Over the last couple of weeks my days have been jam packed with editing, traveling, thinking and planning. I apologize up front for not having a consistent “Editing Tip of the Week.” In fact, I have one somewhat written right now about compression and what you need to know about it as an editor, but I got about 75% done and realized it needed to be re-organized and outlined better. We’ll move that to next week. After the Rule Boston Camera Pub Night with Dr. Bob Arnot I was having a fresh barley based beverage with my good friend and colleague Brendan O’Brien and realized I had a great project in the can that would be great to share.
The ride take place over two days and goes from Boston to Provincetown, MA a the end of Cape Cod. Total, I believe it is just under 200 miles, not exactly a leisurely ride along the Charles River. This year the goal of the video changed from being a recap of the weekend to what exactly were people riding for. There are many different riders riding for many different reasons, but each has a desire to see the negative effects of MS seize to exist.
For a ride that encompasses over 2000 participants, with the majority of them from EMD Serono, Inc., the need to for two crews is essential. Brendan O’Brien, the director/producer of the project, literally took the course and mapped out exactly where the two crews would leap frog. Cody Morrow and Russ Jaquith used Panasonic HVX200 cameras recording 720p/23976fps, which on the camera corresponds to the 720p/24PN setting. You can see a better guideline for the camera as it relates to Avid here. The one thing I do know about P2 is that the ONLY setting on the camera that gives you native 23.976fps is the 720P/24PN setting (the “N” stand for natural or something like that.) All the other settings on the P2 cameras that relate to a 24 frame rate actually record at 30fps but with pull-down. (Side note: I don’t think the Panasonic P2 cameras do a good job at pull-down, to me there is too much artifacts.) There were also two GoPro cameras as well, but it was the first time those had been used and we hadn’t figured out that a little bit of Rain-X on a misty day would help with GoPro plastic cover fog.
We edited at 720p/23,976fps anyway, so the P2 setting worked just fine. Using Avid AMA, we linked all the footage and was ready to edit in about, oh, :45 seconds. Avid AMA is still going through some growing pains, but when it comes to P2 or XDCAM footage, AMA is hands down the best in the business.
I will say that one thing the Panasonic HVX200 and other P2 cameras do well is their over-crank settings. You can see these shots near the tail end of the video. Super smooth slo-mo. I know software has come a long way in doing motion fx, but nothing seems to compare to old fashioned over cranked footage.
The story flushed out like this. We knew we had plenty of great bike riding shots. In years past we attacked this in a very linear way, starting with the starting line and finishing with the finish line. With the 2011 video, like I mentioned before, we wanted to to tell the story of the riders. Instead of laying in some music and editing great BROLL shots over it, we started with the interviews. By picking out those first, we found the first sound bite you hear. His description of “we can ride for you” was clearly the best way to start the piece off with. It was definitely the theme for everyone there. We also wanted to start off the video with a stat that conveyed to the viewer the impact MS has.
As you will notice, there are no lower third fonts for any of the riders. There was originally a plan for that, but we decided that EMD Serono rides as a team and by keeping everyone the same it played into that very well. The road element you see on the side when people are talking was meant for text to be layered over it, but even when we cut the text the road still looked cool. So we kept it.
The entire edit was done in Avid Symphony 5.5. No After Effects. All color correction was done with the Symphony color correction tool. That is, except for the shots where you see a yellowish blur vignette. Those shots were corrected first with Symphony, then I applied the GenArts Film Effect with color correction and blur. After doubling up the shot on track 2 with a soft garbage matte, I was able to achieve the look you see. All the film transitions were done with…wait for it…an old film cutter Beta SP I still have laying around. I didn’t have to worry about frame rate conversion, my DBETA A500 went right in the 23.976fps project and then I did a simple transcode right in Avid. And since it was just film burns, I don’t think anyone would notice if the frame rates were a little different. I see this transition all the time with FCP edits, I am assuming there is a canned transition right in the software. For this, I did a 12 frame edit over my cuts and did a superimpose blend from 0 – 100 – 0 opacity over the edit. I also used it over the edits to the road overlay elements, but that was only 7 frames and went 0 – 50 – 0 opacity. The road was composited using GenArts Layer effect. The graphic overlay in the last section of the video was done using Photoshop to create an alpha element.
This was one of those projects that I didn’t know what the end result would be. I can say without a doubt, the end result was one I am very happy with.
If you would like to join the fight against MS and you like to ride bikes, you can find out more information about the 2012 ride here.
Anyone looking for DPs, the contact info for Cody Morrow and Russ Jaquith are below:
Cody Morrow – firstname.lastname@example.org
Russ Jauith – rjfilms.com