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A quick intro from another web video production I’ve recently filmed and edited. More students from Manchester University, this time undergraduate speech and language therapists talking about all aspects of the course and their training.  This is just a small section of a larger more in-depth feature, but there were a few interesting things from a technical point of view in making this short film…

I wanted to try out a time-lapse for this feature, so decided to make one as part of the intro. A busy spot on the Manchester Oxford road campus seemed a good choice and I had the girls stand as still as possible for 2 minutes whilst the world moved by around them. (Top tip for timelapse filming in a public place – set your camera rolling then try to act like you’re not actually doing anything. This way people will walk through the shot, as you want them to, rather than stopping every few seconds like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights).

The resultant footage is then run at about 900% speed in the edit, giving the result above for the first 15 seconds or so. There are also various dissolves and slow motion used in bits of the intro, but you get the idea.

Most video features I’ve made recently have been using a pair of Sony NX 70’s for multi camera shoot goodness. From now on I’m making the leap to exclusively using HDSLRs and Nikon lenses. The depth of field control, beautiful bokeh and scary quality is just so much better than smaller sensor video camera conterparts like the NX70 and even the newer 4/3 sensor cams like the AF100.

The short clip from part of the group chat below illustrates part of the problem with smaller sensor cameras. This is raw un-colour corrected footage, but note the strip plugs on the wall behind, nice and sharp and in full detail. Exactly what I didn’t want.

Ok, I hold my hands up and admit it’s a bad location to shoot the group anyway with those strip plugs along the wall behind breaking up the composition, but we were really pressed for time on the day, and this room was the only option going. If camera #one had been my HDSLR (Nikon D7000 in my case) with my awesome 50mm 1.4 lens however, the situation could have been improved as I’d have had a fighting chance to get some shallow depth of field and blur out those nasty plugs.

For a bit of fun, and After Effects CS5.5 practice I thought I’d see if I could fake the effect in post. In the same short clip below the girls have been ‘rotoscoped’ and then the camera lens blur filter has been added where necessary to try and simulate a very narrow plane of focus. This is quite an intensive process and almost brought my computer to its knees, but the result is a nod to the (somewhat exaggerated) extreme shallow depth of field effect I would have liked to achieve in hindsight, and with my HDSLR rig.
(Note: see the plug on the right below? – the filtering hasn’t kicked in yet in the first still frame. Once it starts playing, notice the jump)…

All in all a nice experiment in faking it using post production, with a fairly pleasing result. This was only a quick and dirty test, and whilst it looks ok played in a smallish vimeo player, full screen at full res it doesn’t stand up to much.

> See more videos on my vimeo channel



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