Euro Festival 2010 part 2 – The Event

Read Part 1 – Preparation and the ride to the event

Harley-Davidson Euro Festival 2010
Harley-Davidson Euro Festival 2010

EX1 – over-cranking and audio
I shot the majority of this event using my EX1. I normally shoot these at 720/25p and switch on S&Q motion (overcrank) from time to time when I want some slow motion footage. The only problem with this approach is that the EX1 doesn ‘t record any audio when running S&Q. I ran into a problem last year when the client asked for audio from part of a sequence I ‘d shot in slow-mo so needed another approach this year.

I decided to do two things differently, firstly I took along my Zoom H4n audio recorder and whenever possible asked the guys running the sound desks to give me a feed so that I could have a non-stop audio recording regardless of what I did with the camera. I also decided to shoot the whole event in 720/50p mode so that I could create slow-mo in post using cinema tools and be able to use the footage on a 25p timeline with audio should I need it.

Shooting at 720/50 when you know you ‘re delivery will be at 25p means you have to be careful with shutter speeds. I normally have my shutter on the EX1 set to 180 degrees which results in each frame being exposed for 1/50th second. If I left that setting the same when shooting at 720/50 each frame would only be exposed for 1/100th of a second.

Because I planned to export the video back to 25p I turned the shutter off, effectively giving each frame 1/50th of a second of exposure giving it the same amount of motion blur as 25p in the hope it would produce similar results once reduced to 720/25. This theory didn ‘t really work out that well, when I imported my 50p clips into a 25p timeline the footage didn ‘t look as fluid as I ‘d normally expect from 25p. Edited on a 720/50p timeline the footage played correctly, but when exported out at 25p I still wasn ‘t overly happy with the results. I ‘ll need to look into this one a bit further.

One other downside to the 720/50 route to slow-mo is that cinema tools can ‘t conform XDCAM-EX footage, it needs to be transcoded to Pro-Res first which could take a lot of time considering I had hours of footage. I handled this by going through the footage and creating a sequence with all my favourite shots in which I then exported out as a 720/50p ProRes file which was then conformed in Cinema Tools and reimported for use in my edit.

Custom bike tracking shots
I used my 5D & glidetrack shooter rig during the events custom bike show. As well as being a very light and portable rig for tracking shots the results are some of the nicest looking custom bike shots I ‘ve managed at an event so far, I ‘ll definitely be using it again. Using the Manfrotto 394 quick release plates to switch between tripod and ground shots worked a treat too.

Using the Canon 5D
I made the decision before leaving to shoot this event that I was going to shoot the majority of it on my Sony EX1 with the exception being the tracking shots on the glidetrack.

I did however also want to experiment with the 5D so I ventured out a couple of times with it on a DV Multirig. One area where the 5D shines is in low light environments so I took it instead of the EX1 when I headed out to film a couple of bands and the party goers watching them. Shots such as bar scenes and people dancing on the beach being lit by the stage lights were brought to life by the 5D where the EX1 would have either been dark shadows or a grainy mess. I did however discover a limitation with the 5D that I wasn ‘t aware of before this event.

I was shooting some guys riding Harleys through the event ground with their headlights on and noticed black dots appearing in the middle of the headlights. On reviewing the footage these black dots appear anywhere in the image that ‘s ultra bright. This also happened on occasion when shooting the bands and a stage light would shine on the camera, the light would become a small black spot on the image.

I ‘ve mixed up things quite a bit in the event video, to me the 5D shots are all very obvious but I ‘m not sure they always represent the best looking images. The tracking shots of the custom bikes look good, but some of the crowd shots from the event have a kind of ‘mobile phone’ look about them rather than the deep focus, ultra clear HD images that the EX1 usually gathers.

Manfrotto Monopod
This was the first event I ‘ve shot where I took the Manfrotto monopod along. In theory the monopod should be ideal in this environment as it ‘s fairly low profile and yet allows for steady panning or tilting shots when required. In use though I found the monopod to be a bit of a failure. It was easier to carry than something like my Miller DS-2o tripod but I found it quite useless for trying to get smooth panning shots. Fast pans were a little better, but trying to pan slowly resulted in a kind of clicking action from the fluid cartridge in the base that was very visible in the resulting footage. I won ‘t be taking it again.

My workflow changed slightly at this event mainly due to the use of the Nexto DI NVS2500. For footage offloads I continued what I ‘d started on the ride to the event by offloading my media cards to the NVS at the end of each day and then syncing it to an external drive.

I did have one scary moment when the external drive I was using developed some kind of fault that could only be fixed by formatting it and re-syncing. This took a couple of hours to complete, during which time I felt particularly vulnerable knowing the footage was solely on the NVS hard drive but the device performed perfectly and allowed me to re-sync my data once the external drive had been reformatted.

All in all the shooting at the event went well, I had no major problems with equipment etc. The weather even started to look up, we had the occasional shower but it stayed dry for the most part with a fair amount of sun thrown in.

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10 Responses

  1. Bernard says:

    Paul, are you using the Manfrotto 560B monopod with the retractable legs? I’ve used it for wedding shoots and it’s definitely great instead of a tripod. If you haven’t, you may want to attach a manfrotto HDV head onto it. I agree that panning isn’t as great on it as a tripod, but with practice, it’s not too bad.

    • Paul Joy says:

      Hi Bernard

      Yes I have the 561B HDV monopod and yes it has the fold out legs on the base. SO are you using the fluid pan on the head rather than relying on the cartridge on the base of the leg?

  2. Robert Shaw says:

    Hi Paul I got the same black dot thing happen to me recently when shooting in to bright lights at a gig, I was shooting at ISO 1250 I saw someone els mention this problem as well, they also said they didn’t get the black dot if there ISO was under 1250, don’t no if thats the case I haven’t tried it, was your ISO 1250 or over I wonder?
    Apart from that the 5D footage was excellent in gig light situation, I was just experimenting really.
    Your 5D close up stuff of the bikes looks fantastic, nice work Paul.

    • Paul Joy says:

      Thanks Robert, to be honest I doubt I had the ISO that high as I generally don’t use anything more than 640. Saying that though they were long days so I couldn’t be 100% :)

  3. Dave Owen says:

    Paul, would the black dots be caused by dirt on the 5d sensor. Checkout Rick Young at

    Hard to tell which is 5d or EX but the concert footage is awesome.

    • Paul Joy says:

      Hi Dave, the dots move with the lights so I don’t think it has anything to do with a dirty sensor.

  4. carlos says:

    dude you need a good editor.. no offense.

    • Paul Joy says:

      No offense taken, always open to suggestions and tips. Would you care to go into a bit more detail about what you would have done differently?

      • Robin Schmidt says:

        Do we sense that Carlos is an editor!? Only thing I’d say is that you can go one of two ways with these montages, be a slave to the music, or allow the structure of the film to dictate the pace. It feels a little random sometimes with little short sharp cuts on the beat and then for those not to reoccur. It’s just lacking in a little ebb and flow is all really, not that that particularly helps, I appreciate. It’s kind of hard to articulate unless you’re sitting there with the music yourself!

        As for telling the 5D and the EX apart, they’re like night and day! The 5D has that wonderful vibrant quality to it and the EX is clean and precise and still such a brilliant camera, particularly when you’ve got to race around and cover stuff like this.

        Wouldn’t worry about the editing Paul, for the fans the bike porn is all you need.

        • Paul Joy says:

          Thanks Robin, much appreciated. It’s a funny one with this edit as originally the video contained some longer interviews and the whole thing was cut together and flowed really nicely. Just before the deadline though the client asked for the interviews to be cut so I had to remove a lot of clips and the whole thing kind of lost it’s balance. When that happens it’s difficult to know if it’s just because you’ve seen the old one or it really just doesn’t work anymore. The client loved it though which is the main thing!

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