My latest video creation

A new love that I’ve found since moving interstate has been that of filming and editing. I’ll admit I’m not the best in the world, and that there are probably much faster and more efficient ways of doing things, but at the moment as I grasp new projects, ideas, constructive criticism, and a creative feel, I’m enjoying learning about new and exciting techniques.

The most recent creation has been that of a carols promotional video. We planned to render (some elements), shoot, edit and colour all of it within a week. This surprisingly is what happened.

We filmed late on a Sunday afternoon, with time set aside for after the shoot, to do a time lapse of the park getting dark, to the incorporate it in to the video.
This worked really well, considering I had only done one time lapse attempt of something else at night, and this was only 3 days beforehand! This was of course after chatting to a camera nut who knows what to do properly of course.

The video was shot on a Canon 7D with a Sigma 24-70 F2.8 using the Cinestyle video profile. (Find out more here and here about this).  This recorded the footage in an incredibly dull looking footage. This is something I had never done before, so it was a little bit of a gamble, considering I only had one week turn around, and that Sunday afternoon was the only time we had to film. I did know however, that this was going on in the DSLR industry, so the thought of “how hard can it be” came to mind. The LUT was loaded using the Red Giant free software that can be downloaded here.

There were problems using this kind of colour correction. Firstly I like seeing my footage in full colour when editing (yes, not good workflow yet I know), but this mean I couldn’t do this without applying the Red Giant filter and having to render. Even without having this filter on, it was still going to have to be added at the end, and thus add to the rendering process, just like I was going to have to with many of the other effects applied – such as the Vignette and at times a quick Brightness/Contrast filter.

Many of the effects that were used came from one of two places; After Effects, or Motion.

The scribble effect that was used for the facepainting, jumping castle and also the pony ride was done in AE, as I couldn’t find an effect like this in Motion. There were several problems for this and they were:

  • I’d never used AE up until this point, and so all I had to go by to get the effect was tutorials. Thanks to those who do them! They are a big help.
  • I had to find the most efficient way to do the edit. I saw it as two ways. 1. Make the edit in FCP and then export the entire project via an XML plugin and send it to AE, which I didn’t like the idea of for several reasons. or 2. Create the elements and export them back to FCP – which I ended up doing.
  • Exporting the “scribbled” elements was also and interesting concept, but once I figured it out as an Uncompressed with Alpha, it seemed to work out.
  • Play back in AE also confused me, especially with RAM previews as well. (Different story, and a good gotcha for new users).
  • Render times sometimes took a long time to finish, such as the Motion projects that were imported, and also the stars and cloud “footage” which were just images with slow moving tweens.

Once these new elements were imported, they were then arranged and shrunk/edited as required.

Motion was also used for some of the other effects, such as the rain, and the smoke on the BBQ – both of which are built in effects. Thanks Apple. 🙂

The video editing codec I use is ProRes 422 LT 720p @ 25FPS with Compressor being the main conversion tool. Why not use MPEG Streamclip? Well I use compressor, as I can use more cores, plus other Apple devices and spread the load around a couple of computers and speed up the conversion process. I’ve set up QMaster/QAdministrator to work. Not that often that you can get a MacPro with 8 cores all at 100%! 🙂

All of the audio was tweaked in the Audition. I’m a massive fan of Audition as I think it kicks the pants of Apple’s SoundTrack (sorry FCP fans). Even though the sound was originally recorded on a H4N Zoom, there were issues with the quality because of the environment it was recorded in, so we re-recorded the sound in a studio and imported it as uncompressed AAC as FCP doesn’t like MP3 files @ 44.1k when the sequence was @ 48k.

I also did a brief colour on the video using the 3 way colour corrector. I need to learn how to use Color.

So, that’s the technical information about the video, now here it is!

Hope you can come to the carols on Bradbury!

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