Archive for Internship Journal

Internship Journal Week 5: 2/25-3/1

Monday: 2/25

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

 

Tuesday: 2/26

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

 

Wednesday: 2/27

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

 

 

Thursday: 2/28

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

 

Friday: 3/1

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

 

Reactions: 

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

Internship Journal- Week 4

Monday: 

I started with helping out taking pictures of more equipment for the new website. Then, we took a brief break to setup and test a monitor that had been sent out for repair. The monitor was part of teleprompter system that had broken at a shoot a few weeks ago, so we set it up just to make sure it was working, which it was.

I then returned to working on the rotoscoping, the composition is basically assembled there is just a bit of cleaning up spots which although they may be small will take some time to clean up since i have to do one frame at a time. I showed the current version to one of the owners and he said it was pretty good! Then, I helped out taking a few more pictures of equipment since I needed a break from looking at the rotoscoping. I then finished the day continuing to fine-tune my rotoscoping project until I couldn’t do anymore!

Daily Total Hours: 7. 92

Tuesday:

I started by making a quick trip to pickup more coffee and a few other supplies at the store across the street, I noticed that we were almost out. I then spent most of my day taking pictures of equipment for the website by myself! It was a lot of fun!  I got to use the DSLR and arrange the equipment to make it look it’s best. I started getting really creative with some fishing line, hanging headsets from a C-Stand to get really good shots.

Then, I got to see a demonstrations of the Kulabyte web streaming system and how to make it work. It’s basically a special all-in-one Windows XP machine with a touch screen. I saw how to set it up, how to get the stream running and then saw the actual stream on another  computer to make sure it was working and to change some settings.

I then pulled equipment for two shoots that are going on tomorrow, although I will be holding down the fort at the office.

Daily Total Hours: 7.83 Hours

Wednesday:

I started out with testing a wireless microphone system and mixer that was returned from a rental and checking it back in. I spent much of the day continuing to shoot photos of equipment for the new website. It’s a lot of fun because I get to have some creative freedom over the shots and how I set them up. It was a little different than previous days because the computer we had been using was unavailable, so I just used the camera. This was cool because I was able to learn some of the manual camera controls. Then, we unloaded the trucks from the two shoots that we had today and started getting equipment together for the shot tomorrow. We then had someone come in for a battery who is a camera operator on a show on HGTV called Salvage. We talked to him for a while and heard some interesting stories. The show sounds interesting, so I will have to check it out.

Here’s a picture of the XLR cables I had hanging from fishing line for my pictures: http://instagram.com/p/V9n0qSx77e/

Daily Total Hours: 7.43 Hours

Thursday:

I started putting away and testing equipment that was used on the shoots the previous day. We then pulled all the equipment out that we needed to use for the shoot later  today and loaded it on the truck. There was a lot more equipment than past shoots because this is a 2 camera shoot and there was a lot of equipment required. We then drove the equipment down to Astra-Zennica and unloaded it all.

This was probably the most complicated shot I have been on so far, not only was it a two camera shoot, but we had to setup 2 sets one like the previous week we were at Astra-Zennica, using the real-world background. This also means that we had to put the Neutral density 9 gel over all the windows. We also had a green screen set in the back of the room as well for a few other pieces we weren’t sure we were going to have time to shoot. We had a lot more crew as well, the director, audio guy, Director of Photography, and of course myself were all from Allied Pixel.  We also had another camera operator, grip and make-up artist that were freelance.

We set all the equipment up for both sets and had the room ready. We had a bit of a wait because our talent was running late but when he came in, we got it done very quickly and even got the green screen shots done with time to spare!  Our biggest issue this time was the sun because we were shooting in the afternoon and the sun began to set which was causing a lot of lighting issues even with the N9. Luckily, we had the tools to compensate for the lighting changes and made it work. When we finished with the CEO, we began to strike the green screen set and reset the interview “real world” set for the changes in lighting. I also took still pictures with the DSLR and I think my pictures came out better than past shoots because now that I know the DSLR’s controls better, I can get much better pictures out of it. When we were done, we struck the set and loaded up the truck. We didn’t finish until around 7:30 but it was a great shoot!

Daily Total Hours: 10.5 hours

Friday:

All we did today was unload all the equipment we had used the previous day off the truck and tested it all.  We got it done failrly quickly because we had 4 people working on it, usually it’s just myself and one other person testing out the gear. It was however, still a lot of gear. We all left early so I was out several hours early.

Daily Total Hours: 4.73 Hours

Reactions: 

The most valuable thing for me  this week, was taking the pictures of the equipment for the website. It may not sound like a lot of fun, but I enjoyed it and gave me the chance to learn the controls on the Canon 5D DSLR. This helped me take better pictures when we were on the shoot. I am also learning a lot of the terminology and impressed them by using the proper terms for the various equipment when we were checking the equipment back in Friday.

Weekly Total Hours: 38.41 Hours

Total Hours to Date: 154.18 Hours

Internship Journal- Week 3

Monday: 2/4

I spent the majority of the day continuing to work on my rotoscoping project in After Effects it is finally coming together, the first pass is almost finished being composited together so now I need to tackle the second pass which is a little harder to line up. But, it should be easier after that because I now have a much better understanding of After Effects.  It’s still  time consuming because of the high resolution footage I am using. I took a brief break to load the truck with gear for our shoot the following day but much of the day was spent working on the rotoscoping.

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.13 Hours

 

Tuesday: 2/5

Got to the office at 8 AM where we finished loading the truck and the drive down to Astra-Zennica in Delaware. We brought the equipment in and set it all up in a conference room.

 

Unlike the previous shoots I have been on, which were shot on green screen, this shoot was using the actual room as the set. Since there are windows behind where the talent was, we had to put Neutral density 9 filter (ND 9) on the windows to make the light coming through the windows match the lights we used. We taped it up and then the grip used water and a squeegee to make it flush to the window.

 

Our talent, who turned out to be the CEO of Astra-Zennica came in and read his lines which went well! We then struck the set, and loaded all the equipment back into the truck and brought it back to the office.

 

Daily Total Hours: 6.45 Hours

 

Wednesday: 2/6

I began the day testing the equipment that was used at the shoot yesterday and putting it away. I then listened to Cinematographer talk about the camera demonstration he went to the previous night in New York City of the new Sony F55 camera. It seems like it will be a very cool camera but it might not have all the features needed at launch especially for use in a Final Cut Pro 7 workflow, which is what we have.  We then finished putting away the equipment from yesterday. I then watched someone attempt to repair a broken VGA cable using a soldering iron. It is a bit complicated because there are 15 connections and very little space for each one. After spending a lot of time trying to make it work, including looking up wiring diagrams on the Internet, he decided to stop for the day and pick it up tomorrow

 

Daily Total Hours:  7.85 Hours

 

Thursday: 2/7

I continued working on the rotoscoping project, now on the faster computer stairs, I also learned you can reduce the resolution in After Effects to make playback faster. The combination of these two things allowed me to get a lot more done on it although it is still not finished I have made some good progress on it. I am also learning more keyboard shortcuts in After Effects that make things a little faster. I realized that its not only the fact that the computer are a bit slow that is making this process take so long, but Rotoscoping is a complicated process that although has been improved with software takes a lot of time especially on high resolution footage like I am working with.

 

I then tested monitors out and put them away and then helped the cinematographer as he set cameras up to be used on a shoot next week. He showed me he made the color Gammas match on the two cameras and synchronize time code between the cameras and the recorder. I then went back and worked more on rotoscoping for a bit. Finally, the cinematographer and I noticed the color of the second monitor in one of the edit suites didn’t match the primary monitor. So we check the back of the Mac Pro and saw it had a DVI out and the monitor had a DVI in so we are going to swap the VGA for the DVI tomorrow since we ran out of time.

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.85 Hours

 

Friday: 2/8

When I came in, I met a former employee of Allied Pixel who does webcasting now for another company and heard about a lot of webcasting stuff he has done and some of the technical issues he has run into. It was very interesting stuff especially when it comes to web streaming to the iPad which is still has a lot of room for growth.

 

Then I tried to switch the cable on the second monitor in that edit suite but,  it didn’t work and after trying a few different things we decided to consult with the Director of Technology. He suggested swapping the cable which didn’t fix it. We then shot a few tests with the cameras and ingested it to make sure the two cameras matched when we brought it into Final Cut and they did. Then Brian, the president of video services came in and showed us a video he had found online that was really well shot and edited. Here’s the link, it’s called Waiting out Winter and it looked fantastic! Here’s the link: http://vimeo.com/59380598

 

We went back to figuring out the issue with the computer monitor and inbound out that the primary monitor is using a special DVI to HDMI cable which was why it was working while the other was not. So we tried to find a way to make it work but, most likely we will have to buy a new cable for the second monitor.  I set the monitor back up with the VGA cable and then spent some time calibrating the monitor so the colors would match better. I generated color bars in Final Cut and exported a still image of it to have in each monitor so I had the same image to compare on both screens. I got them closer than they were, but still not great because the VGA doesn’t have the same amount of color depth as the HDMI cable. We are going to get a cable to replace it eventualy but it has been slightly improved. I then assisted the Cinematorgrapher as he performed some maintenance on various equipment.

Daily Total Hours:  6.82 Hours

Weekly Total Hours: 36.1 Hours

Total Hours to Date: 115.77 Hours

Internship Journal- Week 2

Monday: 2/4

We went to the rental house again to return the black backdrop we rented for Friday’s shoot. Then, we checked all the equipment from last week’s festivities and put them all away to their right spots in the office. I finished the day, working on rotoscoping those camera test shots in After Effects, which once again took a lot of rendering time.

We spent much of the afternoon taking photographs of audio equipment to put on the website for potential clients and renters. They setup a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR to a laptop to control it and photographed the various piece of equipment. They also talked to me about some of the equipment and what it is used for. I finished up the day continuing working on the rotoscoping, the first pass is almost done, next I need to composite it all together and make the final video.

Daily Total Hours: 7.97 Hours

 

Tuesday: 2/5

I began the day just reading parts of a book about various visual effects techniques and case studies about projects by those involved. Then, I was asked by the editor to subtitle the video he was working on in Final Cut. I basically copy and pasted text from a script and synced with what the talent was saying on-screen. It was actually a lot of fun to work on.

 

Then, I helped with the continued photoshoot of the equipment for the website. I was then asked to count all the words in a script because they are paying for it to be translated and there is a discrepancy over the total word count and the translator charges by the word! For those who are curious, the total word count was 3,522 words! We then spent the rest of the day photographing more equipment

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.93

 

Wednesday: 2/6

I helped setup for VoiceOver session later in the day and read into the mic so the sound engineer can get the levels set for the later. The President of video told me that my count of words was close to what he had gotten in Microsoft Word but was almost 1,000 words off of the translator’s word count. We later found out this was because her count was the number of Spanish words.  I was also told by one of the owners that I did a good job on the subtitling the previous day!

 

I then saw some of the test footage the cinematographer had shot the previous day with the new lenses we got. We then had a discussion on about Final Cut X another post-production software, which was interesting to me especially to see the impact it has on the business.

 

Much of the day I wasn’t able to do much besides read because of the on-going VoiceOver session and because of how the building is built, we want to make sure no noise gets into the recordings. I then sat with one of the editors and he showed me how to effectively do the composition project I have been working on.

 

We then pulled equipment for the shoot tomorrow and loaded some of it on the truck.

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.87 Hours

 

Thursday: 2/7

We started the day finishing pulling the equipment and loading it into the truck for the shoot later in the day. Then I check a lighting kit that was returned yesterday back in.

 

Then, we traveled to the Astra-Zennica office in Delaware where the shoot was located. We unloaded the truck and rolled all the equipment to the room we were shooting in. I setup the lights and other equipment for the shoot. I also took pictures using the Canon 5D Mark III. We had a bit of wait time until our talent arrived but when he did he knocked out each shot his first try, I’m telling you he can be professional talent. The shoot probably lasted a maximum of 20 minutes.

 

We then packed the equipment and loaded it back into the truck, we probably spent three times more time setting up and cleaning up than we did shooting, but that’s usually the case.  We returned to the office and unloaded the truck from the things we can’t leave out in the cold.

Daily Total Hours: 8.52

 

Friday: 2/8

It was a rather slow day but I checked in a lot of the equipment from yesterday mostly by myself. Then I worked on my compositing project after talking with the editor about it, I found a better way of doing the effect but it of course took a lot of render time. That was really all that happened, I ended up going home 2 hours early because there was nothing to do and the weather was bad.

 

Daily Total Hours: 5.85 Hours

Reactions: 

The most beneficial part of this week was working with the editor on projects first with then subtitles and then working on the composition project in After Effects with the camera test footage. I also am learning a lot more about the various lighting equipment and lighting technique.

 

Weekly Total Hours: 38.14

Total Hours to Date: 79.71 Hours

Internship Journal- Week 1

My internship site is Allied Pixel which is located in Media, PA that does mostly corporate videos and commercials, as well as webcasting. Allied Pixel also has a rental business for other video professionals in the area.  Many of their projects are talking-head corporate video against a green screen often for pharmaceutical companies who use them for training or promotion within the company. However, they  shoot “film style” using many cinematic techniques in their projects.  In addition to having a video production business, they also have an interactive group that does web design and mobile application development.

Monday: 1/28

On my first day of my internship, I Met various people at Allied Pixel and they were very welcoming. They showed me around the facility and when different equipment is kept. I then unloaded equipment from a shoot the previous week. I then check the equipment in and tested cables, lights and other equipment that were brought back  and then put it away in the equipment room. The cinematographer then had a client come in and he demonstrated to them how to change the settings on their HDCAM camera to better suit their needs. Finally, I shadowed an editor who was editing a corporate video for a new medicine for Astra-Zennica and saw how they put their projects together using Final Cut Pro 7.

 

Daily Total Hours: 8.08 Hours

 

Tuesday: 1/29

I learned about the various equipment that is in the grip kits and checked the two kits returned from the shoot and replaced any equipment that was missing or broken. Then, the new prime lens Allied Pixel ordered for their Sony F3 was delivered and they tested it out and showed how it makes rooms look bigger and has a very shallow depth of field. We then had a friend of the company come over to test his motion control rig on tracks in the garage. They timed the dolly moving on the track and then we tested the tracking shot by first recording a normal pass, then two of me walking towards the camera interacting as though I saw myself along the way. They then recorded passes of me standing on the path to later be composited together in post. When we finished recording, we  broke down the equipment and puteverything away. I then watched the ingest process of Sony SxS cards which requires the clips be converted before they are imported into Final Cut. I spent the rest of the day begining to attempt to edit the test footage together to have me walking past and interacting with myself.

 

Here’s a picture of the motion control rig from the Allied Pixel twitter with me in the shot watching! https://mobile.twitter.com/alliedpixel/status/296359312106852354/photo/1

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.75 Hours

 

Wednesday: 1/30

I spent the morning continuing to work on the video project using a textbook from school to figure out rotoscoping in After Effects. This still wasn’t finished because it required a lot of rendering and the computer was very slow. In the afternoon we went to the studio located at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and setup lighting equipments and cameras for the shoot the next day. Once the shoot was mostly setup we left for the day and will finished the following day.

 

Daily Total Hours: 6.92 Hours

 

Thursday: 1/31

We met at the office at 7 AM and then went over to Pfizer’s office for the shoot. We finished setting up lighting and setup audio, the teleprompter and then shot the promotional videos for parents about vaccinations. I observed the teleprompter operator (a Kutztown Alum). When the shoot ended we struck the set and brought all the equipment to the truck and went out to lunch. After lunch we went to pick up netting from a rental house for the shoot the next day.

 

Picture from the shoot setup on Instagram: http://instagr.am/p/VJnxB2x70h/

 

Daily Total Hours: 7.98 Hours

 

Friday: 2/1

Met at the office early again (6 AM) to go over to Lincoln Financial Field to shoot for the Philadelphia Union along with Comcast Sportsnet. It was myself and one employee from Allied Pixel we met there with a freelance cinematographer and gaffer along with a producer abd director who work for Comcast. We unloaded the truck and setup to sets a green screen and a black background. We setup all the lighting equipment in the Temple Locker room at the Linc and the shot jerseys of each player on the black background to be used in player intros. Once we were finished, we struck the black set and broke for lunch. By the way,  I have two new favorite words, craft services.

 

Then, the team came in and we had them do various poses and had some of them speak some lines for bumpers and other promos. Afterwards, we struck the set and packed everything into the truck and took it back to the office. Then we unloaded the truck and brought all the equipment back into the office.

 

Daily Total Hours: 10.83 Hours

Reactions: 

I think that the most beneficial parts of my first week of my internship was going to the two shoots and seeing how a real professional video shoot is done and what all the steps are that they take to set it up. I think they were excited about what I have done this week, I was told a few times that I was doing a good job including after the shoot the Lincoln Financial!

Weekly Total Hours: 41.57 Hours

 

Total Hours to Date: 41.57 Hours

Internship Journal Introduction

As a part of my internship this semester, I have to keep a journal of what I do each day, what I have learned and what I find the most beneficial. This has to be posted online for the rest of the interns to see as well as emailed to my faulty advisor but,  I decided that I would also post these blog posts. I have learned a lot at my internship already in my first 3 weeks and want to share it with all of you!

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