Autumn has arrived

Autumn Plastic Frog
Autumn Plastic Frog

Well Autumn has most definitely arrived. There were a few days where we had glorious sunshine and on occasion temperatures you might even consider balmy. However, the temperature has dropped as have the leaves, the nights are darkening and Autumn is in full flow.

I like Autumn, it’s fresh and you get beautiful colours as leaves turn from green, to red, to brown.

The image above at full resolution is not what I would consider technically perfect – but here’s the thing, does it capture what I was after? And the answer is yes! Reduced and softened with a bit of colour correction and it looks really Autumnal – which is what I wanted!

In Photoshop try using different layers with different blending modes. Blur the upper layer, reduce the transparency and see what you get. Trying things out in Photoshop is important as you never know when you might want to use the effect another time, even if not now. It would be interesting to see the most used techniques or the ones everyone wishes they knew!

So don’t throw out a photo without thinking – maybe you can stylise it somehow and still get an eye catching image.

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Tip 1: Take lots of photos/footage

Seriously, I took 10 shots of the single pebble in this photo: http://simondeanmedia.co.uk/2009/09/a-daughters-pebble/. The following photo is from the gallery:

One of my daughters
One of my daughters

During the family photoshoot of about forty minutes I took around 120 photos. (Some of that time was spent controlling the children). We ended up with a couple of montages and a couple of single framed shots. When shooting video always roll at least 5 seconds before and 5 seconds after and always always do it more than once if possible – with documentary style photo and video that’s not always possible, but the key is to take more than you think you’ll need. Start rolling/shooting slightly before you think it will happen.

You’ll be surprised at the shots you didn’t plan. You also get to learn what works and what doesn’t. You can’t practise and test enough. Be prolific.

The more you do it the more great shots you’ll get – and then the pain comes from choosing, not from that missed moment!

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Motion Graphics WIP

A frame grab from a motion graphics sample I'm working on
A frame grab from a motion graphics sample I'm working on

I’m frustrated at not having kept up with posting – so here’s a flavour of something I’m working on in the background. It’s all done in After Effects and will be a 10 second animation. The finished clip will go into a montage of Motion Graphics stuff soon(ish).

I do have some tips and tricks posts coming up and some more photos to upload – where does the time go?

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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 (http://www.glidetrack.com/) – 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…

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