Archive for the ‘ VIDEOS ’ Category

Croatia Harley Days 2014

Biograd on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast played host to this years European HOG Rally and once again I had the pleasure of being invited to the event to film it and create a video showing the highlights of the location and the activities that took place.

Approximately 50,000 people descended upon the event site over the four days of the festival, with an estimated 25,000 bikers experiencing Croatia’s fantastic riding roads and coastline.

I had my Canon C300 upgraded to include the Dual Pixel Auto Focus (DPAF) feature just before flying out to Croatia and I have to say that it proved to be a lot more useful than I was expecting. I really wanted the DPAF feature for shooting from the back of a bike as it’s impossible to manually focus well in that situation but as it turned out I used the Auto Focus a lot more than I was expecting.

Used in combination with the Focus Lock feature which I programmed to the magnify button on the handgrip I found myself allowing the AF to gain initial focus much of the time and then locking the focus before composing my shots rather than punching in and focusing manually as I would have done previously.

For any shots that required slower focus pulls I’d just lock the AF and then manually focus as normal.

One situation that I found the DPAF feature really helped with was using the Tokina 11-16 f2.8. In the past I’ve run in to quite a few problems with focussing that lens accurately. Having to work quickly in the midday sun it’s very easy to think the lens is focussed correctly only to find the images are actually a little soft. The DPAF helped a lot when having to work fast shooting wide.

The other lenses used were the Canon 17-55 f2.8 and the 24-105 F4, both of which also performed well with the DPAF feature.

croatia-pano-2

 

There’s a few slider and Jib shots thrown in courtesy of my Kessler Stealth Slider and Pocket Jib Traveller. The Drone shots were captured by my buddy Lorenzo De Angeli using a GoPro Hero 3 mounted to a hand built drone.

Harley-Davidson Euro Festival 2014

Anyone that’s been visiting my blog for a while will know that I’ve been shooting these events for Harley-Davidson for a few years now, in fact my first shoot for Harley was at this very same event in 2009 so this was my 6th visit to sunny St-Tropez in the south of France.


My kit hasn’t changed much over the last couple of years, here’s what I used to shoot this one…

Cameras
Canon C300
Canon C100

Lenses
Canon 17-55 EFS
Canon 24-105 IS L
Tokina 11-16

Support
Miller DS20 Carbon Tripod
Kessler Pocket Jib traveller

As you can see I’ve learned to keep my kit fairly simple for this type of project now which I find quite liberating. I often see other camera operators at the events tied down with shoulder mount systems and bags of lenses and that’s not a pleasant experience when the suns beating down on you and you have a lot of walking to do. I often feel more akin to a stills photographer at the events now, I’m generally just walking around with the C300 without any other kit at all. With a battery life of over 4 hours I prefer to head out without any baggage and just return to base when either the camera needs something or I need a break, usually the later!

I did have a couple of very minor kit failures at the event. Firstly my 24-105 lens decided that it no longer wanted to be part of the L series of lenses and shed it’s prestigious red ring. Obviously this didn’t make in impact on it’s effectiveness but it’s the first time I’ve seen that happen so I thought it worthy of sharing. Luckily I saw it fall off so I kept hold of it and superglued it back on once I got home.

The other thing that happened which could have potentially caused me more problems was one of the legs on my Miller tripod pulled straight out of the unit when I was shooting at the main stage on the beach. Luckily I didn’t lose any of the various plastic washers and spacers that are part of the system and I was able to clean and reassemble the parts once I returned to my accommodation. To be fair to the tripod it’s been dragged all over Europe during it’s seven years of service, it’s been in the sea  multiple times, buried in sand,  used in rivers and left in the rain more times than I care to remember and this is the first time it’s required any attention. Once I got home I made a point of disassembling every leg adjuster and giving them a good clean, for now it seems as good as new again.

You might notice in the video is there’s a couple of aerial shots, these were the work of Lorenzo De Angeli who unbelievably rode to the event from Italy with the drone strapped to the back of his Harley! Lorenzo is a professional drone pilot / camera operator and fly’s much larger drones for big budget productions so it was a real pleasure to watch the precision with which he flew that thing.

Lorenzo

Next for me is another Harley event at the start of June in Croatia so I’m already getting prepared for that one. I’m hoping to be able to get the C300 DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto Focus) update done on my camera before I go as that will be a huge help when filming from the back of a Harley, I’ll keep you updated on that one.

 

Green screen in FCPX

I thought I’d share this project I worked on recently as going in to it I planned to do the animation parts in motion but I decided to try doing the whole thing directly in FCPX. I was pleasantly surprised how easily FCPX handled the key framing and the green screen key, I did make a few tweaks along the way but in general the keyer in FCPX is really good.

For the graphical elements I created photoshop files with a transparent background and imported them as multi layer psd’s allowing me to keyframe each graphical part separately. Opening and closing the video animation fly outs for each element was a bit of a drag, especially when there were a few elements stacked vertically but the app handled the animation with ease.

[update - 11/02/2014 - 13:24]
As noted by Ian in the comments it’s a little confusing as the hand shown in the video is on a white background. It was shot green screen because the client wasn’t sure if they were happy going with a white background so I had to be able to use imagery or another colour if required.

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.