Ancient Greek Vases

I did think of video games when I heard it but also sometimes on History/Discovery, one of those channels, when they are talking about something dramatic they have sound effects from that time period or something similar lower in the background under the VO, or it's mixed where something might happen during pauses in the speech like a cannon going off and screams or swords clanging, grunts, etc...it's nice.

P.S. There are a lot of cool transition packs out there for FCP that can really add to edits. Not just the crazy stuff but even more subtle like with flashes or black fades but the way they transition onto the screen varies, plus they have built-in camera movements, lots of variety in general.
 
Don't even get me started on this. .

If you have wife and kids finishing at five is a reasonable thing. Productions always try and cram two days work into one day.*

Hey these artifacts are 5000 years old, filming them tomorrow is fine.

I get it.. sunsets, rocket launches, migrant boats.. hard news.. these things dont wait and need filming NOW. But large organisations can just diary stuff properly.

And I dont want to drop a $100k vase, let someone else move it.


*which can work as where long days are prefered to haning out in a bad hotel, drinking a litre of bad red, overtime is paid and the production saves on catering and accomodation.
 
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Ahal

I love the super crash zooms.. ill be studying them when I have amoment. Som form of cut in the zoom I guess :)

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Reflections.

Id generall be a fan of bedsheets, 8.8 gridcloth or poly 8.4 or some other form of 'light tent'

Ive also shot light tent with the back open - so the subject has soft light but the background is treated seperately.

Interesting the 'reference' shot..

A super hard light far back will just make a pin sized highlight - something Id not thought of. Also this pin might be easy to whack in post.*

So often with 'references' we see that the originator did something really quick dirty and easy!

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I would not be dulling spray a million quid vase or even a $5 wine glass. I think dulling spray shows that the lighting design was wrong.



*smm->ahal translation.. patch replace using ones favorite NLE.
 
When the producer gives a still reference.. it can be an issue as a moving camera may collect reflections during the move,

Still snappers have it easy with finding the no reflection spot and a little tickle afterwards.*

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I have a bit of white flexi foam with a 77mm hole in the middle that I can wrap my camera.

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*smm->ahal translation.. patch replace using ones favorite photo edit suite.
 
Thanks, Andy. All of the group shot footage is 120fps 1/250 shutter in a 24p timeline and shot on a gimbal. I'm not sure any of it is actually played back at 20%. There's extensive speed ramping and the playback speed is all over the place. The shot starts with the gimbal on a light stand. It speeds fast through me pulling a flag off the side light and the PA pulling a floppy off the key light. Then it slows down for the static wide shot. Then it speeds up again as I come off the stand and move into the first vase. There's post stabilization applied. There's varied speed ramping throughout the move to even out the pacing. Also added "zoom blur" effect. Then it freezes frame on the ECU and there's a Ken burns effect pushing in.

The entire sequence going from vase to vase in the group was shot in one take and was originally going to be a continuous shot in the edit. So after I pause on the first vase, I move laterally to the second object, find the right framing and pause. Then continue. Then after the last vase I pull back to the wide, put the gimbal back on the light stand and cover the lights again. (My move pulling back was kind of rough so I nixed that and just did a Ken burns out to the static framing.)

There's no pan and scan as an effect. I think it just feels that way when I speed up a lateral move with a fast shutter speed.

The lift and track at 0:38 actually crossfades from the original continuous long take into a separate piece of b-roll. I got kind of lucky that the angle in the two shots is close enough to hide the transition.

The shots of the individual vases are from 1 tripod (gimbal on a light stand) for the ECU and 1 slider for the frontal wide shot. Tripod was at 60fps and slider was at 24fps, both still 1/250 shutter. Vases are on a turntable going at constant speed and we do speed ramp in post to accelerate them. Then cut back to the original shot going from vase to vase. The spinning of the turntable kind of blends in to the lateral move on the gimbal.

One thing I would do differently is I would move more slowly and deliberately when I went from wide shot of the group into the ECU. I tried to nail the camera move in a fluid way and it sort of worked. But considering how everything got speed ramped later, I could have just moved really slowly and nailed every moment of the framing. And that's even more true of the pull back at the end where I fumbled the operating and threw out the shot.

As an aside, FCPX handles speed ramping very easily. It still takes a lot of fiddling. But I can get what I want. I don't know if Premiere has improved in how it handles speed ramping but I could never get it to work right.

Wow thanks for that, I'll study it. Slider shots and speed ramping often make me roll my eyes but this is on another level. Nice use of a floppy rather than a fade out, I didn't catch that even though it's obvious now you mention it.

Do you normally shoot HFR with a 180 degree shutter? I rarely shoot slower than double speed but when I do, I shoot 360-degree shutter. This is on the understanding that it will be similar to 180-degree shutter when played at half speed.
 
I did think of video games when I heard it but also sometimes on History/Discovery, one of those channels, when they are talking about something dramatic they have sound effects from that time period or something similar lower in the background under the VO, or it's mixed where something might happen during pauses in the speech like a cannon going off and screams or swords clanging, grunts, etc...it's nice.

P.S. There are a lot of cool transition packs out there for FCP that can really add to edits. Not just the crazy stuff but even more subtle like with flashes or black fades but the way they transition onto the screen varies, plus they have built-in camera movements, lots of variety in general.

oh yeah, I didn't think about History programs. don't watch a lot of those. that would have been an interesting reference to listen to, I know exactly what you're talking about now that you mention it.

I have some transition packs from Pixel Film Studios and I really like the zoom/twirl ones. I didn't do anything on this edit except hard cuts and some (hopefully) invisible cross-dissolves.

My latest world-changing pixel film studios discovery was their 3D Camera pack - https://store.pixelfilmstudios.com/product/fcpx-camera/. I didn't use that on this project but I've been using it all the time to animate still images since I got it. I'm sure it's little different (if anything, probably inferior) to what you can do with 2D and 3D camera tools in After Effects or Motion, but having that control and convenience in FCPX has been a game changer for me. Wish I discovered it years ago.
 
Ahal

I love the super crash zooms.. ill be studying them when I have amoment. Som form of cut in the zoom I guess :)

It's actually a gimbal move that starts on a light stand and goes free hand, ending in a freeze frame with ken burns effect. I knew from experience that I'd be able to speed ramp the shot to control the timing in post, so I was able to get away with shooting it pretty sloppily and only doing one take with no rehearsal. (We were pressed for time.) Here's the beginning of the original shot, sped up to 2x realtime (so, I was moving half this fast) and with some stabilization applied. The lingering when I get to the CU is me chatting with the producer about what exact framing she wants.


Below is the complete first shot that I presented to the producer in my first draft. Originally she had wanted it to be a continuous take but later decided to cut b-roll into it:


The speed ramps looked like this on the original shot:

Screenshot 2024-03-24 at 10.04.26 PM.png

And that was in a compound clip with some additional speed ramping done to it:

Screenshot 2024-03-25 at 11.28.14 AM.png

Took me about an hour to finesse the opening shot going into the first vase (including the color work and the opening with the lighting reveal) and about 2 hours to do the rest of the shot going from vase to vase and back out to a wide.


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Reflections.

Id generall be a fan of bedsheets, 8.8 gridcloth or poly 8.4 or some other form of 'light tent'

Ive also shot light tent with the back open - so the subject has soft light but the background is treated seperately.

To be clear, when we're talking about reflections are we talking about the glare from the keylight? Because there's only one vase that's truly reflective (the dark one). In it I can see the seamless bounce and the key light and the white ceiling. Can't see myself except in the very last shot I notice now that I see myself crossing from camera to light. That's a stupid oversight, it would have been easy to use a different part of the shot.

As far as the glare goes, I'm conflicted. The reference shot they gave me had hard light, and my approach was intended as a sort of compromise. I wanted it to feel like a window, and it's about that size. I like the zing and contrast it adds. I don't like it when it covers an important detail.

And in general, this client enjoys showing the production in their films. It's part of the "edgy" directive. For example, they're fond of an interview cutaway where we see the entire set. And if we see production tools reflected in the artwork, it's often accepted. If it's super distracting or we can see the cameraman's face, it will probably get rejected.

Interesting the 'reference' shot..

A super hard light far back will just make a pin sized highlight - something Id not thought of. Also this pin might be easy to whack in post.*

So often with 'references' we see that the originator did something really quick dirty and easy!

Yeah the photographers get away with murder by compositing together different lightings from different shots. I've shot vases for this client before and tried the hard light with pin highlights and they hated it and instantly wanted it to go larger and more diffused. If I had been able to edit out the highlight altogether, maybe I would have had something... But I wouldn't bet the farm on that without running a specific test for it.

My thinking for the lighting if I did it again was larger reflector on fill side (this was about 8x8 at a distance of about 6' so probably about 90-degrees of surround. I'd move that up to about 135 degrees or more).

And I'd go larger source on the key side. This was about a 4x6' illuminated patch of unbleached muslin cut by floppies on top side and bottom. (Behind the muslin is aputure 1200d with light dome and 2 layers of diff into a 4x4 silk.) It's about 8' away from the subject and probably about 15 or 30 degrees of surround. I don't think I would go more than 45 or 60 degrees of surround or I kill the low-key sidelit drama from the reference shot, no? But generally speaking if I could enlarge the key so the brightness of the glare comes down I think it's a good thing.

I guess people are saying it should be a gradient down from bright to dark. That's what I would try to do with the large reflector. But I think the amount of glare and obscuring of details is wholly dependent on the intensity at the brightest part of the light source, no?

*smm->ahal translation.. patch replace using ones favorite NLE.

appreciated!
 
Wow thanks for that, I'll study it. Slider shots and speed ramping often make me roll my eyes but this is on another level. Nice use of a floppy rather than a fade out, I didn't catch that even though it's obvious now you mention it.

Most of the shots I used form the slider camera were actually static, as it happens. There's one in the edit but I think it would have been pretty similar as a ken burns effect on a static shot. Most of the moves are gimbal moves, but the principle is the same as a slider.

Do you normally shoot HFR with a 180 degree shutter? I rarely shoot slower than double speed but when I do, I shoot 360-degree shutter. This is on the understanding that it will be similar to 180-degree shutter when played at half speed.

Aha, you're reminding me of the discussion we had on dvxuser about this... Were you the ringleader for the 360-degree HFR approach? I remember actually being convinced by the tests that were shown that above 60fps it can look nicer and less choppy to go 360-degrees... But I never did anything with that. I still shoot it all 180-degrees. Maybe it works well for me because I want clarity over smoothness. I dunno. But actually most of the 20% slow motion shots I shoot for this client end up getting played back at at least 40%... Possibly another reason not to shoot 180-degrees... I should run some tests...

But on weddings, 20% speed playback with 180-degree shutter is common and it doesn't catch my attention as looking off.

On this particular project, I think the 1/250 shutter speed worked well because the choppy/staccato look contributes to that edge of abruptness and perhaps danger. Also, for the freeze frames of the vases it was great to have high shutter speed. Those are handheld gimbal on a 35mm at about 6" distance from the objects. I think most photographers would go at least 1/200 if they want to guarantee freezing handheld shake.
 
oh yeah, I didn't think about History programs. don't watch a lot of those. that would have been an interesting reference to listen to, I know exactly what you're talking about now that you mention it.

I have some transition packs from Pixel Film Studios and I really like the zoom/twirl ones. I didn't do anything on this edit except hard cuts and some (hopefully) invisible cross-dissolves.

My latest world-changing pixel film studios discovery was their 3D Camera pack - https://store.pixelfilmstudios.com/product/fcpx-camera/. I didn't use that on this project but I've been using it all the time to animate still images since I got it. I'm sure it's little different (if anything, probably inferior) to what you can do with 2D and 3D camera tools in After Effects or Motion, but having that control and convenience in FCPX has been a game changer for me. Wish I discovered it years ago.

You must check out motionvfx.com (it is in a different world than anything else)...do your career (yourself) a favor and dedicate one day to just thoroughly going through what they offer...career-changing stuff, FCP plugins with parameters and Motion.

I remember you once saying your motion graphics game could use some leveling up and you can go into the Motion templates in the system files and see how it's all made. Won't help you with After Effects and if you're happy with where you are and would rather not learn because the reward wouldn't be great then that makes sense too - but you can learn so much about masking, lighting, behaviors, objects, filters, etc.
 
To be clear, when we're talking about reflections are we talking about the glare from the keylight?

I guess.. the white oblong.

Its not a reflection like seeing the cam op in the talents mirror shades.. but to me it is still a "reflection"

With an almost light tent approach one would not get that.
 
You must check out motionvfx.com (it is in a different world than anything else)...do your career (yourself) a favor and dedicate one day to just thoroughly going through what they offer...career-changing stuff, FCP plugins with parameters and Motion.

Thanks, that looks like it could be really useful. Maybe I'll try the Documentary pack the next time I'm working on an archival-heavy piece...

I remember you once saying your motion graphics game could use some leveling up and you can go into the Motion templates in the system files and see how it's all made. Won't help you with After Effects and if you're happy with where you are and would rather not learn because the reward wouldn't be great then that makes sense too - but you can learn so much about masking, lighting, behaviors, objects, filters, etc.

I've put a pause on studying motion graphics. I had a chat with my handler at Christie's late last year about what I could improve on or software skills I could add, and she didn't think I needed to go in an After Effects direction. We studied some of the high-performing videos that Christie's produced through an expensive independent agency. I'd say they had a faster pace of visual/sound changes when they went into fast montages. They also did more with sound design than I do. But no After Effects work per se. We also looked at some of the expensive stinkers they made that bombed. They all had terrific editing, but fancy editing doesn't win the day. The key ingredient to success for this client is nailing the brief in terms of the art historical focus of a specific video -- finding creative and innovative ways to bring that message across. And finessing the overall shape/dynamics with the producer so that it builds well. (But I'm more than happy to incorporate plugins with fancy tricks.)

So on this video, for example, the producer told me that they wanted to animate the paintings on the vases. That gets me thinking -- they want the vases to come alive, they want them to seem current, maybe like you're there at the time they were made. They're not some dusty artifacts sitting in someone's study. And I kept that in mind throughout the edit.

I used some generative AI on a recent pitch video for a painting of a pinball machine. I animated the handle to turn, the coin to drop in, and the plunger to pull out and snap back. (Can't share because it's not public-facing.) Draw masking the elements and moving them around was easy. RunwayML painted in the background beneath them, which is the part I don't have the skills to do myself. It breathed some life into an edit with very few assets to work with. (Amateur iPhone stills shot in a warehouse + pinball arcade archival)
 
Also check out the different callouts packs and ink/oil/art transitions...the callouts are those little lines/animations that pop up leading to a word. Maybe could use one describing the age, texture, quality, price, etc. Usually a bunch are used all around objects in different shots. I've seen them in art before, maybe a line popping out of a painting's frame with the word 'gold frame' while the text might change into gold or something.

But, yeah, the creativity is endless but sometimes not needed.
 
To be clear, when we're talking about reflections are we talking about the glare from the keylight?

I guess.. the white oblong.

Its not a reflection like seeing the cam op in the talents mirror shades.. but to me it is still a "reflection"

With an almost light tent approach one would not get that.

Hmm I think I see the point. Here's a test with amaran 60x s into paper towel roll wrapping around mug

Screenshot_20240326_141734_Gallery.jpg

On the rear left side where the paper towel wraps around there is no line where the light cuts off. But on top bottom and near side there is

So in theory if I had a large piece of diffusion, maybe 12x12, I could hit it in the middle and have it fade away to nothing at the edges and then you don't notice the edge of the iight. Right? Or no?

But ideally it would be a single piece that curved gracefully in both directions... much like the light tent products being sold...

But if I just hit it from one side then in theory I can still get low key and steep falloff
 
Im not quite sure what you are saying.. trying.

I think you are describing a massive light tent unevenly lit to create shape.

indeed.

How to do that? various options none perfect :)
 
Also check out the different callouts packs and ink/oil/art transitions...the callouts are those little lines/animations that pop up leading to a word. Maybe could use one describing the age, texture, quality, price, etc. Usually a bunch are used all around objects in different shots. I've seen them in art before, maybe a line popping out of a painting's frame with the word 'gold frame' while the text might change into gold or something.

But, yeah, the creativity is endless but sometimes not needed.

do you know of a good plugin for masking layers (like making drop zones) in fcpx? I can do it with compound clips but then it's hard to manipulate the clip within while seeing the final composition

this was one of the exemplary edits from the independent agency that my producer showed me (which they actually produced for a different auction house). this sort of compositing should be easy to do in AE/Motion I think but I'd like to do it in FCPX:

https://vimeo.com/220503671

and here was their other super edit, though I don't think any AE was needed. you have to click on the image and then go to 5 of 5, which is the video - https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6369449

the painting sold for $195M. there's a really nice transition at 0:20 which feels almost like a wipe or flash but if you look at it closely, it's a composite of the same image (famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring) parading across the screen with Warhol-esque color variations. Brilliant editing. Gets through the idea that the Warhol painting being sold is on the same level as that painting, or the Mona Lisa. And that theme is just hammered and hammered so elegantly and subliminally. Stellar work. Much of the quality I think just comes from working on it and working on it over a long editing period and going back and forth between producer and editor shaping the piece. I don't know how long they got to spend editing it, probably a couple weeks at least.
 
Im not quite sure what you are saying.. trying.

I think you are describing a massive light tent unevenly lit to create shape.

indeed.

How to do that? various options none perfect :)

I think that's what I'm saying. You take a hard side light and you stick a light tent in the way

how would you do it?

simple way seems as big of a flat surface (like 12x12) as possible. Not really a light tent, but you should still get some gradient fall off out of it. Of course, you can put together multiple pieces to make walls/ceiling, but from my paper towels experiment it seems like the seams will be apparent in the reflection. less sexy
 
do you know of a good plugin for masking layers (like making drop zones) in fcpx? I can do it with compound clips but then it's hard to manipulate the clip within while seeing the final composition

this was one of the exemplary edits from the independent agency that my producer showed me (which they actually produced for a different auction house). this sort of compositing should be easy to do in AE/Motion I think but I'd like to do it in FCPX:

https://vimeo.com/220503671

and here was their other super edit, though I don't think any AE was needed. you have to click on the image and then go to 5 of 5, which is the video - https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6369449

the painting sold for $195M. there's a really nice transition at 0:20 which feels almost like a wipe or flash but if you look at it closely, it's a composite of the same image (famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring) parading across the screen with Warhol-esque color variations. Brilliant editing. Gets through the idea that the Warhol painting being sold is on the same level as that painting, or the Mona Lisa. And that theme is just hammered and hammered so elegantly and subliminally. Stellar work. Much of the quality I think just comes from working on it and working on it over a long editing period and going back and forth between producer and editor shaping the piece. I don't know how long they got to spend editing it, probably a couple weeks at least.

That Vimeo edit is nice. It's one of the more complicated ones I've seen (not difficult to do in post but they make it more tedious by constantly changing shapes and positions with the footage while sometimes keeping audio in sync).

Here are my thoughts on everything:

Simple:

You don't have many options in FCP. I would stay away from compound clips for something like this as it can all get messy quickly (and how would you even do it with compound clips?).

I think using the 'corner mask' effect could work for some simpler edits. See X-men example below (same clip is duplicated in this example). You would place clips on top of each other and can apply the corner mask to each one and create a shape with the transform points or type in a percentage.You'd have a large stack of different clips depending on how many changes there are but it's all very easy to see and manage and trim the clips within the magnetic timeline.

[As far as any movement, this technique works with footage that's already moving and not 4K --> HD movement/key-frames, which you would need proper drop zones for.]

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Intermediate/advanced (old school):

Build drop zones in Motion as a generator project (which has the more advanced masking tools) and publish them and their parameters into FCP as a generator so you can drop clips into the gray drop zone boxes in FCP and play around with them based on how you built everything in Motion.

Of course that's the most time-consuming method not only because you're building everything from the ground up but also because it requires decent knowledge to make the work high-end.

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Intermediate/advanced (new school):

Services like MotionVFX exist to make life easier...with plugins and templates. There are drop zones within packs (not every pack has drop zones). Here's a random example (scroll down the product page to see what's offered like drop zones, lineups, backgrounds, titles, add-ons, etc.

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,mevent,p3661.html

You could play around with these directly inside FCP.


Then there are drop zone Motion templates (there are hundreds, it's difficult to choose a few):

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,project_486,p932.html

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,project_478,p924.html

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,project_1244,p2184.html

You can then go into these kind of Motion templates and only use their drop zones (or whatever) while disabling other stuff you don't want.

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Or you could combine specific transition packs with built-in FCP masking or any drop zones (hover mouse over them to see the effect on the product page):

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,mtra...ack,p3494.html

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,mtra...ift,p1953.html

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Or sometimes when looking at the specs of packs you'll see 'masked' which mimics more of masking behaviors vs. a distortion or light or movement or transition, etc. (although some can fall under those categories as well because, in reality, everything is a visual manipulation of pixels that enter and exit and change one way or another and a lot of the stuff looks similar).

https://www.motionvfx.com/store,mrev...sic,p4018.html

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As far as that :20 second painting transition...they have a glitch transition in one of the packs somewhere where it duplicates an image across the screen. You pick how many boxes/times and you can change the color too (but not sure how much across the different boxes). The one in the video looks to be manually made because the boxes don't line up properly in the middle in one section but do in others (see below) and then in that case it would be much easier to control color for each one independently.

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I'm not sure if any of that helps - but, in general, I don't think there's one quick solution to everything. People spend a lot of time building stuff and sometimes even use multiple software. That's probably still the best way to do it because you have complete control over everything, but the modern day endless creativity and speed with the already-made stuff for sale is too good to not dip in here and there.

And usually you use a variety together when experimenting. That's what that 5 of 5 edit is...besides great sound it's filled with quick cuts, zooms, glitch transitions, artifact overlays, various masking, movements, flashes, etc...all found on MotionVFX in plugins and/or Motion templates.

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Were you the ringleader for the 360-degree HFR approach?

Haha, that's right. I believe Marlon Brando played me in the film.

I absolutely think the choppy / staccato look adds to the video and I wondered if that aspect was deliberate. I bring this issue up quite a lot - partly cos I'm hoping that if I'm wrong someone will explain to me why. Seems to me that 'standard' motion blur is the amount of motion that happens in 0.02083 seconds (originally in the context of 24fps). It's not relative to anything. Of course it will look different at different frame rates but there's no reason to think of it as a ratio. Anyway, don't want to derail.

I had the perfect setup to use a floppy to cut the light last night - single bottles of very expensive alcohol (at Sotheby's) lit with a single light. Totally forgot as it was the end of a very long day.
 
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