Behind the scenes - From the Sea to the Peak at DVinfo.net

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Old February 1st, 2007, 05:55 AM   #1
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Behind the scenes - From the Sea to the Peak

Hello all.
Some of you wondered how I did the shooting in my video.

I will try to explain how I do things. My point is that nothing of my shooting technique is difficult to archieve. Most of all you need to have an eye for compositions and act fast when you see something gonna happend.

I often do some reconnaissance to find places with nice backgrounds. To be on the right place to the right time is essential. Even if the weather is bad in the morning I often take off and wait for something to happend, often nothing at all happend and all the waiting was futile. This is very common to wildlifephotographers. But you never give up, next time you got that shoot you waited so long for!

The most important when I shoot wildlife is to use a steady tripod. The more heavy and sturdy the more steady your footage will be. If your tripod is light you can take with you some baskets, fill them with sand or stones etc. and hang them on to your tripod. Also on windy days try to find some places behind rocks or similar where you can hide from the wind.

The second important thing is to bring with you warm clothing, if you gonna be out for many hours. Freezing is your worst enemy.

Third, read your camcorder manual and get known with all the possibilities. Do lot of practicing in different light and situations. Stay as much in manual mode as possible. In the end you should know your camcorder in such a way that even in total darkness you will be able to operate it!

Well, back to my uwol-contribution. Before I started to shoot I did some paperwork. Due to the bad weather I had to figure out several sketches what I wanted to film. Luckily some of my ideas was able to shoot.
The scenes from the beach was all shot in one day. This was a place I had never been before, so before shooting I was walking around to get a good view of the place. I did approx. 2 hours recording, from different angels and viewpoints. The light this day was extremely beautiful, so I think I get a nice mood in this sequence.
The Gulls was taken a windy day at a pier near the sea. The wind was so high that the gulls wasn't moving forward. That way it seems that I'm able to follow the gulls! A friend of mine was throwing some bread up in the air to attract as much gulls as possible. To get a steady and nice shoot I was hiding back my car from the heavy wind.
The scene from the peak was taken in an aeria I'm well known in. I knew that if the sun appeared I would get these nice shoots of the moving snow. The hard time of this shoot was the constant wind, even with a hugh amount of clothing it was veeery cold! There was no hide either, so luckily I had my steady tripod with me to get these nice shoot.
The timelaps of the clouds is taken with the camcorder running at the tripod in a place where no wind will disturbe. The miniDV/HDV is capable of taking up to 1 hour with footage. After logging the footage in to your pc/mac use your nle to speed it up to suit your likings.

Last, after logging your footage, go back to your sketch and find the most suitable footage. Try to get a story, it's important to have lots of cut-ins (details). Edit in a way that your eyes don't have to jump forth an back viewing the film. If you have natural sound try to use it as much as possible, but beware that wind is very difficult to capture in a nice way. In my film I have used wind from a soundFX I have.
If you use any music find something that support and emphasize the mood.

Hopefully you got some tip for the next challenge in what I have written. Feel free to ask more questions.

Best;
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Last edited by Per Johan Naesje; February 1st, 2007 at 09:32 AM.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 12:00 AM   #2
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Per,

Thanks for taking the time to share, all very good advice. did you use the standard lens??

Also when at the ocean did you use anything to protect your camera?

I was out tonight hunting for snowey owls and looking for a spot to film the moonrise to show how bleak it can be out here. It was -25 with a 35 to 40 km wind. I got some footage of a female snowey setting up in the wind like it was nothing. used the 1.6 canon multiplier and it jsut reminds me to get an ef adapter and heftier lens.

I had the tripod out and pressed into the snow with lots of minor movement from the wind even though I was behind a knoll and had it up on the leeward side of the truck. The idea of some sand bags is a great idea. That would have helped my heavey duty tripod!!!

thanks for sharing
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Old February 4th, 2007, 03:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen
Per,

Thanks for taking the time to share, all very good advice. did you use the standard lens??

Also when at the ocean did you use anything to protect your camera?
All footage was shoot with standard 20x HD lens + polarizationfilter. In some of the footage with direct sunlight I used the supplied ND filters in the lens.

It's VERY important to protect your camcorder and lens (and all other electronic equipment) if you are shooting at shore. There will be some amount of saltparticles in the air even in clear days. I use a Kata RC-10 for the Canon XLH1:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

I would love to come over to you to get some footage of the snow owls. Some have been observed in Norway from time to time but very few have been seen the past years!

Take care
Best;
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Old February 4th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #4
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Thank you Per Johan for generously sharing great advice with us all.

I believe everything you say about choosing the background carefully and I will have to use a tripod if I am ever to match the serene images you achieve. Please tell us a bit about using a tripod while tracking (although there is little sign of tracking in any of your footage). Part of the price I may always have to pay for tracking my vultures is that my moving backgrounds will remain an unsightly distraction.

Maybe if I knew how to control my depth of field then I could put my background completely out of focus? Q.1 Is that possible? Q.2 Is that possible using auto-focus? Q.3 Is that possible using manual focus? Q.4 Do you usually use manual focus? On re-reading your advice I note that you refer us to our instruction manuals and how right you are! There on p 75 of XM2 manual is a chunk "About the Iris" and depth of field. Typical me, I've never seen it before, but the sooner i understand it better. Any advice would be most welcome.

And then we may be ready to torture you on your techniques in "post"!
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Old February 4th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #5
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brendan,

Not to highjack the thread from Per as He can still answer, but what you will find is that the more open your aperature, requiring a faster shutter, the shallower your depth of field will be. Using a polizer filter will also require a more open aperature and therefore enhance your shallow depth of field. an easy way to adjust depth of field is to use aperature priority. Set the aperature as open as you can (smaller numbers). the problem with this is when you are shooting birds in the air is that if you do not want wing flutter then you are going to want a slower shutter speed, eg 60 or 100, then this makes the aperature smaller giving greater depth of field.
shutter speed and aperature arre relative to each other and there are constant trade offs. Try them all and see which combination you like best.

sense I shoot mostly flying birds with relatively fast wing beats I shoot mostly at 60 when ever possible. I hated the wing flutter and I like the constant moving though slightly blurred wings as that is how our eye sees it.

Now you vultures with a slower wing beat and a lot of soaring you could probably step up the shuitter and open up the aperature. Getting the perfect footage is never easy.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 03:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
I believe everything you say about choosing the background carefully and I will have to use a tripod if I am ever to match the serene images you achieve. Please tell us a bit about using a tripod while tracking (although there is little sign of tracking in any of your footage). Part of the price I may always have to pay for tracking my vultures is that my moving backgrounds will remain an unsightly distraction.
Brendan my friend, my advise about choosing a nice background is more about making establishing shoots, shoots to let the viewer be familiar with the surroundings, before you start to show close-ups or following birds in flight etc. When you follow birds in flight it's not possible to choose the background in any way. You have to take what you get and then in post choose the best for viewing.
Following birds in flight is one of the most difficult task you can do in wildlifefilming! So you have choosen a hard way to start Brendan! I'm still struggling to get this right, that's why you don't see so much of it in my films right now!

Dale, I think you explain the DOF very well (or exact what I would have told!).
Note, that I'm often using external ef-lenses wich gives much more narrow DOF than you get with the original camcorder lens. This is very nice when you want to emphasize the object from both foreground and background. But as I have been mention: it's very difficult to archieve this (maintain good focus) on moving objects! Using autofocus is out of the question, I'm using manual focus as much as possible. And when I use external ef-lens I have to focus manually cause the auto-focus dosn't work!

Well, hopefully this was some answers to your questions Brendan? I don't think getting wonderful wildlifefootage have an exact fasit. Only your own imagination and ability to fulfill this in a nice film is what applies.

Best;
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Old February 5th, 2007, 04:57 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Dale Guthormsen]
... the more open your aperature, requiring a faster shutter, the shallower your depth of field will be. Using a polizer filter will also require a more open aperature and therefore enhance your shallow depth of field. an easy way to adjust depth of field is to use aperature priority. Set the aperature as open as you can (smaller numbers).
.... shutter speed and aperature arre relative to each other and there are constant trade offs. Try them all and see which combination you like best.
/QUOTE]

Thank you Dale. I'll be experimenting ...
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Old February 5th, 2007, 05:05 AM   #8
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Quoting Per Johan ...
... choosing a nice background is more about making establishing shoots, shoots to let the viewer be familiar with the surroundings, before you start to show close-ups or following birds in flight etc.

This quote must be included in all future editions of The 10 Commandments.

Quoting Per Johan
When you follow birds in flight it's not possible to choose the background in any way. You have to take what you get and then in post choose the best for viewing.

I'm trying to figure out if this is or is not a contradicition of what Dale said.

Per Johan quote
... I'm often using external ef-lenses wich gives much more narrow DOF than you get with the original camcorder lens. This is very nice when you want to emphasize the object from both foreground and background. But as I have been mention: it's very difficult to archieve this (maintain good focus) on moving objects! Using autofocus is out of the question, I'm using manual focus as much as possible. And when I use external ef-lens I have to focus manually cause the auto-focus dosn't work!

Ah, that explains the difference, I think. Thank you very much Per Johan.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Johan
The Gulls was taken a windy day at a pier near the sea. The wind was so high that the gulls wasn't moving forward. That way it seems that I'm able to follow the gulls! A friend of mine was throwing some bread up in the air to attract as much gulls as possible. To get a steady and nice shoot I was hiding back my car from the heavy wind.
I had asked you about this previously, thanks for explaining it so well.
It is a beautiful shot...

Mike
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