A quick colour enhancement with Sony Vegas of a blown out sky

A quick walk to the local river in between the heavy down pours of rain to see a fast running river and dull over cast sky.

A short 45 second film to document the levels of the water – but not the most colourful film I’ve ever made nor long enough to justify a musical montage nor any good audio.

Open up the Neumann Film colour presets in Sony Vegas to see which one gives the best colour dynamics. The Filmic preset gave it a nice warm contrast but the blown out skies went all blocky with heavy banding. Ah, mask out the sky and give it a different colour setting – a quick mask and colour curve to darken the sky gave a nice feel. Clean up the noise with the awesome Neat Video software. All done except to add a TV theme tune of 45 seconds (bewitched) with some bird sound affects and a dog barking sound affect (the dog was quiet in the original footage).

Upload the YouTube and reflect on the fun of video editing. Have a cup of tea and plan the next video adventure.

 

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Bicester stagecoach production filmed, edited and ready to watch

One of the main reasons for buying multiple video cameras was to film my children perform at the local stage school. This is my latest one man and his cameras event filming with 5 cameras of the Stagecoach Bicester Winter 2013 end of term show.

I set up 4 cameras on tripods (left, right, center and back of stage) with a camera on a mono-pod to take close ups. A Rode stereo microphone connected to a Roland Audio recorder captured the sound.

Edited using Sony Vegas Pro with the amazing Neat Video plug-in (to clean up the noisy footage) with some colour adjustments to normalise the footage (at least a bit).

Fun was had by all (including the man with his cameras).

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2013 – A year of filming inspiration from Philip Bloom to Indy Mogul

I started the year wondering what to film and how to film it. Inspiration was found on the web by the way of Philip Bloom and Indy Mogul.

Philip Bloom an experienced British film maker with “how to” and “what to” tips and lots of interesting short films to be inspired by. I attended a Philip Bloom 1 day workshop who also offered some invaluable help on my Irish Seniors documentary.

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Also Indy Mogul a group of enthusiastic film makers headed by the entertaining Griffen Hammond with the informative Russell Hasenauer with their “film news” and open and frank discussion topics. Griffen’s tips on filming a wedding were the best prep I could have had for my first ever wedding film. A sad day when I heard the channel was closing due to its funding being stopped.

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In 2013 I made over 80 films including a 5 local productions, 2 wedding photo montages, a wedding, a naming ceremony and a documentary. Filming highlights of the year included:

Thorpe Park fun and adventure
Filming Bicester town development
Water fight with a GoPro
Bliss on the Broads
Oliver montage
Halloween in Warwick Castle
A wedding photo montage
Otmoor – a wonderful open landscape in Oxfordshire

For a list of all my films visit Robby Boyo Films YouTube channel.

I bought the Lumix GH2 at the start of the year and have had amazing fun with it. I still use my Canon 550D for stills and the occasional film usage but the GH2 is easier to use, more fun, lighter and the sharpness of the image is incredible. I am using a camera setting (Driftwood Moon 7) that increases the quality by 6 fold and allows for more options when applying colour enhancements. I also upgraded my PC and installed Sony Vegas Pro 12 which I like very much.

2014 promises to be another year of fun for my hobby:

- watch more inspirational films on YouTube/Vimeo
- a wedding film in July
- film an Oxford local business
- more holiday/family films
- more local productions
- possibly a how to film from me
- buy a 4k camera or a camera that shoots raw
- grow a beard (as all film makers seem to have beards)

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Destination Bicester – a historic day for Bicester

Historic events are happening all around us every day and they feel so close via the Internet and the vast quantity of television channels. So when a major local event occurs it may seem easier to watch it on the news or via a Facebook page rather than get up and take part. Not me I took the day off work and headed to the opening of Bicester’s new Pioneer Square town development armed with my camera to film the proceedings. A low key celebration that was made extra special by the eponymous Regiment who lined the street and officially opened the new development. The participants bathed in the morning sun and chatted to each other before deciding it was time to get on and do some shopping.

Filmed hand held with my trusty GH2.

Please enjoy Destination Bicester and subscribe to my YouTube channel for future Bicester historical moments.

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May mayhem of short films and it is not over yet……..

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A busy April filming has led to a busy May! 9 short films edited and uploaded to YouTube with 3 films in the editing process plus a family holiday to come. It has got to be my most varied month of filming ever ranging from family shorts, naming ceremony, Bicester development and some street filming. All planned on the hop and filmed with my GH2. The process of learning is very rewarding at the moment, with lots and lots of mistakes (some recoverable and some to learn and adapt):

Film profiles – settled on the Standard mode with a few of the settings turned down (one experiment on cinema which colour corrected quite well). I prefer minimal colour correction at the moment. I also did a black and white smooth setting as the ISO was set to 32,000 which I loved the feel of. I can see myself using different profiles in the coming months, especially black and white and cinema.

Accessories – my first real go at the Konnova k2 slider was great fun. It’s not as easy as I’d hoped but with some more practise the shots will be silky smooth every time. At 1m long it’s not exactly portable but any shorter and I don’t think the affect would be as good. It looks the business and I was stopped twice while using it, once out of curiosity and once as they were looking at buying one them self. I also messed about with my portable hand held rig which I think I will use more in the future. The key is to taking out the minimal camera equipment for the opportunity.

Opportunities – work visits to London, Birmingham and Edinburgh gave me the opportunity to do some filming. This is where the GH2 has been fantastic as it is very portable and easy to fit in my day bag.

Lens choice – I now like the kit lens although it is not as sharp as my 20mm pancake lens (it has very good image stabilisation for hand held shots). The 20mm 1.7 is nice and sharp and I have used it for some low light shots and with a variable ND filter which gave some lovely bokeh in bright sun. I have a CCTV lens which I have only used once which has a very organic feel to focusing. I have also taken some wildlife close ups using my canon 100-300mm zoom lens on the 2.6 telephoto setting which are incredibly close (although with high ISO gave it too much noise and white streaking). I looked at some specialist cinema lenses but I am struggling to work out the best quality against price – plus I should make the most out of my existing lenses first.

Editing – the hand held shots without image stabilisation needed sorting and I used the Sony Vegas image stabilisation which worked well as long as the shot was static (no panning). I also experimented with some colour correction presets I recently downloaded from Neumanfilms which I filmed using the cinema profile – good fun to play with – although they need a lot of computer processing to render. I have also done a bit of experiments using unsharp mask to sharpen up detail (still need to mess about with this).

Research – I downloaded the EOSHD GH2 user manual which was a good read and helped on my thinking on lenses and film profiles. I also searched on the legality and approaches of street filming which seems to be my favourite film style at the moment. I am going for discreet filming to appear that I am just taking photos rather than making it obvious that I am filming.

Plan – to mess around with my Sony FX1 and Canon HV20 to see how to possibly blend with the GH2 and get out my Canon 550D (possibly some HDR filming).

My 9 films so far are all uploaded to YouTube (some blocked on mobile sites due to music copyright):

http://www.youtube.com/users/robbyboyo

1) London (People Watching)
2) Lucy Whitaker Naming Ceremony Service
3) Lucy Whitaker Naming Ceremony Montage
4) Destination Bicester (town centre development as at 4th May 2013)
5) Kings Cross Station Platform 9 and 3/4 (Harry Potter)
6) Birmingham Moor Street – “The Answer” to the most beautiful train station)
7) Destination Bicester (town centre development as at 11th May 2013)
8) The Starlings (Ride of the Valkyries)
9) Destination Bicester (town centre development 1st January 2012 – 1st March 2013)

May the mayhem continue……………

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A busy 2 months of filming and editing

From a quiet start to 2013 of only one short film of a trip to Twickenham saw a busy March and April which has led to 11 films of varying lengths and topics, some uploaded to YouTube:

Edinburgh – a work trip to the lovely city of Edinburgh took me and my camera into the city centre on a cold March evening for a simple 1 minute edit.

Garden Birds – a 5 minute film using my new GH2 with a couple of Canon lenses on tripods. Edited to Colplay’s Paradise. Some lovely close ups of the amazing Finch family birds (Siskin and Gold Finch) plus a cheeky Blue Tit. watch on YouTube

School production – I filmed and edited the 60 minute school end of term production. 20 copies have been sold with proceeds going to the school PTA funds.

Stagecoach production – a behind closed doors 90 minute end of term production filmed and edited. Only a copy to the the teachers has been distributed – parent copies to follow.

School strictly dancing event – a 6 minute edit of my daughter’s dance group at a local primary school event.

Family Easter – a 3 minute edit of our family Easter of a West Ham football game and a family gathering edited to Lego House by Ed Sheeran. watch on YouTube

Karate grading – my daughter graded to Brown belt and I filmed the key bits and made a montage to music

Llanelli visit – a trip to Llanelli to see my Mum took us down the beach (added bonus a sunny day). watch on YouTube

Here comes the sun – filming my lovely wife gardening with our cats looking on watch on YouTube

Destination Bicester (part 3) – the town’s development is nearing completion so I took some footage of the state of play as at April. Some good footage with my slider and mixed results with panning on the tripod. watch on YouTube

Thorpe Park – my best edit so far this tear of me and my kids day out at Thorpe Park. Edited to the current song boomerang. watch on YouTube

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First edit of 2013 (England v France)

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A cold start to 2013 has kept me and my camera mostly inside. A trip down to Twickenham to see England v France was my first chance to get out my Canon 550D with my 8mm fish eye lens and new 24-105mm zoom lens. The weather was extremely cold so the footage was short and sharp. I love the Samyang 8mm fish eye lens and I have worked out that it needs to be set at 5.6 or above to be at its sharpest. I am still learning to get the best out of the Canon 24-105 zoom lens as I often get a soft focus – I think more practice and definitely more filming will help.

I have been messing about with picture profiles and still can not settle on one. I started off last year using the standard profile but noticed the saturation was quite high. I set the cine profile late last year and struggled to get the best colour correction to make it shine. I have now started using the neutral profile with varying changes to the sharpness. This film was made with the neutral profile with no post colour correction.

Watch it on YouTube

I have also been battling with keep 550D or upgrade to 5D or 6D or change to Lumix GH3/GH2

- The 5D looks great but heavy and very expensive
- The 6D looks a great upgrade but is it worth the money and apart from better image noise but is the video really any better than the 550D?
- the Lumix GH3 looks fantastic for video but not great for stills and very expensive
- the Lumix GH2 with or without hack looks great for video and is cheap enough to complement the 550D

This is what the cold winter months and time to read video/photo magazines does! It questions all your past purchases and encourages you to buy more. I think I will see how much a second hand GH2 goes for on eBay and buy one and look to sell some of my gear that I don’t use.

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