Video/TV Production for almost 30 years!

Posts tagged “scenic

Focusing on…Nature Photography!

I’ve been shooting more and more stills with my DSLR  Canon 7D lately.  It started with getting Lightroom and Photoshop leased for $10 a month.  I really needed Photoshop for the Charles Steinmetz documentary I was editing to clean up all the old archive photos.  Once I had the programs, I started watching online tutorials (can never stop learning) and was intrigued by what these two programs could do.  I never shot much in the RAW format, I found the files too big and the workflow too cumbersome, but with the new software, the image possibilities were to enticing not to give it a try!  What RAW does is basically record on your CF card the exact data that is hitting your cameras sensor.  This allows you to change almost any setting after the fact!  You can adjust color balance, exposure, sharpness, bring back detail in the white parts, pull up detail in the shadows etc…  It basically allows near complete tweak-ability  after you get back from shooting.

 

In the past you had to expose for the highlights and let the rest go into darkness, or expose for the shadow areas and the highlights would get blown out, but now you can get both to be properly exposed by shooting in RAW and tweaking in Lightroom and Photoshop after the fact.  Is it “cheating”?  I guess in a way…however it allows me to present the image closer to how I saw it in the filed, which before was always a compromise.  Some times I do “paint” the image up with some added highlights and shadow areas to give it interest that werent really like that in the original scene, but to me it’s almost a blend between painting with paints and photography.  It’s an artistic interpretation that is opening up a whole new level of “fun” for me!  Here are a few examples:  Click on them for larger views!

 

 

Boquet Pano 2 Spring Boquet Pano Spring Smaller Meecham Outlet 2 WM Meecham Outlet WM Split Rock Crop WM

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Their Last Days- A Canon C100 Nature Film

I love shooting fall scenics in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York!  This year was a great one for color. I was only able to get out a couple times, but when I did the light was fantastic. This was all shot with my Canon C100 and recorded to a NINJA 2 external recorder. I sell stock footage online at Shutterstock.com so having all the clips already in ProRes is worth the hassle of setting up the external recorder. It also helps give better image quality for very highly detailed shots or shots with lots of motion. These are the ones where the AVCHD codec runs out of bits.
Specifics: Shot using a picture profile I cooked up that is a combination of some I found online and tweaked to my liking. Mostly based on the Wide DR setting. Color turned up some and adjusted for more red and contrast increased some, (black level and gamma adjustments). Further post color correction was done to get the most out of each shot.
Lenses: Canon 24-105 F4, Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, and most shots were with my Tamron 18-270 super zoom! I love that lens and while it isnt as sharp as the Canon, it gets you an incredible range.

Thanks for watching!

 


Maryann & Andrew “Coming Soon” wedding preview (UPDATE-I’M NO LONGER DOING WEDDING VIDEOS)

I only shoot a couple weddings a year.  (UPDATE 1/1/15- I have decided to no longer do any wedding videos, they are just too much work as described below). With my regular work of corporate videos, TV shows, and commercials, I just don’t have the time to do too many of these.  Plus to be honest, they are probably the most stressful gigs to do!!  There is no second takes.  You can’t control the situation like with most shoots.  Its purely capturing the events that unfold the best you can.  And to do them to the level of what I like to work at, its downright exhausting!  Most times its a 12 plus hour day.  I shoot mostly with my new C100 camera.  But during the actual ceremony, I set up 3 other cameras, one that my wife runs, and two locked off shots.  This helps later when you edit to keep the shots cutting around to hold interest.  On top of that is the audio to worry about!  I use two wireless mics, one on the groom and one on the officiant.  The bride is usually close enough to either of those two that I can pick her up audio up from them.

 

I start shooting around 9am for most weddings, getting the bride getting hair and makeup done.  Then go over to the grooms location and get them getting ready, then back to brides place to get dress going on.  I also do interviews during these times to use through out the video.  I find you need some statements to give some kind of “story” and meaning to the finished video.  Once I get that all done, it’s off to set up the four cameras and audio at the event location.  I also try to get shots of people arriving, the nervousness of the groom etc…this is by far the most stressful time of the day!  The clock is ticking and it can be a challenge to set up everything where you need to, get the camera settings correct for each location, find groom and officiant to put wireless mics on them, test those mics to the camera and still get shots of folks arriving!  My wife is great and a big help at schlepping gear, but I need to do all the set ups because she doesn’t know much about cameras!

 

Once the ceremony is finished, I feel a bit relieved!  The receptions have moments you have to capture, but I only use two cameras for most of that stuff.  By the end of the night, I have over 80GB of camera footage to then sift through later on for the edit.  This equates to about 6-7 hours of footage for an eventual 25-30 minute final video!  Within two weeks, usually sooner, I edit one of these “Coming soon” preview trailers for the couple to show all their friends what the day was like.  They usually post it on their facebook page.  These little 3 minute videos can take up to 8 hours to edit!  The actual video takes closer to 40 hours to edit!  Now, you can begin to see why wedding videos can be expensive!  It’s not your Uncle Louie in the back of the event with his handycam, these are full broadcast quality HD movies that could run on TV!

 

Sometimes I think “Is it too much that I’m doing for these?”  “Do I REALLY need to be so fanatical about it all?” but in the long run, it’s a life event for the couple and it’s my job to make the video a treasured keepsake for them.  Even more then photos, the video has the ability to REALLY capture the day.  The sights, the locations, the sounds, the atmosphere, peoples voices…one bride lost her grandmother shortly after the video and said she was so thankful I got her talking on the video so she could always remember her voice!  It’s these little moments in a video that can truly make all the effort worthwhile!

 

Maryann and Andrew were a wonderful couple to work with!  So full of joy and passion that I knew right away this one would be special!  The rainy summer decided to take a day off and the actual wedding day was just glorious!  They picked the Whiteface Club and Resort in Lake Placid for their destination wedding (Andrews parents live there) and I can’t think of a prettier place to have an outdoor wedding.

 


Finally…a new camera!!

It’s been several years since I picked up a new camera.  My last one was the Canon 7D, a DSLR that shoots video.  It was all the craze about 3 years ago.  DSLRs gave nice soft, out of focus backgrounds, the cameras were small and the lenses were plentiful.  Along with those benefits were many “problems” that you had to deal with.  There was no audio on the camera, you had to record the sound separately for an interview and sync them up later in editing. Fine lines tended to “bead” or shimmer.  A nasty artifact called aliasing.  If you needed to shoot a brick building or a shingled roof from a distance, look out!  My 7D served me well, but I’ve been looking for another option for a while.  It seemed a new camera was being released every month if not sooner so I waited until I could find one to suit all my needs.

blog-canon-c100-main-back Canon_C100_fullside-670x439

The Canon C100 came out late last year and it fit almost every category of what I was looking for.  It doesn’t shoot 4k resolution, but that is far off before it becomes a standard and everything else is just right on!  I’ve only had it a few days but so far it is the hands down the best camera I have owed.  The low light shooting abilities is simply mind blowing.  It can capture images in such low light that you can barely make things out to the naked eye.  Not only capture them, as many cameras can get you an image, but this one does it without falling into major grain and noise.

We went on a short camping trip this past weekend.  It ended up raining for 3 straight days!  But it did give me a chance to try out the camera and all it’s settings.  I posted the clips in a short video below.  Notice all the interior shots were done with available light!  And the inside of that cabin was very dark.  I’m still learning about the settings but this footage is very promising and I especially love how tack sharp it is when you want it to be.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/67032306″>Let it Rain-A Canon EOS C100 test video</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user434753″>Paul Frederick</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Winterland: A DJI Phantom and GoPro Hero 3 film

A collection of Winter clips I’ve taken with the DJI Phantom Quadcopter and GoPro Hero 3 Black edition camera since I received it 2 months ago. It takes some effort to get footage this smooth but it IS possible! Start with balancing the props! Many videos online about how to do it and it makes a HUGE difference. I picked up an isolation mount for under the copter, this keeps alot of the vibration from reaching the camera. Then I got an ND filter holder and ND filter for the Hero, this removes the last bit of jello in the footage!
Finally, I post stabilize each clip in Final Cut Pro X. Since I shot the footage in 1080 60p, I conform it in the timeline to slow it down to 50% speed, but because it was shot at 60 fps, it looks silky smooth!
So not quick, but this will get you the results shown below!

Isolation mount was purchased from here:
tppacks.com

ND filter holder from here:
snakeriverprototyping.com/shop%20filters.html

 


Nature Weeps

I have relatives who live about 20 miles from Newtown, CT.  They have three children who are in elementary school, and when I heard there was shooting in CT at a school my heart stopped.  While I was glad they were OK I’m still sick to my stomach, as is most of America, at what happened.  I started putting this together a few days later.  It’s dedicated to all those we lost in Newtown, CT on December 14th, 2012. This video uses a haunting song written by Hans Zimmer called “Aurora” that he created for the victims of the shooting at a movie theater in Colorado this past summer.

When will it all end?

 


Quest for the Magic Light

It’s all about the light! Photography and videography are, by their very nature, dependent on light hitting the sensor of the camera. That light can be soft and muted or bold and vibrant. I found both kinds while out shooting this years autumn colors in Northern New York. It was a spectacular year (2012), with many bold reds mixed in among the yellow and orange hues. Most of these clips are again from the Adirondack Mountain region of far upstate New York.

While I think you can’t beat bright blue skies and sunshine for the best Autumn shooting, I did go out on some misty, rainy days and found the light to be quite spectacular as well, but just in a different sort of way.

I’ve included both in this video, which features the music of Tim McMorris (“Translation”). His work can be found on AudioJungle.net. I just recently learned of this site and find the licensing fees to be priced right and plan to use more from there in the near future.

FInally I used the Canon 7D and my Sony XDCAM EX1 for the cameras, and my cobracrane jib and Konova slider for the moves.