David's Blog

Tag: WondrousDavid

Pond Dipping (Or DIY Underwater photography)

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While cleaning the pond at my parents house I decided to relive some childhood memories of pond dipping. For those of you who have never had the sheer pleasure of dipping a net into a small and muddy pond to see what you might find (often leaves), then the rules of Wittgenstein’s Language Game dictate you will find this blog rather dull. Apologies. For the rest of us it was like sifting for gold, with the reward of a small dazed amphibian easily as precious as a golden nugget (although not in monetary value)

Who doesn’t love our garden friend, the frog?! They eat our flies and slugs and ask for little in return, in south korea they were forced into extinction due to overconsumption (perhaps the greatest evil that Kim Jong-Il did) but here in my non french garden they live peaceful if short lives due to our local herons. Above and below are some pictures of them. My aim was to show the full body of the frog compared to the normal shot of their head. To do this you will need

1. A pond

2. A net

3. A large ja

4. A Frog

 

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After carefully catching the frog I put them into a jar half filled with water where they irritatedly swam around. Above is a picture of my mother modeling how I looked. It is important to note I was allays friendly to my green friends and after no more than five minuets I let them back into the pond to let them ponder on what just happened.

With the photographs taken it was just a matter of cropping them in post and hey presto you have an underwater shot of a frog without actually going underwater. Check out more of my photography here, if you have any questions or suggestions then post away!

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Slow Motion on the Cheap (ish)

Above is a video I helped shoot and edit for a Lisbon fashion designer. She came to us (Memory Box) with an idea and it was our job to turn it into a reality. One of her requirements was that a large percentage of the video had to be slow motion. I was unsure about this, but never one to turn down any money I said it was fine and spent the next three days prior to the shoot obsessively looking up every single tutorial possible.

What I found was with the right equipment and an awful lot of luck a Slow Motion effect is a surprisingly easy thing to do, although will take a lot of rendering time, if like me you have a macbook that’s a few years too old. However you do need the right stuff:

1. A camera that can shoot higher than 25fps, I shoot on a 600D and 70D both with 50fps.

2. After Effects (I used CS6, but have since experimented and got the same results with CS4)*.

3. A lot of luck.

But what about Twixter?” I hear you ask.  “This is a program everyone from Philip Bloom to a youtube stoner tells me I need to use. Who are you to go against the grain?” Well my dears, I am someone who will happily save you $500. I experimented with Twixter and while I found a improvements, I didn’t find anything that blew me away.  However I leave it up to you, here is perhaps one of the best examples of Twixtor use I saw, watch and be amazed:

 

 

DAVID’S  SHOOTING INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Shoot at a fast shutter: anything 1/2000 – 1/4000s. [so your lighting needs to be good]

2. Shoot against a plain/solid colored background – sky/wall etc etc.

3. When you shoot really close/tight, slow the action down manually ie – move slower and fake slow motion. Its easier to get good results when the action is shot from a distance

4. and perhaps most importantly TRIPOD THAT BITCH.

 

DAVID’S EDITING INSTRUCTIONS 

1. Import Footage into a new AE composition

2.Right click, enable time remapping.

3. Give composition more time so you can stretch out the footage

4. Find where you want to slow down and back to normal speed and add keyframes.

5. Move the keyframes to “stretch out” the time

6. Movement will be choppy, to overcome this go to Frame Motion> Pixel Blending.

7. And perhaps most importantly YOUR FOOTAGE WILL PROBABLY SUCK, DO NOT DESPAIR JUST TRY AGAIN.

 

I have since done another, perhaps even more slowed down film, which will be uploaded shortly. Until then, go out into the wild my young Zack Snyders and  see what you can create. But before you go, one more thing, see if you can of what i cannot: create a slow motion film that has a narratively driven reason for being in slow motion!

Enjoy.

 

My ViewBug Spring Competition Entry

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I have recently joined ViewBug, it is much like flickr but with the added advantage of having competitions, many you have to pay for but some like the Spring Competition are free.

This picture was taken in my parents Scottish garden, there garden is so massive and so full up of stuff (woodland, lawn, rhubarb, grass, river) that I thought a photo stitch would be the best option. It was six pictures, 3 across and 3 to make a bit more “top and bottom.” I used Pixelmator, a budget-photoshop that can be bought for £10 in the mac app store.  I am, and always will be a Gimp admirer but for ac users Pixelmator is a thantastic program and I urge all of you to go try it if you have £10 to spare and no photoshop to use… intact I can feel a new blog coming along.

So wo else uses ViewBug? and what do people think of it overall? Theres a link to my profile here.

 

 

DIY 3D: 3D we can all be impressed with?

A feeling I am sure most people can relate to is my antipathy towards 3D, the light-loss glasses, the cost, the complete lack of any narrative point. I am a regular cinema goer and given the choice I will always go for the traditional 2D screening. However these quite fantastic Gifs (one above one below and the rest here) give me a new-found love.

Who would of thought that defocussing the background and two white lines could give such an impressive effect?  I feel a week of 3D experimentation is ahead of me…

New Showreel and How You Hope a Job Interview Doesn’t End.

A few months back I wrote a blog about a failed job interview, as people seemed to like it here is another one. Above is a new After Effects Showreel I have created too, take a look if you have a minuet free.

I knew this interview wasn’t going to go well, firstly I was called Tom straight after I had introduced myself as David. Secondly he didn’t want to see my showreel and thirdly this gentlemen was bald. For those that do not know I am cursed with hair that looks like that of a poor-man’s Dennis the Menace. It is a hair that makes even barbers sigh on the occasional time I walk into their shop. In short it resembles a birds nest, without the utilitarian function. While no birds have nested in it (as far as I am aware), it is very possible for things to make a temporary home- spiders, bees, the odd ex-girlfriend who I assumed had run away who now spends her days eating the spiders and bees.

While I have no problem with baldies per say (Darwin, Bruce Willis and the most majestic of all creatures the naked mole rat), they have a problem with me- or more accurately my hair. This beautiful mop is an affront to their shiny lifestyle, an attack of their follicle-less head. I am a reminder of their youth (a misjudged reminder of course, put a oversized- fetus and a tiny bald person next to each other and you would never work out which one was which).

The interview went like this:

Bald Interviewer: So Tom

Me: David

Bald Interviewer: Your CV ends mid 2013.

Me: I have been doing a variety of jobs, some have been based in Portugal were I work as a photo manipulator, my online portfolio shows a range of new videos. This CV is personalized for this job and contains only the most relevant information.

Bald Interviewer: Yeh Whatever. Do you play Golf Tom?

Me: David.

Bald Interviewer: hmm?

Shit, this is an unrehearsed question! Code Red. Code Fucking Red. Think fast. Do crazy Golf and Wii Sports count?!

Me: Poorly, but from the companies website I see you do. I do however play tennis.

Nailed it.

Bald Interviewer:  Tennis is a women’s sport. Everyone plays Golf at my company Tom.

My company?! Does this idiot own the business?

Me: I’m a fast learner sir.

Smooth.  

And so the interview went on rather well and then came the closing lines:

Bald Interviewer: Your a likable guy Tom*

Me: David

Bald Interviewer: But I don’t like you

Me: …So…how long until I find out I am successful?

Damn you hair!

*The general consensus is that this is incorrect. I am in fact a grumpy bastard. 

 

2014: Lets Raw

Taking a cue from Katy Perry I thought I would start the new year with a raw. This post will also introduce my Dog Benny as my glamorous assistant.

Taking a photograph in Raw format is perhaps the simplest thing you could do to help improve your photographs. Shoot with a DSLR? Then go to your photo settings and select RAW. Simples.

Raw-formats are an unedited photograph, much like a negative with 35mm print cameras it is up to you to so the colouring yourself. I use Adobe (bridge or Photoshop) over the Canon format but there are many software, (some free and others rather expensive) for you to pick, heres a great list for you to decide with. For those like me who always manipulate the colours in post anyway this is a really handy feature as you can play about with the colours until your hearts are content.

Benny!

Using Raw you can also do a cheat HDR effect, I am agnostic with the effect this process gives off, but it’s there if you want. Simply do two versions of the image showing off the most detail and merge them in photoshop, below is one of my attempts froma trip I took last week in Portugal. OK guys, enjoy!

 

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