80:8 Photography : Video : Sound : Bands : Portraits

Final Cut Pro

NuFolk, ambient, soul : Coming soon from @JasonKyrone

Most of this weekend was spent in the presence of Jason Kyrone and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Hence, as you may have guessed, a couple of quick session video’s are on their way. Mr Kyrone kindly brought with him a selection of fine food and gifts : Edible eye-balls, a huge bag of onion rings, a £3 pack of horror make-up and a bottle of Drambuie. Suffice to say, a great weekend was had by all and the de-tox is now well underway.

More importantly, Jason also brought with him a couple of new and fabulous songs and we’re absolutely itching to share them – “then I found you” in particular is a hit. No doubt about it. It’s beautiful, catchy and features a hook I just can’t get rid off. And as for the guitar playing, Jason has created something new. NuFolk, ambient soul I reckon. The vocals are sublime – deep and husky but then out of the blue some incredible high notes that take the track to a fabulous new place. Keep an ear out for this track, it is both stunning & different yet has an accessibility that means it’s immediate, but also a depth that requires repeated listening.

As for the BMCC…it’s a physical object of alloy and clever electronics – nothing more. But. It’s an incredible device for producing beautiful images and yes, while it’s not as polished as something from the big players, it has the knack of displaying beauty. After my wife, my bike, my Mac, it’s the next thing to be rescued from the rhetorical burning house. Actually, it may come before the Mac….

JK-thenifoundyou

jk-weakattheknees

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Lucky – Latest video + production notes

Right then, here’s the latest video – another one for Lost In Audio – this time a lovely little acoustic number called ‘Lucky’. This features just two people, the lead singer and songwriter for the band – Joe Hendry and a local, very talented actress, Fran Pattinson. The idea behind the video was to play on the ambiguity of the lyrics and that the reality of any break-up song, is that there are two sides to every story. Usually it’s only the songwriter who gets to say their piece, however, listening to the song many times over, I was struck by the fact the lyrics could actually be spoken by either side, regardless of gender, perspective or point of view. So, in essence we have two people each singing the same words, each hurting and each desperate to say what they need to say as a form of release and finality. That’s the concept – here’s the nuts and bolts:

lucky
Working Footage : I didn’t take any notes for this but I’d hazard a guess at around 32Gb. Although right after reviewing all the clips I binned about 16Gb immediately. Why? Well, these were shots that actually looked quite good, but they involved the characters moving in the frame. Quite normal of course, but next to the shots that simply had Joe and Fran standing opposite each other, they looked both weak and also diminished the impact of the face to face shots. So they went.

Cut Ratio : Absolutely lethargic! 19 cuts in 180 seconds or around 1 edit every 10 seconds. Obviously the song doesn’t suit quick cutting and mad angled editing popular with Italian TV – it’s simple, sparse and slightly elegiac, hence it gets cut to match. Also after binning half my footage, perhaps I didn’t have too much to play with 🙂

Clips : Around 10-11 complete takes of the song.

Capture Time : Quite long (for me) actually, probably around six hours. Two reasons for this – it was absolutely freezing (notice the breath) and people needed to warm up between takes, secondly, we were using a working artists studio (thanks to Zuzana Gibb of Kerdova Design for this) and had to be careful of course, but also because the lighting took time to setup between scenes. I should also add we had something to eat halfway through. It was a rare luxury to have time for the shoot and not feel rushed – usually people have to dash off or I can only get a location for a few hours, but this time it was completed, when I felt it was completed. None of that awful feeling that you’ve had to wrap too early because of circumstances and your slightly unsure you’ve got enough footage.

Editing Time : Super quick, 3 hours.

Preparation Time : Listened to the song around 200 times…Shot list around 4 hours.

Video Treatment : As described in the opening para. Decided to put a bit 2.39:1 either end of the HD aspect footage to give it a sense of story, depth and intrigue.

Camera’s : Canons all the way – 5DII, usually fitted with the 70-200 and the XF100 for the slight jerky dolly shots.

Camera Picture Profile : 5DII = Cinestyle, XF = Custom profile based on the BBC dude’s settings.

Workflow : All raw footage converted to ProRes LT @ 1080. Delivered to YouTube as 1080P H264 / Max bitrate = 5000Kbs.

Lighting : Ambient + trusty dedo-lights.

NLE : Final Cut Pro 7 + Magic Bullet Looks

Other Kit : Sachtler Ace Tripod and a bit of model railway track for the dolly moves (really! – hence the jerkiness)

What did I learn : Simple is good.

Here it is:


Video production notes : Lost In Audio and Angeline

OK, so a few production notes on the recently released video for Lost In Audio and ‘Angeline’. This time around I had to venture out from my usual hermetic existence amidst the potato fields and venture to a city centre club and speak (amplified) to real people from (OMG) the stage. Good grief. Still, it all came off rather well.

angeline

Working Footage : Around 42Gb of content between the various camera’s – 5DII and XF100. Why so much? Well, there’s lots of angles and to be honest I couldn’t be hacked with trying to sync lots of segments from different time bases. So yes, all the synced segments (i.e. 99% of it) were recorded for the whole song. It’s easy to cut using the sheer pleasure that is FCP Multi-Clip sequences plus the playback track had clicks either end, so it was a complete doodle to line everything up. And yeah, CF storage is cheap. If I was shooting on Super-8, I guess I would have got four angles 🙂

Cut Ratio : 129 cuts in 159 seconds, so that makes 1 cut every 1.2 seconds. Considering the recent run of slow-paced video’s that’s more like it! Of course some of the cuts are super-duper quick so I’d imagine the actual cut ratio is more like 2 seconds.

Clips : Around 18 complete syncs of the song + some bits of narrative stuff that I never used.

Capture Time : Around 3 hours. So yes, somewhat hectic. Why so quick? Well, the audience were there FOC : No lunch, no drinks and on a Sunday…We needed as many people as possible and some could only spare 2 hours, some had to leave at 1, some had go home for Sunday lunch. So it was two basic set-ups (band on stage + Singer on the floor) and max angles and energy. I got hot. And probably shouted a bit.

Editing Time : Very quick. Two versions were done – one with hyper-cutting and the one you see now. It’s a short, intense punk song so no time for messing around!

Preparation Time : Around 6 hours to get the shot list together.

Video Treatment : Nothing more than a straight performance video in a local club with fans jumping up and down.

Camera’s : Canons all the way – 5DII, usually fitted with the 17-40MM (at around 800 ISO) and XF100 for whizzing around.

Camera Picture Profile : 5DII = Cinestyle, XF = Custom profile based on the BBC dude’s settings.

Workflow : All raw footage converted to ProRes LT @ 1080. Delivered to YouTube as 720P H264 / Max bitrate = 5000Kbs. Left it at 720P so I had some latitude for panning and also that noise was likely to be high-ish due to the low light.

Lighting : Club lighting + trusty dedo-lights.

NLE : Final Cut Pro 7 + Magic Bullet Looks (loadsa flare!)

Other Kit : Sachtler Ace Tripod and Glidetrack Shooter as a basic shoulder rig for the XF. And of course, a water spray for the drums!

What did I learn : Specify a dress code and shout more 🙂

Here ye go:


Video production notes : Electric Penelope and Scorpion

Phew. We’ve just finished and uploaded our latest ‘n’ freshest video and as always it is definitely NOT the time (for me) to consider it’s merit. Thats comes later (but I think it’s alright). The video in question is for the delightful ‘Electric Penelope’ and her lovely song ‘Scorpion’. I probably don’t need to say that Electric Penelope is a pseudonym.

EP-blog

A typical video can involve many repeated listens to the song and the sheer necessity of absolute familiarity with the captured footage. And there is only one way of being familiar with the footage – by watching it again, again and again. Then just a bit more so you can close your eyes and skim through it.  Each time making notes, physical or mental, or capturing stills or simply imprinting the visuals on your brain. Then, during the course of cutting it, you somehow keep all the footage in your head so you can say ‘that bit will fit there’ or remembering something previously dismissed, as being perfect for a 3 second bridge. Every video is like starting a new job. You stumble around for a bit, can’t find the meeting rooms, everyone speaks in a peculiar vernacular, No. 32 from the coffee machine is unspeakable and everyone thinks you’re either gay or have a peculiar interest in radishes.

Then, slowly, it becomes clear. You know you should go for a No.32 with whipped milk, you know the quickest way to the meeting rooms and you make friends with the two most important people in the building – The receptionist and the security/car-park dude. It’s the same with video’s – especially those where you are striving for something rather more (and forgive the use of a much overused term) ‘cinematic’ and simply not just cutting to the beat.

Anyway, more on the emotion of cutting later, but here’s a few pre & post production notes for ‘Scorpion’.

Working Footage : Around 32GB of content was captured, so around 80-90 minutes worth or 20:1 ratio between Working:Completed

Cut Ratio : Around 40 cuts so on average 1 cut every 6 seconds – pretty slow!

Individual Clips : Around 60 individual shots were captured, which means there are 8.32098711274139e+81 possible versions of this video (Factorial of 60)

Capture Time : Probably around 8-9 hours in total

Editing Time : Around 12 hours, so each cut in the final video took an average of 18 minutes each. As each edit actually takes 3 seconds, if I was happy with each cut first time out, the video would have taken 2 minutes to edit!

Preparation Time : Probably about 4 hours – listening to the song, writing a shot list and looking at stuff for inspiration

Video Treatment : The idea was to visualise  the character described in the song as two facets of the same personality, but with a thread between them that sort of allowed each of them to acknowledge each other.

Camera’s : Mixture of Canon 5DII SLR and Canon XF100. Lenses for the 5D included 24-70F2.8L and the TS-e24F3.5L (achingly sharp that lens) plus tilt of course!

Lighting : 3 x Dedolights with a few gobo’s and stuff

NLE: Final Cut Pro with colour grading a combination of FCP Color & Magic Bullet. No sharpening on the footage to keep it a bit less video looking.

Other Kit: Mini-Crane from D-SLR Devices.com, little slider from Glidecam and lovely Sachtler Ace Tripod

Other Stuff: Ms Penelope made her own stunning gold dress, there were no assistants apart from Ms Penelope’s daughter who spun the mirrorball and it was all shot in the gorgeously tasty Cornerhouse Cafe and various chilly bits of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Here it is! Enjoy!


M-CONT / The Video / Now Complete

M-CONT

After a marathon editing session in FCP, 20Gb of Hi-Def footage, a hangover, a headache and the desire to cling to the ceiling whilst eating bamboo, the video for M-Cont by The Warehouse Announcement is now finished. It started off as a normal multi-angle rock video, then mutated into something a bit hyper, manic and trippy. Er, so that’ll be alright then! The band haven’t seen it yet, so no sneak preview yet apart from the still above. Coming to a YouTube channel near you soon!


Matt Wilson / Live at the Barrels Berwick-upon-Tweed

Matt Wilson / Live at The Barrels

What a great night it was at The Barrels in Berwick-upon-Tweed last night. Great music from Matt Wilson, Le Woodsmen and Electric Penelope, a great atmosphere and an appreciative audience. Matt played a great set, his voice now his main instrument given it’s newly husky, yet still sweet edge. Here’s a little edit of “Taste of a Smile’. It’s a little soft and grainy as I had to shoot it at 3200iso and wide open at f2.8 (The Barrels is a little dark) but it conveys a great night and a great song. One more from Le Woodsmen later!


Burning Up / Video Preview & How we did it

Here’s a little preview of the soon to be released official video of ‘Burning Up’ by Edinburgh based band, Lost In Audio. All shot, directed, edited, produced and colour-graded by 80:8. We shot the video over a six hour period between 9pm and 3am in a top-secret Borders location. And y’know, I think it came out really rather well. The full length video is a great example of constant visual and aural energy – the guys in the band put in amazing performances take after take after take (we did 21 in total)

For those interested in the how’s, why’s and wherefores we used :

– A Canon 5DII with 24-70 f2.8L & 24mm TS-E lenses, Full 1080P @25fps, converted to ProRes 422(LT) for editing, then output in 720P for uploading to YouTube. No sharpening, contrast turned down low and saturation down two notches.

– Lighting was an esoteric mix of my Bowen’s flash heads with the modelling lights on, Maplin disco lights, LED’s from 7 Dayshop and of course what every film director needs…Site floods from MachineMart!

– With all these lights I managed to shoot at 640 ISO so grain was kept to a minimum, aperture wide open most of the time.

– Editing in Final Cut Pro, titles via Motion and Colour Grading via er, Color!

– Syncing was done by eye (based on the audio waveform) then a multi-shot sequence was created in FCP allowing me to cut from angle to angle easily.

And that was it! A breeze! The intention was to create a high-powered take on the ‘Bubbles’ video by Biffy Clyro, except of course on a budget of £9.87 – or the price of chinese takeaway for four people. And, y’know what – I think it succeeded. I’ve projected the video at a size of 50″ and it stands up really well, while on YT I like to think it stands up to pretty much anything.

So, four blokes in a shed basically. Limits, actually, make you go further.


A love of motion graphics

I am, sadly, addicted to Apples Final Cut Pro suite of professional editing software. Some of it I simply need to use everyday, such as Final Cut Pro the movie editor, some, such as Color, I’m slightly scared of. Others like Motion, the motion graphics editor, I’m in awe of and find myself scratching it’s surface every so often desperate to understand it’s incredibly hidden and complex depths. The fact I can only think in 2D doesn’t help either I guess 🙂

My first memory of motion graphics, although I didn’t they were called that at the time, was the original and colourful Channel 4 TV logo. This was composed of multi-coloured bricks that spun in 3D space. I had seen nothing like it and it amazed and transfixed me. I later learnt it was probably created on some hideously expensive and complicated Quantel system, and it’s only been recently that such capability has come to the average Joe. And wow, it’s brilliant. I could tinker with titles, FX and 3D swoops and pans all day long. I lurk around motion graphics forums and see amazing things that people do with shadows, light and reflections. Much of this is beyond me as yet, but here’s a recently completed example – the 80eight logo, spinning in 3D space as my own personal homage to the C4 logo of all those years ago.