I came in and the President of Video Services, Brian, asked me to setup the Dana Dolly to shoot a pan of some of the trophy’s and awards. Once I found the dolly, I set it up using some pipes and the head of one of our tripods. I then took the now familiar 5D Mark III DSLR and mounted it on the dolly (Picture: http://instagram.com/p/WKPgAbx72p/ ). I began with one trophy to frame the shot and to practice shooting with a dolly.
Not long after we had sat down for lunch, Matt who is Allied Pixel’s Sony representative and actually a former employee came by with a new Sony F5 camera for us to test out, this camera was just recently released and the unit we had was serial number 56. Our cinematographer already knows a lot about the F5, because he went to a demonstration last week in New York. It is a remarkable camera, it is small but is able to get great shots just with the available light. The flip side of that, as our Cinematorgrapher explained was that when using it outdoors, it needs to use neutral density filters and some times more than the neutral density filters that are built into the camera. This camera is a game changer with its ability to record up to 4k video in a fairly small package. We are going to be getting the model that is a step-up of the F5, the F55 which our representative said will be shipping to us soon. He left the camera with us overnight, so I expect we will be shooting more tests with it tomorrow before we have to give it back. Here’s a picture of the camera (instagram.com/p/WK1OMRR791)
After that, I returned to working on the dolly shots gathering more trophies from around the office and lining them up so I can do a tracking shot of them all. I shot many passes of the trophies with different framing, movement and exposures. When I finished, I pulled the memory card from the camera and copied the files over to the computer where I went through the shots and picked out some of the best. I then cleaned up some of the equipment I used today but left the dolly out because we might use it tomorrow!
Daily Total Hours: 7.93 Hours
I started by continuing to review and sort the dolly shots from yesterday on the computer and pulling out the best shots.We spent a lot of the time testing out the Sony camera from yesterday since it was going to have to go back later today. I also took some still images of it for use on the company social media pages and then picked out some of the best pictures for us to post. We continued to test the camera using various lighting and exposures to see how the camera would react and compare it to the older Sony Camera, the F3 that we have to see the differences.
I then attempted to fix the dolly shots from yesterday in post to make the background more white and make the dolly movements less shaky which wasn’t very feasible, so I decided I would re-shoot tomorrow to get better shots. Brian, the President of video services suggested I shoot each trophy individually and then assemble them together in post, he also mentioned that I might need to add more light to make the background the bright white that he was looking for. I spent the rest of the day playing with the DSLR settings and seeing what changes they each make.
Daily Total Hours: 7.65 Hours
I came in and did some cleaning in the kitchen area while the coffee brewed. I then continued to practices shooting with the DSLR settings a bit and trying to get more comfortable with it. I also used the looked up in the manual how to change the frame rate on the 5D because Brian had suggested yesterday to shoot at 60 frames per second, which I did but, I found out that when you increase the frame rate, the 5D only records in 720P instead of 1080p, but that’s a sacrifice I had to make.
I then set the dolly back up and began to try out new shots taking into consideration the advice I received yesterday. Tom, our Cinematographer, saw what I was working on and gave me some great suggestions on how to make the shots work better. He suggested that I use the longer pipes and have the track further back from the table I had the trophies on. I removed the diffusion on the light which allowed for brighter light and made the white background brighter which was further helped but increasing the amount of exposure. The other issue I had the first time, was that I shot inconsistent speeds since I was pulling the camera myself which also lead to some bumpiness. I went back to using fishing line and attaching it, first to the handle of the tripod head and then to the sled of the dolly to pull. Tom suggested attaching a weight at the end so the dolly would move at the same speed as gravity pulls it down each time. I recorded a few test shots first and put them on the computer to make sure the shots werent blown out since I opened the exposure and wanted to make sure the levels were ok on the scopes in Final Cut. I took out another stand to hold the fishing line up and to keep the sled going the full length of the track. Once I had the whole rig setup, I recorded 4 trophies all at the same place on the table and then recorded a clean pass. Here is a video of my rig in action: http://www.mobypicture.com/user/mikegdovin/view/14871950
I then imported the shots into Final Cut and basically lined them up one after another cropping the ends as it passes from one shot to another. I had to key frame the crops as it moved to reveal the following trophy. As a finishing touch, I added the clean plate at the end and a Allied Pixel logo to make tie it back to the company. It still needs some tweaking and cleaning up but the shots turned out much better than the first time. I cleaned up some of the equipment I was using and then our Sony Representative came back to pick the demo camera back up and said our unit should be arriving fairly soon!
Daily Total Hours: 7.97 Hours
First thing I did when I came in was take apart my dolly rig and put all the equipment I have been using the past few days away. I then got back to editing my project, the first obstacle I ran into was that the computer I was using wouldn’t render the project in Final Cut, at least not the entire sequence so I had to render it in chunks by setting in and out points and rendering each chunk individually which took more time but with the other edits suites being used, was my best option. Once I had that issue resolved, I noticed that some of the background wasn’t as white as I knew Brian wanted it, so I used color correction to increase the whites and once I got it right on one clip, I applied the attributes to all the other clips. So it is more or less finished, I might tweak the color correction a bit but it is looking pretty good! Then, I check some equipment back in that had been out on a shoot most of this week and put it all away.
I then talked to Tom, our Cinematographer, about how shooting using different color spaces changes the amount of dynamic range recorded and how that effects the shot. We also talked about an light meter app for the iPhone that I found. A freelance director came in who might want to do a project with Allied Pixel came in so, we showed him the facilities and heard some of his experiences in the industry.
Daily Total Hours: 7.9 Hours
First thing I did when I came in, was test a lighting kit that had been out on a shoot most of the week and was overlooked yesterday. I spent most of the day was spent perfecting the trophy footage in Final Cut to make them track together as seamlessly as possible. I key framed cropping the edges of the frame to transition from one shot to another and then I used color correction to make the white as bright as possible and to match between all the shots. I showed it to Brian and he said that it was very good but the trophies were a bit too bright so I spent the rest of the day working on tweaking the colors to balance between pure white and properly lit trophies.
Daily Total Hours: 6.93 Hours
The most beneficial and the most fun thing I did was building the motion rig and figuring out how to make it work. It was fun figuring out how to pull the camera steadily across the dolly track. I was able to figure out how to take the project from concept to a final video that accomplished the goals.
Weekly Total Hours: 38.4 Hours
Total Hours to Date: 192.58 Hours