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Old January 29th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #1
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My First 5D2 Paying Gig

Vino Veritas on Vimeo
I'm definitely open to constructive criticism. I'm always looking to learn more and get better at this craft.

This was shot using my brand new (1 month old) Canon 5D Mark ii. It was my first time using the camera on a real project.

Vino Veritas is a wine bar in Riverside California. The shooting experience was awesome. Everyone there was exceedingly nice and gracious about having a camera rolling on opening night.
Since I was shooting with the 5D, and in a nice wine bar, I opted to avoid using any light kits. This made for some harsh shadows, but kept the real ambiance of the location.

I shot with a Red Rock Follow Focus, and had the RR Matte Box on it as well, mainly for looks, in this particular case. The FF was a big help in this low-light, short DOF condition.
I only brought two lenses, both Nikons with a FotoDiox adapter: a 55mm f/1.8 and a 105mm f/1.8.

All was edited in Vegas Pro 8c using the Cineform codec. The original 5D2 footage was converted to Cineform using Gearshift from VASST.
I opted for 720-30p because I knew it was going to be played on a big-screen plasma TV for a city council meeting and then here on Vimeo.
Editing in that format was a dream.
Very little CC was done. In some cases I actually had to bring my exposure down a bit, due to the 5D2 great low light compatibilities. I tweaked CC on only 2-4 other clips, adding Curves or Levels and was still editing in real-time. Very nice.

If the video stutters here at all, I apologize. The original is, as mentioned 30p, and I've heard Vimeo shows in 24p. The conversion isn't always pretty, from what I've been told.
This is my first Vimeo showing, so this is all new. I hope you like it.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 02:02 PM   #2
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Excellent photography but....

....the edit could have been a bit tighter; meaning:

when the voice-over talent is speaking about the specific wine brands along with the specific menu / food dishes, it might have been nice to see close up shots of those particular items.

Otherwise, keep up the great work...especially if you're getting paid for it!!
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Old January 29th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #3
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Nicely done, Rodney! The pictures are beautiful.

Since you asked for constructive criticism, I'll nit pick a bit...

On the first interior shot, you pan to the left, but since the patrons are on different focal planes, not everybody is in focus as my eyes move to the left. A smaller aperture (if possible, given the light) would have been good there. It would take a fine touch to pull focus just right on that shot.

My only other comment was that the piece seemed episodic when it fades to black with no audio. It wasn't clear if these were separate ads, or just a discontinuity. Bridging the segments with music or other audio would make the piece more whole, if that's what's desired.

As I said, these are nits. The photography is beautiful, and the 5D MkII was clearly the right tool for this particular job.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old January 29th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #4
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Matthew - nice work. 5D seems to be good fit for this. Have you done much of this type of work (short web based commercials for local businesses)? I was thinking of venturing into this as another revenue stream. I'm doing a proof of concept shortly with a local salon. There is an outfit call Turnhere that does these in volume by recruiting local videographers to do the shoot and edit. I don't know what their fees are.

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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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Cool Stuff

Hey Matthew,

Bob Jones here. (Skycrane)

Gotta say, very well done.

Matthew, have to ask, do you have any shots of the set-up using the 5D2 for the shoot?


Bob Jones
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the Replies and positive comments.
And thanks for the constructive ideas too!

You're absolutely right! I would have LOVED to shoot what the VO was speaking about. Problem was, I expected the script to be done well ahead of time. When it wasn't done by the day of the shoot, I knew I was hosed. It was then (the night of the shoot) that the client asked me if I could write the script.
So the bottom line is, I was just doing generic coverage at that point. In Post, I did the best I could in matching the shots I had to the VO we came up with after the fact.
I did get lucky in my "Faust" shot. The client wanted to mention that wine, and I happened to have a decent shot of it.

I don't mind nit picks at all - especially when they're like yours: well thought out to help me get better.
I totally agree about my interior wide shot. I surely wish I had rack focused along my path. I'm totally regretting not. NEXT time.

It was an artistic choice to "compartmentalize" the segments. I can see your point totally and now think I should have made a different choice. I tried to get the music to change with each new segment/thought, but I can see how that might have not worked like I wanted.

Yes, I sort of this this for a living. I have a few pieces that are this long, but basically I'm a cable commercial producer/director. For this kind of thing, I'm usually a one-man-band for this kind of thing. In this case, though, since I had never shot with the 5D2 before, I asked a buddy of my friend to back me up. He shot with an XL-A1 while I was shooting with the 5D2. That way, I could totally fail and I'd still have the footage he shot - which looked good, but ... well, it wasn't the 5D2... ;-)
I work for the local cable company, so that's now I make my bread and butter. I'm able to freelance on the side, though - as long as there is absolutely no conflict of interest - which means if it doesn't go on the cable networks, I can do it.

As nutty as this camera makes me with it making me fight for exposure control, I have to say, it was a lot of fun to shoot with and be able to do things I've never been able to do before, like true rack focusing and shooting in this kind of low light environment (the camera actually made the place look brighter than it really was).

Thanks again for the comments and thoughts!
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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It's great overall, but there are some naggling issues. So, I'm gonna be honestly honest here.

The first shot, the outside of the store, you hold way too long, so long that you still have moving footage but you've stopped zooming (see: awkward). Please cut away before the zoom-in stops or time stretch the shot so we dont see the zoom stop. It's the very first shot, and it sets a bad precedent.

Overexposed shots. There were some great shots of the dishes, but I was distracted by the white plates being blown out.....opt for lighting next time? ...even if it's just a small soft box for fill.

Lastly, There's some confusing composition (as mentioned), where the subject matter of the shot isn't always clear, as it is almost out of frame, or awkwardly cropped, or too out of focus.

Hope this doesn't sound too harsh, I only say it, because most of it looks so good. So the shots that aren't up to par end up hurting the rest of the piece.

A little color correction here, and a little bit tighter editing and lighting control there, and the overall quality of the piece would increase dramatically.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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Sorry I didn't see your entry there.
Thanks for the kind words.

I do have a few pix of the camera, but I'm not sure how to post them yet. Give me 12 hours and, if nothing else, I'll put 'em on my web site in a simple directory.

Thanks for the comments.

The zoom you're referring to is a post/digital zoom (I shot everything with primes). I held that long for the VO. I could have made the zoom last longer, since it as done in post, but I felt settling was a good thing. Artistic difference is all.
The overexposed shots; yeah, I didn't know what to do about that in the field... And in post I am not a skilled enough grader to know how to knock those highlights down without affecting the overall image. Since it was all run'n'gun, I didn't control it like I might have wanted. That was all nat lighting. The solution, upon reflection, would have been to hold some diffusion over the plate to knock it down a bit. Same with the lady's blond hair.

As for the composition, I'll have to take another look. I'm not sure what you're referring to.

"Too harsh?" Not at all. It's my job to get better and bring a higher quality product each time I go out. This can only help. Everyone here is so nice in the way they present their crits, I'm honored to be on the receiving end.

Thanks very much!
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:12 AM   #9
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Good work Matthew,

I think the 5DMKII is perfect for shoots such as this.

I recognize the voice over.
She's been used in many commercials I've done.

Check out the commercial section on my website and click the spot for Fashion Careers Intl.
It's her right?
I only did camera so I couldn't tell you who she is.

I used to freelance for Charter Communications out in Irwindale, but when
the ad sales dept. switched over to Time Warner, they laid off the producers that would hire me.

Let me know if you ever need any help!

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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bill Petropoulos View Post
I used to freelance for Charter Communications out in Irwindale...
Ah yes. Home of the Irwindale Potato (river rocks), the Miller Brewery, and no wine bars as nice as Vino Veritas. ;)
Jon Fairhurst
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Old January 30th, 2009, 01:05 AM   #11
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I've posted some REALLY down-and-dirty shots of my rig. We shot just a few the day we built it (Brian Valente from RedRock was MONUMENTALLY helpful). Things not shown here are the side wings, the whip or speed crank (well, that's on order) or monitor.
I opted to keep my 18in. rods so I can mount an Anton Bauer brick back there to power the camera and monitor (and whatever else).
The shots can be seen at:
Index of /canon5d2
I want to take some better shots soon. Those I won't post in such a reckless manor.

Hi Bill, and thanks!

Yeah you must have worked with Angie, Phil and the rest. I used to be Charter, but TW brought me over in the merger.

The VO by Maureen M from They're a good lot, InternetJock. I use them quite a bit.
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Old February 1st, 2009, 09:55 PM   #12
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Hey Matthew. Thanks for sharing.

Overall, I think you did a nice job and the camera has some clear images.

My first question is if you got releases or permission to film all of the people in the bar?

My other thoughts are about the DOF. The option to use available light because of the 35mm sensor size is very tempting but by the end of the video I was worn out by the ultra shallow DOF.

I think this is an effect and should be used when needed.

For instance, the shots of the wine being poured out of the dispenser is a great time to use shallow DOF. Your subject is only the wine and the glass with everything else just there.

As opposed to the panning shots of the entire room where most of your subjects are out of focus.

I realize that adding lighting would kill the mood, but that is kind of why I aksed if you had releases. Because if people are acting, then adding light is expected.

My overall point is to see the 35mm capabilites as a tool that has impact but can be overused.

I could see the 5DII along side an EX-1 as a great combo. Get the deeper DOF shots & audio with the EX-1. Shoot stills and specialty shots with the 5DII.

Quite an outfit for around $10,000
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 10:32 AM   #13
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Hi Tim.

You're right. I should have had a deeper DOF on a few more shots. 3 come immediately to mind... Maybe more.

The event was an Open House and was mainly had City Council members, so I didn't feel lighting was appropriate in this case.
No specific Release Form was signed, though I did have several "We're Videotaping Tonight..." etc. signs up on many obvious location). Even with that kind of crowd, I would often put up a couple 1K lights on corners, bouncing off the ceiling just to brighten the place a bit without loosing it's atmosphere. Unfortunately, however, this location had a black ceiling, so the bounce would not have worked.

Still, this was viewed once for a council meeting, and then only on Vimeo as an example of 5D2 work. It's served it's purpose as first a showcase for the biz and now a learning tool.

Thanks very much for your comments. I appreciate hearing them. I'm always in the mood to learn.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #14
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Did they have any gripes/odd looks/questions about doing video with a photo camera?

As far as critiques, looks great, only thing I'll say is

1. A few too many back to the camera shots where the person is not facing you at all and you just see the back/back of their head.

2. Some framing issues where the person/wine is a bit too far on the egde and coupled with number 1 = shot could go.

3. A few rack focuses were cut a bit too soon, such as when you focused on the wine label, then it cuts before the logo settles in.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #15
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Hi Gary. Thanks for the crits. I will definitely be using all thoughts on future projects.

As for "Did they have any gripes/odd looks/questions about doing video with a photo camera?"
A) They trust me. B) I went in with confidence and that goes a long way to promoting confidence in the client. C) If you look at my rig (pics linked above), you see it doesn't look like just any 35mm DSLR; With the rails and matte box (RedRock gear), the camera looks pretty impressive.

Thanks again!
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