The Need for Speed

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After extensive research and testing the edit suite is now faster and more powerful then ever.

I’ve fitted a new high end graphics card – the 280x. Which is now rendering four times faster than the old card in Final Cut Pro X. I put my benchmark results on the fcp.co forum which put me near the top of the list, just under the very latest, top of the line MacPro.

I also took the time to install a new 6TB RAID array. I’ve been waiting for the new generation of Western Digital 2TB drives with an improved platter layout and IO. So now this three drive system gives me over 400MB/sec read and write which is crazy. I’m using an external 6TB eSata RAID for automated incremental backups of the entire editing RAID while I work so there’s always a recent working backup should the unlikely happen and a hard drive fails. Now that FCPX uses the GPU for exports and the fact that RAID is so fast, this makes the mundane tasks at the end of an edit so much quicker.

I’ve improved the edit suite room with acoustic treatment tiles, moved out lots of kit and bought myself a new FCPX specialist keyboard. But most importantly I’ve moved both mainframes into the room next door, so now it is completely silent and much cooler. That’s not something I’ve seen in any edit suite, anywhere for over a decade. They are normally very noisy, stuffy rooms with poor lighting and little space.

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Weedfree Winners

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Weedfree2Weedfree1Weedfree4Weedfree5After winning the Sustainable Innovation in Export Award at the Golden Bridge event, Weedfree asked us to produce a couple of films for them. The first was a video press release for social media showcasing their latest award. And secondly they take all their staff to Tenerife for a short break and wanted to show a film to inform and encourage the team in the year ahead.

We visited the Weedfree headquarters in Yorkshire to interview the bosses, as well as shoot a few additional setups near train tracks and on quad vehicles. Once back at base I rebuilt their logo in 3D to create an animated opening. Editing was pretty straightforward thanks to Final Cut X and here are the results:

Trafalgar Triumphs

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GoldenBridge2013_2I’m in London again with Howard from Red Lobster filming the ceremony for the 2013 Golden Bridge Awards. This year we we’re asked to film the event for both the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and the Belgian-Luxemborg Chamber of  Commerce.

This meant visiting London and Brussels to film presentations of the shortlisted companies, making two films to show at the event for the assembled dignitaries.

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After filming the event on the FS100 I edited a video for each chamber, which showcased the presentations and awards from their parts of the evening. The first two thirds of the videos below are close to what was shown at the event before the awards were given.


Putting words on your mouth

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The guys at IdeasBynet are always asking me for something a little out of the ordinary. This time we were making a TV commercial to promote their rebrand, something fresh and fun with loads of character.

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This was shot in their photo studio, lit with two 1.2kw MSRs through my diffuser frames and Dedos as backlighting. The performers were two staff members and one semi-pro actress. They were holding sticks with cardboard sheet and tracking markers drawn on. The shoot was fairly simple, the only difficulty was ensuring that the actors didn’t move their mouths too much behind the cardboard and that they didn’t turn their heads too much or their mouths would be visible.

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The post production process was obviously quite complex as you’d expect…

-Get the voice performances edited and signed off by the client.
-Edit the actor’s background footage to match the voice recording.
-Save each dialogue line as individual Quicktime files.
-Motion track the individual mouths for each file.
-Edit the mouth movement images to match the voice recording.
-Apply the mouth images edits with the motion tracking to the ordinal background files.
-Put it all back together in Final Cut Pro.
-Apply colour corrections, add strobing/weaving effect.

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I’m really happy with the end result:

Park It Mister!

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Stress Free

The lovely folks at Stress Free Parking asked me for a quick turn around video to demonstrate the new valet parking at their Luton Airport facility. After agreeing an initial filming outline, I arrived on the Friday – one of the hottest days of the year and the shoot went better than planned.

Once I’d made a rough cut the clients provided graphics in the style of their newest website branding.
By Monday lunchtime the video was signed off and uploaded to YouTube. Super Fast!

York Work

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Steve PoppleAntique Restoration is a well established and respected business in the city of York.

Recently the team have learned new skills to help create bespoke furniture for their new venture – Man of Art.

After a days shooting at the York workshop earlier in the year, today I returned for a morning of additional filming.

 

After completing the first draft of both films, we knew that we should wait until they had built a new showroom and tidied up their stores then return to film at the new locations. The first shoot was on a snowy day, fortunately the workshop is heated! So returning in June was a very different experience, anyway the additional half day provided all the footage we needed.

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I also suggested that I could create a longer, looping video that could play in the workshop window to encourage passing trade. This loop video plays from a tiny media player and looks great in HD on a large flatscreen TV.

I’m really happy with the finished videos, written, directed, shot and edited by yours truly:

Oh the Humanity!

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Another trip to Brussels! ~ Crikey ~

This time we’ve combined shooting two films into one trip.
This meant filming 24 interviews in one day, as well as filming around the city and an awards ceremony. A crazy day.

– Humanity in Action commissioned Howard Foster and myself to produce a promotion film for their Pat Cox Fellowship. An internship programme which culminates in a cosy award ceremony at the top of the European Parliament Building.

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– Next up, our old friend Mona from Kent Uni asked us to make a promo film for her key2advance business.
This combined interviews and setups around the city with archive footage shot by Mona across Europe.

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Post Grad Post

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Our second job in Brussels saw us making a film for The University of Kent – Brussels School of International Studies.

The brief was to promote the school from the perspective of getting a job once a student has graduated.
This involved filming career tutors and many former students now working in Brussels.

The film is now live on the client’s website.

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This was the first time I used my GoPro in a paid job.
The Wi-Fi monitoring came in really useful as I was able to place the camera above the bar before the event and start recording remotely once the venue opened it’s doors.

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Blazing Benchmarks

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It’s the first of December – the itchy moustache has come off and I decided to reposition the edit suite.

Anyway I thought it was worth running benchmarks to compare the new edit suite against Apple’s latest computers.

The new iMacs are getting early benchmark figures:
Geekbench scores of 12427
Lux Mark scores of 265
and Heaven 3 frame rates around 30fps

My edit suite has much higher scores:

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So a Geekbench score of 14049. That faster than the hugely expensive midrange MacPro.

A LuxMark score of 2007 is massive! Virtually impossible on any other Mac, as I’m running a GFX670 2GB card which can’t ordinarily be used in a Mac.

Lastly a nippy Heaven fps of 73, so no slouch there either.

Combined with a super fast, dual 6gbps internal RAID array which delivers over 200MB/s, this edit suite is a true powerhouse. Final Cut Pro rendering and encoding is much faster than on my older machine. And of course the super duper graphics card renders 3D in no time.

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December 4th update:

I got BT XDSL installed today… It’s cheaper than my old 2mbps ADSL and it is fast. Very Fast.

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Perfect Printing, Pronto

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The phone rings:
“Come to Sheffield. We’ll brief you when you arrive”
– Sounds like a secret mission.

PHD called me in to shoot a promo for their new startup
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A few hours filming and a day of editing later…