Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post and although I have been traveling quite a lot, there hasn’t been much chance to do any filming because of work commitments. I have just managed to grab a few days of R&R in Bangkok and got out the old trusty Canon XA10 for a few short videos, which I am in the process of editing.
All the shots were filmed hand-held and I could really do with some sort of lightweight (and cheap!) gimble stabiliser as that would have helped make the shots much smoother and more dynamic (you can’t really use a tripod, which I usually carry, on a boat because of all the rocking and vibrations).
That said, the stabiliser on the XA10 is pretty good and for added stability, iMovie can help smooth out any shaking in post (it does create some distortion and magnification though, which then makes the shot less sharp, but it’s better than having super-wobbly footage I guess). Using the camera stabiliser and the iMovie smooth short function, you can get some reasonably good fake slider shots if you can keep the camera smooth and level during the shot.
Anyway, here are the first two videos which were filmed on the Cho Praya River in Bangkok on the local ferry plying the river. It’s a great (and cheap) trip if you haven’t done it but can get a bit busy over the weekend when all the tourists (like me!) are also out and about. The first video is going up the river while the second video is going back down the river.
I had so much fun I went back the next day to take one of the so-called long-tailed boats that ply the Bangkok waterways and are pretty ubiquitous in Thailand. They’re also pretty photogenic and I hope to have that video ready soon.
As promised in my last post, I did a few timelapse videos from my hotel balcony as well as Darling Harbour and then spliced them together to make them a little more interesting. My hotel room was a bit lower than the last time I stayed in Sydney so the view wasn’t quite a expansive or as impressive but I did at least have a shot overlooking Darling Harbour and the occasional bad weather did make for some spectacular effects with the clouds.
There were a couple of major thunderstorms over the days I filmed making it a bit risky to leave the camera outside, so I filmed through the windows a couple of times, which explains the occasional flashing red light reflected in the shot!
I finally got around to finishing my Sydney video edits so I might as well share them here. I’ll start with the two videos I did of Sydney and Darling Harbour – two of my favourite places to hang out when in Sydney because the views are stunning, even on a bad day. Lucky for me, I had great weather, which made shooting a breeze.
My hotel was just a short walk to Darling Harbour so I usually started off there. It also makes getting to Sydney Harbour easy as they have a reasonably priced ferry service between the two locations, which gives you some great shots of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Sydney Opera House.
I did also do a couple of timelapse videos from my hotel balcony so I’ll post them next time round.
Although there seems to be quite a big gap between my posts, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing any filming (although that could also be true too!!). In fact, I did quite a bit of filming while I was in Sydney but I wasn’t able to post any of my footage as I hit a gremlin when I tried to edit it once I was home and that set me back for quite a time while I tried to figure out what the problem was.
Essentially, when I tried to put my downloaded clips from the Event menu to the Project menu, they kept disappearing, no matter what I seemed to do. It became even more frustrating because I later filmed a school graduation and that all seemed to work perfectly!
Finally, in desperation and as a last resort, I copied all the footage from my Events folder to an external hard drive then reimported it back to iMovie. That seemed to do the trick as I was finally able to edit the footage in the Projects menu. Phew!
The clips that caused me all the problems to begin with were filmed in The Rocks, Sydney, so I guess I should post that one first!
In the great tradition of Blue Peter, “here’s one I prepared earlier”! While in UK last year I drove up to the Steam Railway in Cheddleton hoping to take one of their train rides as I’m a big fan of steam trains.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t operating the day I visited so I had to contend myself with just a few shots of the trains in the sidings, which is why the video is pretty short and which is why I decided to go ahead and post it.
After going to all the trouble of dragging my new jib back to Hong Kong, it took me quite a while before I actually took it out for a spin! In the end I took it to one of my favourite places for filming: Peng Chau Island.
As the promotion material promised, it was really easy to set up as there are only really two parts to worry about: the tripod legs and the jib itself (quite a few of the other portable jibs only have the jib arm as they assume you’ll have your own tripod to attach it to. Personally, I like that everything is there in one easy package).
It did take me a while to work out the best weight to balance the jib but as I essentially used a couple of water bottles to put in the provided weight bags, it didn’t take long to adjust it so that it was balanced nicely. However, I did find that the weight bags did tend to swing a little when moving the jib so I had to make sure that the jib movements were as smooth and light as possible to avoid this happening as it really spoilt the shot if there was too much sway.
I did find that the camera head had to be monitored carefully though as it sometimes moved out of alignment and even twisted a little to the side, which again spoilt the shot. I was a bit disappointed that the jib range wasn’t as big as I’d hoped but when I later viewed the footage, I found that you didn’t really need a very long jib movement to have a pleasing jib effect.
Having the jib certainly added quite a few new shot movements to the scenes so I’m hoping to get out a bit more with it so I can get used to using it a little more. Obviously jibs aren’t very common here in Hong Kong as it generated a lot of stares from passers by who wondered what it was!
Here’s a video of my first effort, with hopefully more to come in the future!