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.

 

C-Cup: Improving the C100 Viewfinder

Any C100 user is all too aware how frustrating the EVF is to use on the camera, mostly because it feels as though Canon purposefully designed the eye cup surround to be uncomfortable as well as impractical. I’ve posted before that I’ve resorted to various attachments to make using the EVF a better experience but none of the solutions have really been designed to do the job properly, that is until now!

I was recently contacted by Andrew Miller who asked me if I’d like to try out a prototype C100 eye cup he’s been working on. The prototype works very well indeed and transforms using the C100’s EVF in to a much more useful and pleasant experience. As well s being very comfortable the C-cup also fits the face nicely and blocks out surrounding light sources.

IMG_4098 IMG_4099

If you’re interested in using a C-Cup on your own C100 then you need to head over to Andrews C-Cup  Kickstarter page and back the project. If a minimum of $8,500 is pledged within the next 29 days then the C-Cup will be available to all. It would be a real shame if this product doesn’t come to market as it really works well.

Visit the C-Cup Kickstarter page

IMG_4102 IMG_4100

 

Talking FCPX on the FCP Grill Podcast

fcpg

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Chris Fenwick from the FCP Grill podcast about why I chose to move from Premiere Pro over to FCPX.  I always enjoy listening to Chris’ podcasts so it was really tough remembering that I needed to talk back to him from time to time!

Play

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 56:09 — 26.8MB)

If you don’t already listen to Chris’ podcasts then check them out at the digitalCINEMAcafe website. Chris also runs a great blog himself where he posts many a useful tutorial and other film / editing related info.

Motion tracking in FCPX with CoreMelt TrackX & SliceX

I was recently invited to try out the TrackX and SliceX FCP plugins from CoreMelt. I’ve needed to use motion tracking on a few jobs in the past and have always relied on After Effects for the task. The TrackX and SliceX plugins from CoreMelt offer up the ability to do motion tracking directly with the FCP Interface which is a real positive for me.

I’ve only been experimenting with the plugin for a couple of days now and compared to using After Effects it’s extremely simple to get great results. I’m not going to show any examples of my own usage as yet as I’m still learning the basics but here’s a video showing some of the results that can be achieved.

I’ll be posting more of a tutorial / review in the near future showing how the tools within the plugin are especially useful for me but I’d recommend watching the examples below showing what’s possible with SliceX and TrackX.

To find out more about the plugin visit the CoreMelt website

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.