ND filter, DOF and color grading

As previously posted on my YouTube Channel, I did not get good results with a variable ND filter. I thought I try again with a better brand for a little more money, $79. It turned out pretty good, even though it’s color corrected/graded afterwards – and that’s what I care about, how the footage looks after post processing.
Editing to make it look like 2 cameras were used was a joy with Final Cut Pro. Doing something like this with a couple of tapes before the age of affordable NLE setup was nightmarish tedious. I don’t know how real film editor do it.

Yuri, an excellent freefall cameraman at Lodi

I am an old school skydiver, feeling most comfortable falling towards the earth belly first. I’ve been struggling with back and sit flying, something the ‘kids’ are really good at nowadays. My pink camera suit is cut for traditional flying, making me think that it’s not possible to fly on my back or sitfly with it. I challenged Yuri to see if he can do exactly that, and that’s how this video got started. After a couple of dives of watching/video’ing him sitfly, I had enough footage for a nice little story what he and many other cameramen do at Lodi, many times a day. As usual, it’s very short, because I only edit when I get inspired, and it usually lasts only a few hours at a time. The entire shoot was taken with GH2. Freefall footage was shot in 720P 60 fps.

Uprising and inspiration

I shot this skydiving footage about a week ago but it sat in my computer because I just didn’t have any editing inspiration. I am pretty weak at creating music, so I usually “borrow” them from the internet. It’s wrong, but heck, I don’t make any money from it. I know, I know.. that’s what everybody says.
Anyway, after searching high and low, I just could not find a piece that fit this group. I wanted something that was upbeat. Just for the sake of googling, I typed in the key word “uprising,” which is the name of the skydiving team group, and voila! I could not believe it — perfect song called “Uprising” by Muse!
I used Canon T2i for indoor footage with 50mm 1.8, opening up the lens all the way. GH2 was used for the skydiving footage. I experimented with color grading, making outdoor shots warm, matching the indoor shots. In overall, I am pretty satisfied with results. I don’t think I can shoot video and edit for living. I only like it when I am inspired. I dislike the idea of doing something I enjoy because I HAVE to.

720P 60fps slow motion with Panasonic GH2

The concept and the acting was cheesy and silly, but creating this video was 100% pure fun.
I decided to shoot the whole sequence in a 720P 60 fps mode, with the intent of slowing some parts down for true slow motion in the 24 fps edit line. I was a little concerned about the lack of sharpness compared to 1080p, but GH2 holds up very well — much better than T2i.
I inserted “Bill + Kathy” (dropzone and the airplane owners) at 00:13 in After Effects, for a little gag the locals might appreciate. Motion tracking with Mocha worked well, as usual. Photoshopped decal slipped a little during tracking, but you really had to look frame by frame.
I forgot about the 180 shuttle rule at 00:46, shooting it in 1/50 by accident instead of 1/125, resulting in undesirable motion artifact for some indoor shots. Freefall footage, however, shot in 1/200 shuttle speed, looked pretty good in slow motion, with the footage conformed from 60 to 24 fps.
For color grading, Magic Bullet Mojo was used for ground footage. It turned out a little dark, so lightened it a little using Colorista. For skydiving footage, Colorista was used, bringing up the shadows and giving a slight greenish tint. I added a little yellow to the midrange and a bit of red to lightend hilights.
As I use the GH2 more, I really could use for shallow DOF. I need to get a faster lens.  For technical aspect of achieving slow motion, see my other blog.

Twixtored parachute landing shot with Panasonic Lumix GH2

Twixtor is a great tool to slow down the action, but it only works decent if,
1. The background is somewhat unobscured.
2. The motion of the subject is predictable and in somewhat linear motion.
3. If the footage shot on a tripod.
For this footage, I wanted slow down the action just as the skydiver let go of the toggles, but the footage was too dizzy for Twixtor to calculate. I, therefore, had to settle for the part with a cleaner background. It didn’t turn out too bad regardless, but it isn’t exactly what I wanted.