- My BA Blog

Ian F. Hunt

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EMP – Post Production Video Editing (Choices)

post production video editing

http://youtu.be/0oU7C6MNDG8&w=560&h=315

One of my favourite video edits for this project and why?

Why is this Cycling video one of my favourite edits? There are many reasons but taken collectively this edit combines the hard work of filming on location in the difficult position of not having little if any control over the participants.Velodrome Track Cyclist I therefore had to position myself to get the shot rather than position the participants to be in front of the camera. I was also faced with the problem of there being too few participants to actually film and in many cases there would be just one cyclist on screen at any time.

Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got

At the time I doubted that I would end up with anything that would be interesting as the cyclists passed me in single file as they moved around the Velodrome, sometimes with 20 to 40 seconds between each rider or circuit, time enough to turn the camera off between shots. I had no choice but to work with what I had and produced the best edits I could from the footage, which even I knew was just not that exciting. To prove my theory I put these video edits up for critique and sure enough the feedback was not positive. A change of music and a switch to Black and White visuals just did not get over the problem of just how boring it is to watch 6 cyclists riding in single file around a track.

Post Production Video Editing – being Creative?

Creativity born out of necessity! I guess my thought processes were ‘How can I make just 6 cyclists appear to fill the screen’ and the answer came to me. I would layer the footage to double or even triple the number of cyclists on screen. Initially I tried matching the movements of the riders so that they were all going in the same direction and then I discovered that by crossing the riders over each other the lines on the track created an interesting pattern on screen, from this I went back and changed the layered video tracks to include more of this crossing over. Blending, the option I would normally have chosen would have been ‘screen or overlay’ but it was such a dull day filming that I felt colour was required so I opted for ‘Vivid Light’. Now when the riders cross over each other you see a burst of colour.

Taking creativity to the next level

Although the new video was a good improvement on the original video edits I decided to see if I could take this idea forward and add a new element to the final design. I’ve always had an interest in Montage and then I thought of one my favourite films ‘Grand Prix 1966, John Frankenheimer’ with the Montage visuals created by Saul Bass, the story is not as important as the visuals but there are parallels with my video. For example, it’s shot on a race track with cars circling in single file except when overtaking. The directors solution was to use Montage to show more cars on screen and to use a layering effect to show cars at different points on the track appear to be side by side and even crossing these visuals over to great effect. I’ve researched the internet for an example and although there’s no example of this effect on YouTube or anywhere else for that matter, but there is the Movie Tralier for the film, which shows some of the Saul Bass montage effects being used.

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=5RILdsjeL_4&w=560&h=315]

I’d already experimented with this technique on previous projects but without much success as the subjects I had to work with at the time did not fit with this technique, but maybe this one would.

The Montage video how it was done

First of all this is a Triptych design I chose this as the videos I was using had height but little width as they were mainly of single cyclists on a track. I didn’t want to rescale the videos to fit the frame so I switched to After Effects to use it’s Masking features to mask out the unwanted video. The first stage was to design the frame for the Triptych which is easy enough using a ‘Solid Object’ and adjust scale and positioning this on screen to create 3 equal sections.

Then it was time to decide on the footage to use and positioning. Another one of those creative ideas came to me when I decided to use the footage taken using the GoPro as the central video for the entire edit. My thoughts on this were that this would provide a continuous image throughout the video linking each piece together for the entire duration of the video. I decided to start the video from the point when the cyclist repositions himself to the middle of the track to follow the rider fitted with the GoPro camera. So the image start on the left of the screen and move to the centre in the opening few seconds and then remains there for the video. As I mentioned I did this using masks and keying in the movement as the video moves from the left to the centre. For the other videos I used the same technique sometimes adjusting the mask over 2 sections of the screen. Some of the footage was already colour graded but the GoPro footage was still in its raw state. I’ve been working with toning on my Photography work recently and decided to use this technique for the GoPro footage by adjusting the lows, mids and high tones to match green, brown and orange.

The footage of the single rider storming around the track at high speed I just had to use for the start and end of the video, I love the very low angle from which it is taken and the fixed focus, which seems to offer clarity yet the rider appears to appear in the distance unfocused  and approach at high speed. This blurring effect along with a change in the duration settings adds to the effect of the riders speed.

I then ditched all the music I had lined up for this project and went back onto the internet to find others, an exhaustive task requiring hours of listening to unsuitable music to find a single track that would work.

Time to stop adding

The video is just 1 minute long, which I would normally have decided is not long enough. I wanted to see more of this cycling action on screen, but I decided not to add more footage – leave them wanting more.

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EMP – Girls Track Cycling Training Event

track cycling

Track Cycling Training Video – Final Edit

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=A7L30gNNzsk&w=560&h=315]

Another opportunity to film track cycling training at the Bournemouth Velodrome, this event was organised by the Free Your Fitness Project specifically to introduce girls to track cycling.

My brief was to film the event itself as much as the cyclists using the track as the organisers expected a large attendance of both cyclists their friends and family. Unfortunately the weather was not at its best, which meant only six riders attended and were in fact outnumbered by the organisation staff on the day. I therefore had to change tactics and concentrate much more on the coaching and the cyclists as they ride around the track.

For the majority of the filming I used my Canon 60D attached to the spider camera rig, capturing the footage hand held, which works really well when filming actions and sports sequences as it allows you to follow the movement much easier than using a tripod.

I made use of the GoPro again but this time with not the same level of success. I suspect the bikes being used on the day were more effected by the tracks surface or the riders lesser weight had some effect as the footage was much less steady and therefore mainly unusable due to the vibrations.

I created several edits from the days footage and asked my peers to provide feedback, much of which was negative to quote ‘boring’ ‘music too slow’ and so on. I then remembered how I had used overlaying video tracks as an experiment for the specialist project. Although I was at the time not convinced by using this technique I thought it would have greater appeal when used for this video as it would create the idea that more cyclist were on the track at any time than there actually was. I did this by layering up the video tracks and getting the riders to appear to be racing ghosts or having riders cross over each other making the screen more busy. In many ways like the old film Grand Prix which used this and a montage effect to great effect. I particularly like the colours created by my choice of blending options, normally I would have used the Normal option but Vivid Light worked better to bring out the crossing over colours of the tracks and the colours in the riders clothes. I was tempted to over grade the final sequence but instead settled for an adjustment using curves to just bring out the colours a little more to get over the greyness of the day with the Sun hidden by thick cloud.

The response to this edit was much more favourable particularly after changing the music as well to tie in with the new editing approach.

On the whole I agree now with my peers that this is a much better edit than my earlier efforts which struggled to get over the problem of having so few riders at the event with the knock-on effect of having the riders riding around the track in single file each taking over 20 seconds to pass in front of the camera.

Photographs of the cyclists and the support team

While at the venue I took the opportunity to take several photographs as I’d noticed that I hadn’t done this one previous occasions only for people to request photos of the training sessions or screen grabs from the videos for their use in presentations and advertising/marketing.

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EMP – Sports Filming Golf

sports filming

Sports Filming – Golf

Myself and Aleksandra are in a good position now with several Sports activities filmed and short edits created and uploaded to the YouTube Channel, which has now been officially renamed as ‘Sport Edge Video Productions’. But this was most definitely not the case just a few short weeks ago with every Sport activity we had scheduled to film either being cancelled because of lack of participants or permissions not granted to film even though we had been assured they had been.vlc-00044th

Filming Sport is something we’ve not really covered specifically at University and so this has become a learning process, developing techniques and creative ideas for shots as we film. The filming techniques and processes that we have developed over the years at University have definitely prepared us for this type of work. Although the usual in depth pre-production processes that we go through to create short films and documentaries, that is scripts, storyboarding and shots lists do not really work for this type of project. We managed to put together some ideas of the sort of shots we wanted to capture based on Sports coverage from the London Olympics 2012 and some recent research gained from on-line videos. Essentially though it’s a case of trying to identify key images and being in the right place to capture the action as it happens.

As we have progressed it has become easier, our recent filming experience helps us to decide where to position ourselves to film and indeed we have begun to take greater control of the sequences that we capture by directing the action. We are now in the position to say that we have learnt how to direct live action sequences, quite a good thing to be able to put on your CV.

Filming – Most recent first

[youtube youtube.com/watch?v=EimtF-RIW_E&h=315&w=560]

Golf – Filming

The most recent planned filming session was Golf instruction at the Iford Golf Center in Christchurch. The Golf professionals were on hand to give instruction to a large group of Bournemouth University students who were being taught at the driving range the basics of addressing the ball and driving using a 6 iron.Golf

Being a lapsed golfer myself I had a good idea of what to expect and so I already had several ideas of what I wanted to film and what I didn’t. What I wanted was close-ups of the ball being hit and mid-shots of the students swinging the club. The camera rig has become my essential tool for these projects and it was this, which I turned to again, using it for the majority of the shots. For health and safety reasons as much as for creative reasons I used my 50mm to 250mm zoom lens for the close up shots, this way I could get close to the action without putting myself in a position where I could be hit by a club or a randomly directed ball.Canon 60D Camera Rig

Over the weeks I’ve come to realise that in order to get good sports shots you need to get the camera position as low as possible, aesthetically the footage obtained is more pleasing and appears to have the benefit of being able to position the viewer more into the action.  Why does this have this effect? Personally I think by getting the camera low we add to the sportsman’s significance on the screen, they appear to dominate the screen and therefore focus the viewer’s attention on them and the action, for example the impact of club on ball.

With the close-ups completed I turned to the mid shots and for this I reverted back to the faithful 50mm prime lens. I’ve mentioned before how good this lens is the quality of image is excellent. I encountered no real difficulties getting these shots but I also realised they were not that interesting so I didn’t spend too much time on these, capturing just a few minutes of footage from a number of positions and of different students. Remembering the principle that people like to see themselves on screen and so these people would therefore be potential subscribers to the YouTube Channel and sharing the videos via Social Networking.

Golf – Editing the footage

I went in a totally different direction with what I had originally intended to do for this edit. I noticed when using Time Remapping to produce a slow motion sequence that the sound of the club hitting the ball changed in pitch and became almost musical in tone. From this I had the idea to create a sound driven edit in effect a music video. To get the sounds I changed the duration of each clip and added several cuts together until I had a 40 second video of sounds to which I added a base music soundtrack. I then colour graded the video footage to balance out the jarring visual changes caused by the rapidly changing short edits and the changes in exposure to the visuals by first de-saturating and then by adding a sepia tint.

I’m quite pleased by the outcome of this edit and the response it gets, which have generally been positive and one of surprise as this is not the sort of video people generally expect from me.

Problems and solutions

Apart from the obvious Health and Safety issues by filming in a location with people swinging steel golf clubs and the odd errant ball there were not too many problems for this sessions filming. However without the Zoom lenses getting the shots would have not been possible as would not having the camera rig. We could have got the low level shots hand held but not with the stability of having the camera securely mounted. For example a tripod would not have been as successful in this application, although we had tripods with us, as they do not go down to the low levels required.

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