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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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SPECIAL DEAL: Groupon photo book.

EDIT: 2012/06/17 — This is an expired offer. Sorry!

 

I know it’s short notice but I thought I would add this deal to the blog.

Printerpix.co.uk has a deal on right now that gives a huge discount on some budget photobooks.

Even if you’ve no particular project in mind right now, having this will probably inspire you to get out there shooting.

Where else can you get a custom designed leather bound photobook for less than a calendar?

 

Click here to go get the deal from Printerpix now!

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DIY Video Slider project. Part One.

This is part one of my DIY Video Slider project.

The key features and needs for this slider are as follows:

  • To allow the camera to me moved cleanly and easily along a linear path.
  • Travel distance to be around 0.8m for the first design but to be easily adaptable to longer or shorter lengths as required.
  • Easy design with minimal parts.
  • Simple or zero set-up.
  • Low cost.
  • Easy to reproduce with minimal machine tools required.
  • Easy to obtain parts.

The slider will consist of two parallel rails held together by end-pieces. Everything will be made from aluminium which will be held together using standard steel bolts.

Each end-piece consists of a block of 6060 Aluminium approximately 25mm x 19mm x 100mm in size. These blocks have two 16mm holes drilled into them with 60mm centre-centre measurement.

The two end-pieces may be mounted onto similar end-pieces to increase the overall height and to allow add-ons such as motors, pulleys, controllers, legs and more.

The slider trolley will consist of a set of SBR-16UU linear-bearings. The design may use 2 or 4 of these depending on the required weight handling and smoothness required.

 

Raw Materials:

That’s it for part one as I’m still waiting for some key components to arrive.

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Shooting video on a DSLR

I recently bought another small camera for some video work.

Recently I have been working as First AC (crossing over to Second Director of Photography) for a small Indy film being shot here in Scotland.  The shooting has been taking place in various locations around Dundee, with the main shots all taking place in houses or offices. There’s been little outdoor work so the challenges have been in controlling the lighting to ensure the scenes look pretty, realistic and functional for shooting.

The main cameras used for this movie are Canon DSLR’s. There’s a Canon 5DII and a couple of 600D‘s around pretty much all of the time and it’s been interesting to compare them. For actual use I prefer the Canon 5DII as has a cleaner interface and produced slightly better video, however it’s not all that clear if it is “worth the difference.” Financially there’s quite a bit between the two cameras as you can buy four 600D’s for the price of one 5DII. A better choice would be to buy two 600D’s and a nice L lens for one of them. That’s what’s been going on here.

We’ve mainly been shooting with multiple angles for each scene. If two people are facing each other chatting we’d have three cameras going; two in close-up (CU) and one a bit wider a Medium Close Up (MCU). Given the fact we’ve been shooting different cameras and different lenses it’s been quite interesting to compare the results and, more importantly for me, to learn how to choose the right set-up for each shot.

The experimentation and learning time I’ve had with this movie has made up my mind. I’m quite happy to say I bought the 600D. It’s a very capable camera given the right lighting. Yes, that does mean the video quality falls off a bit when the light drops and that the camera just can’t be pushed as far as the 5DII, but the 600D holds its own well enough. It’s also pretty capable of normal stills shooting, but the interface is a bit complicated and not suitable for anything fast moving. Maybe my opinion will change in time, but I think not. The Canon 600D is a consumer grade device and as such it just doesn’t handle all that well when under pressure. I’m loving the ability to use Magic Lantern on this thing though. Breaking out of Canon’s menus and adding new features is certainly interesting and does offer assistance when shooting. I’m currently checking out the HDR video function with proves promising, given the right situation.

I for one am seriously enjoying this shooting movies on a DSLR. There’s a big learning curve, but I’m well up for that.

More information and sample video from the 600D will follow. Once I get clearance I’ll post some video from the Indy-Movie and link to the trailers.

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