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Video: Duo Concertante

We were recently asked to produce a promotional video for local musicians performing by the name of Duo Concertante.

They were playing in the Edinburgh Society of Musicians one evening in September 2013 and were looking a video to be produced for their web site and other general promotional uses. The evening was well attended by locals including many members of the society itself.

We started the evening by preparing the room for the event, making sure to safely move the piano and other furniture to create a clean space for the performers and for the production crew. We set out the seating arrangement and preparation was completed by setting up the three cameras. We were shooting on a Canon 5D Mk2 from the left and a Canon 600D at the front. There was an additional high view camera that didn’t make it to this video. All in all we were completely setup in around one hour from our arrival.

Unfortunately lighting in the room was very limited. We had a few halogen spots above the musicians and nothing else. We would have loved to bring in some proper video lighting and to have control over the room but we could not do that as this performance was primarily for the music, not the video. As the evening closed in and daylight faded things got a bit harder with exposure however we did meet the challenges and succeed with the project.

Audio capture was a very simple affair. We set up the Zoom H1 just in front of the performers and pointed it up towards them. This had proven to give the best balance of sound quality, stereo separation and most subtle fitment into the room. It would have been preferable to locate extra microphones however the Zoom did it’s job admirably. Audio was also recorded on the cameras for the purpose of synchronisation in post production. This audio was not used in the final video of course.

Editing and all post production work was completed in Adobe Premiere 5.5 along with Plural Eyes 2 which did a perfect job of synchronising the audio within a few seconds. Without this software production would have been a much harder process.

All in all I believe this was a successful production given the short lead time and limited lighting available. We look forward to further opportunities to work with Duo Concertante, the Edinburgh Society of Musicians and our team of assistants.

 

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eBook Review: An Introduction to still photographs in motion: Timelapse

This is a quick review of the book: An Introduction to still photographs in motion: Timelapse” by David Delnea and Craft and Vision.

Timelapse_Spread_Cover_NEW-RELEASE

We have here a 44 page eBook on the subject of Timelapse photography.  The subject is covered well with information on setting up your camera, tripod, intervalometer and takes the reader all the way into post-processing the images and making the video itself. This is an interactive eBook with links out to Vimeo videos that help demonstrate the feature being discussed.

We start off with a guide to choosing the correct camera and lens for particular shots with useful information on getting the right solution whether that be sensor frame size, lens width or the use of manual aperture lenses.

Breaking down the equipment into essential and non-essential extras is a useful way to help the new user decide on their individual needs. Preparation for the shoot is covered briefly and includes considerations such as camera stability and personal comfort while waiting for the timelapse to complete.

During the shoot you’ll be choosing whether to auto-expose or manually expose and there’s a section covering the advantages and disadvantages of each decision.

Software is covered in areas such as choosing and controlling framing of the subject to allow you to successfully manipulate the final shots by cropping to video sizes. More importantly there’s a section on using “LRTimelapse Deflicker.” This will balance your frames exposure to help create a cleaner video. Importing files into Lightroom is covered and includes a short section on editing choices and limits plus some useful file management thoughts. Exporting your files to JPG and importing to Quicktime 7 for conversion to video is the last section of the main book.

Continuing on with some Bonus Material we have a brief reference to Motion Control, Bulb Ramping etc but these are covered only very briefly and add no real value in my opinion.

The book then closes out with a selection of timelapse videos.

Overall I found the book interesting and certainly worth the small costs, however it seems to have glossed over the feature that I would find useful. I am not an experienced timelapse photographer by any means, however I felt there was  a lack on detail and other options for creating the video from the stills. The author mentions his lack of experience using Adobe Premiere and After Effects however a brief guide would have been useful.

Given the information in the book, I’d consider this a beginners guide only suitable for those with little or no experience as suggested by the title. I did pick up some useful tips all the same so I am happy with the purchase.

The book is available from Craft and Vision for the price of $5.00.

Click here to view or buy the book on the Craft and Vision website.

 

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Adobe release CS2 Suite free for all.

Adobe Photoshop CS2

Adobe Photoshop CS2

Adobe have released the entire set of the CS2 Suite free of charge for all to use. They’ve provided the full license keys for these products and links to the installers for both PC and “Power PC” based Mac computers. This will be an excellent way of getting a copy of Photoshop onto your backup laptops and systems, perfect for use in an emergency. The release of this product appears to be down to the fact that Adobe are switching off their CS2 licensing servers. These links are to allow direct access to the files and fully valid product keys as an alternative for users still using this software. Whether they change their mind or not is yet to be seen. The CS2 software suite is now around 10 years old and fairly well out of date however it will still be useful for the times when you are stuck without your main edit system, or for those new users with fairly simple needs. The main “problem” you will have is the lack of RAW files support. CS2 will not support the majority of camera RAW data formats so you may wish to find a converter for your system. Saving the RAW files as a 16bit TIFF would be best when importing into CS2. If you’re into Audio editing Audition 3 is an excellent program that still functions perfectly for single and multi-track use, while Acrobat is perfect for those needing to create PDF files. Download Links can be found below:

Creative Suite 2
Mac
1130-0412-8377-1896-9751-5759
Win
1130-1414-7569-4457-6613-5551
Acrobat 3D 1.0 for Windows
Win
1159-1414-7569-3493-5006-5653
Acrobat Standard 7.0
Mac
1016-0414-2428-7157-5404-6669
Win
1016-1415-6379-6184-1333-2468
Acrobat Pro 8.0
Mac
1118-0416-1130-3724-2927-7040
Win
1118-1414-1955-8737-8172-0350
Audition 3.0
Win
1137-1004-8571-6848-7845-8029
GoLive CS2
Mac
1033-0415-6162-2671-3431-0993
Win
1033-1418-1610-5696-5209-0095
Illustrator CS2
Mac
1034-0416-0740-0527-2887-2375
Win
1034-1415-6230-2341-2884-9398
InCopy CS2
Mac
1036-0414-4367-5110-5897-2432
Win
1036-1419-3531-6378-2148-9313
InDesign CS2
Mac
1037-0413-9961-4063-8457-1098
Win
1037-1412-5094-8316-6812-7982
Photoshop CS2
Mac
1045-0410-5403-3188-5429-0639
Win
1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431
Photoshop Elements 4.0/5.0
Mac
1057-0410-8218-6295-1699-9560
Win
1057-1414-3729-7573-7352-1206
Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
Win
1132-1280-4900-7476-5108-8019

Adobe’s original download link: http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?pid=4485850&e=cs2_downloads If you want something more up to date, I’d recommend this link: Adobe’s more recent version, CS6

Update!

Here’s some further information regarding this “free software.” It appears Adobe are giving that software out as they have actually disabled their CS2 activation servers, however they seem to be offering this to licensed users. I’ve no idea how they plan to police this activation-free software which appears to be in the wild now. There’s probably thousands of sites that now host the details of this offering. More information on the release is available here: forums.adobe.com If Adobe decide that the above table of details is breaking their terms/copyright/whatever I advise them to contact me via the contact form on my site. I will remove the data upon request and confirmation of this being a valid request by Adobe.

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No Adobe Flash player for me.

I recently posted in reference to a book I had read and I was interested to see the results.

This review received approximately  70,000 hits within the first 24 hours and has now exceeded 100,000 hits in around 4 days. Most of these visitors came to the site through a link provided by the publisher and one other person, both of whom posted on Twitter. One thing which I noticed almost immediately was the amount of hits coming in from iPhones and iPad devices. Now that we’ve hit the 100,000 mark I decided to do some checking on this traffic.

A summary is as below:

  • 58% of visits came from iPad devices.
  • 23% of visits came from iPhone devices.
  • 11% came from Apple OSX based devices.
  • The remaining hits were from Windows devices of which 70% were Windows 7, 5% Windows Vista and the remaining as XP or Windows 2000.
  • Note: I have excluded all known spiders and search engine hits from these stats.

No Adobe Flash for me then. Imagine if my site was Flash based or had Flash galleries. Nearly 8 out of 10 visitors would not have been able to view the site. Why would anyone accept that 80% of their visitors get stopped at the front door?

Another point making me push forward my no Flash thinking is down to my media player at home. I use an old XP based machine which is pretty clean. The software is up to date and there’s pretty much nothing installed. This laptop is connected to my television to allow me to watch streaming content and such like. Well, it’s started crashing in the last few weeks. Crashing when playing Flash content. Never at any other time. Random results are reported after reboot, from Memory Errors to Video card errors are stated. I can watch more flash and it’ll crash, another flash video and it’ll crash. Then I watch hours of podcasts using VLC player with not a thought of crashing. I’ve reinstalled everything from scratch, replaced the hard drive, I’ve even checked the machine for heating issues. Nothing gets it working right for Adobe Flash.

I’ve given up on Flash now. I’ve been telling folk I would not really use it on any site and especially not for making the site. A flash only site is basically the equivalent of  “Internet Suicide” in my opinion.

I await the full replacement for Flash and will now seriously encourage everyone not to use Adobe Flash unless there’s no alternative. Not just an inconvenient alternative, none.

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Photoshop Express steals your photos.

Ok that’s a bit harsh I admit. However I suggest you all read section 8 of the Terms of Use you accept when signing up for Photoshop Express.

Here’s a quick copy:

8. Use of Your Content.

  1. Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

So… They happily state that you agree for them to do whatever they choose with your images. They can SELL your image, MODIFY your images and REPRODUCE your images to suit their needs without asking for permission.

I urge everyone not to use that software, or to even visit the site for any other reason than to complain about this abuse of your rights.

For those of you already using the service, I’d suggest you rapidly remove all images unless you are happy to be shafted by Adobe!

Adobe Photoshop Express Full Terms are here.

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