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.


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