amount of kit I can take with me is limited. That day in particular the production company asked if I could bring along a travel dolly rather than the Kessler Stealth Slider as the subject matter required larger camera runs.

I have one of those Hague dolly’s that runs on plastic tubing so I took that with me and ended up battling with it all day. I’ve used that dolly in the past and with enough time and a few extra hands it can produce good results, but in an environment where time is of the essence and your working with minimal help it’s a challenging thing to use. I’d much rather take along my Kessler Stealth slider which produces much steadier results with less effort, although over shorter distances. As it turned out the slider would have been much better suited to the subject matter that day anyway.

I think the final results look really nice so well done Archie Campbell for finding the good shots. It does show that the little Pocket Jib Traveller can deliver the goods if you’re careful enough with it, just don’t try and run it on a travel dolly at the same time!

Bill Viola

I had the great pleasure of shooting an Interview with Bill Viola at the Blain Southern gallery in London earlier in the year and found him to be a very inspiring artist. I found his series titled “The Dreamers” to be particularly interesting as he made great use of slow motion (high speed) shooting of subjects underwater which produced images that almost made the subjects look as though they had drowned, yet there was still a small element of life remaining.

I very much liked the use of Plasma Screens in a portrait orientation to present the works too, and with the piped underwater sounds it was a very inspiring, maybe I’ll have to look at doing some portrait work of my own.

The shoot itself proved quite a challenge as the bright plasma screens were placed in almost totally dark rooms and having any additional lighting present would have effected the way the artist wanted to present the works. Fast lenses like the Canon 24mm 1.4 and 50 1.2 were a big help and then relatively clean image at higher ISO ranges on the C300 and C100 came in very useful!

The video was also shot in Canon Log to give as much dynamic range as possible but for some reason the producers decided not to grade it at all during the edit so it still looks very flat.

Harley-Davidson 110th Celebrations

To celebrate 110 years of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and 30 years of the Harley Owners Group®, riders have gathered and partied in cities around the world. In Europe, Rome became the home of Harley-Davidson® for four days in June – an epic event that I had the pleasure of filming. I wasn’t working alone on this one though, I had help from Will Middleton, a camera operator that I met working on a project in London last year.

The Rome event was set on multiple sites, including the Vatican City and nearby beach resort Ostia, hundreds of thousands of passionate Harley-Davidson enthusiasts flocked to this beautiful part of Italy to commemorate 110 years of the legendary motorcycle. I’m not at all a religious person but none the less I was really honoured to be allowed to film inside the Vatican during a special Mass for the Harley Owners Group and also to film the Pope himself  when he was paraded in from of the thousands of Harley riders in the Vatican Square.

The rome event did however throw up a few extra challenges. The police and security people in Rome and especially those surrounding the Vatican are a tough bunch to deal with. One moment I would be told that it was fine to stand in a particular location and the next another security team would tell me to stop filming and move on, it was probably one of the most stressful places I’ve worked as yet, especially as many of the security people didn’t speak english.

One of the photographers that we were working with also had a Nikon D3 stolen on the train, he thought nothing off an old lady asked him a question but didn’t realise until 15 minutes later that at the same time his back pack had been unzipped and the camera body removed. It’s never a good idea to carry camera gear in a back pack, especially on a cramped train! Luckily the photographer was insured and ended up with a shiny new D4 body but the shots that he’d taken were lost forever… well maybe until the scrote who stole it posts them on facebook!

Here’s one of the videos created from the Rome event.

Moving on from Rome I shot again for Harley at the European Bike Week event in Faaker See, Austria. I’ve shot this event many times now and it becomes increasingly difficult to make it look different as in reality the event is pretty much the same each year. The addition of some shots with the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveller and the fact that I was supplied a rather excellent Jeep for the duration did however give me some new options.

Ecosystem Justice Matters

This was a fun little talking head film I made for the International Development team at the University of East Anglia. The guys at the UEA had opted for a style they wanted to use so it was really just a case of lighting and framing accordingly to achieve the desired results.

One interesting challenge was that I didn’t want the backdrop framing to be changing between shots so we had to set the camera fairly high and then use a stack of magazines to raise the subjects to the desired height, which was fun! In the end I opted to crop into some of the shots anyway and the background changes were not overly noticeable but it’s better to air on the side of caution sometimes.

The subjects were lit with a single Rifa softbox on the left and a reflector to throw some of that same light back onto the right side of their faces just to bring up some detail. I also used my Litepanels 1×1 to throw some light against the white backdrop. I wanted to achieve a very shallow depth of field so I used the Canon 50mm f1.2 throughout at an aperture of f1.4.

One of the nice things about the modular design of the C300 is that you can remove the audio controls and LCD unit from the body of the camera. I set these up on a light stand so that I could adjust the audio levels etc without any risk of causing unwanted camera movement.

  

I actually shot with two cameras, the Canon C300 with the 50mm f/1.2 locked off and my 5D on the Kesller Stealth slider. I’d planned to show some shots with the camera tracking towards the subjects face as they talked but in comparison to the images from the C300 the 5D material looked mushy. The 5D produces great results but it does stand out as being soft when compared to the C300, I’ve decided to pre-order an EOS C100 to use as a B cam in the future.

You can just see in the image above that I monitored both cameras with SmallHD monitors, the DP6 on the C300 and the DP4 attached underneath the Stealth with a Noga arm.

The audio was all recorded from an overhead Rode NTG-3 and I haven’t messed around with the EQ at all on that. I’m really impressed with the results from that mic.

Comments welcomed.