Monday, August 23, 2010

Technorati Blog Claim


By way of claiming Digital Nature Photography as my blog, I have published the above coding for Technorati to verify that I, David Rilstone, do indeed own this blog.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Multi Camera Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

The recent upgrade to version CS5 of Adobe Premiere Pro has really opened up the process of multi camera PC editing with Canon dslr's using the h.264 codec. These video formats do not lend themselves well to smooth scrubbing nor playback on any PC, no matter how powerful a CPU core. Enter CS5's Mercury Playback Engine, which in conjunction with choice Nvidia graphics cards, suddenly all has become smooth with rapid rendering times to match.

My wife, Karen, has started a digital embroidery business, Karil Custom Designs (, and acquired a new Babylock BMP9 machine to handle some of the more challenging designs she will likely encounter. To this end, Karen is producing a series of tutorial videos in running this machine, including the process of setting up the digital aspects of this machine along with the actual embroidering action. To best capture and explain this process, several video cameras are needed to provide different perpectives simultaneously on this rather complex operation.

Here's a short video on a typical setup of the movie set, in this case using a total of four video cameras: a Canon 5D Mark 2, 2 x Canon 7D's, and an ultra-wide angle 1080p GoPro Hero HD.

Multi Camera Editing in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 from David Rilstone on Vimeo.

Music is "Welcome to the Show" by Kevin MacLeod.

As the clip explains, each camera has a specific function; all of which are brought in together for editing in Premiere Pro CS5. This Non-Linear Editing (NLE) program quickly enables, among many techniques, to:

1. synchronize each video & audio track to each other
2. use split-screen to highlight detail from one camera against that of a second camera
3. the use of titling to provide: a) titles (obviously), and b) labels
4. transition effects to visually soften the switching from one camera to the next camera onscreen
5. video & audio effects; not noticeable to the viewer, but such video/audio effects as highlight control, balance, levels, etc. are used to better blend each camera's output with the other
6. multi camera editing control - a very powerful feature in which each camera's output is displayed next to each other to enable the editor to pick and choose which camera display will be placed and actually show on the timeline. Very similar to how a TV producer in the control room can pick and choose which TV camera will be broadcast at any given moment.
7. Voice over audio - rather than use use the soundtrack recorded during the actual video shooting, CS5 enables the editor to record a voice over later. The same applies to placing a music track along the timeline well after the video shooting itself is finished.
8. Key framing: a quick & easy method to apply a multitude of video and audio effects over a specified time frame.

Stay tuned for the resulting embroidery project using all the above equipment and editing techniques above. It will be a colourful experience!!!

Questions? Suggestions?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Approaching Storm

This evening I chanced to look out the kitchen window to see the approach of rather dramatic-looking thunderheads. We were in a "Severe Thunderstorm Advisory" according to the local TV Weather Channel, so I took the opportunity to grab my ol' trusty Canon 40D, plug in a Canon intervalometer, and set it up on a tripod in my backyard to face the oncoming storm.

Passing Clouds from David Rilstone on Vimeo.

The lens used was a Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens. Setting the focus to "manual", it was easy to hand-adjust by using the liveview feature with its multiplier of x5 and x10. I selected Aperture Priority @ f/4 and a relatively high ISO of 400 to give me reasonably quick shutter times in view of the coming sunset. The first sequence I chose an interval of 15 seconds, the second sequence had an interval of 5 seconds. (Next time I'll opt for an interval of one second - more on this later).

I've found I get the best results shooting these sequences using "Small .jpg" and "Landscape" picture style. The small .jpg's are already close to 1920 x 1080, which is what I wanted the final video resolution to be. I then imported this series of photos from the CF card to my hard drive using Lightroom 2.7. Upon quickly examining the photos for any obvious rejects, I then exported them to a separate folder -- Lightroom has the phenomenal ability to rename each photo in turn by sequence number ie. ".001" and upwards -- this makes it easy for your NLE (non-linear editing) program to import each photo in correct order to produce a timelapse film.

In this case, I used Adobe Premiere Pro CS5. When rendering this video clip to 24 frames per second, I found that the cloud action was much too fast, hence I reduced the overall speed to 75% -- which is an improvement but looks slightly choppy. As mentioned above, next time I will take photos at one second intervals to give me a slower, smoother cloud action.

For this timelapse, I dusted off the 40D since my 5D Mark 2 and 7D have been heavily pressed into video service of late. Timelapse sequences are a great use for the older camera models (ie. 20D, 30D) since these cameras accept the same intervalometer as the more recent 50D, 7D, and 5D Mark 2 and will likewise give fantastic resolution in the end result.

The music is "The Chase" by Kevin MacLeod.

Video Production Checklist

As a neophyte videographer, I think I've committed virtually every mistake, omission, and general goof-ups that can ever be committed going into a multi-camera video shoot. Not to say that there won't be even more errors as yet undiscovered!

Ever started a shoot, only to get a "card full" message halfway through because you forgot to format the card earlier? Realize your external monitor battery has probably got 12 seconds of useful life left in it? Have that sinking sensation when you realize you've begun your shoot and your cameras aren't set to the same white balance? All these things and more that make you go "Aaaaarghh", or worse yet, awaken in the middle of the night in a cold sweat!!!

To that end, I've developed what could best be described as a "Work in Progress" by way of a check-off sheet. Hopefully this will help head off the potential glitches that are completely preventable. I've found, due to fatigue, distraction, and even the excitement of the shoot itself, that my memory ain't what it should be in remembering the little details that count. Here's my initial checklist I've put together that possibly may be of assistance to yourself, the reader:

I can only stress that the above is subject to change on an ongoing basis, plus I freely admit that this is NOT a comprehensive checklist, by any means, of what is required for a video shoot --- merely a reflection of the foibles that have caught me up personally from time to time.

If you're interested in receiving a copy of this in either Microsoft .docx format or .pdf, drop me a line at and I'll be glad to send it to you by attachment on a return email. Also, if you have any suggestions to add to this checklist, or any comments at all, please be sure to do so in the comments section below.

Thanks to all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Born to be Wild Embroidery

Today I helped my wife produce a video for her fledgling machine embroidery business: Karil Custom Designs (Facebook page at: and her blog at: ). Here's a short demo vid of her new Babylock BMP9 machine in action:

Born to be Wild Embroidery from David Rilstone on Vimeo.

For this video I used two cameras: a Canon 5D Mark 2 handheld with a 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens -- a Zacuto Z-Finder was extremely helpful here. The second was a Canon 7D on a tripod using a 135mm f/2.0 L lens for the stable closeup shots of the embroidery itself. Sound was recorded with a Samson Zoom H4N audiorecorder. Final processing was done with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5