Specialist Project – New Edit

specialist project

Another New Edit

After tutorial I looked again at the final edit and decided to create yet another edit for the final submission.

I dropped some more of the cutaways from the performance footage and added in more footage from the interview filming.

I also changed the sequence of the questions/answers again changing the grouping of the questions, which seemed to be more successful. I changed the start and final title sequence were and I also changed some of the camera motions, scaling etc to improve the flow.

I removed some of the sharpening effects I’d originally used to remove Gaussian blur, which defocused some of the video clips but I felt this added to the visual aesthetic. As I’ve mentioned in my earlier Blog entries sometimes it’s OK to shoot film out of focus.

On the whole the changes were minor over the previous edits but I am much happier with the final result.

Final Renderrings

I created 2 renderings of the final edit, one in full 1080p HD to run from a hard drive and the other in 720p for upload to YouTube. Even with my Macs SSD upgrade the 2 renderings and upload to YouTube took the best part of the day.

Specialist Project – Last Minute Changes

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Specialist Project – Nearly There

Demoed one of the new edits I had been working on over the last few days for Phil in today’s tutorial. This was the edit that I’d agreed to produce following Liam’s tutorial the previous week, which since even though I had done everything suggested I had already decided did not work well enough and Phil basically confirmed this.

Another New Edit

I’ve looked at the interview footage again and have decided to change the order and several of the transitional elements and remove/add B-roll video clips. I have also changed title lengths and the timing of some of the cuts losing a full minute from the documentary length, which now has a 4 minute run. For this unit I think the 4 minute edit works the best although I may for my own interest produce the full version of the interview which has a 10 minute runtime – but too be honest even I think this would be too long and people would lose interest unless the B-roll itself was extremely interesting.

Latest Edit

I’m almost totally happy with this edit but I do plan to produce another as I think a change in the order of the questions may work better. I especially think an order change at the start of the video would work better as an introduction, but I’m happy to keep the end as it is now as I think this works really well.

Ben is fully committed to the latest AUCB production ‘Cementville’ so it would have been impossible to ask him to record a introduction to the documentary. So instead I have re-jigged the beginning so that we now hear Bens voice while the opening titles are running, which I think works really well and negating the need for an introduction.

I still need to make some minor changes to the final edit sharpening some clips and blurring others for dramatic effects but basically I think the project has reached a successful conclusion and I’m almost ready to make the final video live on YouTube once it has finished rendering in Premier Pro CS5  and I can upload it.

Specialist Project – Blog Updates

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New Menu Settings

I’ve gone back through my Blog entries and added new categories so that it will be easier to find Blog entries which are Timeline or diary entries by creating a menu item for this category. I’ve done the same for those Blog entries which are Research related. I’ve done this basically to reduce the number of Blog entries loading but also to help identify which are Key Project posts and which are Timeline or Research Blog posts.

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Trailer Edit

I made a start on creating a Trailer for the production footage I’ve taken for Much Ado About Nothing. I began by researching the production itself online and using keynotes to put together some title cards to go between the video clips.

I put this on hold though as time is short and I decided I must prioritise the actual Specialist Project documentary and revisit this edit after the crit and most probably over the Christmas break.

Specialist Project – Researching Magic Lantern

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Magic Lantern – SD Cards

As I mentioned previously I used Manual Settings for my Canon 60D using Magic Lantern, a 3rd party firmware application that offers much greater control over the video settings.

I installed the firmware on 2 SD cards for this project – the following extract re. formatting cards is important as I made the mistake of formatting the cards and removing Magic Lantern. It is also important to wait until the operation has fully completed before ejecting the card otherwise it may cause your Camera to freeze. This happened to me and the only solution was to remove the Cameras Battery – not for the faint hearted as I thought the Camera had become bricked.

News: For those of you waiting for the Canon 7D version, I believe it’s in the development stage and is or will soon be available.

Extract from the developers website Accessed 10/11/2012


Always format the card from the camera

Since Magic Lantern runs from the card, you may be asking yourself: “what happens if I format it“?

Answer: Magic Lantern first reads all of its required files, including your custom configuration files, and then copies itself back onto the card!

We strongly recommend you to format the card before every important shooting session! This helps maintaining performance when recording files, and prevents the filesystem from becoming fragmented.

A lot of stability and performance issues reported by Magic Lantern users went away after they started to format their cards on a regular basis.

Formatting the card from the camera will make sure your file system is exactly as Canon software and Magic Lantern expect it to be.

Tip: to format the card and remove Magic Lantern, go to the Canon Menu / Format screen and press the shortcut key indicated in brackets, as in the screenshot – on most cameras it’s the [Q] button.

Specialist Project – Editorial Decisions

specialist project

3 edits done and counting

The reworked 1st Edit

After a tutorial with Liam I agreed to have another attempt at the edit with the music soundtrack to see if I could make the cuts/transitions flow better and to also look at creating edits that do not use the dance sequence for the transitions between the interview cuts.

Of the 2 edits I’ve since created I’ve decided to drop the dance sequence altogether and go with just the interview footage using the planned cutaways of closeups and hand movements for the transitions. I looked at using a number of effects but decided these would be inappropriate for this style of documentary and my research into documentary styles confirmed this. Such effects are considered unnecessary and indeed distracting in most documentary styles.

Final Edits

I now know what I am aiming for and its now just a case of putting it together and getting the quality of the final edit the best I can.

Specialist Project – Colour Grading

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Post Production – Another Full Edit

The first edits of the complete footage were Ok but I felt that the clips used for transitions did not work as well as planned and that the soundtrack, while perfect for the dance sequence did not fit the interview sequence. Therefore the full video had a sountrack that effectively jumped between +6Db and -32Db effectively On/Off between cuts.

On a positive note however I successfully created a colour balance preset for colour grading the interview clips. This visually appealing effect reduced the overall saturation and also reduced the negative effects from the blown out regions of the video created by the mirrors and the numerous bulbs.

I also decided to drop some of the interview questions firstly as I felt they added little to the overall result and secondly by dropping these the overall length of the documentary was reduced down to just over 5 minutes.

Specialist Project – First Full Edit

specialist project

Editing the first full edit

With all the planned filming completed I began editing together the footage taken from Ben’s interview and the Technical Rehearsals of Much Ado About Nothing.

The original plan was to use the footage from the dance sequence from Much Ado and use this as transitions between the video clips of Ben’s answers to my questions. After rendering though and reviewing the result I decided it just was not going to work as planned in pre-production, I even tried changing the cutaways to Black & White and while some clips benefited from this change the dance sequence did not.

I would have to think again and try some more editing ideas but this would be for another day.

Specialist Project – The Rushes (Technical Rehearsals)

specialist project

Rough Edit – Technical Rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing by the AUCB

I had a look through and made a very rough edit from the video taken of the Technical Rehearsals.

I planned to capture the complete dance sequence to use in the documentary but also to capture as much as the first act in case I need or see anything interesting to use as B-roll. I also plan at some point to use this video to create a short trailer and I have requests from the actors who would like to use some of the footage in their personal showreels, which I am happy to do.

I am pleasantly pleased by much of the video footage taken on the night as I expected light levels to be too low particularly for some of my Zoom lenses, which have F4 to F5.6 maximum apertures. The 50mm F1.8 worked extremely well in the low light but of course this would have limited all my footage to mid shots had I only used this lens.

Health & Safety

On a personal note it became really uncomfortable to stand/sit behind the camera for an hour or so following the movement on stage. I’m not sure exactly what the problem was or a what the solution maybe except possibly have another person filming so that a break could be taken? The camera was Tripod mounted and I was using my camera with its swivel screen, so it may have been the effect of concentrating on the subject and inadvertently assuming a bad posture behind the camera?

So if you have a bad back or you want to avoid having a bad back/stiff shoulders take a break in filming.


Specialist Project – Viewing the rushes

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Viewing the Rushes

Had a quick look through the video captured from the interview shoot.

On the whole the quality was good and the shot list covered in full. I would have to discard some of the footage though as the run time on the rough edited footage ran for over 10 minutes, twice what I had planned for the entire documentary.

With this in mind I made notes of the best video clips discarding those that had issues with sound and those questions that in retrospect did not appear to work or add anything useful to the subject of the documentary.

Specialist Project – Technical Rehearsals

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Filming the Technical Rehearsals

Filming the Technical Rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing in the Studio Theatre on 24th October from 7:00pm until 11:00pm.

I plan to use my Canon 60D and the Kit lens 18mm to 55mm as this would give the greatest options for filming based on my tests when filming the dance rehearsals last week. I’m also taking my other lens with the idea of using them for cutaway shots – closeups and wide shots to compliment the key footage.

My tests previously proved that the cameras own built in microphone would probably be sufficient but just in case I have a Videomic with me.

Specialist Project – Interview Filming

specialist project

Specialist Project – Filming the Interview

Received permission to film in the Studio Theatre from 5:00pm in the evening. We had to work around the Technicians who were finalsing their lighting setup for the performance but we would have almost uninterrupted use of the Dressing Rooms for filming.

The process went well albeit with a few interruptions from noise which meant some retakes but on the whole a good evenings filming.

Problems Encountered included:-

Limited Space to work which meant positioning the camera proved problematic, I wanted the camera close to the subject but out of shot. By this I mean not visible in the mirrors. The occasional noise from the Studio Theatre. A variety of light sources a mixture of tungsten and non daylight corrected florescent, which meant I had to create a custom white balance and in post production  I expect some colour balance/grading would be required.


Email confirming the use of the Dressing Room and the arrangements to film the Tech Rehearsals

Hi Doug

That’s great on this evenings filming, I hope to get it all done tonight but it’s nice to know there’s Tuesday available just in case we need it.
I will be coming to Wednesday evenings rehearsals to film key parts/dance scene, is this a technical rehearsal with actors in costume, music and lighting? and will I be able set up my camera on Stage Right and also film from the Galleries as before?

Specialist Project – Dance Rehearsals

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First day filming in the Studio Theatre

Setup my camera in the Studio Theatre to capture the dance rehearsals while the cast work with the choreographer.

The main aim of this filming session was to scout the location and get some idea of the movement of the cast within the Studio for the dance sequence so that I could plan my approach for filming the Technical Rehearsals which are scheduled for the 24th of October between the hours of 7:00pm and 11:00pm that evening.

What worked – what didn’t

I felt the location would work well as I had permission to film from the stalls and gallery areas so I could get low and high shots of the performance. I also immediately realised that I would have to priorities what scenes I would shoot as the limitation of one camera just meant I wouldn’t be able to be in two places at the same time. Also when filming a live performance I would not be able to guarantee to get all the shots I wanted as the studio was setup in the round which means that I would have actors delivering lines but with their backs to me.

I tried the iPad again but this time using a special rig to hold the camera which allowed me to mount it onto a tripod.

The footage from these test were much more successful this time around mainly due to the lighting changes from flourescent to tungsten and natural daylight coming through the windows.



Specialist Project – Filming Dates

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I emailed Doug to obtain permission to film the cast rehearsing in the Universities Studio Theatre from Monday 15th October.

I heard back by email that it would be OK to film the rehearsals within the guidelines we had agreed, in that I could setup and film in the studio but probably not in the dressing rooms as they would be in use continuously throughout the coming weeks leading up to the opening of the performance.


My email to Doug

Hi Doug

I hope the rehearsals are going well. As you mentioned on Monday will you be continuing with these rehearsals in the studio theatre next week?

If so will it still be OK for me to come along and film, I’m particularly interested in filming the dance sequence both in rehearsal and in a dress rehearsal if that is possible.

I plan to be as unobtrusive as possible and I’m therefore happy to setup some distance away and use a long lens to film, although I would like to film some closeups if that were possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Specialist Project – 1st meeting and video tests

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1st meeting and videoing with the iPhone and iPad

Monday 8th October, I arranged to meet up with Doug Cockle, a very busy man to outline some of my ideas for the documentary.

BA Acting rehearse off campus in the Boys Brigade Halls in WInton, I met Doug there and discuss in detail what my plans were for the project and confirm in principle that these would not disrupt rehearsals. The meeting progressed well and Doug gave me his agreement on condition taht I stuck to the guidlines we agreed so as to limit any disruption to rehearsals.

While I was there I took the opportunity to do some filming, to experiment and test some of my ideas for capturing the video using the iPhone, iPad as the main camera.

I had no real success with using the iPhone or iPad as the venues lighting was 100% Fluorescent, which effected the video causing it to flicker – conflicting with the frame rate of these devices?. On this basis I decided the safe move was to stick with using my Canon 60D as the main camera and maybe use the iPad occasionally or as a backup when situations allow it.

I made some rough edits on the day and passed these onto Doug just so he could see where I might be going with this project and how it fit in with the production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

iPad Video Sequence

I’ve added a special iPad camera video filter to disguise the flickering

It turned out to be a very useful day and I found myself considering other directions in which to take the documentary, for example filming a technical rehearsals featuring Ben and then conducting the interveiw either just before he went on stage in full makeup and costume or interview him after the performance while the makeup was removed.

Specialist Project – Contact Made

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Emailed Doug Cockle

Today emailed Doug Cockle BA Acting Course Leader with a basic outline of my Specialist Project details and what I plan to film with 3rd BA Acting student Ben O’Shea.

This is the first step in the project and without Doug’s agreement the project would be basically dead in the water.


The Email

Hi Doug

I’m a final year student on the Digital Media Production course.

Ben has asked me to email you re. a film project I have discussed with him which will be a major part of my final year extended project and hopefully something he can use as a show-reel.

What I have envisaged is  producing a documentary very much in the same style of the Film/Production of Billy Elliot. The documentary will involve following some of Ben’s final year as a performer, videoing rehearsals maybe some tech rehearsals and of course excerpts from performances.

Although Ben is planned to be the central character I would welcome the involvement of any others who would like to be part of this documentary.

Finally the documentary is fully intended to be my final year project but I’m more than happy to let others use it in any marketing or indeed allow the Uni to use it for their purposes should they wish to do so.

If you would like me to meet with you to discuss this further please let me know.