Filming and editing the Soundbox opening video!

I thought I'd give you an insight into the production of my latest video release; the Soundbox studio opening!

The event took place before the summer, and I took along Sam to help me out with the gear and eat delicious cupcakes! We arrived with about an hour prior to the opening so I could capture some of the establishing shots and BTS of the final touches to the studio.

I had my standard video setup with me:

5D mkIII, Tamron 24-70, Sigma 70-200, Samyang 14, 35, 85.

Zoom H6, Roto-mic.

I also used the new Manfrotto Spectra LED lights, the bi-colour model is fantastic for a kick of soft light that can be easily controlled to daylight and tungsten colour temperature.

For the grip I had my trusty Manfrotto 755CX-3 and MVH-500AH as it is lightweight and easily maneuverable around small spaces, as well as the Manfrotto 681B monopod and MH054 ball head, Edelkrone slider plus and flycam nano.

Construction and tidying up was still under way when we arrived, so I captured some of the nerves and excitement leading up to the big launch. For the establishing shots I used the Edelkrone slider on the Manfrotto tripod, combined with the 14mm cine lens it gives a great moving perspective and shows off the space very well.

Natural light conditions

It was quite dark in the studio, so I struggled with aperture vs exposure and often shot very shallow to retain light. The beauty of the 35mm and 85mm cine lenses is that at T/1.5 they are extremely sharp and great for low light, however without image stabilization a tripod is recommended. I always have my 'go to' lenses on hand as they have good IS and are zoom, so for more run and gun style shooting it suits it much better than needing the time to set up and compose a shot.


The monopod became more useful when the eager visitors began arriving, and after a short and sweet speech, Matt and Jack opened Soundbox to the public!


I captured the buzz and excitement of the event, you could feel the anticipation in the air to see the hard work all finished! I worked with the 5D on the monopod and tripod for most of the time, and occasionally used the Flycam Nano for some moving shots through the studio. I did have to balance the camera and lens when I arrived, as it was set up for a different body when I last used it..

One important skill that I've learned is to become invisible to the guests at the event, or if that tactic doesn't work, being a photographer is a good one too! Acting professional and friendly keeps your subjects in a relaxed and candid manor, rather than adjusting their clothes, posing or avoiding the camera all together. If your subject can feel your good aura, they should respond positively :)


The lead artist of Soundbox is Rebecca James, who was there to perform and support the launch of the studio too! She belted out some great numbers, accompanied by a group of ace musicians on bass, electric guitar and percussion. The track in the background of the video is Rebecca's new one, and will be on her upcoming EP!

rebecca james

Slow mo

As you've probably noticed, I shot a large majority of the event in 50fps (slow motion).. This was purely a creative decision on the day, and also a chance to work in a different format presents it's own set of challenges to overcome.

Now, on the 5D mkIII it will record 1080p 25fps and 720p 50fps. When recording in 50fps the picture appears much softer, and a little darker too due to the shutter speed reduction. In an already darkly lit location, either shooting shallow or with a high ISO were my options as I don't like using a light on camera.

You can push the 5D mkIII very far with it's ISO in video mode, and I often shoot at ISO 2000 and above in certain circumstances.


Shooting with the Manfrotto gear made me discreet in my filming approach, and provided me with perfect grip and stability for capturing the video. I could rest easy also knowing I stored by camera gear in the Pro Backpack50, so if anything happened to it; kicked dropped, moved, liquid spillage.. My gear is safe.


Backing up the footage happened pretty much immediately after the shoot, onto both drives in my work station and a couple of EHD's. Then, in Premiere Pro I imported the footage, and split up the 25p and 50p into separate sequences so the slow mo footage can be slowed down to the right playback rate.

After cutting down the rushes to the best content, I imported the audio track which Matt from the studio sent over. It's Rebecca James' new track '1000 Roses', which will be on her new EP. To add to the rhythm and pace of the edit, I used the beat and some surprising cuts with the track, and adding in the slow mo shots of Rebecca's performance and the band playing looked good I thought!


Anyways, I added an S curve to an adjustment layer over the whole of the sequence, which limited the black level at 16 and the white at 235. This added a neutrality and a different look I was eager to try out.


So, what are your thoughts? Got any questions about the production? Hope you enjoyed this post!


Thinking of making the jump to 4K?

You are in the same boat as me.. Having bought my 5D mkIII last December, there was no accessible 4K option until the Panasonic GH4 made its appearance in the Spring. I was devastated. Having invested heavily in Canon gear, any future move I make will need to fit with my current EF mount lenses, not to mention everything else such as batteries, memory cards and my overall production workflow.


(EOS HD comparison between the cameras).

At the moment, there are two options on the table. Said to be like comparing apples and oranges, the Sony A7s and GH4 are the current competing professional cameras that offer 4K functionality, however for people that own the cameras and have been comparing the two have found it difficult. This is for a few reasons:

Sensor size: The A7s is full frame, the GH4 is MFT.

4K in camera: The GH4 can record 4K internally, the A7s requires an external recorder such as an Odyssey or Shogun.

Philip Bloom using the Q7, from: http://philipbloom.net/2014/07/19/magician/

Jeromy, CEO of Atomos talking to me and Sam from The IABM about new products and the IBC Show.

Now, many people will be arguing that what does the increased resolution allow you to do, that HD doesn't? The image produced from the 5D is great; good in low light, versatile, fits my style of filming... But it also has big downfalls for being a DSLR, and not a video camera.

Something that is unique about these two cameras is that their 'out of the box' functionality has been fine tuned for video applications, as well as high end photography. This is what Canon has left behind in their non Cinema line cameras, and Magic Lantern has struck gold on with their firmware hack enabling awesome video functions.

I have only recently installed ML on my 5D mkIII due to the current firmware on the camera. It was shipped with version 1.2.3, I was hesitant to downgrade the firmware and was patient in waiting for ML to develop a tested and working version for 1.2.3. Now having access to on screen aid such as waveform monitors and audio levels make such a difference, and restart movie for the longer filming durations is great. It turns your 'photography' camera into basically a video camera.

From: About DSLR (Youtube).

For my type of videography, the benefits of having not only 4K, but a wider range of options for recording will allow me to crop and downscale any 4K acquisition to HD and hold incredible picture detail, dynamic range and depth of field.

The recording bit rates are higher, meaning more data is stored for post production editing, compositing or grading.

Lastly, it should increase the production value of what I produce. Now, I am not stating that better equipment makes better videos. It does give you the opportunity to step up with what you can do in your work, and especially as it keeps you up to date in a world of ever changing and improving technology.

So, what is my investment cost?

This is dependent on your current shooting kit, and whether you can merge your current system with a new one. Perhaps you already shoot Sony or Panny, so you're in luck.

For me, all my lenses are Canon EF mount, some are electronic, others are manual, so an adapter would be needed in my case. The price of this is dependent on the glass you use, or are going to use.

Let's look at the Panasonic GH4 to start with.

Panasonic GH4 (body only) - £1296.00

Metabones Speedbooster EF to MFT (smart with electronics) - £468.00

GH4 batteries x 2 -£130

Transcend 600x ultimate SD card x 2 (Amazon price) - £36

Now, as the GH4 is MFT, I might purchase a wide angle lens because my current ultra wide angle 14mm T/3.1 would be almost 28mm T/6 due to the sensor equivalence. So, my options would be either:

Panasonic 12 - 35mm F/2.8 - £829.00

I did have the Samyang 12mm T/2, realizing it does not come in MFT mount.. So the above would be my option. I have used it before, it has great OIS and has a decent depth of field for an F/5.6 equivalent lens.

Total GH4 investment inc extra lens - £2759.00 (excluding extra lens - £1930.00)

That £1930 was pretty much the same price I paid for the 5D mkIII body only.

Panasonic GH4 basket

Now the Sony A7s.

Sony A7s (body and battery/PWR kit) - £2034.00

Metabones Speedbooster EF to E (smart with electronics) - £316.46

Transcend 600x ultimate SD card x 2 (Amazon price) - £36

The A7s does not record 4K internally, so I would need to purchase the Atomos Shogun recorder at - £1464.00

Also, as the A7s is compact in size, a cage is required to make it more accessible with the recorder and mics etc.

Movcam A7s cage - £148.02

Total A7s investment - £3998.48

(All prices are including VAT from CVP).

Sony A7s basket
Adam using the Panasonic GH4

Now.. I've shot on the Panasonic GH4 and I like it. When I've talked to Panasonic reps about the product they all had the same comment that Panasonic listened to videographers, and you can tell. The available recording formats and codecs allow a range of uses for the camera, and the features it packs into its tiny form are perfect for those that already utilize DSLR for video.

(Look back to earlier this year to the Park Camera's Panasonic open day - https://ajp1991.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/meet-the-panasonic-gh4/)

Personally, and this is very subjective to the way I was filming when using the camera, the captured video looked like video. Some will understand what I mean, others won't, but for those that have been shooting on a full frame camera, the 'look' is there. Obviously the sensor plays a large part in that, but if I purchased a GH4 kit outright (disregarding my current EF mount lenses).. I would purchase the Voightlander 25mm and the trusted Samyang cine lenses which might just combat the 'look' issue I feel like I have. As well as high quality ND filters so my shutter can remain at 1/50th.

Really quick GH4 test:

Trying out the 4K, and again a basic test:

(Please if you have experience, tips, footage or photos that you would like to share, please do!)

What am I going to do then?

My dad taught me something really great; good things come to those who wait. In other words, have patience.

As others test out, review and produce videos using the GH4 and A7s (and other cameras that pop up here and there), I will be closer to making my decision. For now, I know to hold off. A good thing for me to do would be to road test both cameras, work it with all of it's video functions and produce a couple of vids that I can look back on. The folks at Park Camera's are great at in store demos, but I can also wait for BVE in Feb 2015.

So, I can frustratingly wait a little longer for my jump to the next innovation of video production and delivery.

In the mean time I can always look at Blackmagic Design's options that shoot 4K, as well as the Apertus AXIOM modular camera, and keep the new Arri Alexa 65 and RED Dragon for my dreams.


From - https://www.apertus.org/