Sunday, 30 September 2012

Stills from Spiritwo 'Dive down' promo

Spiritwo 'Dive Down' shoot 01
Singer Yael Claire

A few weeks ago I helped my friend Claire and her band Spiritwo with their latest promo.  It's for their song 'Dive down' which you can play off their website.  I've been a bit busy lately with actual work (i.e. stuff I get paid for) so I was originally only going to do some effects work in After Effects for this project.

As it happened I was free on the two days of the shoot, so I took my Canon 60D along and ended up doing the lighting, some of the stop-motion animation and production stills.

I'll probably post something about the effects and animation work later as we haven't gotten very far yet.  The big downside to doing things on the cheap/free is that everything takes forever since people are busy with their own work.

But the lighting was interesting.  It's been a few years since I've lit anything, and I certainly haven't done anything this complex before.  I've been reading up on lighting for photography lately, and can recommend Light, Science and Magic as an excellent, if perhaps somewhat technical book on the subject.

You can see a selection of my stills on flickr:

Spiritwo 'Dive Down' shoot 07
Charlie on guitar.
We had a big 5' (150cm) 1000w softbox which provided the main light when the band was performing the song.  If you look at the stills this is the key light for all of them, except of the drummer Matt who was too far away.  We had a set built with hair hanging down everywhere - can't say I know exactly the reason for this, but it seems to be a bit of a theme with Spiritwo.

Anyway, the softbox is 1-2m away from the performers, and we had 2 Arri 300w lamps on either side to light up all the hair.  Plus a 2kw blonde at the back for the drum kit.  Unfortunately I don't have a wide picture of the whole setup.  I'll make sure to do that if I do this again.

Spiritwo 'Dive Down' shoot 02All the stills were taken with my Canon 85mm f/1.8, all at 400 ISO, 1/400 shutter and f/1.8.  I quickly found I had to shoot on manual, since any kind of automation gave widely varying exposures with all the extreme contrast on the set.  It was pretty tricky to get the focus right, often there was hair in the foreground which the camera kept focusing on, and depth of field very narrow with the aperture fully open.

The 85mm 1.8 has a tendency towards chromatic aberration especially when wide open, but in this case I didn't want to go over 400 ISO, and I needed a relatively fast shutter to try and freeze the action, since the band was moving around a lot.

Next weekend I'm shooting the cover for the album.  I've bought a couple of softboxes myself this week so it will be an interesting challenge!


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hello?  hello?  anyone there? ...   Oh well. 

So I now have a blog.  I don't know exactly how this blog will work out, or if anyone will ever find it, but the idea is to blog about stuff I'm working on, and perhaps comments on what's going on in the editing/animation world.

Something banged.  Big time.
In the beginning there was the Big Bang.  Actually maybe it wasn't. Physicists haven't quite worked out what happened at the Big Bang yet, and are even discussing options for what may or may not have been before.

13.72 billion years later in 1999 I left the Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College (yeah, they're really called that now) in Farnham, Surrey.


A bird. They all look the same to me.
My first job was with RGB Post (now defunct) largely making films for birdwatchers..  plus the odd online for Channel 4.   I started the day after handing in my final work at college, and it was a great learning experience, in particular for doing online editing.

I was a junior editor there for a few months over the summer, but then their senior editor (Justin Badger) left for adventures in America!  Or possibly to get married.  So I took over his job.  Ultimately RGB Post was a tiny company, and the good editing jobs were far and few in between.  Which meant more time spend on bird watching videos...

I went freelance by the end of the year.  I worked for a whole ton of companies, some of which I don't remember, and most of the rest no longer exist (including LITV, Frontierpost, Frontline Television, York Films and Bullseye Television)

I worked here. Then they went bust.
I started editing on Avid Media Composer version 4.6 if I remember correctly.  That's 4.6 in the old system before they reset back to 1.0 after getting up to version 10 or 11.  I'm still going strong on Avid, although I also worked on Final Cut Pro for quite a few years.  Now that Apple has decided to kill off FCP (Steve Jobs moves in mysterious ways, dead or alive)  I'm back to Avid full-time!  Never found FCP as good as Avid, but that may just be because I knew Avid so well before I started with FCP.

The last few years I've tried to move over into graphics and animation, and that's probably what I'll focus mostly on in this blog.  Although I still spend more time editing than doing animation.

Bit of fun animation I did over Xmas a few years ago with my nieces:

The Asthmatic Dragon from Jon Bagge on Vimeo.