Mixing 60fps with 24fps? (Or; how the Tuscan tragic came to life).

DIY-builds and hacks, Film

A while back I shot a video for Magdalena Wolk’s song “Tuscan tragic”. We wanted to do something quick and simple, so adding some sort of flair to the visuals was essential. Shooting a quick video is a great way to give a song you want to put out that extra push. Here’s how we did it.

We had access to a photostudio with a white backdrop so being able to control the lights was a big plus. I also have an old VGA-projector laying around so we decided to project pre-shot footage onto Magdalena and the white background, while she was performing. Doing this instead of adding footage with a blending mode/opacity change gives you more interesting footage since the projector emits a ray of light, hitting the moving subject in various angles, adding lights and darks. And life.

Magdalena had some great random footage from her travels, some of it shot with a cameraphone. For our project, this worked great since we knew we wanted a natural and heavily mishandled look. Both me and Magdalena are huge fans of vintage footage, so coming up with the different aspects of this video wasn’t really that hard. We mixed Magdalena’s footage with my ink in water footage and edited it together with the full audiotrack as a base.

We did add one more effect to this video, found in the chorus. Magdalena moves in slow motion, but her lips are in sync with the words. How? Performing at double speed while shooting at 60 fps. We shoot the chorus separately, with Magdalena performing to a audiotrack running at double speed. When you bring your footage into your editor (Premiere Pro in my case), all you have to do is change the speed/duration of the clip down to 50% (half the speed of your track running at double speed – duh) – and you’re in sync with the original audio again.

Now – I did have some problems using clips shot at different framerates (the rest of the video is shot in standard 24fps) in the same sequence, so I had to edit together the chorus in a project of it’s own, and then export it at 24 fps. After this, it worked fine.

I did some research and found out that the optimal convertion would be to bring footage shot at 60 fps down to 40% when changing the speed of your clip, if your video is meant to be exported at 24 fps. This because 60 X 40 = 2400. I’m sure there’s lots of information about this elsewhere – but it might be worth testing if you’re planning to try out this effect. Of course, your audio will need to run at a matching speed when shooting.

The wind in the slowmotion footage comes from a leafblower I bought at a yardsale for about $20. The dust and scratches are real filmscans, (most of them come from this brilliant place called filmlooks) which I put on top of my footage using the screen and overlay blending modes in Premiere. Finally, I added a transparent .psd layer with Super16-borders to sell the look a bit more. We shot this video in about three hours. So I’m quite excited to see what we can pull of when we add some more time and planning next time. Make sure to check out Magdalena’s other stuff if you liked this video, since she’s easily found on Soundcloud, YouTube and Spotify.

Got questions about the process? You know where to put them. Full video below.

How to shoot ink in water.

DIY-builds and hacks, Film

Today I shot inkdrops dissolving in water for a studio based music video planned for next week. This type of footage could be used as abstract backgrounds in titles, or perhaps as an overlay in some trippy video art. I’m sure there are a million other creative things (duh!) you could do with this type of footage. Now I know that there are plenty of animations out there like this, but they joy of making films for me is in crafting all my components, be it practical effects or a simple animated title card. Remember; stay original.

So whats there to think about? Well, I guess it all depends on how you’re planning to use your footage. In my case, I’m gonna do a live projection of this footage onto the artist and studio backdrop so the ink in water footage isn’t going to be too much in focus. If you’re making an opening title card, credits or something like that, you might want to be a bit more careful about where and how you put your inkdrop into your frame. Let’s get started.

1

This project is very simple and you can pretty much set this up at home in your kitchen.

Here’s what you need:

  • Camera (something with a manual focus)
  • Tripod
  • Jug, or preferably a fish tank
  • Ink (or food coloring)
  • Eye-dropper
  • White background
  • Access to water / sink
  • Some sort of directional light source

The first thing you want to do is making sure that the container for the water has a somewhat flat side directed towards your camera. A cylindrical shape will be harder to light and you’ll end up with a lot of highlights. A fish tank would be optimal since you want the glass (or plastic) to be as clear and flat as possible.

Next, fill your container with water and set it up in front of your white background. Try and position your light on the side (or bottom if that’s and option for you) so that the area which will be in your frame is evenly lit.

Use a lens with manual focus. You want to get close enough to cut off all the edges of your container, but still be able to focus properly. The Canon 30-105mm did it for me. Now, before you put your ink in, put a spoon, stick or finger in the middle of your container so that you can set your focus on it. This is where you’ll be putting your inkdrops.

2

Ink is cheap, especially if you order online, but if you’re in a hurry, standard food coloring works just as well.

I shot my footage at 24fps but if you know you’re going slow-mo on this you might want to shoot yours at 60fps or higher if that’s an option for you. Like I said, it all depends on what you’re going to use it for in the end.

After this you pretty much just hit record and put the drops in one by one. It all takes a bit of trial and error before you know how the ink reacts and behaves but this is a lot of fun and no drop looks the same. So keep at it. Here’s a few tips:

  • Ink dissolves/spreads quicker in hot water, and slower in cold.
  • Ink tints the water after a while – keep putting clean water in before each take.
  • You can swirl the water around with your hand before you put your ink in to make the trails rotate a bit more.
  • Mix colours! Start with something light and work your way up to darkness (i.e. Red – Blue – Black.)
4

Mixing colours looks great – but make sure to time it so that it really shows – check your screen when shooting to get an idea of where and when to put in your next drop.

I’m going to edit my footage a bit before I use it. I plan on doing some colorgrading, mixed speeds and see how it looks inverted. If it comes out the way I want it too, I’ll put up a link so that you guys can download it and use in your own projects. But I really do recommend shooting your own, simply because it’s so much fun. Stay playful!