Archive for the 'snowboarding' Category

20
Mar
10

Utah. Epic.

I recently came back from a 1 week trip to Utah. It was everything you can ask for in a snowboarding trip. The grins on our faces coming out of powder stashes got larger and wider as each day went by. Park City. Snowbasin. Powder Mountain. Snowbird. Solitude. Thank you snow gods for letting me end the season the way it should be.

The annoyance of carrying around a backpack with lenses, batteries and memory cards soon became forgotten as the amazing conditions and picture perfect scenery turned into endless opportunities to capture footage. I shot over 500 clips and have been busy making notes, editing, sound mixing and everything else. An epic trip deserves an epic video.

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16
Dec
09

First Edit of the 2010 season

This past weekend was our first snowboarding trip of the year. It’s been a very late start to the season due to the erratic weather. It’s nice to get out on the mountain and it feels really good to finally get behind the camera after months of waiting.  I had a bunch of shots in mind that I wanted to try and get. Of course, my ideas on paper looked drastically different through a lens. Regardless, I think I came pretty close in what I wanted to achieve with a few surprises and luck thrown in between. It’s essential to tell the story through each frame and I really wanted to capture the excitement of snowboarding as it is to myself and my friends. Everything from waiting in the chairlift line to strapping into your bindings represents what the sport means to us. Nothing else makes you feel as free and detaches you from the “real world”.

I really wasn’t sure what kind of results I would get so I used this weekend to experiment.  There’s been numerous complaints about the weak codec but everything seemed to hold up fine for me, probably due to the fact that I shot entirely in 720 to avoid the dreaded ‘MUD’ that I’ve read on countless forums. I should really aim to shoot with a lower shutter but with the snow and bright sun, it was a bit unavoidable, even with an ND9. I don’t get as much grading flexibility in post either and it’s tough to get the fine detail in the shadows and highlights. Either that’s a technical limitation or I need to work harder in properly exposing my scenes. Also, my $50 “steadicam” isn’t very steady so a lot of footage looks like I’m shooting during an earthquake. Slowing it down in post helps but a lot of my footage I found unusable. Oh well.

After finishing my final edit and watching it countless times, I can say I’m pleased. Does the quality compare to that of a full sensor? Definitely not. Does it look like film? Perhaps. Does the camera perform exactly how I expected in those conditions? Absolutely and it actually exceeded my expectations. I purchased this camera for its size and versatility, knowing I’d have to carry it around while snowboarding. I’d much rather have that flexibility than compromise size and a few other luxuries like a more robust codec.

Screengrabs below. View the final edit here on vimeo.

22
Feb
09

Random Bits – Feb 09

1) I recently came across a great article by Michael McDonough featured on designobserver.com entitled “The Top 10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School”. He hits on a number of very useful and valid points regardless of your profession. Two that really struck a cord with me were: 

• “You must decide what is important, and then attend to it first and foremost. Everything is important, yes. But not everything is equally important.”

• “Start with what you know; then remove the unknowns.”

Read the full article here.
 

2) I just came back from a 7 day trip to Whistler, Canada. They are consistently ranked the #1 resort in the world by major publications. Amazing terrain, amazing views but not-so amazing powder (this has been a horrid winter for Whistler). I promised my friends a documentary considering I have 160GB worth of footage from the trip. We’ll see how that goes… 😛
3) Thew new issue of Fortune came in my mail the other day. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook is on the cover. He has a net worth of $1.5 billion. He’s also only 24. 😦

Facebook is surely the face of Web 2.0 along with the youTubes and Twitters of the world. This brought up an interesting topic at work. What is the next big thing? Paul Newnes, one of the owners at Last Exit where I work, shed some light on the topic with his presentation on Semantic Web 3.0 at our Last Exit Lecture Series. Semantic web is an advanced framework of information and services on the web, making it possible for the web to understand and satisfy the requests of people and machines. Read more about it here.

What is the next big thing???

me-whistler

09
Dec
08

Snowboarding season begins

I’ve been counting down the days until snowboarding season probably since my last trip to Utah in April. By the time September came around, I was becoming very inpatient. When we finally headed up to Vermont in November for the first day of the new season, I felt like I was 10 years old waking up on Christmas day.

The Farmer’s Almanac had predicted this winter to be one of the coldest/longest in recent memory and boy have they been right so far. The summit of Stratton Mountain felt like mid-season which was pretty remarkable since it was only Nov 29. I took full advantage of the great early season conditions and wasted no time in shooting some footage. I was a bit nervous with handling my camcorder in the winter snow but came prepared with a UV Filter and an extra padded backpack.

As I’ve said before, the Canon HF100 shoots amazing picture quality but I ran into a number of challenges shooting on the mountain. The snowboarding footage you see in movies are generally shot from the back of a snowmobile. Trying to shoot while riding a snowboard is a disaster waiting to happen. Trying to minimize camera-shake while dodging people/obstacles, keeping one eye on the LCD, all while breaking/carving is flat out impossible! Even on flats, the camera shake was just too much.

Some of the HF100’s manual settings are also just too clumsy when you want to shoot something quickly. I tried my best switching between settings such as shutter speeds and manual focusing but ultimately left most of the settings on auto. My biggest mistake was probably forgetting to switch up to 1/2000 for fast shots. Regardless, I found that the movement was still very smooth.

Another challenge was just getting into position. My friends would fly down the mountain and it was tough figuring out how I wanted the shot to develop. In the end, I was happy with how everything turned out but there’s definitely faulty areas and much room for improvement. These are lessons I can take back with me for my next trip. I’m excited to bring my camcorder out more in the future. My girlfriend asked me, “How come there aren’t any tricks in the video?” My response was “Because we didn’t do any tricks.” Until next time…

You can view the video here:

Facebook Video

Vimeo

Screenshots:

stratton01

stratton021

stratton03

On a random side note, YouTube has FINALLY updated to show HD video. Even so, I will stick to Vimeo as I feel it has a better community. Surprisingly, the quality of Facebook is also very good. The days of SD are definitely coming to an end…

02
Oct
08

Snowboarding motion graphics spot #2

I just finished creating my second snowboarding motion graphics spot. Because the Burton spot had more of a graphical approach, I tried to do something a bit more photo realistic. It was fun to create this spot but now I’m itching to go boarding even more. Oh yeah, I have no idea why this is for Transworld. 😛 Also, I’ve heard many different arguments about the most efficient way of animating the camera in 3D space. I guess in the end, it just depends on the project. I’m experimenting with one-node vs two-node, parenting to nulls, expressions, yada yada but ultimately, some rigs work better in different situations. And yea, I really need to learn Pro Tools or become best friends with a sound designer..

Anyways, check out the spot here and feedback is always always appreciated:

http://vimeo.com/1864592

 

19
Sep
08

Some Randomness

Random #1: My top 3 link addictions of the week month.

1. Chase Jarvis
2. Buysnow.com
3. Tokidoki

Random #2: Why would anyone ever shoot interlaced footage? My very wonderful, super slick, super cool Canon HF100 can shoot 24p, 30p and 60i but I find absolutely no reason to shoot in 60i. If I need to catch something moving quickly, I’ll just increase shutter and shoot progressive. I did a comparison on my computer and the 60 fields does not make any difference. In fact, all it does is create an extra step for me during post because I have to deinterlace. When will 60p be out???

Random #3: Speaking of shooting footage…the Phantom v12 shoots at 1000fps. That’s like watching a 5 minute video of a person yawning. That puts the RED camera, aka my dream camera, to shame.

Random #4: I’ve been playing around with a new version of my Burton snowboarding piece (see the ‘work in progress’ below). Winter can’t come soon enough. :/ 

Screenshot: 

25
Jul
08

*Burton update

Finished and live to the world! Check out my Burton motion spot here.

http://vimeo.com/1404003

Feedback is always much appreciated! I’m very pleased with the result and definitely picked up some valuable skills along the way. I still have a long way to go especially compared to the amazing people at Psyop, Superfad, and Digital Kitchen to name a few. However some of the things that I found very frustrating before, are beginning to feel a lot more natural to me and with that, I can smile.

I’m now back to the drawing board for my potential ‘short film’. A new Canon HF10 would be very useful! 😛