Adams video week roundup!

Blimey lots has been going on over the last week, I hope it has been as hectic for you as it has been for me!

Monday started with continuing the design of the graphics for a recycling animation, a daunting task which put my drawing skills to the test. Bearing in mind I’ve spent the majority of the last year behind a camera, I took my time to learn the techniques I would need to use Illustrator properly. I would usually use Photoshop over Illustrator, but until I recently found out PS is not truly vector, and as I would be using a combination of the Pen tool and others to design the images this was very important, as I would need to transform the graphics later in After Effects.

My best mate Glen came down from Wycombe for a  surprise week to, so I spent plenty of time catching up with him and chatting about work. He gave me so very important advice; “Everything is too complicated these days, you should keep it simple and your audience won’t know the difference, especially if it is moving and animated anyway.” True words, and I took Glens advice which not only sped up the process, but made me more confident with the work I was producing.

Here’s a screenshot to show all of them! (I think I am working on a 10K canvas).

screenshot graphics design drawing art 2d vector create illustrator

The graphics design has been on-going, I practiced when I was first commissioned, but it just shows how familiarizing yourself with the tools and applications can ease your work! A very very important part of this process was to intensively storyboard and plan each scene, so I know what graphics can be generated beforehand, so I spent a good couple of days story boarding and sketching the graphics I would need, followed by a long list of assets I would go on to to create.

Pre-vis sketches:

design plan planning graphics creation motion animation

For the rest of the week I started importing the graphics into After Effects, and setting up the 15 scenes. I am finally starting to see progress! I am still working on this section, and it will take another week or so to complete all the animations. Again, I storyboarded this in the planning, so I know exactly what to produce for which scene which saves so much time. Also, the best thing about this planning part is that it does not have to be a work of art to depict your ideas, just a simple sketch to represent what you will need to create.

graphic storyboard plan pre-production animation motion graphics

On Thursday I joined a crew of fashion designers, hair stylists and models to film a magazine photoshoot for Sherman Hawthorne (the hair stylist and creative director of the shoot) at The Lemonade Factory studios on Queenstown road. With eccentric styles and art direction, I set about to capture high contrast, dramatic footage which will compliment the photos. It was an early start, here I am waiting for my train at Clapham Junction;

video shoot equipment kit list manfrotto camera dslr fashion hair photoshoot lemonade factory

I was a single shooter, I had the pleasure of transporting the equipment to the shoot which included a steadicam vest that I ended up not using. I’ve learned my lesson here not to take extra kit!

My kit list was as follows:

Canon 5DmkIII (A camera), Canon 60D (B camera)

Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 VC, Samyang 14mm T/3.1 cine, Samyang 35mm T/1.5 cine, Nikkor 50mm F/1.4 manual, Samyang 85mm T/1.5 cine, Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 OS

Manfrotto 755CX3, Manfrotto MVH700AH, Manfrotto Hydra arm and super clamp,

CamSmart camera rig + Lilliput field monitor, CamSmart Stabilizer vest, Flycam Nano

Zoom H6, Rotolight Roto-mic.

As with all of these shoots, time runs short so I was restricted to short burst of filming time with the models to capture the specific ethereal and industrial motif, but I also shot around the photographer to maximize my usable footage. I made use of the 50fps slow motion for the moving shots, so that the models movements are exaggerated, as well as stabilizing the shot.

As the props included wire fencing and chicken wire, aliasing was a problem when shooting shallow depth of field, or at an angle to the object. To remedy this I used a lower aperture (F/4-5.6) for some shots, but also I can add a Gaussian blur in Premiere Pro when editing to soften the lines, gently smoothing out unwanted aliasing.

A couple of frame grabs from the shoot!

fashion photo video shoot at the lemonade factory cinematic videography steadicam Here I’m using a moving shot to create a distorted perspective from outside of the set.

fashion photo video shoot the lemonade factory cinematic videography trapped cage bw Here I use a low angle shot, removing the identity of the model to create a ‘trapped’ and ‘mysterious’ feel to the model, and why she is in the box.

Weekends are always working weekend for creatives and freelancers. I spent yesterday working on the animation of the recycling project again, continuing to compose the scenes using simple 2D shapes and animation styles that have become very popular recently.

I also came across this post from Chase Jarvis about how to manage your time properly, its a great post with a detailed outline of 90-minute working slots that should improve your productivity, I urge you to read it if you’re someone like me who can’t stop working, then apply the plan to your working life. I know I will be!

Do Less = Do More by Chase Jarvis

I haven’t had many #videoquestions come in recently, so please keep them coming so I can help with tips for the community of videographers and creatives! Send them over to me @Plowman91 on Twitter.

Finally, ending with a must watch video, check out Philip Bloom’s video shot with the Blackmagic Production Camera, the 4K one at Miami Beach, what do you think of it? Is it worth investing now the Panasonic GH4 is on pre-order and it looks like Sony will have a 4K DSLR announcement coming at NAB2014 too..!!

Philip Blooms Four Corners Miami Beach (Blackmagic 4K camera)

That’s all for now folks! Keep the creative juices flowing!

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Silence is golden, Planning is key!

A new #videoquestions is out today on how to plan your video production so it runs smoothly, and is within your time and money budgets!

I’m out for a pre-vis meeting this morning for a video that combines animation, where planning has been a very important role in creating a narrative and generating an estimate price for the production. I’ll share my work with you in this#videoquestions later today!

saul bass alfred hitchcock psycho shower storyboard

A romantic video experience with Manfrotto gear (How to choose the right tripod and head).

When you start working with a piece of equipment time and time again, you build up a relationship with it; understanding its ins and outs, the fastest or best way to set it up. For me, I have this affinity with Manfrotto products.

Since starting out in video during university, I had invested in a sturdy Manfrotto 055Pro-B tripod and a fluid video head. 3 years on and to this day it proves to be a great piece of kit to have around; I use it for my custom built camera jib now so it lives in my boot with that!

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Through various university and freelance projects I used my trusty MF 055Pro-B legs, strapped tightly to a Lowepro backpack.. Not the most comfortable or lightweight solutions. The aluminium legs begun to take their toll when more equipment was required too, and as a videographer I had a bag full of lenses, audio kit and a monopod too. I occasionally used a Glidetrack slider too, which worked very well on the legs, and did not have to be spread really far apart or use any weights.

Check out a couple of my video’s featuring Manfrotto gear –

Manfrotto Backpack50 – http://vimeo.com/84398932

Manfrotto ML240 LED – http://vimeo.com/41688532

But, how do you choose the right Manfrotto tripod and video head for what you do?

Key points to consider – Budget is always something to keep in mind, it can get expensive!

– What cameras, lenses and accessories you will be using with it.

– Where/shooting situations; are you going to be traveling so need a lightweight option, or more corporate indoor, weddings, adventure.

– Are you working with video or photo, or both!

Budget – everyone should have a decent set of tripod legs and head that can be their go-to choice no matter what the client, production or location. This could be a heavy duty two-leg tripod with video fluid head for news/docu/TV footage acquisition – go for Manfrotto twin leg kit! But for photography you may consider a lighter option that can be grabbed and carried quickly – go for Manfrotto BeFree! Remember that a tripod/head kit should last you a lifetime so keep your budget in mind, and look for products and kits around £100-£150 for your first investment (no, I’m not suggesting you save up to spend £150, your budget is what ever you can work within so have a rough max figure that you would aim to spend – dependent of the following..).

Cameras, lenses and accessories – If you are a keen amateur, you may be working with small DSLR bodies and lenses; like the Canon 600D with an 18-135mm for example. This setup not weighing much tends to lean you towards a light, single leg tripod with a two way or ball head mount – 180X Pro B with 804RC2 head. However, for more professional setups; Canon 5D mark III and a 70-200 telephoto lens your looking at +3Kg of weight, so a more stable solution needs to be found – Lightweight Fluid System.

Shooting situation – If you are out and about all the time, a tripod with locking legs and extendable center column is a great feature to have; its great for getting very low angle shots while keeping the tripod steady, not to mention the ball leveling mount feature which levels the head without adjusting the legs. If you are the opposite, and work in studios and generally terrain free environment, a standard set of legs will be appropriate. Remember you can mount the tripod onto dolly wheels for easy motion and movement in a studio or indoors.

Video or photo? Generally video requires the use of moving or ‘tracking’ shots, where the camera focuses and follows a subject through a scene. Remember talking about ball and fluid heads? This is where they become important! A fluid video head uses liquid to smooth the panning and tilting movement when adjusting the head, creating smooth camera movements. This is not entirely possible using two-way or ball heads due to the lack of fluid in the head and a pan handle. It can be done, but be prepared to video a number of times to achieve steady movement! If you look further into video and movement, many equipment manufacturers have also created stabilizers that counter balance the camera’s weight, creating flying and smooth flowing movement!

For photo, as you are taking still images, the focus on being able to move the camera while the shutter is open diminishes, and the need to find and focus on a subject quickly, from many angles becomes key. This is where a ball head or two way head works best, allowing quick movement between camera angles.

manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head ball head mount manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head ball head mount manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head ball head mount canon dslr manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head ball head mount canon dslr

If you mix between both, producing work like timelapse, hyperlapses, long exposures and night time shooting, you should consider the weight of the tripod and camera gear together; will you need to weigh down the tripod to keep it steady, will the camera be subject to movement when using a lighter tripod and head? These factors will affect your image or video if not considered!

A great example; myself and Ashleigh were filming a wedding at Horsley Towers for John Harris Wedding Films and we got the message to setup and run a timelapse for the evening. It was windy out, not great conditions for a TL, and with only a Canon 60D and 15mm fish eye lens the setup was not at all weighty. After about 15 minutes I went to check on the TL camera and it was nowhere to be seen.. The tripod and camera got blown over (not damaged) in the wind. No more timelapse that day!

Hope that helps in your choice of Manfrotto kit to use! It’s always good to examine the details of your needs and what the product can do, to find the best solution. Remember if you start out with a single-leg, ball head setup and are looking to move into video in the future, you may need to invest again. Its not always possible, but try to future-proof your investment in case you have a change of heart in what you do.

The reason why choosing the Manfrotto 055ProB tripod and 701HDV worked so well for me is that I could use it on everything I worked on; from being my A camera support to supporting a camera jib and slider – an all round solution to my needs.

Back to the story.. After 3 years, it was time to move on. I had been researching equipment I would invest in, and sticking with the DSLR camera type my requirements for tripod legs and video head did not stray too far away from my original purchase. However, after experiencing carrying around all of the video equipment, and an extra bag for grip, it was about time I got a carbon fiber tripod to ease the weight issue. As I am a one man band videographer, I carry all the gear. So with a full camera bag, tripod, monopod, even a slider maybe, my options need to be lightweight but just as functional.

Manfrotto have gone above and beyond on the engineering of the 755CX3 and MVH500AH. Carbon fiber legs provide an ultra portable solution, able to hold loads up to 8Kg which is perfect for my Canon 5DmkIII, cine lenses, field monitor etc.

manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head manfrotto tripod video photo carbon fiber fliud head

still from quiet sunshine by Adam Plowden Videography winter nature landscape stream water lake canon samyang

still from quiet sunshine by Adam Plowden Videography winter nature landscape stream water lake canon samyang

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The new plate mount on the video head is incredible too, and saves so much faffing around with the previously notorious screw to lock the plate in place. Now, the plate simply slides in from above, and a spring pings the clamp into place. A great innovation especially for use with camera rigs so you don’t have to bend down, find the screw to start unlocking the plate and camera to the rig. So, for fast shooting situations, the new head is a must!

The sad thing about all of this is that after searching through my old photos and videos I don’t have any; specifically featuring the Manfrotto gear! What I can say though, is for every single videoshoot I’ve worked on, my Manfrotto gear has been there, supporting me no matter of the situation. So I went out a shot some stills that I’ve included in the blog, and did indeed find pictures of the gear in action!

Camsmart MODA rig with canon 5Dmk iii

Lilliput monitor with the Canon 60D

Lilliput monitor with the Canon 60D

If you want to see more of my work featuring Manfrotto equipment, check out my vimeo page – https://vimeo.com/apvideography

They say you should only by a set of legs once, make the right choice, make it Manfrotto! Like this post? Share it!

All new promo video is out now!

Now SWPP is over for me, I am free to release the ‘Behind The Scenes’ videos I shot down in Falmouth! Here is the second video; a model videoshoot using Canon, Manfrotto, Elinchrom equipment.

Please like and share 🙂 http://vimeo.com/84036470

What I’m editing today – Booty Camp BTS for the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers!

I have the pleasure of working with the footage I shot down in Falmouth last weekend with Bjorn Thomassen we are both sponsored by Manfrotto so we took the opportunity to film new products and features, as well as how to shoot video on a DSLR! These videos will be available online, as well as on major suppliers websites. It will also be shown at The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers conference in Jan!

I filmed the Behind The Scenes of the production, showing how photographic styles, techniques and equipment can be used to transist from photo into video with Canon cameras, Manfrotto grip gear and Elinchrom lights.

This is my view for the day, not bad aye 😛 I do love my job!

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The results are incredible. After using my Canon 60D for the last two years, stepping up to the Canon 5DmkIII has dramatically improved the picture quality that I capture. Teamed up with Samyang (Rokinon) VDSLR cine lenses and you have an awesome camera setup for cinematic visuals. Yes, I captured the video in ALL-I compression (the lowest compression available), as Magic Lantern does not have a firmware upgrade for the new 5D 1.2.3 firmware 😦 I hope that comes out soon!

Busy!!

I’ve been busy over the last couple of days, working on both John Sinclair videos, as well as the arrival of the professional camera rig I designed. It is still a prototype so some changes will be made, but so far it is a great fabrication of my design I proposed 18 months ago!!

DSC_0260 rig1

I’ve since been working on the John Sinclair documentary, which I’ve titled ‘Behind The Smoke’ in Adobe Premiere, which has been going very smoothly. I’ve also finished the title sequence using footage from the Amsterdam gig rehearsal, as well as using outstanding quotes from John, it is accompanied by the track Mohawk of his new album with Steve Fly.

I used the layers blending modes to merge the layers together, as well as distorting the text (in a bold font like the 70’s John Sinclair posters) and animating them in a style that conveys the subject.

I will post the video up later!

 

 

My experience of IBC 2013 Part 1

I had never been to IBC before, I wanted to go a couple of years ago but I was a little last minute with extremely expensive prices, but now after all the hard uni work and starting myself up as a freelance videographer, a trip to Amsterdam for IBC 2013 was just what I needed! It was also the first time I’ve been on a plane in 11 years, so I was super excited, and acted rather like a tourist for the first couple of days.. But, I have no regrets!

pic10 Myself outside Amsterdam Schipol Airport, great smoking area with all the sunflowers, how Dutch!

Just had a quick thought, for you readers to enjoy your experience reading my blog further, you can listen to what I am listening to while I write it, having withdrawl symptoms from Amsterdam lead me to searching for “Coffeeshop” “Soul” on 8Tracks, hoping for a chilled result 🙂 So here is the playlist you can listen to while reading! Street Cues Sound Clues Amsterdam Withdrawl Playlist on 8Tracks

IMG_9945-1 Amazing Mexican restaurant called ‘La Margarita’ just off the canal, near Amsterdam University (https://plus.google.com/105150292043799825469/about?gl=uk&hl=en) They do great cocktails too, definitely recommend it.


IMG_9948-1 Amsterdam’s coffee shop culture is something to be admired, the liberal and relaxed lifestyle suits me perfectly, and I’m not going to pretend I disagree with coffee shops, because they are awesome. I met more friendly people and generated more work in coffee shops than I do in Starbucks in The UK. In the photo you can see The Bulldog, and further down is the original coffee shop. I did pop in to these, but both were really busy so I skipped off to another in the pouring rain. (https://plus.google.com/112706500562557581286/about?gl=uk&hl=en).

IMG_9950-1 This rather lovely looking church turned out to be a brothel.

IMG_9964-1 Taken from outside The Greenhouse Seed Co Coffee shop, near Dam Square. Sitting outside having a drink by the river is so cool. We had a couple beers over there on the first evening, Duvel! (Cafe Rock Planet)

IMG_9974-1 The view from my hotel window, the Pathe Cinema! (Rembrandtplein).

On the Friday (13th) myself, Amy and Sam made our way to the Amsterdam RAI. We jumped on the tram outside our hotel on Rembrandtplein which took us all the way to IBC, very convenient although it was rammed with suited business-people attending the show! IBC provided free tram travel for the duration of the show which was great for getting around town, until I lost mine.

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We made our way to The IABM stand, near the Future Zone in one of the 14 halls of this massive place, where we met Steve Warner and Sam Hawkins and were presented with the prize money. We also met the other Engineering Student Award winners who came from across the world for IBC; Zoe Wyeth of the University of Salford, Julian Theis of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, Adam Plowden and Amy Tinker of Kingston University, Pierre Hamme-Gerome and Antonin Morel of the Université de Valenciennes, Kathryn Savage of Southampton Solent University, Lennard Bredenkamp of HTWK Leipzig, and Evgenii Smirnov and Anna Nikolaeva of St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. (Photos are coming from The IABM in the next couple of days).

The rest of the day was spent wondering around, wowing and touching all the amazing new technology and equipment, which I will upload the photos of soon! There will also be video blog entries uploaded very soon too, including interviews with manufacturers, designers, and a film of Amsterdam too, yes ‘Ive been busy!

BlackMagic Design had a fantastic booth exhibiting many of their Cinema and Pocket cameras in different set-ups, as well as demonstrations of the new 6G production switcher, and the newly released DaVinci Resolve 10. As I am looking to upgrade cameras, the BMCC is definitely an option for me, as the price of the unit and features weigh it up considerably as a mid range cinema camera, rather than a simple DSLR upgrade. Also, as I discovered, Tokina had been hard at work on an 11-16mm T3 cine lens for Super35 sensors, demonstrated on a BMCC at their booth; finally opening up wide angle shots which had previously been restricted due to the 2.2x mag factor. More info on the NEW Tokina releases can be seen in an upcoming video with the Director of Tokina himself!

tokina11-16-1 tokina16-28-1

There will be much much much more coming soon, I just have to get through the video editing and chuck it all together, but please be patient, they are coming 🙂

As for future work and plans, I was due to produce a couple of videos for some classic RV’s, with Joel from London Event Photography however thanks to the terrific English weather it was called off. Also got some top secret work with a manufacturer coming up, as well as a possible booking to go back to Amsterdam for the end of November.. IE.. My 22nd Birthday!! We shall see..

All the best for now you wonderful people! If you haven’t checked out this kind of teaser video then please do 🙂

http://vimeo.com/74469276