Monthly Archives: July 2014

I am leaving you 7D I am really sorry…

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The 7D was purchased in 2010. For the past four years, we have been in every body of water in Hawaii, shot two award winning films, countless web videos and shot some pretty amazing stills.

But now, I think it’s over. Last year, I got the Panasonic Gh3. It is lighter small, has a weather resistant body and shoots 1080/60p. But I could never really get it dialed and I kept going back to the 7D. At the 2013 Molokai, I just never felt good using the camera. All of the footage was under exposed, the follow focus did not seem to track really well and I eventually put it away and went back to the 7D because I know that camera how it behaves and what to expect from it.

This year, I promised to give the Panasonic another shot. And really that camera shone in 2013 as an interview camera. It just LOOKED amazing with it’s 14mm lens and for what ever reason, Panasonic cameras just have a “vibe” to them. The Canon to me always had troubles with excess luma and sometimes a washed out image in certain light. The Panasonic on the other hand always kept itself more on the darker side, and even in neutral setting has wonderful contrast.

Then I shot in the channel and after looking at the footage, I think the Panasonic has the best video image. I used the 7D with a 100-300mm USM Zoom and the Panasonic on their mid grade 45-200MM zoom. The images in the 7D look extremely bright – like too bright and I can see and feel excess luma in the image. But the Panasonic on the other hand handled the glare off the water and was able to render a very true to life image. In addition, I just feel like the Panasonic image is just more “real” and looks more cinematic then the 7D. I ran the 7D in 720/60p to match my working time lines. Maybe in 24p it would have rendered a less bright image and it would have been better. But I don’t think so. Right now, I am pretty much in love with how the Panasonic image looks.

GH3 Action Shot

Now, I want to save my pennies and move up to the GH4 and have a full Panasonic fleet to chose from. Noted, I once had their HMC150 and that was my goto camera for years. I loved it’s 24p look, but hated the feeling of it’s plastic body and felt it’s image was always a little flat when compared to the 7D. But now, with this series, I am back to panasonic.

See if you can tell which images are panasonic and which are 7D in this edit from the Molokai 2014

Molokai 14 – BTS

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The Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships really is the super bowl of paddling. Each year, the best of the best of the best the rest show up on the small island of Molokai to take on the channel of bones. The channel is 32 miles of currents, swells, and is one of the most feared bodies of water in the world. What makes it so gnarly? It is deep. Really deep and it gets deep really quickly. Also, it is smack in the path of the ever present trade winds. Sometimes it can be a good run, but most times it is a side chop suffer fest. As big wave pioneer and all around waterman, Dave Kalama said of the finish, “it is the only race that gets harder as you get closer to the finish”. Why? When you finish you are fighting the refraction of water bouncing off Oahu, a current line and a head wind. In an interview one year Kalama called it ” Cruel and unusual punishment”.

The race started as a group of paddlers and surfers who just wanted to try it. That was 18 years ago and it was a handful of guys. Now, it is a world class event with international media coverage. This year after the race, we had footage going to ESPN, Australian National Broadcasting for the Morning Shows, and crews from all over the world shooting.

As the official producer for the race, it is a daunting task to cover it every year. But life is made a little easier with the help of Ocean Paddler Television in Hawaii and their capability to cover with their own boats and (gulp) helicopter. The day after the event is a made dash of hard drives being copied and cards being captured so we can collaborate on footage together.

I usually get to Hawaii a few days before the event to help the race committee (a small team of about 5 people handling 300 paddlers and 200 or so escort boats) with setting up registration and other pieces of the race. The first shooting day is the registration at Dukes, then we run off to the island. The Saturday before the race is always hectic trying to get in all of the athlete interviews. In previous years I have always over shot these interviews and this year, I committed to keeping everyone under 5 minutes. Mission accomplished – we ran interviews from 10am to 6pm…I shot over four and a half hours of interview footage featuring not just the top talent in the sports of paddleboard and SUP – but also a lot of the relay and solo people just going out to do the race. Those people are interesting to me, they have spent thousands to get here and are not doing it for any other reason but to do it. It’s special.

The morning of the race starts at 4:30am with packing gear and prepping for the swim to the boat. Yes you swim to the boat. There is no dock. So everything has to be in Pelican cases and dry bags. Luckily this year we had a ski to help taxi us out, but usually, it is a morning dip in the ocean. After the prayers and final instructions, we load up, run to the start and wait. Race morning is chaotic- from a production stand point, my goal is beach side interviews, shoot B roll and try to capture what it is like to be on the beach in the morning of the race. Not sure I have ever really done that. But hey, you have to try.

The rest of the day is spend bobbing around the channel trying not to fall on top of the other shooters on the boat. The water there is rough, very rough and when you are moving at around 5mph, you feel every bump. Shooting from a boat is a science in itself. I try not to drink coffee that morning — at least too much. One year I over did it and you can see it in the footage. I think boat shooting is by far the hardest thing you can do, and I have tried every device you can imagine to not get any shake – it’s ocean and you cannot beat it.

Once we wrap up the channel shooting, i scurry to the hotel to get out a Video News Reel for the international press. I usually don’t even shower till this reel is done. It is really a feat to accomplish getting footage exported within a few hours of the event. It was made a little easier this year as I used Adobe Premiere which natively handled all of the different camera formats – unlike my old Final Cut that would have required a bit of transcoding.

The next day, I spent the whole day once more in editing working on a high light reel…this again was done in Adobe, it was my third ever project in this software and I have some learning to do – that’s for sure (such as audio leveling haha).

 

It’s all in the Music, Pt 2

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Awhile back I wrote on this blog about how in my editorial process, I first locate music. Sometimes the music is even playing while I am shooting in my trusty ipod. Although the tracks may not be the EXACT thing I end up using, I still can locate themes relating to the tracks in the many libraries of music that I have on file.

Especially during the logging process, I listen to a HUGE library of different instrumentals and original scores from different movies and even video game sources. The biggest pool of these are actually located in my favorite little corner of the web – Spotify. Here you can find dozens of playlists dedicated to different genres. And for me, I have created a Soundtrack Picks playlist. If you want to get inspired to make a masterpiece – make a playlist to listen to as you trim and work on footage. From there I always find inspiration for the actual edit.

Here is my playlist for sound tracks and I will keep adding to this as times goes on…so check it out and subscribe to get updates as I find new music to get inspired with..