Kid’s bikes everywhere

I did this little video for a couple of reasons, firstly to see what my updated ‘ident’ looked like actually on something and secondly simply to test out some techniques and capabilities from a video perspective. I’ve not done many YouTube uploads either, and so far I’m not particularly impressed. Some people think you can get as good a video as Vimeo, but I certainly haven’t found that yet! So this video has weird artifacts that aren’t there in the original. (More info below).

So the ident turned out okay, not exactly amazing, but a quick spruce up of the original one, I have an idea for something much more funky, but it’ll take a while to sort it.

It was a lovely sunny day and the kids bikes were liberally scattered round the garden. It doesn’t help that we have more bikes than children (and we have 4 of those!), but that’s because they always seem to be growing into the next one.

Bright sun and dark shade are hard to reproduce in video cameras, unless you pay serious money, so that was one of the things I was testing, how far can you go? The end shot is a little blown out, but I wanted to keep some information in the shadows.

I also wanted to practise some focus pulling and creating smooth ‘dolly’ shots with with my Glidetrack slider ( – I’ll be reviewing some of my kit at some point soon.

The video was edited and coloured in Sony Vegas 8 (The link is for version 9, which I haven’t upgraded to yet). I like this program for editing, audio and quick ‘treatments’. But Adobe Premiere and After Effects are much better for more complex video alteration/creation – the ident was done in After Effects CS3 (Again I don’t quite have the dosh to upgrade yet).

Testing cameras, techniques and your own capabilities is really important. You get good at something through practise, whether that be music, photography or video. So what am I doing writing this? Better get creative…


A daughter’s pebble

Wet pebble from the garden on black leather
A pebble my daughter found, washed and photographed

Well I took my own challenged of finding ordinary objects and finding the ‘beauty’. I found this pebble in our lounge! My 21 month old daughter has a habit of collecting pebbles, stones and the odd large rock – whilst at the beach we found her wandering across the sand with a rock about the same weight as her (She’s quite a strong lass), simply saying “tone, tone” (She still drops initial letters).

At first glance this pebble was dirty and ordinary, with a bit of a dust off it became more interesting and then I washed it. It’s amazing what a bit of water can do for a subject; see this Chookooloonks blog entry After the storm

Heh, heh, also just realised the photo caption makes it sound like my daughter washed and photographed the pebble! Definitely not, she is known as ‘Lottie the destroyer’ for good reason!


Anything you find

A triptych of a glass candle holder containing different coloured wax
A triptych of a glass candle holder containing different coloured wax

… – or is it?

The post is entitled ‘Anything you find’ because these candles/holders have been in my bedroom for ages and I’ve always been fascinated by both the glass and the wax inside it. I love the way the light comes through the glass – I’m also amazed by the caustics (patterns) glass can make as light shines through it, but more on that another time – and I love the translucent nature of the wax, it almost looks crystaline (I don’t know if it is).

There is something deeper about this image though,can you spot it? Taking a butcher’s at my flickr stream will give you a clue!

I’m going to challenge myself to taking photos and video of things ‘in my vicinity’ and seeing what I find. Even in taking this image though I’ve discovered that to get something good can take time. The number of times I’ve taken a photo and then upon closer inspection found the object to be dirty (not in a good way), smudged, smeared, mouldy!?. Sometimes you can get great ‘in the moment’ photos. Other times you have to work at it; clean the dust, move the dead leaf that spoils the picture or the bit of grass in the way of a flower.

I’ll also admit, I didn’t take the photo ‘in situ’ either. I moved the holders to a position where I could get the sun shining behind them and take the picture straight on. On a film you don’t find the crew just turning up and turning the camera on to what they find, they painstakingly craft the image using lights and reflectors, make-up artists, scene artists etc. etc. Even a bit of effort before pressing the shutter can make a difference.

So see what’s around you, then make an effort to get a good picture and see what you get.


Sabre Baby

A very short clip – blink and you’ll miss it – of my smallest daughter attacking her sister with a light sabre. I actually came across the original footage I’d recorded by accident, not realising it was on the tape. So I decided to practise a bit of rotoscoping in After Effects, added some fake smoke and some sound effects – it’s amazing how much time you can waste just on 6 seconds!!

YouTube also seemed to make a mess of recompressing this, might try and improve it if I get chance.

Remember, keep it fun!