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Old October 12th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #1
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Fun with Fleet Week

Shot video of Fleet Week here in San Francisco last weekend. Every day of this week I drove to and from work, pondering editors block - "Now what the hell am I supposed to do with a bunch of planes flying around in circles...?"

Then I found the right music..

Hope it's anywhere near as enjoyable to watch as it was to piece together.

Two apologies right off the bat:

No tripod, balancing on the bow of a 40' yacht.
Still at the bottom of the learning curve.

http://www.gotagteam.com/WEB_PAGES/F..._Hilights.html
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Old October 12th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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Eric:

Nice job: I shot an air show in Sacramento that include the Blue Angels two years ago, kept putting FX1 on and off tripod. Trying to get best shot. On the tripod, its hard to keep up when they coming screaming by....

Never did see something like that jets skimming the bay waters... wow.
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Old October 12th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #3
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Coo...........

When you picking up your Oscar?

Geez, if that's at the bottom of the curve, look out Hollywood, there's trouble coming!

Well done.


CS
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Old October 13th, 2007, 01:30 AM   #4
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I'm sure in six days time I'll be embarrassed over this project. Always the way for me, but I guess that's learning.

Right now though? Big grin.. Many thanks guys
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Old October 13th, 2007, 04:57 AM   #5
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Jeez, those planes must need windshield wipers to deal with the salt spray! Great editing and fine work from the deck of a boat. Did you shoot in HD? If so, you might have enough resolution to use something like DeShaker to stabilze the footage.
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Old October 13th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Did you shoot in HD? If so, you might have enough resolution to use something like DeShaker to stabilze the footage.
I SO wish I knew about any program that could help with the shakes. I tried the image stabilization filter in FCP 5.1.4 but honestly, at least the ways that I tried it, it made the clips even worse. I can feel this next lesson coming on now.. Thanks
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Old October 13th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #7
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Not bad at all. I'm up in Davis for school, so I missed fleet week.
Looks like, for once, the fog didn't get in the way of the blue angels.

Your editing is good and a lot of the footage is good.

However, some suggestions about the shots:

1. A steadycam might help you compensate for the boat moving under you. As it sways the weight below the camera would adjust with gravity and while it would not make the shot completely stationary it would at least but a lot smoother. I'm thinking about using the semi-famous "$14 steadycam", not something professional, and this might work better than a large rig as it is so simple and based on gravity. See link here:
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/

2. Regardless of the boat shaking [completely understandable], there were a few ugly zooms.
There are 3 types of zooms that make sense in video work:
1) slow [generally] zooms that follow the action, such as a plane approaching. Unmotivated zooms look awkward and as if the cameraman wasn't following the subject on screen. Sometimes a very slow establishing zoom can be effective, too.
2) Fast quick fix zooms to get the shot that are NOT to be used in the final product. This is when the subject goes out the frame, quickly zoom out, find it, zoom back in, and be sure to cut that from the final edit.
3) Though most of the time they just look terrible, sometimes zooms can be used for stylistic effect, from a POV shot to a snap zoom into the action (in a couple places, this would work with the planes), etc., but generally stay away from these.

The audience should never have the feeling "oh, he was trying to find the right shot" when watching your final edit.
Again, either be sure that what you're filming is usable-- make slow adjustments and make it smooth, or do some very quick work to reframe the video and be sure to cut that.


Don't take this as some sort of lecture or complaint... just trying to be helpful.

The video is quite good in many ways.

I would not have minded some more closeups, but I realize how incredibly hard that would be with the shooting environment.
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Old October 14th, 2007, 10:19 AM   #8
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I like Eric, so I don't think it's a good idea strapping him to steadicam on a rocking boat in SF bay. Not only might we lose Eric, but think of the poor HD200!

I agree with the comment about zooming. For me, the three times to use a zoom are, in no particular order, never, never, and never. But sometime you just gotta I guess.

The musical selection is excellent, picking the right music is tricky and not something anyone can just do.

William Goldman said that the noir classic "Chinatown" didn't show well to test audiences. They could not figure it out why the film didn't work. Finally they changed to scoring, and wala. The rest is movie history.

William Goldman http://imdb.com/name/nm0001279/
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Old October 14th, 2007, 11:22 AM   #9
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You guys are great to offer constructive criticism. Thank you very much. I know I have a lot to learn and this site is a great place to do it.

Two things;

1 - I would have LOVED more and closer closeups too, but as you can see, any time I zoomed in what I saw in the viewfinder made it look like I was wrestling a pit bull while I was shooting. That boat was really moving. As it is I almost fell off the bow twice and there weren't even any girls around.

Then, (still on zooming) I have grown very fearful of zooming way in with this lens. I've had some bad science fiction type experiences with C-A and now have nightmares at least twice a week that my wife has green teeth.

2 - While I did have a spotter calling out approaching shot opportunities, sometimes, I still found myself moving all over the boat searching the sky. Sometimes I shot from the stern but when they flew straight up and over I'd end up shooting the under-side of the fly bridge. Then I'd get set in the perfect spot on the bow and the wind would turn the yacht around.

On the shot of the two jets doing that power-stall maneuver, I actually had that shot nailed pretty good - until the bridge got in the way. Then I had to abort mid shot, run to the other side of the bow while jumping over the anker, then set up and shoot again. That was one of the coolest moments, but worst shots - to me.


I tried using auto aperture because I found it difficult to expose the shots evenly as I followed the jets all over the sky. Definitely that option, on this camera, is worthless. Horrible results. I also couldn't use the eye-piece and trigger zoom because I found it very difficult to maintain my swaying balance while concentrating on the shot - especially if they flew straight over our heads. Those were the two falls I almost had. I found what worked best for me under these extreme circumstances was to hold the camera mid torso, using the flip-out viewfinder with my right hand holding the top handle, then my left palm bracing itself on the rail of the mattebox while my pinkey focused, my middle finger zoomed, and my pointer finger constantly worked the aperture.

I'm shocked that anything came out. Complete madness

Brian, I'm with you on the score. All I could do was stare at the screen and wonder how to mix the Red Baron, sailboats, and a few angry jets - until I found that CD
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