Expo South East
Watch this space for the Expo highlights film!
As a local business, I visited the expo for the day, shot a load of lovely video and networked away. The list of exhibitors featured in the film will be posted here for you guys too.
Watch this space for the Expo highlights film!
As a local business, I visited the expo for the day, shot a load of lovely video and networked away. The list of exhibitors featured in the film will be posted here for you guys too.
Evening all! It's been a long summer, made even longer by fantastic work with friends and brilliant clients. My last post 'Filming with the JVC GY-LS300..' has actually been in the works for months, but I didn't see fit to release it without a couple of the accompanying videos. As well as completing productions for Screen Systems, I also worked with NewsShooter.com to produce the coverage and blogs over IBC 2015. It was great to work with Dan, Elliot, Matt and the others from the NewsShooter team, more on IBC in another post.
On returning from IBC, I met up with Dan and we played around with some old 'budget' manual lenses with the LS300 and got some interesting results. Many of the lenses were purchased for £5 or at least under £10, giving it the budget aspect. The LS300 is also somewhat of a budget option for a video camera, but with the eagerly anticipated J-LOG gamma curve firmware update, much more visual quality and dynamic range can be captured. Together, that makes the 'budget lens challenge', in which you purchase a cheap lens, and make a short vid with it on a budget setup!
Can you do the 'Budget Lens Challenge'? Send over your results and #budgetlens on twitter to @plowman91 and @theNewsshooter!
Coming up, I am working on part 3 and 4 of the JVC GY-LS300 camera review which will include using J-LOG; filming and grading with it, as well as including the budget lenses I've acquired as part of the budget lens challenge!
Thanks to Manfrotto and WTS Broadcast for your support.
I first met the LS300 at BVE 2015 in London where I went to the soft launch of JVC's 4K flagship video camera. There I met with Mike and John from JVC Pro UK who gave me of the walk through of the prototype they had on show.
Since then the camera has intrigued me as a production camera for filming and video. On paper it has similar specifications to the Canon C300 mk II and FS7, but only working with it would determine whether it weighs in as a contender. Time was rather tight for actually filming with the camera itself, so I timed it right for a music gig and extra time away from the desk to get out and shoot some material.
The wonderful guys at WTS Broadcast helped me out with the camera as I was looking to test it out and they had one in stock. I've got a great relationship with Alex at WTS and after a long conversation back and forth I was tempted to finally use the camera for filming, so I loaned one out for a gig and test shoot.
Coincidentally, James from LogoLogo (Brighton) was up in London for an appointment, and keen to meet up after getting to know each other at Shadows and Light, this was the perfect opportunity to talk tech and film together at the Fleetmac Wood gig I had lined up for us at Birthdays in Dalston. We met up at WTS Media HQ in Fitzrovia where I introduced James to Duncan, and caught up over a drink overlooking the busyness of Oxford Street. It's awesome to meet up with a new friend, there are always so many stories to share.
We made our way to Dalston on the hot and sticky underground. Luckily I had no backpack as I'd packed all the kit (including the LS300) into the Manfrotto Roller Bag 70. It is a well padded case, and with varying foam dividers I simply constructed the bag sections before leaving home to accommodate the JVC camera, top handle, microphone, for example. It's an awesome bag for (definitely more than) two reasons - transportation and diversity. Transportation in which I can comfortably travel with the bag, and diversity in which I can securely store both photography lenses and pro production cameras.
The Manfrotto Roller Bag 70 also accompanied on my recent trip to Hollywood, and on both occasions it was perfect for the job. When I arrived at WTS Media I simply rearranged the dividers to accommodate the larger LS300 and its accessories. Flexibility is definitely at the heart of this bag.
In the restaurant across the road I got the camera set up and ready to film with, attaching the Metabones EF-MFT lens adapter and the Sigma 35mm T/1.5 lens. On arrival at the venue (Birthdays), I discovered that the settings are not easy to navigate; it takes a silly amount of time to locate the essential settings such as changing the video resolution, codec and format. Not very functional for run and gun or quick shooting work especially when you like switching between real-time and slow-mo, or using the VSM feature.
Because of the MFT mount and sensor size, it's possible to use EF-S or APS-C lenses with this camera, and also Micro Four Thirds (when you use VSM). I have the Tamron 17-50mm VC that I use on the 60D which is an ideal wide angle lens, however I chose to use the 24-70 (full frame) instead, which made the camera + lens combo extremely front heavy. However even with a smaller lens, the build of the camera itself seems somewhat plastic-like and unbalanced. I'd expect if the camera was rigged out with a shoulder pad, V-lock battery and recorder it would be much more balanced, but the camera isn't constructed for this, or at least it didn't feel like it.
Note: If you are using native MFT lenses directly to the camera mount, the combo is much smaller and lighter. Of course, you will have to use the VSM to crop in on the sensor to around 80% for the correct sensor coverage.
Honestly, I was rather disappointed with the quality of the flip out LCD screen and back eyepiece. I guess I've been spoiled with the A7S' viewfinder which is fantastic in quality and contrast. The LS300's didn't stack up, and I often found myself needing to use the eyepiece instead of the screen to judge the focus and exposure. What became difficult was finding the critical focus in contrasty situations. I could have used the digital zoom (expanded focus), but didn't know it existed.
Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time in between eating and the gig to sus the camera out apart from checking the resolution, setting the white balance, setting pre-rec run etc. As we were filming a DJ gig I didn't want to have the camera (I was borrowing) out for long in case it got damaged or covered in booze.
Filming Fleetmac Wood was fantastic, Lisa and Alex are brilliant DJ's and their tambourines definitely lit up the dance floor. The added visuals from old music videos added to the eclectic experience, combined with mixes from many talented producers made the night one to remember.
As you would imagine, the venue was dark, only lit by a couple of LED lights and the projector. Almost immediately I ruled out using the LS300 after capturing a couple of shots of the venue and booth, in what the camera seemed to think was candle light. In these scenarios, I don't believe the camera would hold up unless you had the time, space and equipment for a lighting setup. Sure, you could shoot at T/1.5 but you'll get nothing in focus if you're filming crowds dancing, plus with the gain up to +12dB your picture becomes noisy.
James took some brilliant photos and videos of the night, some of which are below in the gallery and also included in the Fleetmac Wood @ Birthdays film.
While filming the Fleetmac Wood gig I did switch lenses a couple of times, firstly to the Samyang 35mm T/1.5 which although was heavy, had a wonderful bokeh and combined with the super 35 sensor made for great video. I also teamed it up with the Atomos Shogun (in HD) rather than 4K via SDI, which captured the video in ProRes HQ.
By my reckoning, you'll need to spec up this camera with additional extras to make it what you want to be. Out of the box it comes with all you would need to start (minus the SD cards and microphone and some spare batteries), but you'll need a tripod or monopod to keep it steady, especially if you're using primes of lenses without image stabilization/vibration control.
Saying that, if you weren't filming a music gig in low light you would have a lot more options and time to compose the frame... I come on to that in a moment.
I've cut all of the footage together for this edit which includes filming from the A7S, LS300, A7S with the Shogun in 25p and 50p, LS300 with the Shogun in 25p (HD), and footage from James Beer (LogoLogo) on the A7S in 50p and 100p.
Photography by James Beer @ LogoLogo
I had the LS300 loaned out for a week to put it through its paces, filming in a number of different scenarios. I shot quite a number of clips out in my garden just to get a feel for the camera and figure out it's settings. Of course, Alfie the cat was a willing subject!
From testing out the VSM feature, I can't see a big degredation in light or quality when you change the sensor scan mode from 100% down to 80% for MFT lenses, however I was using great quality lenses (Tamron and Samyang) rather than MFT lenses which have a smaller in-lens depth of field, so there is more light coming through the lens for the sensor to capture.
The built in ND filters are a god-send, and a very welcome adittion to a camera that would be used with large-aperture lenses. If you wish to shoot at T/1.5 for a very shallow look, using 1/64 ND in the bright daylight is probably your only option. Saying that, unlike using ND filters in front of the lens, there isn't a noticable colour cast of image degredation like with other filters. However, more ND stops please!! Going from 1/4 to 1/16 to 1/64 are big jumps, and in some cases, 1/64 was not enough!
While out and about filming in Ewell, I simply had the LS300 with the JVC50 battery, 1 SD card and the Tamron 24-70 on a Manfrotto 755CX-3 tripod. For run and gunning, despite the build of the camera it works extremely well for this kind of filming.
Unlike the FS7 and Canon Cinema cameras, the LS300 doesn't have any log capabilities for a wider dynamic range, which was expected as JVC marketed this camera for higher-end productions. It would be interesting to see how well the camera performs with a log curve and higher bitrate recording for filming that needs it. From filming with the 'standard' colour setting and 'detail' knocked all the way down the image is rather pleasing, much better than I expected. I guess the viewfinder/eyepiece gave me lesser expectations of what the captured image would look like, so I was pleasnatly suprised to see the results.
However, like mentioned before, the viewfinder/eyepiece is not the best quality and without using the 'focus extender' function, it was difficult to achieve critical focus. Some of this is evident in one of the demo films I've produced with the camera. I also noticed that the form factor of the camera doesn't allow you to get a nice, steady shot like a shoulder mount camera would where you have numerous contact points on your body. With a top-mounted eyepiece it doesn't feel natural to hold the camera in front of your chest (for hand held or monopod filming), and is not steady, even with IS or vibration control.
Despite other things, the battery life is a winner, on one battery (JVC50) giving you over 200 minutes of filming time. I took the camera out to a local business networking night put on by What's On In My Town and Hobbledown, as I am joining forces with them to promote local business and talent it was a perfect opportunity to capture some of the event and talk to other companies about how films can help them.
It was a wonderful summer evening at Hobbledown children's farm, kindly the hosts for the networking, with attendees getting a full tour of the venue and a go on the new high ropes activity! David the manager and his team were fantastic and played great hosts with the BBQ.
With this beautiful golden hour of filming, the LS300 really shone as a camera. Yes, I probably shot at F/3.2 with ND 1/16 because I wanted a shallow depth of field, but ND 1/4 at F/8 was too bright. I was pulling focus all the time during the piece to camera from Whats On MD, Paul. I also found that as he walked from the shadows into highlights, he would become over exposed, so high contrast filming wouldn't be practical (unless you had some control over lighting) with this camera.
Revisiting this post about a week on from my last entry..
It was really rather easy to work with the footage from the LS300, and knowing there is a focus expander gives me more confidence in it. However, as you will have seen from the footage in the film above I do focus creep due to not being certain using the LCD screen or eyepiece. Premiere handled the 4K footage very well, without having to render until I added some colour correction, scaling and graphics.
You'll also probably notice the shots where I attempted to go handheld, this is where the form factor of the camera somewhat let it down, but hey ho that's what a rig or tripod is for.
In the longer piece to camera with Paul, the image captured was lovely and had a pleasing depth of field to work with (not too shallow like the A7S, but not too deep like the GH4). Of course you can use any wide aperture lens with the camera if you wanted it to be bokelicious!
I'm surrounded by greenery where I live, so making the most of the great weather I headed out with the camera to capture some local landmarks (for another archiving/history project I'm working on). This would be a real high-contrast/dynamic range test for the camera.
When thinking about purchasing this camera, it boils down to what I can get for the price, especially in comparison to other internal 4K cameras (Panasonic GH4, Sony A7R II). They are smaller, both will require a lens adapter (as will the LS300) and new batteries, SD cards, rig, and are cheaper than the LS300 (without a microphone).
I've been away for a little while, so the review was put on hold until my return. On which I found out some interesting news from JVC, who have decided to upgrade the firmware of the LS-300 with new features..
Considering these new updates, the camera is now more capable of competing against higher level players, rather than the DSLR/mirrorless market. I'm due to test the camera out again in September, hopefully with the new firmware 2.0 to compare!
Finally, big thanks to WTS Broadcast for lending me the camera for a week to test it out. To Manfrotto for their Roller Bag 70 and 755Cx-3 tripod, and to Fleetmac Wood & Whats On In My Town for letting me film their events.
It's been a rather amazing few weeks for me here at APVideo. So here is the low down on what I did, what kit I used and what is coming up next!
Jump back to the beginning of June and I get a call from NewsShooter.com asking if I'm available to cover CineGear in Hollywood for them. With an empty space in the diary, I jumped on the chance to visit LA and begun the prep to cover the expo with video.
To familiarise myself with the exhibitors, I checked out the interactive map and visited the websites of companies of interests and viewed the latest press releases to get clued up on the news. (Always be prepared).
Manfrotto provided me with the fantastic Roller Bag 70 for my trip overseas, into which I moulded the foam inserts to protect the cameras and kit I'd be taking. Since it was a short trip, I only took the bare neccessities!!
Told you it was bare!
It was a couple of long flights over to LAX.. Some snaps from the journey on the A7S.
It was my first time flying to America, so I was keen to snap up as much as I can, and enjoy the Virgin Atlantic hospitality!
I highly recommend the Mondrian Hotel on West Sunset Blvd, it is bloody amazing. Rooftop restaurant and bar, amazing hotel views, and staff that feel like family!
The following morning I constructed the Movcam cage rig with the kit I brought, which compacted all of the filming kit into one tiny hand held rig which I could put on the Manfrotto 755Cx-3 tripod.
I got myself one of these handy little hot/cold shoe mounts for anything with a 1/4" screw hole; in this case I was using it with the Zoom H6 but it fits most accessories. If I were using the Atomos Shogun, I'd of used a magic arm (just for flexibility in adjusting the screen angle), but as I was monitoring the audio with headphones and checked the levels beforehand I didn't need to see the monitor per se. An alternate is to simply use a ball mount, but I find these sometimes don't lock down the position strongly enough (especially cheaper ones).
I got an UBER from the hotel to the studios, and after registering and waiting for the show to open, I made my way to the stages to begin filming! I had about 10 interviews to do on the first day to get a head start and the main content back to NewsShooter (who are a day ahead time wise).
Cool-Lux, Atomos, SLR Magic, Beeworks and a host of other manufacturers were on the list to capture. For the setup, I shot using PB's recommended video settings (cine-4 etc see previous blog post) with the Zoom H6 recording dual audio both on the stereo XY mic and via the Rode Lavalier which I clipped onto the interviewees.
The plan was to shoot the 10 interviews with plenty of B-roll and begin editing that night. It was a late one, staying up until 4am editing the first batch of videos. I got the SLR Magic one out that morning before my head hit the pillow.
4 hours later.
Up I was to complete the last of the edits in Premiere Pro. The videos follow the same format, so after opening the exported XML sequence from Pluraleyes I could simply drop in the titles and credits, the lower 3rd and QC the video before exporting.
The show opened later that day, so I made my way down that afternoon. The Manfrotto tripod I was using was perfect for this kind of filming. Being mobile and having a small footprint is a real issue when covering events, and you should try and stay as small and quick on your feet as possible.
That evening it was recovery time from the lack of sleep and jet lag carrying over from the previous night, but while I was putting my feet up watching Jurassic Park in the hotel I had Premiere whizzing away with the new footage I had shot that day.
Because of the format, replication of sequences was rather fast. Using Premiere means no rendering time and instant playback, so I spent little to no time waiting around as I queued up the finalized sequences into Media Encoder, and batch exported while I was editing together the next sequence. Keeping check on the white balance and varying exposure of indoor and outdoor shooting meant no colour correction was needed in the edit, which also sped up the production process, I could get the news from the show quicker out to NewsShooter!
The beauty of shooting on the A7S was that I could shoot at F/11 and beyond outside due to the wonderful Hollywood weather, but inside if I needed extra light I could punch up the ISO to 2400-6000 with no real visual difference (unless you want to pixel peep).
The Rode Lavalier is a real workhorse for me. Before leaving I set it up with the small wind jammer and the Micon-5 XLR adapter so it would plug comfortably into the H6. For an inexpensive microphone it does a fantastic job of capturing the subject and cancelling out the background noise, which at an expo is quite loud in some cases.
In case you need advice on SD cards, I use the Transcend Ultimate 600x 64Gb U3 cards (purply pink label) as they are XAVC and S-log compatible.. Not that I have shot using the S-log yet.
Just as quickly as I arrived, it was time for me to depart. I got an UBER to LAX where I picked up a couple of snacks to munch on while I edited the remaining videos to be exported when I got back home.
I returned home after a stop over in Las Vegas for probably about 20 minutes. So no gambling or anything like that as it was a quick transfer. So quick in fact that I needed to run to the gate (again, thanks to Delta, grr).
A fun filled 12 hour flight across the states and Canada, across the ocean and back into England was compiled of all 3 Hobbit films (as I was yet to watch them), followed by a hilarious comedy film called 'What We Do In The Shadows' by the same guys that made 'Flight Of The Concords'.
Overall it was a brilliant working trip to Paramount to cover CineGear 2015 for NewsShooter, and a wonderful experience visiting the US too. I look forward to working again with NewsShooter at future events!
It's been a very busy week here at APVideo, as I was covering the CineGear 2015 expo at Paramount Pictures (LA) for NewsShooter.com! It was a fantastic show, and great to catch up with the likes of ARRI, SLRMagic, Atomos, Litepanels and many more. Check out the 'Showcase' page for a couple of the videos..
All of the interviews/video features are available to watch here at NewsShooter.com!
I've also been out working with Jonathan, who I met at the Shadows and Light workshop a few months back at the WHSmith Travel conference at the Sofitel. We were doing the complete AV production including PA and camera setup, next day edit and so forth. It was awesome working with Jonathan and there's no doubt we'll be teaming up again soon!
I'm now taking a break to recover from non-stop working, in the mean time I will be looking at selling umptuous amounts of Lilliput monitors and camera rigs, so watch this space for more!
I've researched the latest statistics from Cisco and other sources, combined with my own experience for these new infographics. The results are fantastic as it shows:
If you would like more info about how film and rich media can benefit your business, products, events then just get in touch!
A couple of photos from a walk around Ranmore Common (near Dorking) in Surrey on the A7S. I'm no photographer so it is interesting getting used to the features and workings of the camera, in comparison to the 5D mark III which I've been using for a few years. I also shot some slow mo (50p) video in camera at 1080 so I'm sure I'll do something with it at some point!
By the way, if you can get out to a wooded area, please do as the bluebells are looking fantastic right now, and won't be around for long!!
I used the Metabones EF-E mk IV and Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8, but as most of the shots were landscape and with the super wonderfully large sensor of the A7S I shot between F/5.6 and F/14 while keeping the ISO low.
I never usually rely on Auto White Balance, setting a custom colour temperature for the lighting and subjects, so it was interesting to see that the camera shifts slightly to the cooler side in the shadows (presuming a darker scene perhaps) even if the natural sunlight is bright and warm. Please correct me if I'm doing something wrong here!
I've finally had a chance to whip up some of the testimonials I've received from past clients, it's always great to read what an impact your work has made!
I was 'cadam' (caddie Adam) for a round of golf at Horton Golf Club with Sam, Matt, Louis and Glen. I took some photos on my iPhone of the guys on the first tee in burst mode as I didn't want to take the A7S. Tried the cinemagraph look but is much more like a GIF!
Stills from today's lunch at Epsom's new chilled hotspot, the Caballo Lounge!
I took the A7S with me, using the Metabones EF-E mkIV and Tamron 24-70 F/2.8.
I love the atmosphere, very relaxed and was playing Fleetwood Mac when I walked in so this place got my vote straight away! The exterior and interior of the new lounge has a classic feel to it, there was a bookswap (I'll be using regularly) too!
The 'Hero' burger certainly lived up to its name, with Chorizo, mature Cheddar and chillies. It needed some sauce, and with the Spanish theme some Aioli would be lovely, or spicy chipotle maybe? Definitely more skin-on fries please, although they were stunning!
Topping it all of was the brilliant staff who were friendly and keen to make you feel welcome. There is no doubt I'll be visiting again soon, hopefully when the weather is better so I can get out to the rooftop terrace :)
I am still testing out the many brilliant features and benefits of the 4K combo I now have, one biggie was being able to grade the footage much more than what you're able to with internal camera recording.
I headed out to a local country park to catch some of the spring bluebells flowering, as well as to try out the dynamic range of the 4K Prores HQ footage and really push it in the grade.
A couple of photos while I was out and about, lovely day!
I took the Manfrotto 755CX-3 tripod with me as it is brilliantly lightweight, and despite the center column it can get pretty low to the ground for shots needing some perspective.
Still no Movcam cage yet, so I'm pretty nervous about having the Shogun on a ball mount, on the hot shoe, I did take care when moving around and took out the HDMI cable just in case.
I had 3 lenses with me, the Tamron 24-70, Sigma 70-200 and Canon 100mm L as I wanted to have a simple setup, one Manfrotto bag, essential kit, batteries etc.
After watching Philip Bloom's talk hosted by B&H a few months back, I set the camera settings to what he advised and went from there. Using PP7 for S-log increases the native ISO to 3200, so is not practical for bright scenes without ND filters, so here are my settings.
PP6 (allows ISO 200, practical for bright shoots) - Black Level 0, Gamma Cine 4, Color mode S-gamut, Saturation 0, Detail -7.
It was a bright sunny day and the Shogun was the perfect tool for the job. It's screen is very clear, unlike cheaper monitors which don't have a high contrast ratio or use LCD screens. Exposing for the highlights, I used the in-built Waveform monitor to gague exposure as well as the 2:1 crop in for getting critical focus - definitely needed for the wide landscape and macro shots.
You will not be surprised to see the HUGE file size of recording 4K in Prores HQ, averaging at about 2GB for 20 seconds.
I did find this out while I was trying out the different outputs and recording formats.. For the PAL region the A7S has THREE HDMI output settings -
- 1080 50p, 1080 50i, 4K 25p.
The Shogun will not record 25p footage from the camera when the HDMI output is set to 1080 50p, but you can record 1080 50p slow motion on the Shogun. Remember to set the A7S' recording format to 50p/50, instead of 25p for normal speed filming.
The Shogun will only record 1080 25p footage from the camera when the HDMI output is set to 1080 50i, with a 2:2 frame drop set. Remember to set the A7S' recording format to 25p/50.
You must set the '4K HDMI' setting in the A7S to output the 4K signal, and record in 4K 25p on the Shogun.
As part of the new 4K workflow, I am using Davinci Resolve Lite (FREE) for the colour grading process, but as this is a short video I tried out it's NLE which worked great. Similar look and feel to FCPX, but it gives you the ability to change edit points, manipulate scale, track and much more. It even has a keyer!
First Image - Editing interface, Second Image - Adjusting saturation in Color interface, Third Image - High contrast image BEFORE correction/grade, Fourth Image - High contrast image AFTER correction/grade, Fifth Image - Delivery interface.
Here is the ungraded version, with footage captured on the Shogun.
Here is a work-in-progress edit that is down-ressed to 1080 to upload it to Vimeo, the Youtube version in 4K (remember to change the resolution to 2160) is below!
I look forward to hearing your comments on the videos I've put up!
Nino just posted this brilliant article on Cinema5D following Philip Bloom's A7S workshop and B&H, focusing on key settings to properly set up the camera for video! Definitely worth a read, thanks for the share.
A selection of stills from the Sony A7S of my little vegetables growing in the greenhouse, Sam's new car, some flowers (Orchids and Carnations) in the house and olives from The Queen Adelaide!
Sony A7S, PP6, taken on Canon 100mm F/2.8L and Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 with a range of settings.
Hello all! Great news comes from APV in the form of the latest revolution in cinematography; capturing and delivering video and media content in 4K (3840x2160p) or Ultra High Definition using the Sony A7S camera and Atomos Shogun recorder.
Seeing the release of both the Sony A7S and Atomos Shogun at industry events, I was so keen to get my hands on this kit. Unlike DSLR's the A7S is mirrorless which means it's body is around 1/3 the size of the Canon 5D mkIII, it has incredible light sensitivity, the features to film in both slow-motion and using the S-Log gamma curve make it an ideal production camera in a tiny body.
I first saw the Shogun outside of an expo at the Shadows and Light workshop, a friend was showing me some footage he shot the evening before on the setup in 4K. He showed me the captured footage, and then applied the LUT in the Shogun to show what the result would be after grading.. I was blown away. Both as a monitor and a recorder, the Shogun excels at capturing HD and 4K video and audio with in-built monitors such as waveform and vectorscope, peaking, zebras, as well as recording in a range of formats at a much higher bit-rate than in camera recording - 220Mbit/s HD and 440Mbit/s 4K (I think) which is perfect for grading and video-focused productions to filmmaking.
I invested into Canon EF equipment a couple of years back as the 5D mkIII was to best option for large sensor filming, so instead of spending out on native Sony E mount lenses I purchased both the Metabones EF-E mount mk IV and the Commlite EF-E mount to use my current lenses.
Also knowing that the batteries for the A7S (FW-50) are much smaller in capacity than the LP-E6 Canon batteries, I ordered another 4 Sony's with the camera and two from Amazon with another charger (EX-Pro). Inevitably, all of the accessories came before the camera did.. So I eagerly charged and labelled up the kit and get it ready for the camera to arrive!
The camera came last week and not having any new toys for a while I was keen to play around and check out the cameras features straight away! Glen came over as the camera arrived, so he became my willing subject. I hooked up the Tamron 24-70 to the Metabones which worked fine and shot some handheld video, as the lenses vibration control was active. I also have an eyecup for the little viewfinder for another point of contact, to reduce the shake if I need to hand-hold for some shots.
As I was waiting for numerous deliveries to arrive (including the Shogun), I was housebound for a while so I made do with the plants in the garden and my cat for things to film. Here's some of the first footage captured -
The best friend has bought a swanky new Audi, so he took me for a spin! I was still getting used to the photo mode and controls, it was past 8pm with the sun only just set so the ISO was wacked up reasonably high.
Because the cable for connecting the A7S to the Shogun hadn't arrived yet (from Atomos) I went searching around Epsom with no avail for a micro HDMI to HDMI cable. I ordered one off Amazon for evening delivery, which came while I took the photos of Sams new car!
I was overly happy with the recorded images that I captured in the mean time with the Shogun hooked up to the 5D mk III. I decided to record them in ProRes HQ to see how far I could push the footage in colour correction, post and grading. It worked fantastically, so much in fact that I'm deeply considering teaming the 5D mk III with another Atomos recorder for the same reasons as above.
I finally got my hands on a micro HDMI cable to road test the 4K HDMI output from the A7S to the Shogun, and just as I began to film, Alfie the cat decided he wanted to join in! I don't remember the picture profile, but it was shot with a pretty wide aperture on the Tamron 24-70. I also tried out the down-ressing method that I'll be using for 4K filming but delivering in HD, so I edited the 4K sequence twice, one in native 4K resolution and the other in a 1080p sequence with some clips scaled down or cropped. NOTE - please change the resolution to the highest possible for the best results!
Let me know what you think!
I also shot some Picture Profile tests to compare the colours, DR, contrast and noise, this is to come later!
I began the pre-production of the Screen animations at the beginning of the year, developing a house style and recognized visual aesthetic that can be followed for future productions, this became the identity and format of the animations. Getting pencil on paper is my favourite way of developing ideas, especially for a graphics-based production. It allows you to clearly visualize ideas, inspiration and lay out the beginning, middle and end of the story.
The assets were all created in Illustrator or After Effects (using the Shape Layer tools), in 4K. I chose to offer this resolution because it would allow the Screen Systems marketing team to re-purpose the animation for print and digital media as well as future proofing for years to come.
After the assets and basic storyline was set, I blocked out the animation with voice over ideas to determine the duration and visual content - motion infographics must be entertaining and eye-catching, but must also convey the branding and professionalism of the client. An animation that is too long will bore viewers, so I capped the duration at 1:45.
I kept the marketing team up to date with progress and idea updates as well as a number of drafts through Vimeo, and after a number of months of production the animation was completed just before the NAB deadline. Screen are over the moon with the results, and so am I!
Screen will be displaying the animation on their stand at NAB Show 2015, in its native 4K resolution! Check out the animation here, and read the feedback/testimonial below.
Dean Wales (PR and Marketing, Screen Subtitling Systems) gives his fantastic feedback -
"Fresh, keen, knowledgeable, assertive, great to work with and incredibly talented. They're attributes you don't find together too often these days in one person but Adam has them all. Having met Adam at IBC when he filmed a colleague of mine, we knew he'd be the guy to produce our corporate, animated video. He grasped the brief instantly and completely understood our company, its values, our brand and indeed the industry within which we operate. And as for the video? Well the results are amazing. So much so we've commissioned him to produce individual product presentation animations for us. Thanks Adam."
I arrived for the brand new 'Shadows and Light' two day filmmaking workshop on Sunday evening, excited to hone in on skills and meet new friends. The drive was smooth, only an hour from Surrey down to Brighton where I was greeted by lovely staff and great room at the Umi (on the seafront).
I dumped my stuff and met my good friend and VFX/Director mastermind HaZ before heading to the pre-drinks to meet everyone. Informal drinks like this are perfect for networking, so remember business cards!!
I met Olly, the 'behind the scenes' filmmaker for the night and the first day and got chatting as he was using a 5D mkIII like me. I also caught up with Nino, and met the wonderful organizer of the event, Fraser, who did a great job of running the event, keeping everything in check.
HaZ and I also chatted to Ollie Kenchington about production for grading and many other things, another great person to meet!!
I also met Yusuf at the pre-drinks when talking about shooting on the A7S, and on returning to the hotel I met Giordano Borghi, an Italian wedding filmmaker who I really enjoyed chatting to over a whisky on the rocks.
Day one was hosted at 'Dukes at Komedia' theatre in Brighton town, great venue with comfortable seats for recovery from the late night.. I was enthralled by Vincent Laforets presentation about motion, in which I got grilled by Vincent in front of the professionals and attendees over my 'Seasons Are Changing' video. He commented it was beautifully shot, but the long takes with unmotivated movement would make the audience somewhat bored. It was fantastic feedback from him, despite the public screening!!
After a break, HaZ presented his talk about VFX in low budget film making, and also considering and directing it in your films. As always HaZ is just a fantastic chap and screened the whole SYNC film, which I was the 1st AC on (shot in Southend), and features one of my shots on the jib!
It was then I met James, who is incorporating film into his company. He's a fantastic dude, and it was great to meet him and chat more throughout the day. I look forward to collaborating in the future :)
Another talk that got me thinking was 'Colour Grading' by Olly Kenchington, who got in deep with shadows and light, and colour theory, and how to produce such grades in Resolve with ease, as well as enhancing the shots/scenes from OK to GREAT!
Day 1 ended with Philip Bloom's talk, followed by the party! Well done to the raffle winners, great prizes donated from the events sponsors; Miller, Rode, Adobe and more.
Day 2 comprised of intense group workshops covering many areas of filmmaking. We were divided into groups which was great for networking with new people attending, and headed to Philip Bloom's workshop on using gimbals (like the MoVI) for filming motion. We got hands on with a range of equipment to see what it's like to operate/walk around using an M5 with a Sony A7S.
Next on to James Miller's 'Lens Whacking' workshop, very hands on with old manual lenses out in the street. I met one of the models, Ruby, and had a great time filming her while trying to get the hang of 'whacking' the lens for 'ethereal' looking light leaks and almost 'tilt-shift' esque focusing.
Luckilly for us, the sun was beaming through the clouds which was perfect for trying to get some leaks in the frame. We stopped for lunch, then continued on to Vincent's workshop.. The BEST of the day!
Vincent talked through a number of movies with a moving camera, breaking down the scene to show how the narrative flows and is complemented by moving the camera, and the characters in frame. We then got hands on blocking out a small scene, which was fantastic to see to get to grips with working as a director when moving the camera.
Lastly was my good mate, Nino, who was talking about filming interviews and using motion control to add interest to otherwise uninspiring corporates. Using a bright window, we set up an interview scene with LED lights and the Kessler second shooter device to move the camera on the pocket dolly. This added much needed life to an otherwise 'standard' two camera shoot.
I had an awesome time, and was happy to give a piece to camera about my thoughts on the workshop. Over the two days I learned an incredible amount that I can directly apply to my work to make films that are more engaging and that have motivated movement! I made loads of new friends too, both from the UK and internationally. For networking and collaboration, there was no better place to be.
Taking up the chance to learn more about filmmaking from industry pro's, I'm attending the first 'Shadows and Light' event with Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner, Vincent Laforet and my friend HaZ Dulull who I worked with on SYNC.
It's a two day event full of learning and hands on workshops, I'm really looking forward to it!
Keep updated on my twitter @Plowman91!
Tomorrow APV is filming at The Hospital Club for the IABM. We're holding a technical discussion and debate on a number of industry topics. I'll have much more to come tomorrow!
The setup will be similar to the previous IABM panel video, but without the Lastolite Panoramic background. As always I have the Manfrotto Pro Light 35 packed with two camera bodies, essential lenses, batteries, memory and audio gear, as well as 3 1x1 bi-colour LED lights and pro stands.
I'll be trying out the old Soligor Pentax K mount 35-140mm F/3.5 macro on the 60D, as it does not register with the 5D. I may have to remove the chip.. I'll have some detail shots of it tomorrow.
Audio wise, we'll be using the Zoom H6 for recording multi-track audio from the 4 Sony and Rode lavalier microphones, as well as other on camera mics.
Way back in November, myself and Dick Hobbs began the pre-production of a new training video covering the behind the scenes of a television studio for the IABM. Unfortunately for me, it was difficult to pin down a location that close to Christmas and New Year with access to studios, galleries and other areas. Dick luckily got the go ahead for filming at the Corrie studios mid-way through BVE, so prep quickly began after.
My trusty crew was Glen, who operated the AutoScript for our presenter Georgie, and John Harris on audio (from JHWF). Dick made sure we were all in check with the script while I lugged around the camera and prompter :)
As there were three of us travelling up to Manchester on the Monday night, I chose to drive from Surrey, which was pretty straightforward, just a heck of a long journey to make at the end of the day. We arrived after a couple of toilet and coffee stops at 9:30, dropped the gear and headed to the table Georgie and Dick had. Beer was served and all was well!
As Dick and myself had planned the shoot well, I selected just the right amount of equipment needed. We were on a restricted budget so I opted to stick with my camera and audio setup rather than hire in a camera. We also borrowed an AutoScript from Vitec, to relay the rather technically heavy (at some points) script to our brilliant presenter.
The equipment list (rather sparing for this shoot!):
Canon 5D mk III
Sigma 70-200mm F/2.8 OS
Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 VC
Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC
Canon 50mm F/1.8
Zoom H6 audio recorder
Rode Lavalier microphone
Sennheiser ENG-G3 wireless RxTx for lav mic
All of camera and audio kit fitted into the AWESOME Manfrotto Pro Light 35 Backpack: I use the top compartment for the audio gear and accessories, the main sections for camera storage, and the back compartment for my laptop. It's a very comfortable carry regardless of the weight, and if I was walking/traveling for a longer time I just strapped on the waist support to take the weight off my shoulders. The front pockets are especially handy for grabbing memory card wallets and batteries quickly, as that is the most common thing I go to my bag for! Glen wheeled the prompter station around on it's pelicase, there was no way all of that could have fitted in! I did check the other day for AutoScript on tablets, which would be a much more viable solution for me.
In the MF bag for the big tripod I also brought a set of rails (just in case we needed them for the prompter) and the hydrostatic arm with the super clamp attached. You never know when they will come in handy, and when we were there I spotted one on the set!
For anyone working at MediaCity needing to spend the night somewhere, the Holiday Inn right in the center is perfect. From above the first floor is the dock10 studios, offices and editing HQ, but you would have no idea it was there when you reach the 8th - 15th floor for your room. Plushly furnished, executive desk/workspace and a wonderful bathroom. One of the best I've been in!!
We had a talk about the shoot ahead, as it would be hit and miss on the locations we were aiming to film in due to working around the current productions at Corrie (4 different crews filming that day), we needed to make the most of our available time. After a short walk across the quay, opposite Old Trafford stands the new Coronation Street and ITV Studios.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with coffee, then a guided tour of the facility to get to grips with our new location for the next two days. It was quite nerve-racking for me being a tiny video producer in the shadow of ITV, but I was also in awe of the scale and technology that has been used to make Coronation Street such an iconic television program.
We began the filming in what I now know as the 'Windas' flat, capturing some GV and B-roll of the system cameras, microphone booms, lighting setups and the set itself, clips that would be used throughout the video.
I also shot some more material in the Rovers interior set, which has a new LED lighting rig, in comparison to the other tungsten lit sets. It was impressive being in there, and was much smaller in reality, but we pulled up a chair at one of the booths and started recording the voice overs as the prompter hadn't arrived for the shoot yet!
After recording all of the VO, we headed to the lot of the cobbled streets where a scene was being filmed as we overlooked and walked through! I shot some more cutaways of the street and crew in action on the 5D and 70-200. We had a fantastic guide who gave us many technical secrets into the new production facility, it was fantastic!!
The AutoScript had arrived!!! We quickly got set to putting it together, however John, Glen and myself had no experience in putting one together, so to the internet it was! A few minutes later we had the prompter up and running, the camera set, working lights on, microphone levels set and were ready to roll.
As you can see, the normally small 5D and 70-200 filming combo goes out the window when using a prompter. Very front heavy!
Our filming took us all around the studios including Roy's Rolls and the Rovers, showing how a drama program is produced. Our access also allowed us into the production galleries, editing and grading suites for more 'piece to camera' filming as well as capturing plenty of GV showing the equipment in action.
We wrapped up day 1 late that evening which allowed us to capture most of the content for the video: we shot scenes 1 through to 7, great progress and took the pressure off day 2 as we didn't know what access we would have.
When we got back to the hotel, the importing and backing up began. I like to play the 'guess the gigabyte' game, simply guessing the total file size of the captured material. Although we were working loads throughout the day, I think the day 1 total was around 60Gb all in all. I backed up onto 3 drives that night just in case.
We started a little later to recover from the long day before, enjoyed a big breakfast, plenty of coffee and headed over to the studios with our suitcases as it was our last day. We had access to the edit and grading suites in the morning, where I shot plenty of B roll just in case, as it turned out we wouldn't get access to the finishing or dubbing suites so this came in handy.
As Corrie filming had finished on the street, we quickly went out to shoot the final 'conclusion' scene of the training video outside the Rovers and on the cobbles. The prompter required a power supply, so we de-rigged it for this scene, I used the 5D and 70-200 only for these shots. Most of the time I shot at around F/11-16 as it was rather bright outside, but it also keeps some of the background visible instead of blowing it out with bokeh.
The machine room was a challenge due to the heavy air conditioning for the racks and racks of networking, storage and server equipment to keep it cool. Not particularly for the vision, but John did a great job of operating the H6 and monitoring the audio with so much background noise. The gun mic was out of the question, so we captured solely using the Rode Lavalier mic, which worked well for this environment.
As a back up I also captured plenty of B roll, and John captures a voice over from Georgie of the machine room scene just in case the native sound was too distracting. Luckilly, the Rode lavalier coped well!!
I had access to the working production galleries as scenes were being recorded under Tony Warren, Coronation Streets award winning director. It was amazing to watch him and his team work! I'm not allowed to talk about what I saw being captured though :)
That was the last filming stop at Corrie before we departed, saying a massive thank you to our guide and staff at the facility who were so welcoming and helpful. It was a breezy walk back to the Holiday Inn, as I thought I had lost my car keys, before the very long drive home!
The team did a fantastic job over the intense two day shoot, it was Glen's first job operating a prompter and although it was a challenge putting it together he quickly picked up the operation. For me, it was awesome seeing the technology behind a drama serial that captures its programs like live television. Being a completely new facility, the studios had brand new vision mixers, racks, lighting and sound control which was fascinating to see and learn more about.
Highlights/reel of the Coronation Street video shoot coming soon!