This is a guest post by Matti Haapoja on his work submitted to the Videolog. In this article Matti shares some extremely useful guidelines and numerous tips on how to make a cinematic and awesome travel video with his Panasonic GH4. Last fall I took a 29 day epic road trip through the west coast of America, along with my wife, brother and friends. Here are some most essential tips you should consider when planning to make an awesome travel film. 1. Prepare First off you have to make a plan. We had 29 days and although that seems like a lot of time we had to carefully plan out our trip in order to hit all the amazing places we wanted to see. Don’t be too strict because some places might totally surprise you with how amazing they are, case in point Crater Lake in Oregon. But make sure you have a plan so you don’t waste time on your trip trying to figure out where you should go. 2. Why? Then you need to figure out why you’re filming because that will dictate a lot of the gear you need and the quality you need to achieve. For this trip I tried to line up some sponsors who would either donate gear or pay for expenses and then in turn I would include them in the travel video somehow. But in this case it was way too big of a hassle with not enough return so I decided to shoot just for fun. Personal projects like these can be a great way to showcase your talent and style which helps you in the future to get more jobs doing films you actually like doing and that fit your style of film making. “Wild” has already helped me to land other travel videos that I’m being paid for. 3. Travel light If you have too much gear it’s going to either stop you from seeing the places you want or make you tired of shooting because its so much work. Keep it simple. I wanted to run really light so all I took with me was a Panasonic GH4 + Metabones adapter, a Sigma 18-35m f1.8, Nikon 85mm 1.8 and a panasonic 12-35 f2.8, Monopod and an ND filter. Remember if it’s your vacation try to relax and enjoy yourself. 4. Don’t get robbed Unfortunately fate would have it that apparently I had too much gear and in San Francisco my camera bag was stolen from our rental van. Be careful with your gear and don’t leave it in your car! Not even for 15 minutes… After a few days of sulking and being annoyed that footage from Crater Lake, Cannon Beach and Portland was stolen I got back into it and bought just the GH4, Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 and an ND filter. I realized that this was a perfect combo for traveling. Its insanely light and with the OS on the lens and using the EVF on the GH4 I shot everything handheld (except for a few shots at Crater lake which were stolen of course). I was able to walk around comfortably all day with the camera in hand and quickly snag shots almost like I was taking stills. I found it to be a great way to not be overwhelmed with gear and shooting. It also helped to be stealthy when shooting in cities. 4. Don’t forget who you’re with Its all about people, characters and stories in the end so don’t forget to capture the people you’re travelling with or the locals if you’re by yourself. One of the big things to remember is that you don’t want to just capture the beautiful landscapes and places but try and capture people in those environments, their reactions, emotions and culture. Having characters interact with the environment will make your travel video much more interesting. 5. Make sure you have a drone Okay I did have a drone with me also. I brought along a drone because I wanted some epic shots of all the epic landscapes we were going to. It really elevates the production value of a travel film. I went with the DJI Phantom 2 and GoPro setup (Hero 3 in this case). Be careful about where you fly your drone though because not all places allow it and the laws can be a bit tricky. Also keep in mind you need an ND filter, which I only found out later. Also a little sun hood for the GoPro will save you from the shadow streaks created by the propellers when flying towards the sun. More info on this HERE. 6. Take your time on the edit So often with personal projects I don’t take as much time on it because there’s other projects to do that I’m being paid for or it’s just not a priority. But personal projects can take your film-making in the direction of films that you want to make. Clients will often ask you to recreate or make similar films to something you have already created, so a personal project can act as an awesome showcase video . 7. Shine, polish, match and grade! Don’t rush the colour grade. Travel films are usually shot in tons of different locations with different lighting etc. To keep the video cohesive and consistent make sure you take lots of time on the grade and matching shots. In Wild I tried to take a lot of time matching shots especially between the GH4 and the GoPro footage. I used VisionColor’s Impulz LUT’s for this travel film which worked great because they offer different versions of each LUT for different cameras like the GH4 and GoPro. Then I used curves for contrast and Magic Bullet Colorista to match between shots. Remember that these are just some tips and not absolute rules. Do your best to be unique and true to your style! You can see more of Matti Hapooja’s work at: www.heartvisuals.com vimeo.com/mattihRead more
Gunther Machu works for a large engineering corporation and travels the world for business. On his trips, he has started shooting video for pleasure with amazing results that have brought him a lot of fans on his Vimeo account, not only from enthusiast filmmakers but also from professionals. He always uses the smallest kit possible – the Panasonic GH2 and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera are usually his main work horses. In this guest post, he shares his experiences with the GoPro HERO4 which he tested on his ski vacation last week, using the newly announced firmware update for higher slow motion capabilities (report here). (nl) General When I bought my first GoPro Hero 3 black edition in February 2013, I was quite fascinated how capable such a small camera can be. Using the right video modes (e.g. 2.7K 24p, 1080p60 or 720p120 in narrow mode) it delivered moiré and aliasing free, high bitrate images. Especially the Protune mode provided a flat color profile which can be tweaked quite heavily without falling apart. Hence, I was not too excited when the GoPro 3+ came to the market. It had too little to offer vs. the Hero 3. This changed with the announcement of the GoPro Hero 4 about a year ago. What really pushed me over the fence was the announcement of a firmware update to be released in February 2015 which included new video modes like 2.7K 60p or 720p240! Hence, I bought a Hero 4 Black Edition one week ago for my ski vacation, hoping for the release of the latest firmware just in time. GoPro Hero 4 vs. 3 Black Edition Things I immediately noticed The Protune flat color profile on the Hero 4 now looks very neutral – the Hero 3 sometimes had an ugly, yellowish overcast which I found difficult to remove in post The highlight roll – off now looks much nicer, the Hero 3 always had a very harsh, digital looking transition All the video modes have vastly increased in effective resolution – first and foremost the 4K modes, but also the high framerate 2.7K modes. On the Hero 3 it was barely possible to tell the 2.7K images apart from the 1080p ones, no matter which field of view was used. Now on the Hero 4 it is possible to limit the maximum ISO the camera uses Also, the Hero 4 now offers EV compensation (ranging from +2 to -2) However, the dynamic range has not improved unfortunately The lens seems to be the same on both, at least the typical GoPro fisheye and field of view is very similar The GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition video modes Having installed the latest firmware 2.0 from February 4th, I was eager to test the new video modes, 2.7K 60p and 720p240. 2.7K p60 should be super useful to apply optical correction in post for the fisheye lens (e.g. with the GoPro Studio software or Adobe After Effects (in the effects tab use ‘distort’ à ‘optical compensation’ then tick ‘reverse lens correction’ and FOV values of about 70). Also, additional image stabilization in post (like warp stabilizer in Premiere Pro) further zooms into the image hence any resolution overhead is highly welcome! Well, what I found is the above statement only holds true for certain modes: Superview Pah, not for me – squeezed and distorted à looks like wrong aspect ratio 80’s TV Field of view “wide” 4K all frame rates super detailed and very nice – but the data rate (~64mbit/s) is on the limit and compression artifacts appear if there is a lot of movement – only use for locked down shots or stabilized drone shots 2.7K 24, 25, 30, 50, 60 modes are disappointing – absolutely NO difference to the corresponding 1080p modes! This situation changes very positively once the 2.7K modes are used in the “medium” field of view settings. It seems that the Hero 4 cannot cope with the additional data reading the full sensor in “wide” mode. A fact which I unfortunately noticed only after having shot the enclosed test video. See the screenshots from a 1080 timeline below, zoomed to 140% (click to enlarge) 1080p 24, 25, 30, 50, 60 modes are all very detailed and nice, no compression artifacts 1080p120 mode has a lot of aliasing – use with caution 720p modes are all fine, with the exception of the 720p120 mode – aliasing Field of view “medium” Whoa, everything changes with the “medium” field of view. This is where the 2.7K modes shine and really provide the extra resolution they are promising. Also, the bitrate of ~65mbits/s seems enough even when a lot of motion is present in the images – no compression artifacts are visible to my eyes. “Medium” FOV for 2.7K means obviously 1:1 sensor subsampling – clean, moiré and aliasing free images which are much more detailed than the 1080p modes! “Medium” field of view for 2.7K is less wide than “medium” for 1080p which makes a 1:1 comparison between these two modes impossible, but here are 140% zoomed in frame grabs from a 1080 timeline for both resolutions (click to enlarge): Notice the wider field of view of the 1080p60 “Medium” mode. Field of view “Narrow” the 1080 modes as well as the 720 modes seem to be 1:1 subsampled from the sensor (windowing), hence they are detailed (exception 720p240) and aliasing free 1080p120 fantastic slow motion, detailed, no aliasing – my choice! 720p240 is only available in narrow FOV, sounds amazing! However I found it disappointing. It shows compression artefacts, is very soft – not for me. It really looks like a standard definition image (screengrab from a 1080 timeline, click to enlarge): Conclusion The new GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition with the latest firmware 2.0 is an amazing upgrade from the Hero 3 black I bought 2 years ago. I will only use those modes on the Hero 4: 4K for slow moving, locked down or drone shots 2.7K “Medium” field of view all frame rates for action shots – for twice the resolution of the 1080p modes, giving me still a decent 1080 image after de-fisheyeing and image stabilization in post 1080p120 “Narrow” field of view for slow motion shots This video I shot partly with the old, partly with the new firmware (it arrived in the middle of my ski vacation), using mostly 2.7K and 1080p120 in Protune flat and sharpness dialed down as far as possible in cam. One advantage of the high (automatic) shutter speeds having zero motion blur in direct sunlight is that you can further slow down the shots with optical flow algorithms (available e.g. in the GoPro Studio software, or After Effects (timewarp) or Twixtor). I used this effect a few times in the test video. As mentioned above I only learned after the fact that the “wide” 2.7K shots do not provide any advantage over the 1080p modes – hence the action shots appear soft. Lesson learned, you should always test before you shoot! Also, I really liked the “Night Timelapse” functionality of the Hero 4 – you can set the shutter & the interval (in my case 20s shutter and 30s interval). The battery of my Hero 4 survived more than 1,5 hours at -10°C for the night timelapse shown at the end, which I find quite amazing! Also, no need to worry if it starts to snow or rain during the timelapse – the camera sits safely in its waterproof housing. Most of the shots were de-fisheyed with After Effects, and image stabilized with warp stabilizer. Vimeo does not take 50p clips, that’s why I rendered everything in 25p – believe me, in 50p the action looks way better! My wish list for a future Hero X: Better optically corrected lens – I hate the fisheye … Higher bitrate for the 4K modes Bigger dynamic range – its probably around 8 – 9 stops today And of course, higher frame rates are always welcome!Read more
GoPro have released a firmware update for their HERO4 Black camera adding great new capabilities to a camera that has been in the market for about one year now. With the latest firmware update, it can do 240fps in 720p (Narrow Mode only), which clearly expands its usefulness for fast-paced sports action, one of GoPro’s biggest selling points. I stuck a GoPro HERO3 Black on a rocket for a documentary once (see here), using the 120fps in 720p on that camera – 240fps would have made the rocket blast look even better as it did.Read more
The much anticipated GoPro Hero 4 has been announced. The camera will be available as two models, a Black and Silver edition as well as a new entry-level camera simply named The Hero.Read more
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