First Filming Test

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is an edit from the results of the first shoot. For a first attempt, I’m pretty happy with the results. I was concerned about how well the temporal editing would work, skewing linear time, but the film seems to progress without issue.

The lighting seemingly worked fairly well, the whitebalance in collaboration with the film grain being particularly effective in achieving an interesting aesthetic.
While the flashes work to some extent, they register simply as flashes that blow out rather than lighting the scene for a split second. I want to keep experimenting with the flashes to achieve a more seamless effect. This extends to the LightPro’s, whereby I want to pay attention to modelling the light for a more stylised aesthetic.
I use of flour worked, although is a bit kitsch. As a viewer, you as fully enaged with the character as a real person until she jumps and throws the flour. While this may be visually impressive, it breaks the illusion of reality.

First Shoot Prep

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

I will be shooting my first attempt at emulating my photos into video tomorrow.  I will be shooting on a 5D MkIII at 60fps at 720p resolution.  I’d obviously like to shoot 1080p but there’s nothing I can do about that.  I’ve also changed the necessary settings to get the best footage out of the camera for editing.  I’m acutely aware the 5D will reocrod to H.264 which I imagine isn’t good for grading, so I’m focusing on getting everything in camera.  This is a departure from my usual workflow of getting the most workable images out of a camera that can then be manipulated in post.

I’ve borrowed two LightPro LED packs.  These are the best lights available that are battery operated, somewhat bright, and somewhat soft.  One positive is that each light comes with two diffusing gels – a yellow and purple.  I’m going to try fiting each light with one then use the dimmers to fine-tune whitebalance and hopefully get a unique look.  Having never used these lights in the field, I am worried about battery life so will be conscious of turning them off between takes.

Other than the LightPro’s, I will be using two Nikon Speedlites to create flashes.  I will hopefully experiment with modelling the light using umbrellas, either shooting through or reflecting the light.  This is another experimental technique I am trying and thus don’t have too much confidence in it working this time.  My main concern is the flashes will completely blow out everything and simply render 2 or 3 frames each flash completely white.  Again, I’ll have a play and see what happens.

I have also booked out a H4N audio recorder that I will experiment with getting sound of the model’s feet running on the asphalt and some ambient sound, although I don’t expect this to work very well.  Sound is not my main focus at this point and having worked with outdoor soundcapture in the past, I am not optimistic that such subtle sounds can be captured without overbearing ambient noise and jitter.  But I will try anyway.

My aim is to use slow editing to extend the time the model spends running and the jump, so this will require multiple shots and angles.  I will start with my main shot – a medium-long shot that captures all the action, then work methodically through the action in close-up.  I will experiment with camera movement, depth of field, and focus pulls to see what looks good but also gauge the limitation of my camerawork with the available equiptment.

Canon 5d MkIII Video Settings

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Canon 5d MIII Video settings

This website page documents the custom settings that should be made to optimise the video coming out of the 5D Mk III.  It looks at trying to get the most detail and exposure latitude from the camera with the idea that post-processing and sharpening will produce better results than any in-camera manipulation.  If only you could record RAW.

Dark Knight Breakdown

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dark Knight Breakdown

This is not a bad basic deconstruction of camera and lighting techniques of an interrogation scene in The Dark Knight.

The Aviator

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

The scene highlighted in this clip does well to use photography flashes and slow motion for a interesting, albeit it somewhat cliche, effect. Where this sequence recognises the flashes on the subjects face as photographic flashes through temporal editing, I want to use the flashes much more subliminally, almost as if replicating a flash of lightning.

Location Scouting

March 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

For this first video, I’m looking for a location that has both natural and built elements.  I’m not sure the significance of this, but I quite like the idea of being on the fringe of society; shooting at night just outside the reach of people. This idea of being removed from a place while still being close enough to take an observatory position really interests me.  With this in mind, I have looked for places that have a sense of isolation while still having marks of the built environment.  I think the best places will also be those that have existing lights to mix with introduced lighting or to utilise as background effects lights (probably by create a bokeh effect).

Here are a selection of Locations within the Inner North of Canberra to shoot.

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Shooting Video at Night

March 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

In working towards giving motion to the flour series of images, I am going to be shooting at night.  This presents some problems.

First, I’m going to be limited to how closed I can shoot.  I want to keep to the 180 degree, but its going to be dark and I’m also overcranking, so I’m going to have to shoot quite wide open.  This presents its own problems, the lenses offered by the ANU are slow (f/4), but there isn’t much I can do about that for now.  The problem I can consider though is in shooting open, focus becomes critical.  I’ve done some research on this and discovered you can zoom in on an area of the frame on the 5D’s to do fine focusing.  This is something I will have to take advantage of during shoots.  Dealing with movement, I will have to pre-focus and mark the focusing points on the lens with a white pencil.

Another issue is contrast. Night scenes are inherently contrasty, usually dominated by blacks.  This in itself is not an issue -its one of the reasons I want to shoot at night- and while crushing the blacks that should be black is fine, I’m assuming there will be issues with getting details in highlights that are artificially lit and backgrounds that are not.  Turning the lights down isn’t really an option because the lenses I’ll be uses won’t  be fast enough, and turning up the ambient light is similarly impossible (except to shoot before the sun completely goes, defeating the point and seriously restricting shooting time). So, other than being careful with exposure on set, I can play with the  settings in-camera to get maximum detail with future grading in mind.  This is something I intend to do all the time, but is especially applicable for a night shoot.

I have found a few websites now that tout settings for the 5D’s video to get the most out of the raw footage.  This website   { http://www.eoshd.com/5d-mark-iii-settings-vault }   seems to offer the most comprehensive overview, and I’m most interested in the custom picture control settings.  In reducing the contrast setting, I should get more latitude in my exposure with the option to deepen blacks and increase contrast in post.  I don’t know what shooting with the H.264 codec is like for grading after capture, but I suspect it isn’t great, so I’m going for “get it right in camera” as much as possible.

Another issue will be noise.  I’m usually not a big fan of noise so I do want to keep it to a minimum thus I want to shoot at as low an ISO as I can.  This is easier said than done.  Like I’ve mentioned, the lenses aren’t that fast (and there are other problems with shooting open) so there isn’t that much wriggle movement there.  I would really like to keep to the 180 degree rule, so my shutter will be set to 100th second when overcranking – can’t do anything about that.  So something has to give, and I suspect that’ll be the ISO and with it, noise.  I don’t know how well the 5D’s cope with noise but I’ll hazard a guess that the MKIII’s are better than the MKII’s at Hi-ISO noise.  I will have control of artificial light though, so I’m hoping those lights can be bright enough to keep the ISO down and still balance the exposure with ambient light. This is something I’ll just have to find out when I shoot.

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