Lets start out with this video first and foremost i am pretty pleased with how it came out. Read further down and i will discuss it in greater detail.
Its been a little while since my last post. I spent the first part of this month hiking in beautiful Sedona Az! I met up with my parents out there and we got lots of hiking in, plenty of photography and i even got to try out my Chronos Lite – Micro rail 🙂
It was beautiful out there. I managed to hike about 35 miles in 10 days. Up early each morning for a new hike, including Broken Arrow, Devils Bridge, Llama, Templeton, Soldiers pass, my new favorite, Baldwin, and more. While I was out there I had some pretty big news for Biolapse but that’s about the limit of what I can say for now unfortunately. This also means I have to abandon the mushroom project for now as I will be pretty tied up. However I do intend to keep on with this blog. I should have a spare camera to keep shooting for site material.
I don’t know if any of the 3 readers aside from my parents enjoy hiking. I love it, i find it a wonderful opportunity to center myself and let my mind wander. I made a point while I was out there to get a little footage here and there. Mostly handheld video shots close to the ground, and just a small handful of time-lapses. I have several ideas running through my head at any given time and I had plenty of time to let them solidify into plans for future projects. that most recent video was just a quick technical shoot to put some of the new techniques i have learned to work and I am pretty pleased and i am ready to move onto the next project.
I spent quite a bit of time while in Sedona on the youtubes looking for how-to videos for After effects. Up until now all my work has been done in Premiere Pro, which works fairly well, however I knew there were things I wanted to do that I couldn’t do with Premiere Pro. So I would sit down with a good beer and my headphones and just start watching, and I sure am glad that I did. This Salvia video is the direct result of the new techniques I had learned.
The basic idea I had, is to put together timelapse composites. Using multiple techniques of gathering real time hand held and tripod mounted video footage, timelapse of plants, and a lot of chromakey screen work. I am still far from adept.
For the first shoot I only used one camera because I ended up leaving one of my adapters in a bag in Sedona that I left with my parents. Once i managed to retrieve it for the second shoot, I ran another Chromakey for about 240 frames with a stationary camera, then another 400 frames while it was on the Chronos Micro rail. The third angle was aimed down at the plant with the Nikkor macro 60mm lens.
The first sequence is a handheld video shot in Sedona with the studio captured Salvia in front of a orange screen. Green screen is obviously going to pose challenge, and blue screen was not working too well with the purple in the flowers, so i ran out to walgreens and grabbed a single sheet of orange poster board. It worked pretty well for this sequence.
For the first shoot I only used one camera because I ended up leaving one of my adapters in a bag in Sedona that I left with my parents. Once i managed to retrieve it, I ran another Chromakey for about 240 frames with a stationary camera, then another 400 frames while it was on the Chronos Micro rail.
The third angle was aimed down at the plant with the Nikkor macro 60mm lens.
The image above shows this particular composition in After effects. Both plants seen are actually the same plant at different points in its growth. So you have Plant A, Plant B, and the backdrop which was a motion timelapse of Court Rock in Sedona AZ that I bagged with my Chronos Lite Micro rail and Fuji XT-1.
By moving Plant A farther than Plant B, and basing Plant B’s motion off the movement of the ground in the backdrop I was able to create a rather convincing timelapse that appears to capture the growth of plants outdoors. Using various adjustment layers and animated blurs I was able to achieve a fauxcus pull in after effects. (hahaha get it? Focus? Faux? Fauxcus? I kill me!)
Once i was done with After effects, I pulled it in Premiere Pro. Initially i just brought it all in and threw some music at it. The problem is I don’t like using music I have not licensed, and I do have some that I can use, but I feel like I have heard them all too often. This time maybe a different approach was needed. I ended up pulling about 20-30 sound effects from FreeSound and really chopped the hell out of them into tiny little clips and used those instead. The little flowers popping out, the motion of the plants, it just seemed strange with music, I am much happier with how this turned out. Some people may call it corny, but I do not have a lot of experience adding sound effects and unless I keep doing it I wont get any better
All said and done, I am pretty happy with this, but I need to work on subject isolation with Chromakey a little bit more. On the last segment when the focus shifts to the smaller plant behind the first plant, it starts to look pretty unrealistic in my view when it hits perfect focus. It just looks keyed. I basically ran into a softness issue and found it very difficult to extract the plant without it looking plastic. After spending several hours on that single plant I finally got it where i considered it acceptable. I cant help but think if i was more careful when I shot it that it would have turned out much better.
So as I mentioned earlier, I have a big project coming up and the mushroom thing just isn’t going to work out for now. I have learned quite a bit and I really look forward to giving it another go, however I need to scale down my projects while I am engaged on this new big project. So I think I will continue with the dandelion project. I grew 7 of them on my window sill and monitored their growth rates. I think I have what I need to progress, and I should be able to get the footage I need before I embark on this other project.