Foxvideo Productions

May 2012

Creatively challenged sometimes?

If you get creatively challenged sometimes, you might appreciate this offer that I've just bought:

Cost £15.78 UKP, direct download and installed on a Lion system with no problems, looking forward to the next time I get asked to design a logo of some sort now.
(NB - I've bought this and have no connection with the company or affiliate association).

The simplest of jobs...

can sometimes give the most problems. It seemed so easy to setup a camera and radio mic, let it run to record a bible study presentation at a local church, upload it, then embed a YouTube link.....

This was a small meeting, around 30 guys at a breakfast meeting, with a bible study afterwards. I'd decided in advance to try and be as discreet as possible by using the Sony FX1, shoot in HD and with no additional lighting, I knew the location, I'd filmed there before and had good results without lighting. I arrived early, setup the camera, re-tested the radio mic for the umpteenth time, did a manual white balance and checked the video output - it looked OK using the existing light mixed with some daylight from the left, a huge bank of movable glass doors.

The speaker, a good friend of mine, arrived. Let's just say his choice of clothing with the choice of background was a bit off, but too late to do anything about it. As he was setting up his notes and computer I re-checked the radio mic and shot some footage to check white balance - again looked OK. The breakfast finished, Mike stood up to speak, I started the camera, checked the framing and focus, checked the sound back through the headphones and sat on the chair I'd found - there was no need to move the camera at all, Mike's not a "walker" and I didn't need to gaffer tape his feet to the floor.

40 minutes later and I stopped the camera, there'd been a good few slides throughout so I grabbed the Keynote from Mike's computer to drop them into the edit. A quick ingest, a couple of hours to top and tail, drop the slides in, sweeten the sound, encode for YouTube - simple, yeah right!

I could see as soon as it started going in to Final Cut the footage was below standard, it was waaaaay too flat and under-exposed. I wasn't too concerned, I knew I could bring it up with either FCP's 3 way colour corrector or even Apple Color if I had to.


To top it off, the FX1's video heads had decided to give up on me, I had a couple of recent problems with dropouts and managed to sort it with a head cleaner, the dropouts meant I had to edit the opening slightly to cover them, other dropouts could be covered with a bit of careful editing or with the slides.

I edited the presentation, split it into 2x20 minute sections, used the 3 way CC to pull the footage up (thanks James H for the advice and help on this), put the slides in, sweetened the audio to give it a little more brightness, de-interlaced and saved it as a self contained movie, it was now not looking too bad.


I've always been a fan of Apple's Compressor, but a good friend of mine recently got me to try a free app -  MiroVideoConverter, it converted the self contained movie to MP4, this gave me 2 x 1.2Gb files to upload to YT. I've got a 7Mb download connection but still only a 50kb/s upload, these 2 files were going to take 10 hours each to upload, I set the first one off and went to bed, I came down early to check it and found the first one had failed about 2 hours in - typical!

My ISP allows uploads between 12.00pm and 08.00 not to be included in my monthly data allowance, so wait till 23.00 and start again.... In the meantime, it was either a camera repair, a new camera or a workaround, I went for the workaround and ordered a Datavideo DN-60 SD/HD Compact Flash recorder (see my next blog entry for more on this).

The following morning - success, It had uploaded and YT had converted it - a quick check online and it wasn't looking too bad, not ideal but usable. I embedded it into Mike's website, ripped an mp3 from the video and included a link on the website for anyone looking to just get the audio and I emailed Mike to say the first section was up, he emailed back to say he'd make a better choice of clothes next time - the second section goes up tonight, this is one nightmare job I'll be glad to see finished - Next time, forget the HD, the big gun comes out, DSR-500WSP and good glass rocks!

Best bit of kit?

I was talking to a cameraman friend recently and the subject got round to all the different bits of kit we had, and have bought over the years and I got to thinking about the kit I couldn't live without. Obviously the camera and my Final Cut Pro suite would be high on the list but probably the best bit of useful kit I've ever bought was my Blackmagic Intensity Pro PCIe card.

I think I paid around £180 for it many years ago now, it was in my G5 and now sits in my MacPro, I still input to FCP from a DSR11 tape machine for most of my stuff. Before I got the BM Intensity, my only way of checking the output from FCP on a proper monitor was to feed back via Firewire to the DSR11 and use the composite out from the DSR11 to a monitor, this had put hundreds of hours on the use of the DSR11, now once the tape has been captured I can switch the DSR11 off and monitor direct from FCP via component to the Sony 20".

For any HD stuff, I can monitor from FCP via HDMI to an HD monitor at 1920x1080, an HDMI switcher lets me switch between an extended Mac desktop or the FCP output.

I still get a lot of SVHS and VHS stuff for transfer to DVD, I have those machines connected to an MX50 with the mixer output going to the composite in of the Intensity Pro, I can then capture either through BM's own capture program or direct to FCP in ProRes keeping as much quality as possible. I've also recently had some HD stuff that needed correcting in Apple Color, I use the Intensity Pro's HDMI out direct from Color and can see the result on an HD monitor with accurate colour correction - Overall, an essential bit of kit that for once, didn't cost the earth!