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


  1. Hello Salomon, I'm a very big fan of your work. I'm currently a student studying creative multimedia, first year. In my free time, i seem to find myself walking around campus with my camera, still photography mostly.. This past week, i decided to come out of my little photography box and try out a short video shoot.. All i can say is, i sweated blood!! Anyway, i wanted to find out if you would kindly share some tips and guidelines on what processes are followed before shooting, after etc for first timers like Me..

    Thank you.

  2. Hey mate - focus on the concept - try and make things point to the story line - from the edit - to the grade. Let everything you do point to the story! Try and get a lot of coverage. And watch a lot of short vids online - you'll find lots of inspiration there.


  3. thanks for sharing salomon. i'm a big fan of your work from saudi arabia

  4. Very cool to see your vintage thinking process. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Color grading for the storyline is one of my fave parts as well. I always enjoy seeing how others make their pieces. Great stuff!

  6. Great stuff Salomon! Could you explain the light leaks? You mentioned from burns in the video interview and also something about a CD case in one of these posts. I would love to be able to create this technique.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. @jon carr - yeah I use some stock footage from - the package is called - 'film clutter'. I used the CD-case technique to get some flares going - but its nothing major - It worked but not well.


  8. Thanks Salomon. I will check it out. You should do a video tutorial like Stu did over at Prolost recently, capturing a color correction session. Your cc is great!

  9. hi salomon!!! you really ROCK!!!!!!
    what kind of picture style do you use to shoot on your camera?