The Brindle Bulletin
Written Article + Video, BTS, and Other Goodies
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH DJI AND MASHABLE
"On the hunt: Episode 1" is an inside look at my first assignment with Storyhunter, a network of creative professionals that brands can hire out to create custom content.
Mashable partnered with DJI to create branded content around the holiday season. They hired me as one of many drone pilots to capture aerial footage with a holiday-theme. Mashable will take all this drone footage and edit it into a "Happy Holidays" video message from DJI, similar to this one from last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq4ZhOmCmBQ
They also wanted to get some behind-the-scenes footage of me setting up my DJI Mavic and even sent me some DJI Goggles to test out and grab footage of as well.
The creative direction was described in my pre-production call with Nick and Ryan from Mashable as "loose, cinematic documentary style." You can see some of the footage we shot in the video above! Lots of handheld, shallow depth-of-field, and even some gimbal work included as we trekked around the Werner Christmas Tree Farm in Middlebury, VT.
Huge shoutout to Randi for making the last minute road-trip with me, and another big shoutout to my roommate Connor for walking and feeding Monty while we were away for the day.
Hopefully this is the first of many shoots with Storyhunter, and hopefully they are all as cool as this one!
VIDEO PRODUCTION 101: Neutral Density Filters
What are they, and why should you care about them?
When I was just starting out in video production, I didn't see the point of ND filters, and I didn't want to bother with them. They seemed excessive, and cumbersome--just another accessory taking up space in a crowded camera bag. Now, I almost always use them because they allow for great flexibility in the creative process, and, ultimately, allow you to have greater control over your final image.
When shooting video, it's important to take into consideration a number of different camera settings, like frame-rate, aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO. All of these different settings work in tandem to give you a properly exposed image. As a general rule, known from the days of film as the 180 degree shutter angle rule, the denominator of your shutter speed should be twice your frame rate, in order to produce natural motion blur in your image. For example, if you're shooting 24fps, your shutter speed should be as close to 1/48th as possible (usually 1/50th is the closest you can get). Likewise, if you're shooting for super slow-motion, say 120fps, your frame rate should be cranked up to 1/240th.
If you've messed around with your DSLR, you've probably realized that the higher up your shutter speed goes, the darker your image gets. You may have also realized that the image becomes more and more "choppy" because there is less and less motion blur. High shutter speeds are often used for action/chase scenes in Hollywood films, because the image becomes almost "frantic" looking--with very little motion blur, each frame of the video is in sharp focus, and it produces a choppy look when played back. On the flip side, slower shutter speeds produce lots more motion blur, and can even produce a "dream-like" look if slowed down enough.
So, what happens if you set up your settings to abide by this rule, because you want that cinematic motion blur, but your image is overexposed? You'd have to either crank up your shutter speed, reducing the motion blur, or stop down your lens (close down the aperture to allow less light in to hit your sensor). However, lots of people like the bokeh and general look of a wide open lens, or may only want part of their frame in focus, so they're really hoping to keep that lens open, rather than stopping it down. The only solution to this problem is utilizing a neutral density filter to cut down the amount of light that is entering your lens and hitting your sensor.
Like a pair of sunglasses, these are specialized filters for sunny situations. "Variable" ND filters allow you to change the intensity of the filter so that you can really dial in on the proper exposure. That way, if you are shooting wide open, at 24fps, 1/50th for shutter speed, and your ISO is as low as it can go, but your image is still overexposed, you can just slap one of these bad boys on your lens, and suddenly you're good to go! Forget about compromising your vision and image by stopping down your lens or rocking the shutter dial until it's dark enough to see what's going on, ND filters have got your back.
ND filters seem like a great idea, but wouldn't you have to buy a bunch, to fit a bunch of different thread-sizes on your different lenses? Nope! You can purchase step-up or step-down rings for different lenses, so you can theoretically fit all your lenses with one ND filter--just make sure it's big enough to cover your biggest lens.
True video cameras that are built for run-and-gun situations, like the Canon C100, Sony FS5, or any of those similar cameras, have ND filters built right into the camera bodies. Right between the lens and sensor, these internal ND filters allow you to hone in on the proper exposure when you're running around and might not have time to bother with putting filters on and taking them off between shots. This is a defining professional feature of a robust video-centric camera that DSLRs and mirrorless cameras--although they're great for shooting video and have a much smaller footprint--ultimately lack.
Thanks for reading, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about ND filters and how they can work alongside your camera settings to help you produce the most cinematic image.
Written by: Charlie Reiff
Travel Video: Putney, VT
Tiny Homes: Big Adventures
When you get the chance to escape to a beautiful AirBnB tiny home in the remote VT wilderness in exchange for a video, you make like Nike and JUST DO IT.
We had a blast staying with Andrea, John, their adorable daughter Ava, and pooch Milo. We got to learn about their goals in promoting tiny/healthy/sustainable/green living, and we were so honored to take part in sharing their story.
WE LIKE TO HAVE FUN!
"Reporter Greg" was on the scene at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new academic building on Wentworth's campus, which will be a beautiful jewel on Parker Street in Boston. Housing classrooms, labs, maker spaces, and offices, it will serve the expanding vision and student population of Wentworth. "The Pike," or the walkway between the quad and Parker St, will remain open, maintaining the connection of WIT with the larger Boston community. Exciting times for the growing school! Extra Bonus: we got to interview the Mayor!
Raleigh, NC: 2017 Beach Ultimate National Championships
Content Marketing for Abbott: February is Heart Health Month
We pulled together some very last minute "man on the street" style videos for Abbott, a global healthcare and health product company. Content Marketing is a great alternative to traditional digital advertising that can be interruptive and abrasive. These videos were geared at "life champions" who promote healthy lifestyle choices and help establish Abbott as a thought leader in it's industry.
Shooting BAsics: Frame Rates
“Frame rate” refers to how many frames of your footage play in one second. Video, whether from physical media or digital, is just a series of still images, or frames, that move by rapidly, to give the illusion of motion. Our brain perceives these still images as movement, which is known as the Phi Phenomenon.
Back in the day, when everybody shot everything on film, a “frame” was a single image on a film roll. The cinema standard became a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Most movies we have watched over the course of our entire lives have been shot at 24 FPS. This was actually determined by the introduction of sound to cinema, interestingly enough. To learn more about how sound standardized the frame rate, check out the Filmmaker IQ video at the bottom of this article. Long story short, 24 FPS will give us some motion blur, but our brains recognize that as natural and cinematic. Higher frame rates, which look “crisper” or “more fluid” jar our brains a little, because it’s a little too fluid for what our brains have come to expect from film, video, or even real life. When you whip your head from side to side, you see a little motion blur. It’s natural, and it’s what our brains do to avoid being overwhelmed by an onslaught of visual information that we have to process.
The standard options on most DSLRs nowadays are something like 24, 30, and 60. Now, 30 frames per second will give you something similar to 24 fps, but just a little smoother. Some people prefer that for video, especially online video, but it’s really personal preference. Some people don’t even notice a difference. 60 FPS is definitely noticeable. 60 FPS will pack more frames into a given second, which can be useful for certain shooting situations, like slow motion.
If you want to achieve smooth, cinematic slow motion, you should shoot in a high frame rate, such as 60 fps. Then, when you bring it into your editing timeline, you can slow it down to a 40% playback rate to achieve that cinema standard 24 fps look. It’s a very simple process. Shooting in 24 fps and doing that same slow-down in post-production will give you choppy, unprofessional footage. The more frames per second, the slower you can make your footage, without it losing that smooth, creamy, buttery, cinematic look.
HOWEVER, when you change your frame rate, you must also adjust your shutter speed. This is because of the 180 degree shutter rule. Some cameras will do this automatically, but most will not. In general, your shutter speed should be twice your frame rate. So if you’re shooting 24 fps, shutter speed is at 48 (or as close as you can get to it). If you start shooting in 60 fps for a slow motion segment, you have to remember to crank that bad boy up to 120, or as close as you can get to it. To learn more about the 180 degree shutter rule, check out my video on shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, link in the description.
So, with all that said, here’s a recap:
Frame rate is important. It affects how your video looks to a viewer. There should be a reason behind your frame rate, whenever and whatever you’re shooting. If you want the most cinematic look, complete with natural motion blur, go for 24 fps. If you prefer a little smoother footage, a little less motion blur, go for 30 fps. If you want a soap opera effect, where everything is crystal clear and fluid and makes our brains hurt, or if you’re shooting sports or an action scene and want to do some slow motion shots, go for 60 fps. Your frame rate is your friend, and knowing about it will equip you to tell your story the way you want to tell it.
Filmmaker IQ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjYjFEp9Yx0
Written by: Charlie Reiff
Women's March 2017: Boston
Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about, starting today.
Travel Video: Putney, VT
The sleepy town of Putney provided the perfect winter getaway for Randi and myself.
Shooting Basics: 3 point Lighting
Make better videos with proper lighting! With advances in technology, low-light cameras are becoming more popular. And don't get me wrong, they're wonderful for situations where sufficient light is not an option. But any seasoned video professional will tell you that proper lighting in a scene beats a low-light capable camera any day of the week. With great light comes great responsibility. Learn how to harness the power of a standard light kit in a basic 3 point lighting setup that will drastically improve your video's production quality!