Sunday, 28 November 2010

A4V32 Behind the Scenes

A few weeks ago I was asked to think about an approach for a video for a ministry at my local church. I had so many ideas going around in my head - many of them uber-serious. Then one day while I went for a run, and came up with an idea revolving around 'generosity' in terms of a Robin Hood narrative. We all know the story - steal from the rich, give to the poor. I wanted to put a slight spin on it - and turn the concept up on its head - approach it with a 'what not to do' attitude. Anyway, after spending a day working on the music and doing some test shots with my wife, I thought doing the piece in slomo with some time-remapping COULD be sick. Every project has a 'this could totally fall flat on its face' element to it. The thought 'I don't know whether I'd be able to pull it together' always runs through my mind with every project. Because at the end of the day its all about the message, the narrative and 'dynamics'. I love dynamics - I love it in music, I love it in movement, I love it in color. It drives things, strips things back, creates tension, evoke emotions and induces expectation

The first pic is a shot I really wanted in the piece, but there wasn't enough time to make space for the shot.

I'd break some of the process of creating this piece down

Camera: Canon 7D
Lenses: Sigma 30mm f1.4 only
Flyer: Glidecam HD1000
Slider: Glidetrack HD 50cm

Glidetrack on ground - and then when my friend Wes first takes off I just pulled the glidetrack fast to the right. [I shot everything at 60 fps, and then twixtored it down another 50% of the speed, effectively making it 120fps - there is some aliasing but its obscured by the flares]

I shoot at a shutter speed as close to 4000 1/s as possible. To get as little motion blur as possible.

Glidecam shots were very much approached with a 'lets see what we can get' attitude. I wanted some POV shots too, so for those I just walked up to the business boys and shot at 60 fps, they weren't twixtored in post - they were just kept at 60.

Audio was composed in Pro Tools in roughly a day - tweaks were made all along the way to get things to sync. Initially I didn't know exactly where the narrative was going, but after starting an initial edit in AE, I knew I needed more audio and a 2nd build for the final 'chase'


Editing was done in AE completely because I wanted to use twixtor extensively and from what I've heard it doesn't work too well on FCP! I also don't have a program that can carry over effects presets from FCP to AE, Popcorn Island [my FCPtoAE converter] only remembers marker data and cut placements [which is good, but somewhat limiting]

I did 2 sky replacements just to add a bit of mood in the beginning and end - nothing too fancy.

Coloring is one of my favorite parts of the process and I spend quite a bit of time thinking thru grades. I like to use it as part of the narrative of a piece. Usually I would take some of raw H264 from the camera even as the images are being imported from my camera. I like to get an idea of what I'm going for in the earliest stages of post work [Ideally having an idea of the look - with references - even in the pre-production phase]

For references I usually go to or often I head to Here are a few images that inspired me.

For this piece I wanted to go slightly vintage - indicative of the narrative of 'the Have-not', as the scrolling numbers in the beginning was going to be indicative of 'the Haves' - So I wanted this tension, this contrast, this dynamic element to play into the story.

I like to push the contrast way up in the beginning, and then mess with a secondary , lift-gamma-gain control, or curves control to control the dynamic range of the image [for A4V32 I made it less dynamic - giving it a vintage vibe - with non-black blacks and non white high-lights]

Hope this is helpful to some

Monday, 22 November 2010

Help me out on this one!

Here are a few more screengrabs for you guys to have a look at. Wanting to decide on a look but pretty torn as to the vibe. I got one shot in the sequence that stands out - couldn't get the dynamic range to fully work - that's why I opted for a slightly vintage looking effect - that way getting the dynamic ranges of all the clips to look similar.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

...and this is how I broke it

Recently I got too excited and too energetic on a film shoot - the outcome - trip, fall, break collarbone. oh and a new project which will be done in a few days.

I went for a low angle shot - [just flipped my newly day-prior-bought glidecam - holding the cam by the weights while the camera dangles at the bottom - knowing i'll flip/flop the image back in AE] and whilst focussing on the action I completely forgot to pay attention to what was happening in front of me. I was running SO fast to try and catch up with Wes- my talent - that I started losing balance. I could feel the inevitable fall was coming for about 3 seconds as I tried to regain balance - but alas I went down, and in an effort to save my camera [which had just been returned to me from the canon repair centre, because it fell out of my bag] I pull the camera and glidecam all the way around to the other shoulder to try and save it from hitting the ground. Subsequently I was in air for a few moments - turning the camera into the air with as much reach as I could get and inevitably plodding my shoulder into the ground, with quite substantial force - Its still fresh in my mind and I wish you were there to see it - must have looked hilarious.

Oh and it was the first shot of the day - had to use my other arm to get thru all the other shots! Whoop

All for the love of it!

BTW - its the top-most bone [shoulder/clavicle/collarbone]on the XRAY it looks snapped - like an A shape - that's the broken bone!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

This is Lesley

In Bahrain visiting my family and its been a hectic day of scoring, planning and what not, but decided to have a break, go for a walk with the wife and take the camera along!Its amazing how inspired one gets when you are removed from the hustle or normal life - the wheels in my head have not stopped turning yet! My wife is an absolute rock star, model and most amazing wife - and yes I forced her to do this shoot with me - because all the shoot-planning was getting to me and I needed to just shoot something/someone....

Had some awesome chats with the pops - which is always good! Its good being with family again!