Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Case Study: Westchester Rotary Club Home Makeover

Through a mutual friend, I did my best to help out a very worthy group--The Westchester Rotary Club.  I shot some volunteer video of the "before and after" of a home in Westchester, CA (LA).  I'll be shooting all week, if you want to help them out with volunteer work.  Please contact them through their website.

< Here's the "before" b-roll with the C100 of the PODS container being planted on the street.

< Going handheld with the C100 (slash) me in a mirror shot.  The C100 is great for this type of work due to its small size, and excellent image quality (via the Ninja 2).  On day 1, I made 75 shots for 156 GBs.  It took approx 16 minutes to offload the 156 GBs of data through the Atomos USB 3.0 connection.  ProRes HQ format.

< Day 3: rocking the C100 with the Atomos Ninja 2.  I used my lav microphone system for interviews on Channel 1, and used the camera's on board mic for a -10 db attenuated guide track on channel 2.  I controlled the manual gain on both channels from the C100.

< The home front getting the business end of the Westchester Rotary Club.  They worked tirelessly for six days to bring about the transformation.  Kudos!

< Volunteering feels good for the right cause.

< For the big family reveal, I decided to add a second camera.  Cue the Canon 5D Mark III with Atomos Ninja external recorder.  Both cameras shot ProRes 422 HQ uncompressed.  I used the Redrock Micro UltraCage for the C100, and the Captain Stubling rig for the 5D3.  Both rigs gave me low-profile stability for our ENG, run-n-gun style shooting.

< Brought in pro camera op, Robert Stenger, to run a 5DMKIII with the original Ninja 1 external recorder as B-cam.  Even though I had to reverse telecine the footage (or transcode) in Compressor, I still got a real chunky ProRes 422 HQ (220 Mbps) uncompressed data stream.  Or something.

A big important point: the 5D Mark III doesn't have HDMI audio out.  Therefore, his Ninja needed an audio fix.  We added a 3.5" to 3.5" stereo audio cable running from the camera's headphone jack to the Ninja's audio in.  I then changed the audio input of the Ninja to "analogue."  From this set up, and after cranking the camera's audio gain, we recorded a nice guide track to the b-cam Ninja.  I could've gone with my JuicedLink Riggy Assist pre-amp for cleaner sound, but since it was just guide track, a simple 3.5" to 3.5" cable sufficed.

< Lucky for me, I got to play with the C100 and the Ninja 2.  The Ninja 2 does the 3:2 pulldown automatically, so I got true, ready-to-edit 23.98 files for my timeline.  I output everything to ProRes 422 HQ uncompressed files.  All my days of shooting combined to 941 GB of Quicktime ProRes HQ files.  I had zero errors with the SSD drives on the six-day shoot, and the Atomos external recorder systems worked flawlessly.

< Here's an example of the interlaced footage before and after the 3:2 pulldown process, either in the Ninja 2 or using Compressor.

< Final interviews.

A quick note:
HDD = Hard Disk Drive, a spinning disk with mechanical arm
SSD = Solid State Drive, no moving parts, flash-based memory

I offloaded my files through the Atomos USB 3.0 reader to my 6TB LaCie Thunderbolt HDD drive.  A day's worth of shooting (under 250GB) was offloaded in 15-20 minutes.  I took the two SSD drives (300 GB Intel SSD & 256 GB Crucial M4 SSD) to a secondary laptop with FW800, and downloaded backups to an older 2 TB drive used for long-term storage.  This reduction in speed on the slower system added hours to the offload.  But since it was a fire-and-forget backup system, I simply kept working on my speedier alpha system.  I also created a third, dedicated backup drive that I stored in a fire-resistant safe in my underground bunker deep beneath the city of Washington D.C.

< Watching dailies in the Bat Cave.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Going Handheld with the C100 and Fig Rig

< The Canon C100 mounted in the Fig Rig stabilizer for handheld work.

< The Atomos Ninja 2 connected to the C100 and Fig Rig for handheld uncompressed QT files.

< I mounted a Fig Rig hook to the camera cart to create a home during the down time.  I used a Manfrotto Super Clamp, and a Manfrotto U-hook, that fit together perfecto.

< C100 in Fig Rig ENG set up.  With Rode NTG-2 microphone, Litepanels Croma light, Switronix Powerbase-70 battery, and 3/8"m to 1/4"m adapter.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Canon C100 Shooting B-Roll

I shot a small project in my living room with the Canon C100, 100mm macro lens, Manfrotto magic arm, and the Philip Bloom slider dolly to add movement.  Everything out of the C100 (AVCHD) had to be transcoded into Quicktime ProRes 422 with a program like ClipWrap, for it to work fluidly on my editing system.  I'm very pleased so far with the images from the C100, with deep blacks and rich colors.  I haven't had the time to shoot uncompressed yet.

This was shot with the Canon 60D, from a 4-camera shoot.  We shot with the C100, 60D, and two iPhones.

Working the slider with the C100.