The Craft of Creating a GoPro Launch Video

The Craft of Creating a GoPro Launch Video

Ryan Truettner, a Senior Production Artist at GoPro, has an extremely insightful look at the production of the latest GoPro launch video for the new HERO4 Session.

He was also behind one of my all time favorite GoPro videos, the launch video for the HERO4.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

Start with a palette first. When planning their shoot, the GoPro team starts with color first, to make sure there’s enough visual variety to ‘cleanse the palette,’ then they pick the locations from there.

Efficient shooting. There’s some good production tips, but my favorite is their use of the 80/20 rule. The example Ryan gives is a 10 pitch rock climb in Zion. They had three days to shoot the climbers. Rather than start at the bottom and hope they have great light and weather at the dramatic top, they started at the top first then got whatever extra shots they had time for.

Using portals. Portals are the signature GoPro transition or wipe where the lens gets obscured from dirt or water and cuts to another scene. Ryan has some great breakdowns and uses of the specific transition, along with how to edit eight storylines into a cohesive video.

Be sure to read the whole article for a lot more insight into GoPro’s production.

Source: The Science Behind a GoPro Launch Video — RyanTruettner.com

Adobe Morph Cut vs Avid Fluid Morph – Jump Cut Test

Adobe just released a slew of updates across the board for their Creative Cloud apps. One of the big ones in Premiere that I’ve been looking forward to for a while is the Morph Cut transition. This transition is designed to stitch together a jump cut in an interview to mask the cut. Well, that’s the idea at least.

The only thing similar to this that existed before is Avid’s Fluid Morph in Media Composer. Fluid Morph works really, really well. So well that I downloaded the trial of Media Composer to clean up some jump cuts from Dolphin Lover, then export them back to FCPX.

But since I’m a Creative Cloud subscriber, it’d be nice to have this tool permanently in my arsenal. So I exported the same clips I ran Fluid Morph on to try out Morph Cut and compare how it handles the edits.

Check out the side by side comparison in the video above.

My impression from this test: Avid’s Fluid Morph is still hands down the better option. I’d say out of all the cuts, Adobe Morph Cut maybe did an acceptable job on a third of the edits, and they were definitely the least noticeable jump cuts.

The biggest issue is Morph Cut won’t work under 12 frames (what I found from my testing). The trick of masking the cut is to make the transition really quick – usually 6 frames in Avid works really well. When I would do a six frame transition in Premiere, I’d get this error.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 12.35.39

When the transition is too long, the video and audio stop syncing because the transition is starting while the A side clip is still talking, giving away the effect.

Bottom line – Morph Cut works on very subtle jumps but still has a ways to go before being as reliable as Fluid Morph.

Getting all those Kickstarter rewards out with Shyp

Getting all those Kickstarter rewards out with Shyp

Though we live in a digital world, for anyone that’s run a Kickstarter campaign, the reality of manufacturing and shipping is a frustrating, hair pulling event.

Obviously if your campaign is for a product this is to be expected, but I’m specifically focusing on films because, you know, that’s what I do. DVDs, posters, t-shirts: most Kickstarter film campaigns have physical goods involved which need to be made and eventually shipped.

As a one man band this can get costly and time-consuming. For Strike, one of the rewards included a bowling pin. But I only had to ship 5. Thinking about buying the boxes and packing material for such a low quantity, I knew it would either be pretty costly, eating up about 15%-20% of the cost of the reward, or I’d have a shit ton of boxes and packing material lying around from buying bulk.

So once I finally got the bowling pins and DVDs and posters together, it sat for a good month or two as I delayed trying to figure out how to ship them.

Then came the magic of the internet. I had been seeing ads for Shyp for a few weeks, mainly since they launched in Miami. For $5 they come to your house, pick up what you need to ship, and take care of the rest. You just pay the carrier fee (they price shop based on the weight and go with the lowest) on top of the $5 service charge.

I gave it a shot with something else I had been meaning to ship. Now I assumed that it was a $5 service fee per package. So when the Hero (Shyp’s name for their package pickup team) arrived I chatted about the service fee and found out that no, it’s not per package but per pickup. That’s the cost for them to go to your place. The number of packages doesn’t matter. He gave an extreme example that you could move your apartment for $5. Don’t think I’ll go that route next time I need to move but good to know.

As soon as I heard that it’s unlimited packages it wasn’t hard to guess where my thoughts went.

So I got back onto Shyp and started adding every reward that needed shipping. The annoying part was individually taking a picture of each shipment and typing every address out on my phone. A bulk upload feature would be nice but I realize this is probably an unusual use for the app.

I submitted to Shyp, the Hero arrived, we put each shipment into it’s own bag and he took it all away. Later that night I got an email confirmation saying everything had shipped along with tracking numbers. Weeks of procrastination finally over with a simple app.

You can use this promo link to sign up to get $30 credit towards a shipment (if you do ship I’ll also get $30 credit. Win / Win).

GH4’s Faux Pre-Roll Recording Mode

GH4’s Faux Pre-Roll Recording Mode

A month or so ago Panasonic released a firmware update to the GH4. The biggest feature that got a lot of buzz was a 1:1 shooting ratio, enabling better use of anamorphic lenses. But there was another interesting feature listed that caught my eye. Way down at the bottom of the new features list was this final note:

Loop Recording function is added, with which the camera keeps on recording video while deleting the old footage automatically.

After some research and talking to a Panasonic engineer, it is indeed like a pre-recording feature, though a little clunkier. If you turn the mode on and hit record, the camera will roll. Then once the clip hits the 10 minute mark, it will go delete the first 2 minutes of the clip while still recording.

So say you’re filming Planet Earth, trying to get a shark breaching the water. You’d start the camera and just let it record while you wait for the action. It will keep deleting the beginning of the clip while it records, adding the new footage to the end and just cycling through. Then when you get the action, you stop recording. So now you’ve got a 10 minute clip, of which the part you’re interested in is in the last minute or so.

Not as streamlined as a simple 30 second pre-roll buffer, but it can get the job done if you’re waiting for a quick action shot. Apparently there’s no plans right now to add an actual pre-roll mode.

The GH4 RAW Enigma & 4K Footage of an Owl Eating a Fish

The GH4 RAW Enigma & 4K Footage of an Owl Eating a Fish

GH4 arrived on Friday. I took it out to Big Cypress National Preserve to give it a spin and play with the Panasonic 100-300mm 4-5.6 lens I rented.

This isn’t a camera review post but overall the camera was great. I shot a lot of stills and some 4K video. Below you can see an owl chowing down on a fish. The stabilization is amazing – this was all handheld at 100mm or 300mm (that’d be 200mm to 600mm in 35mm).

Out in the field I connected the SD card to the iPad to see what would happen. The pictures popped up along with the 4K video, which surprised me. I imported a clip and it would play fine if I kept the playback controls up. But if I touched the screen to clear them out of the way the video went black. Instagram didn’t know what to do with the video file, even if I trimmed it and had the iPad export a new clip.

So when I get home I pull up the card, click import in Lightroom, and then…nothing. The only stuff that would import was the 4K video files. Lightroom or Photoshop wouldn’t read the RAW files and neither would Preview. This isn’t unusual with new cameras – they each have their own flavor of RAW and updates catch up the software. So it’s just an annoying waiting game.

But then I remembered the iPad. The images appeared but I never imported them to see if they would load. So I bring them back up, import a few, and they totally showed up and imported fine. Lightroom Mobile wouldn’t read them, but iPhoto had no problem. And I was only shooting RAW, not RAW + JPEG, so these weren’t the JPEGs loading.

White Ibis

I went ahead and processed this image of a White Ibis. No idea why the iPad is totally fine handling these files while nothing on the Mac is (except for Panasonic’s software, where you could convert the RAW files to another format), but good to know.

Double Barrel Interview Rig

Double Barrel Interview Rig

A MacGyver 3-D rig? No.

Double Rig

I adapted this hack from a post on the NY Times Lens blog from photographer Doug Mills. It lets me get a wide and close-up shot simultaneously while doing one man band interviews.

I simply mount my GH2/GH3 directly on top of my Sony EX1. I keep the EX1 wide and put a 50mm on the GH for a tight shot with soft focus. The EX1 has the added advantage of also recording the audio. Two cameras, one set of sticks, one operator.

Of course you could always punch in on an HD clip, but this lets you maintain full resolution.

Obviously you’ll need two camera bodies, and one should be a DSLR or something light. You’ll also need a micro ball head.

In post I sync all the angles as a multicam clip. I originally sync’d them as a compound clip in FCPX, but this was harder to work with.

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