Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video Short: The High Line (Tech Info and Background)

Camera: Canon HF200
NLE: Final Cut Pro 7
Color: Apple Color 1.5

Since beginning work with DSLR cameras last year, I've avidly followed the videos of Philip Bloom. One format that he does very well are short video pieces filmed on location and set to music. Examples can be found on his website; I particularly recommend Sofia's People and Skywalker Ranch.

I enjoy his work a lot. They are great examples of what can be done with with a camera, a good location, and a few hours at work editing and color grading. So I tried to make this in that same vein.

I had originally wanted to use the "Hand Covers Bruise" track from The Social Network soundtrack, by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The thought had occurred to me, though, that I may want to look at royalty free options if I want these videos to last online without fear of license complications. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the album Ghosts, that Reznor and Ross had recorded under the Nine Inch Nails banner. They had released Ghosts under a Creative Commons license that permitted use by anyone as long as the work was attributed to its creator for non-commercial purposes, and that any work building upon it use this same license.

Shooting on the HF200 again, as I don't yet have a 60D or GH2 in hand. While the video quality lacks the sharpness and very shallow depth of field of a larger sensor camera, on the whole I am happy with it. The color grading seems to help a long way here. I have to check my ambitions for a better camera with recognition of the actual number of times I get out to shoot video, which is not more than once every few months unless there's a project going on.

For color grading, I felt like I had been running over the same steps over and over again with Magic Bullet Looks. I wasn't living in preset world, but I found myself spending too much time trying to make it look like film, rather than focusing on making it look good. For variation's sake, I went for Apple Color this time around. As usual, I found myself pulling back from more aggressive looks, but perhaps Color is the better tool for more subtle work.

I didn't miss Magic Bullet Looks terribly, and I do enjoy how quickly I can move between primary and secondary corrections, keying and windows in Apple Color. But the round tripping was really sucked up a good deal of time. If I were more experienced, I probably would have been able to work around the things that gave me trouble faster, but all in all it did take longer. Nonetheless, I'm liking it and will probably stick with Color for the next video that I shoot.

For the original post on The High Line, click here.