Run ‘n Gun Music Video?

Abi Moore

 

(from the Run and Gun Videography Blog)

Well, normally one wouldn’t promote this sort of thing. After all, it takes quite some time and planning to do a music video…

But, as Abi Moore remarked, ‘if you want something done fast, ask a busy person”.

I’m not always this busy, but in the week before a trip planned to the US, I found myself with 3 scheduled shoots and one edit that absolutely had to be done before I left.

Then Abi messaged me urgently.

She needed a music video by the end of the month (when I would be gone).

She had sent me the song. A very nice song, though a sad Christmas song as it were.

I asked for the lyrics, got them, glanced it over and said, ” Come on over tomorrow. We’ll shoot you singing the whole song whilst driving a few times and then some more at our neighbor’s Steinway piano, a few additional shots in town, throw something together and see if we need anything else to polish it off.

So we did just that one evening.

For the night scenes I used the Sony HXR NX30. All hand-held, of course, though I utilised a bean bag on the car’s dash for most of the car shots.

For the piano scenes I used the NX30 and the X70; X70 on a tripod and the NX30 handheld.

And, for the first time ever, I found it necessary to add stars to a shot using an FCPX generator and FCPX color controls and shape masks to take down the white sky to a darker gray.

Also, for the first time ever, I added snow to a shot, using the Pixelfilmstudios plug-in. Two layers of snow–the foreground layer to which I added yellow as if lit by the foreground yellow light from the doorway. That was surprisingly easy.

Who says you can’t produce a music video in a couple of days cheap as chips?

You’ll be the first to see it as I’m only publishing it here.

(Best to watch in full HD, as it’s a rather sad–and therefore somewhat dark Christmas story.)

Slow Brew Compilation Edit

Laury Dizengremel

(from the Run and Gun Videography Blog)

Not exactly a key-word-rich title, but I kind of like it. Just came to mind as I sat down.

My wife is a sculptor who has worked on many prestigious projects and hobnobbed with some important people and celebrities over the years.

Occasionally I’ve been around and was able to get an interview or two on tape to add to a growing list of B roll shots I had been accumulating in the past few years.

Finally, with 3 interviews and some recent interesting footage with the Duchess of Rutland and Alan Titchmarch, I thought it was time to throw something together that didn’t require interviewing Laury. I’d just let these other people do the talking this time.

As I usually do, I edited the interviews to provide the narrative that would drive the video, then added appropriate B roll, titles and music. Pretty standard fare. For those interested, it was all done on the Sony HXR NX30–except a few rocky shots that were shot in China by someone else.

Something interesting happened though–of no great importance, but interesting just the same.

I had recently completed a corporate video. I spent quite some time searching for the right piece of music for it on Audio Jungle (my favorite music site) and finally found a piece that was not only perfect for the video, it was the perfect length. Double perfect. It was the only time I ever added music that I didn’t also have to edit to fit. It just fit perfect and, unbelievably, did all the right things in all the right places–just as if it were written for my video.

I really liked that piece of music and, in the back of my mind as I was editing Laury’s video I hoped I might be able to use the same piece of music–something I don’t normally do.

As I got the final length established (by the narrative along with beginning and end titles) I glanced down at the total length. Amazingly, it was the same length as that last corporate video I did, and amazingly that same piece of music dropped in on this video without any need of editing.

Quadruple perfect.

SD Card Deals–“If it’s too good to be true…”

Counterfeit SD cards

(Originally published on the Run ‘n Gun Videography Blog.)

I’ve always used SanDisk cards and never, ever had a problem in the 5 or 6 years I’ve being using digital equipment.

Also, I generally get the highest rated cards in terms of speed and bit rate for the equipment I’m using.

One is tempted when making SD card purchases to find a really good deal.

BUT, if what you find seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

Here’s a story about SD card counterfeiting

As you will see, the counterfeited cards look identical. And where you’ll find these great deals is on eBay, Amazon or similar sites.

Pure Frickin’ Black Magic–Sony PXW X70

Pure Frickin’ Black Magic

Well, I had to title it that way so you know it’s me.

The Sony HXR NX30 review (Pure Frickin’ Magic) got 80,000 views between its two parts at this writing and became the top search result for that camera within a few months of it’s upload and has been ever since. Thanks to all of you who watched it, commented and shared.

This PXW X70 review is a bit long (24 minutes-yikes!). I hope it’s worth your time.

Many have asked if the stabilisation is as good as the NX30’s. In this review you’ll find a side by side comparison with both cameras on the same mount during long, sustained walking shots both from behind and from in front of the subject. The answer to that question will be obvious.

This is a 1″ sensor camera with a fixed lens. It’s ‘4K ready’ meaning Sony plans to release a future firmware upgrade (for a fee).

It’s slightly bigger and heavier than the NX30, but is still a small camera, perfect for run and gunners.

You will get nicer interview shots in terms of depth of field, but it won’t be as nice as some of the more expensive 1″ sensor cameras with interchangeable fast lenses or DSLRs. You’ll see samples of what your interview shots can look like in the review.

Personally I haven’t bought into the whole ‘cinematic’ look as being a vital commodity in corporate video production. Whether ‘cinematic’ or otherwise, if a video producer gets the message across with clarity and impact resulting in increased name recognition or sales or whatever the objective is,  he’s done his job and the client is happy. Technical rendition will never trump message and too many people are so into their technical rendition that they forget the main reason they’re producing a video in the first place. That said, for those pros who innately apply that principle (and many do), nothing wrong with ‘cinematic’.

This camera is ideal for the lone shooter for its size, ease of operation, intelligent auto systems, stabilisation, and now, more of an edge on shallow depth of field than smaller sensor cameras in this class. Not to mention its price at £1800/well under $2500.

Due to it’s larger size, it’s got a lot more easy access buttons for various aspects of manual control.

The menu is easy to access and is loaded with features.

It can shoot in AVCHD mode like the NX30, but also in XAVCHD which takes full advantage of the full HD information. It’s a format designed to handle 4K.

With shooting modes capable of 50mbps, the camera qualifies for broadcast quality. I can’t speak for the BBC, but I’ve already gotten a green light from another national station that may use some of my footage for a program being done on Belvoir Castle on which estate I live.

But as with the NX30, the reason I bought this camera is for the corporate videos I do as a lone shooter.

As I talk about in the ebook ‘Run ‘n Gun Videography–the Sole Shooters Survival Guide’, I like to travel light and fast.

Where some walk into a corporate video loaded down with a truck load of armaments,  I walk in with a 6 shooter and get the job done. A friend recently told me you have to impress them with your fancy cameras. In his case he brings along the fancy cameras along with his small ones. In the end, it’s the small ones that get used in his edits. Why go through all the trouble? I’ve never once had anyone comment on the size of my camera. No, I take that back…when I used to travel with the big ones, I got a lot more trouble from security and police. But that’s because I was alone and didn’t have an organisation working ahead to clear everything.

And when you’re alone, you need a camera that’s ‘got your back’.

It was uploaded in full 1080 HD, so be sure to select that in the YouTube drop down menu for best evaluation of the footage.

The second video below is simply a 2 minute excerpt of the first one and features the side by side comparison of the X70 to the NX30 in Active Mode stabilisation.

The third video there is Sony’s promo for the camera mentioned in my review. The detail shots of the artisan glass truly showcase the image quality the camera is capable of.

There are a few of points where the audio dropped low and/or I forgot to add a filter to a bit I added. Unfortunately it was late and I didn’t catch it before the 22 hour upload, so sorry about that!

(UK videographers/photographers see note below the videos)

UK BUYERS:

When I bought the NX30 I bought it from Jigsaw24.com out of Nottingham. I was so impressed with their courteous and helpful prompt replies to emails and lightning fast delivery (paid one afternoon and it was on my doorstep next morning), I added a link on the blog. I did note that many people clicked on it but have no idea if any sales resulted.

This time I contacted the Sales Manager Andy Crawford and asked him if were to do mention it on the blog again if he would offer any incentive. He said he would. How much, I don’t know. But these guys were so upbeat, knowledgable and service oriented, when I bought the X70 I didn’t even shop for prices. I just went back to Jigsaw 24, bought it, and received it next day again.

Check out their site for all they have to offer in professional video and audio equipment (and more).

But if you want to buy the X70, Andy says to contact him directly at:   andyc@jigsaw24.com

NEED A MODEL?
And finally, a small advert, if you’re interested in hiring Ania for fashion, glamour, catalogue or advertising, go here.

Bit of Fun…

Spent a few days in the Land of Castles, Northumberland UK on the coast of the North Sea.

Walked around with the NX30 some of the time, audio block off. Shot all stills and video with it. No post production treatment. Pure unpressured point and shoot. Yeah, the full telephoto stills aren’t the greatest, but then I’m not sending them to National Geographic and who wants to lug around a big DLSR on vacation?

The song ‘Highwayman’ is the favourite of the man in the video, thus the choice of music for a bit of fun.

Sony HXR NX30 as an Internal Car Mount

For anyone interested, I did a short, crude test for my step-daughter who is planning on doing a short film that takes place wholly inside a car.

As it is a low budget film and even though she has access to a Red camera, I pointed out that due to the profile (length) of the Red, it wouldn’t be possible to do internal frontal mounting of the camera–or if so, due to its lens proximity to the actor, would require a wide angle lens.

I did a short test using the NX30 in full-auto using its Active mode stabilisation (which uses image processing in addition to its gyro stabilised lens).

Normally car scenes are shot with speed rail mounted cameras outside the car. (or they are shot static with green screen backgrounds). Because of the open window, car scenes are post-lip-synced which is quite an art and not all actors can do easily–especially children as would be in this case.

So I put the NX30 to the challenge.

I shot it in my Landrover 300tdi Discovery (1997) and recorded the audio with a Sony wireless lapel.

I wasn’t expecting great results on the sound (it would be better with direction microphones hand-held on booms from the back seat, but as mentioned in the video, even the lapel would have worked pretty good in a quiet car like the high-end Range Rovers or equivalent.

The camera was mounted on the dash on a guerrilla tripod and wired down. Nothing fancy. A suction mount to the windshield would have been better but I didn’t have one. (could get one for about £40 to do the job).

Turns out it did ok.

So here’s a low budget solution to shooting interior car scenes.

Note: While shot in full HD, this is a 720p upload. Try to watch it in at least that. This is the raw camera footage, untreated in post. (the filter tests at the end were done because my step-daughter wanted a ‘filmic look’, so I tried a couple of filters toward that end)

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