So, over the course of the last month or so, I’ve been shooting a music video for Jack Roscoe, who’s known as Northern Introvert.
It’s been a learning experience, to say the least. At least a dozen locations, 5 characters, flash backs, coordinating, traveling, trying out new equipment and, now, editing.
We’re 95% finished with shooting footage. Just a couple of straggler shots, nothing too serious. The bulk of the video’s been edited, and I’ve been tweaking it like a mad man.
First cut, I wanted to jump out the window. I was not happy with it at all, and figured I’d failed at even the simple task of creating a reasonable pace. Now, don’t get me wrong… that isn’t a simple task. But, having listened to the track about 72 times, written out the script, timed the shots… I figured there was at least something that would flow reasonably.
I was wrong.
At least, I was wrong the way it was cut. I shared the video with my producer, Producer Julie, and she said “I love our video!”
So… one of us was wrong. Julie’s been cutting down on the drinking, so I thought she’d lost part of her mind.
I did a re-edit, watched it three more times, and I saw something interesting.
You see, the song is set up in a nice 16 second loop. I don’t know the music lingo, but there is tempo change, or whatever you’d call it, every 16 seconds. So, I did what anyone who is given a problem to solve would do. I shut the computer off, grabbed a bunch of groceries that had to be returned, and went to Whole Foods.
It was the walk, you see. Getting away from the computer, giving my mind something else to do, like shopping… I was able to clear the cache that was sticking in my head that the problem was insurmountable… came back fresh, with a cup of coffee and said “I have an idea.”
A teacher of mine at SVA taught me that very simple lesson. His name was (is) Denny O’Neill. He was an editor/writer at Marvel for many years, and found that if he was having a hard time with a plot, or a story line, or characters, or whatever, he’d walk amongst the brownstones in Cobble Hill.
I’ve found, over the last few months, that those walks have helped clear my head, and allowed me to look at things without the THING being in front of me, easier.
I mentioned this before, but the storyline for the music video was broken up into 4-second clips.
What I was seeing was, there was no way to establish a character in 4-seconds, so that the audience would recognize them in future clips.
So, before the major change in the music, that changes the imagery of the video, I had 4 16-second parts to play with… and used that time to make a nice coherent and evenly paced story for each of the characters, so that when things changed, they’d be up to speed.
Worked like a charm. I was able to cut those 16 second clips into tighter mini-stories, and had a couple of awesome happy accidents along the way, that made the edits much tighter.
So, we’re almost there.
Why is this post called ‘Preferences on a 7d’? I’m glad you asked.
Last weekend, I shot a web series for Marc Palmieri, who, if you’ve been watching commercials any time in the last two or three years, is a successful commercial actor. I was referred to him by the creator of Off Off.
Now, there are many facets to filmmaking. I purchased a camera so that I would be responsible for the look of what I was shooting. I enjoy being behind the camera. But I don’t know much about it. I’m learning, as I go.
The first thing I knew I had to do was get the settings just right on the camera. Out of box, there are a couple of settings that I was told need to be fixed, so that you would get a flatter picture, which is easier to color correct in post.
I had no fucking idea what in the hell any of that meant. Color correcting? It’s already IN color…
Yeah, super naive. Especially coming from someone who’s been working with Photoshop for 12 years.
So. I did some research, and I found this video.
After making presets, I went out into the world and started shooting 8 for Vegas.
One of the problems with 8 for Vegas was that I was constantly using a white balance setting (cannot remember it right now), because it was giving me a warmer video, and I thought that was cool. It takes place in a bar, and I figured that a duller video wouldn’t be as compelling.
The problem was, by using that white balance setting, changing things in post (at least, with my knowledge of post) was much more difficult. Whites were getting blown out, darks were turning black and making things look weird… and so I left the color correcting to a minimum.
But, as I’ve been using the camera in better lit situations, I’ve found that the flatter image I’ve been shooting with has produced some fantastic results with just a little bit of color correcting in FCP (3-way color correcting).
Here are two screen captures of the same scene from Marc’s webseries The Thing:
I couldn’t believe the difference. While I was shooting it, I didn’t really see the grayed out difference between what is coming out of the view screen and what the raw footage looks like. But once I did a little tweaking, the colors were more saturated, the blacks were crisper, and the whites looked more natural.
Oh, that’s Marc and his co-star Curzon Dobell, both of whom were phenomenal.
So, yeah. Those settings are pretty interesting. Takes some getting used to, but I’ve been looking at past footage, like the music video, and tweaking the footage, and I’m quite happy with it.
There are color correcting software programs out there, like Magic Bullet… I’d like to get my hands on that one of these days. But I’m not ready, and I’m unemployed again. So, I’ve got that going for me.
Thanks for reading!