2015 and out

Wake up at 730am, check my sleep app, I've only had 5 hours and feel shattered, I drift back into a deep sleep until 11am when I'm woken by the door bell and an Amazon delivery. I grab tea, toast and jump back into bed to answer emails. I edit till another delivery arrives, it's the new SLR Magic Sony E Mount 50mm f/1.1 lens, within 10 mins I've taken a few photos of Imogen to see how the lens feels and I immediately love it. I'll test it our more over the next few weeks before I use if for 'work', early signs are good though.

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The SLR Magic 50mm f/1.1 on my A7Sii body, I grabbed the variable ND filter made for it as well so I can use that incredible DOF in daylight if I want to

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Imogen waking up after a long sleep. All these were taken at around ISO 10,000

I go back to the NYC edit, after key-wording last night, laying out my outline from the keywords this morning and adding in where my b-roll collections will sit I lay out my timeline very quick, clean up the cut points, equalise audio (manually, still one tool I'd love to see in FCPX to be able to equalise a project with one click) and grade.

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On the left is my very basic outline for my string-out in FCPX and on the right is the same page but I've added in which b-roll I will use where. Below you can see the keywords on the left in my browser window while I edit. A lot more keywords than in my notebook but you'll notice a lot are grouped together. Sometimes at this stage a key-worded section gets left out if I don't feel it will fit in the story.

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I finish the grade around 4pm and start uploading the massive 4GB file to YouTube (it's in 4K and is over 8 minutes, hence the size). While that is going on in the background I package up a load of photos from the year and send them to the team for social media as I'm going to be away from wifi for a few weeks.

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Brad in Australia at the beginning of 2015, Fuji X-T1 and the incredible 56mm f/1.2 lens, my favourite stills combination of the year

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A final run through of the New York Video on my iMac, room lighting via the Phillips Hue I have behind my monitor and sound via these awesome desktop speakers

I order a Chinese as Soph is heading out with friends and switch on the 1989 Tour film on Apple Music. As usual, I can't sit and do nothin', so I head back to the edit suite and add to my film grab file from the New York video.

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A few stills from the video

The blog will be taking a break until into January now as I will be taking a break and be without wifi I think. Many thanks to all of you who read and comment either here or on Twitter and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Nodes

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Woke at 7am, checked emails, checked my 2Do list for the day and quickly viewed it in my 3 days focus mode before falling back to sleep till 1015. Allowed myself a few hours more sleep than usual as I know nothing is pressing for the next few days. Still lots to do, but deadlines have passed and i'm in finishing/pre travel to America mode.

Edited [natch] till 6pm. Today I started and finished the Kingston signing video (it will be live on the AAA digital site first, i'm not sure when or how long for). Found out my Sony Wireless packs, or one of them, has an issue and took longer than expected resolving audio problems, some of it could not be resolved. Luckily i'd shot enough to still make a 4min plus video from the night, and I had audio backup from my shotgun mic. Was a tough edit. Horrible lighting meant I was removing casts from all the clips. Thankfully Davinci Resolve makes this easier. In the end I rode with the green and gave it a cold feel in the mids/shadows whilst warming the highlights with more yellow (= less blue in the RGB party side of things). Here's some screenshots of the grade below...

Alt textAlt text Before and after : A basic grade in the live edit, adding contrast, protecting the highlights and revealing some shadow data at the same time. Also removed some green and removed some blue-cool from the highs.. Notice the addition of my edit layers, or in Davinci's case 'Nodes' in the panel on the right Alt textAlt textAlt text Split screen editing to make sure i'm keeping everything looking simialr where I can. I'm also matching up the files from the FS7 and A7SII on one of those screens Alt textAlt text One final before and after screenshot, this time i've made James 'pop' from the background a little more by seperating the shadows and mids but maintaining the overall feel of the grade.

100+%

me filming

Have spent all of today, well 95%, maybe 94%... keywording and selecting in and out points in FCPX ready for editing the behind the scenes for the new Rest Your Love music video tomorrow[^1] . Before I edit, that is start to build my story in the timeline, I have a meticulous workflow in the browser window for every video I work on. It goes a little like this :

  • Transcode my files to proxy. Especially if I'm working with 4K footage.
  • Keyword, and make a note of my keywords in a notebook[^2] as I go.
  • Favourite, gives the clip a green line in the browser, I can then constantly check my favourite pieces are all making it into the edit.
  • Finish the puzzle, which basically means I write down the order of my keywords in to a 'storyline', more often than not a chronology, but sometimes I mix it up.
  • String Out, but more than that, after all that prep before this stage, more often than not this is my rough cut.

The other 5 (or 6, yes I remember) percent of the day was spent setting up my new 6S Plus. I've gone back to the bigger screen, I just love seeing videos and images bigger, I can't help myself, it's just the way I am. I've also been reading some of my followers tweets about the DVD's and it makes me really happy to know people are enjoying it that much they take the time to tweet me, it means an awful lot. I guess that would mean, if my maths are correct (spot the irony), that my day consisted of me spending over 100% of my time doing something. Which to be honest, is just a normal day right now. By the way, I miss being behind the camera, hence the chosen picture for this post :)


[^1]: The video will be released next week. I'm just editing it tomorrow.

[^2]: Always made by either Field Notes or Baron Fig if you're interested.

Tuesday 7th October

I get up around 9am, grab some tea and hit the emails. I catch up on a bunch i’d had to put aside as i’d been too busy to reply which is nice, I don't like leaving people waiting. That done I shower, grab coffee and then setup my edit suite to go about starting the edit on the DVD trailer. Around 12pm I have the first minute in my timeline, I grab some more tea and write some scripts for the boys to voice over tomorrow in Brighton at the venue. That done i’m itching to look through some footage from last night’s shoot so I load up the hard drive and get to work. I change the folder structure to suit my own workflow and go about converting the MXF C300 files to ProRes as FCPX doesn't like them in their native state.

Because of the screen problem we had last night, I go about arranging a reshoot of the main wide angle tomorrow. First thing I do is contact our head of production Iain to check if the stage will be the same. He replies straight away saying ‘almost’, that’s good enough for me, I figure people won’t mind if one angle isn’t from Birmingham! It’s better than watching an LCD screen glitch for 6 songs. Next, I ring the guys and tell them they need their DVD clothes for the show. When I get hold of Brad we hit a problem, he's is at his parents house about 200 miles from Brighton, so I call All Saints and track his shirt down, saving one in a shop in London which is near where Joe lives so he can grab it before leaving tomorrow. I’m still converting files around midnight, but i’m almost asleep at my desk so I hit the hay after reading for a bit.

Wednesday 1st October

Wake around 8am, a little earlier than I wanted but it just means I can get more done. I get a text from James after checking my emails in bed summoning me to breakfast. I go for the un healthy but satisfying pancakes with a cup of tea and we chit chat for an hour or so. Back in my room I switch on the laptop and perform my daily ritual of going through my to-do list app on my iPhone (I use ‘Clear) and writing down on paper what my top three priority jobs for the day are. Sometimes choosing three isn’t very easy, but I do this so I know what I need to get done as opposed to what i’d like to work on.

That done I rip through the first three in no time. I send a quick email out to management checking a graphic over a video, to which Richard arrives at my room a few minutes later and we make live changes in Final Cut while he stays, he says it’s good, and I export the ProRes file. One of the best things with editing in ‘X’ is the fact I can live edit and playback at the same time, it’s great for your client to see the change right in front of their eyes and it’s equally awesome for you, the editor, getting sign off on a project while they are stood with you.

I then go into another project where I need to do some sound design. I really like the Channel equaliser in FCPX, it helps me pick out voice frequencies when working on dialogue so if there’s any background noise I can find it’s frequency and pull the sound down from it. Vital if you are a ‘run and gun’ documentary style shooter. Sound done, I nip to the restaurant and grab a latte, i’m feeling tired today, it’s most probably because I stayed up late reading last night, need to try and get to sleep earlier tonight. I get back to my room and answer a few emails, and then the hotel concierge calls to let me know a delivery has arrived and asks if they can bring it to me, it’s this…

I put it aside for a bit while I finish my jobs and then go for a meeting before we head off for the Apollo in Manchester. As soon as we arrive I get batteries on charge for the Sony FS700 I'm using tonight and tomorrow to get some slow motion footage for the DVD trailer. With the canon 24-70 on it its a beast of a setup, I shoot a few passes in sound check mainly of Tristan and then grab food from catering. Pre show me and Brad mess about with a football we found (as kids do) and then its show time. I shoot the show in 400 fps Super-Slow Motion which looks great, but comes with an issue. When you hit record, the camera buffers the footage and then when the 8 second recording maximum is reached the internal system records the buffered 8 seconds, which takes around a minute and 20 seconds. On that basis, shooting a live show, you get two 8 second super slow motion shots per song (at a push on some songs, three). So you have to make it count basically! Once the show is finished we jump on the bus and head back to the hotel where I offload footage, order food and then jump into bed to watch The Inbetweeners.