Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Nice demo on camera movement

Explains what effect various camera moves can have on the story or the viewer's perception of what's happening. You need to know why you're moving the camera.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Got a GH2 and learning editing - keyframing brightness filter

I haven't made any direct progress yet on the stopmo flick, still haven't got the power fixed. But I did buy a couple of cameras and start to learn Final Cut Pro. In the spirit of journaling - largely to preserve the info here in case I need it later, here's the quick rundown.

First I decided to get another camera. Not for doing the stopmotion - the G1 is plenty good enough for that, but to document the process, to shoot stills (with the G1 in shot) and video and maybe even some time lapse. So I needed something capable of HD video, and I thought it would be wise to get another micro 4/3s camera so I could use the lenses I already have. Checked eBay and immediately found a Panasonic Lumix GF3 going for the ridiculous price of $58!! - they're usually more like $400 to $600 body only, even used. So I snatched it up, got a couple spare batteries , and then made the disappointing discovery that it doesn't do time lapse and has no socket where you can plug in a remote shutter release. Well crap! In fact, a little more digging turns up that it was aimed at people used to a camera phone or point and shoot who wanted to step up to M4/3s. So made to be used mainly in full auto mode, though it does allow manual control.

I played with it for a while, and cooked up a crazy plan to devise some kind of electronic shutter release using a linear actuator, something I've seen the Mythbusters use a lot for pushing buttons. Researched that (ok, I begged on SMA and Thomas Nichol was kind enough to talk me through the whole thing) and bought the stuff I need to rig it together, including a beginner's soldering kit for electronics.

Meanwhile I had also bought a 7" monitor since the camera's rear screen doesn't flip out allowing you to see it when shooting selfies. And it turns out it will work with a monitor - sort of, that is until you start recording, at which point the signal shuts off and the monitor goes black.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I ordered a Panasonic GH2 - a filmmaker's wet dream said to capture video as good as $5,000 cameras and nearly as good as the $10,000 ones. That's if you use a hacked GH2 - this Russian guy named Vitaliy Kiselev found a way to get into the coding and trick it out so people could start creating patches to upgrade various parameters of its performance.

The GH2s tend to go for around $600 - $800 body only, but I found one for $330. Started researching on how to hack it, downloaded all the stuff I need and when the camera came in I started getting familiar with all the menus and features, and suddenly realized it must already be hacked, because the ISO goes all the way up to 12800! That's definitely not factory. No idea which hack it has, but the amount of detail and clarity is astonishing. And it should get even better when my new SDXC card comes in - the write speed of the card determines the data rate while filming.

Anyway, aside from that, I've been recording some video every day and editing it into little movies - stupid ones at this point, littered with bad cuts and bad shots and every error imaginable, but this is how you learn. By the time I get to work on the stopmo flick I plan to have reached a point of competency with editing and getting the right kind of shots to allow for good editing and good storytelling.

Last night I was testing various lenses for low light performance while walking through the house, some dark rooms some lit, and outside a bit. And I figured out how to add a brightness filter and keyframe it to bring light up smoothly in the dark areas and back down in the light ones. Really sweet!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Brush brush brush..

Major unearthing done, and now it's down to the delicate work with tiny brushes, like any excavation job.

I'm going to finish this film

Suddenly decided last night that I cannot let this film die. It's so close to completion - a few more months can see it all the way through. As you can see, the set literally needs to be excavated before I can even get within 2 feet of it! So much stuff piled around it and on it. Let the digging commence.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Looking for Darkstrider.net?

Here's the link where you can see it in Archive.org's Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20070206000611/http://darkstrider.net/gallery2a.html

It's with mixed regret and relief that I've let the site lapse. I purchased the domain way back before there was a YouTube or a Blogspot, and in order to post videos on the internet then you had to have a host site - one that you paid for on an ongoing basis. Since then of course things have changed immensely - not only can you host videos for free on YouTube, Vimeo or any number of other sites, but blogs allow you to also post written material and images for free as well. Not only that, but bandwidth has increased insanely since then, to the point that it's no problem for most people to stream videos in HD without waiting for buffering at all. Those little MOV files I was posting way back then were tiny because it was recommended clips be under 1 MB in filesize, otherwise too many people would have to wait a long time to let them load.

Well, today most people don't know what an MOV is or have the software to watch it! And they wouldn't understand why the clips are in such low resolution or so short, or why many of them have no sound (all to keep filesize down). As more time goes by the site got to seem more and more like an anachronism from some bygone age - I'm using Blogspot now,and YouTube if I ever want to upload a video file (which hasn't been for a long time).

So I decided to let it lapse. It just didn't seem like there was any reason to keep paying for it anymore - I didn't think anybody was even looking at it anymore.

I'll post that link in the sidebar of this blog in case anyone still remembers it and wants to visit. I just checked to make sure it was working, and was amazed to find the video clips are still functioning!! I didn't think it worked that way - text and images sure, but usually not the video. Maybe it's because they're quicktimes rather than flash? Or maybe it's because the files are still hosted on the server? Yeah, that's probably it. Anyway, at least it's still there in some form - actually virtually the same, as long as the clips still work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ok, it's time to reveal my *other* blog...

Forgive me stopmoes, I've been unfaithful! The reason I haven't been updating here is that I've been working on my other passion - learning to paint. About a year ago I started another blog, which remained private until today, which I've been using as a journal of my artistic development. I'm still pretty insecure about going public with it, it consists largely of my thoughts about various artists and art in general, along with the art I've been doing to try to blow the dust off my neglected skills and try to transition from drawing to painting. I had just got a tablet around november last year, and was fumbling around with it very clumsily. Just because I kept trying though, I did develop some skill with using the stylus and with working in photoshop elements, and now I'm beginning to get used to working in color. A lot of what I have posted there isn't very good at all - much of it is simply exercises to develop my skills and stay in practice, some of it in media I'm unfamiliar with or trying things I hadn't done before.

Ok, enough excuses - the blog is called Artventure, and here's a glimpse of my latest creation in its current state of development:

I'll add the link to my sidebar soon. Hope to hear from some old friends over there! Feel free to leave comments on old posts if you want.