A Grand Day Out: In Spite of Better Judgement

“What a weird, yet incredibly well-executed film”-You

Let me explain the film you just watched. After being stuck with writers’ block, I suddenly remembered a joke I made in the assignment briefing. “Don’t film the number 50 or making cups of tea!”  Why not both? I joked but the idea slowly grew on me as I realised how well the film would lend itself to the task. When I found the music track, I had to make it.

The film opens using footage from the 8mm Vintage Camera App by Nexvio. I used this app to mimic all the ‘artsy-fartsy’ hipster films on Vimeo. This was because I wanted the viewer to be misled into thinking it was a serious film, not a parody. I also feel the super 8 look helps hide the tardiness of the mobile footage. Seeing the video in the original High-Definition format makes the viewer less forgiving when it comes to technical errors.

The time-lapse was created using the 8mm app. I did this so that I wasn’t stuck with a certain length clip in the edit. (Pro-tip, by adding a time-lapse to the film if you need to add padding to the piece, you can make it longer. This trick is probably why I passed TV in the first year…) To keep the camera(phone) stable I used my shoulder rig and attached it to the bus seat. This worked with varying degrees of success, I did try hyper lapse apps but due to the limited background movement, they didn’t work as well.img_20170218_155121_01

Speaking of which,  I used the Microsoft Hyperlapse App. This is because I personally feel it does the best job the majority of the time. I also maybe biased as I was a Microsoft Insider Tester for it and the PC software. The reason the app works better is because it analyses the environment, then creates a 3d mesh and projects the image onto it. This allows the software to then view the scene through a virtual camera eliminating any movement from the input media. The only downside is the limited resolution and the fact it adds a watermark on the end of the clip but anyone with a vague understanding of the crop tool can remove this so it’s not really a problem.

The final shot of the film is the most technical and took a night of planning to pull off. I knew I wanted a slow motion shot but I had to work out how to time the action to the music as you can’t speed up gravity. I worked out a number of frames it took each water effect to reach the centre of the frame. Using this knowledge I then created a click track which the performers would follow to sync the effect perfectly. Because I was using the iPhone 6 Plus I had access to 240 frames per second. This is 10x normal speed (for 60Hz electrical grids) which equates to 18 visual frames or just over half a second which would have been near impossible to film. So I elected to film the clip in 240fps but treat it like 120fps this gave the performers 1.5 seconds to do the stunt and then gave me the headroom in the edit to slow the footage down even more after the musical stabs had been hit.

The film was shot solely on the iPhone 6 plus as it has fantastic optical stabilisation meaning that when paired with my shoulder rig, I had reasonably stable shots. I also chose the iPhone as it has a much narrower field of view compared to my OnePlus3T which has an almost fisheye effect to it, this retracted from the super 8mm look.  It also made framing easier as I could also view the 8mm footage live on the iPhone as the app is only available for iOS meaning that I would have had to send the footage from the OnePlus to the iPhone and back.

Apps used:

8mm Vintage Camera:http://8mm.mobi
The best 8mm emulator out there. The Oscars can’t be wrong.
Here is some test footage I shot with it. I was originaly going to use this for my credit scene but apparently running over by 50 seconds was unacceptable.

Hyperlapse:http://tinyurl.com/jedvsb3
Powerful and user-friendly. The only downside is the lack of iOS app

Honourable mentions:

YayCam Retro:http://tinyurl.com/yaycam
Nice features but more expensive and ultimately not as good as the 8mm app. Also kept sending me annoying adverts via notifications. (It’s a sad day when you get more ad notifications then social media ones)

Instagram: https://hyperlapse.instagram.com/
Instagram has it’s only stabilisation app but after my own experimentation, I had a better time with the Microsoft Hyperlapse app. But I would recommend it for Instagramers as it allows for a streamlined workflow.

SloPro:http://sloproapp.com/
SloPro allows iPhone users to simulate shooting at 1000FPS but unfortunately, it’s too good to be true. The app uses frame blending to create the extra frame data needed, this creates very obvious artefacts in the areas in the frame that are moving. It also requires a pro account to remove the watermark. However, it is a great app for messing about with and has provided many a laugh between friends.

So that’s it! You know my trade secrets, so what are yours? Why not comment below?

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