Editing videos/ rendering


Now that the first video in the 'Battle of the Zuiko 40mm' is up on youtube, after 20 odd hours of editing and rendering, I have decided to make a blog about editing videos.

Now making videos has become an important part of what I do, and it is something I enjoy doing. I am lucky enough to have a good friend filming me most weeks on the London streets. Editing is something I have had to learn on the fly in regard to photo walks. Most of my older videos were just guitar gear reviews/demos, and did not need much editing. Photowalk vids are hour(s) worth of footage, ontop of scaning/ uploading/ editing photos. 

Trying to gauge and feel my way through what is right in terms of editing has been a steep learning curve. Even having an idea in my head of what I want, can be difficult to translate to the screen. However, I have gotten comfortable with the whole documentary style shakey video and fast editing. 

It is the hardest part of making videos. The content flows more easily, as it is spontaneous on the streets, and things always present themselves. Once in the editing suite, everything slows down, there's footage to cut, music and audio to sync, and subtitles to write (dear lord the bloody subtitles!). 

If I have any tips, it would be to be cut throat with the footage. I have found that about 6-8 mins is best for me, with 10-12 mins when I have someone else in the video. As nice as it is getting footage walking along, adding more than 5-10 seconds of walking footage in between photos/ actual content is a no-no. It is something I have had to really cut back on, especially in places I love like Camden and Brick Lane. 

Out-takes have become important to my video workflow. It is something I never force, but I always like adding in bits at the end where I am cocking up, or a silly part of the day that was actually captured. I think it adds a human element to the process.

Swearing is fine in videos. Everyone has a different take on this, however I think it is an important expressive part of human expression. I am not talking add expletives for the sake of it, but the odd 'bollock's or 'shit' I have no issues with. It all comes down to taste...

Anywho, just a couple of thoughts on editing vids. See you on the flip flop - Sly.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 in 2018

There is something to be said about the original X-trans sensor, even in 2018. The X-Pro1, in a lot of people's minds, has sat behind the X-T1. Specs-wise is this very true. The X-T's are released later that the X-Pro's, meaning they always benefit from hardware boosts. However, as much as I used to love my old X-T1, there is something to be said for the X-Pro 1's sensor. 

With the latest firmware update, the X-Pro 1 is much more appealing. The autofocus is decent, okay it won't rival the X-T2, it can be used with decent street lenses like the 23mm F2. I think the camera always had a bad rep' for autofocus, which never really bothered me that much, as I tend to manual focus more. 

The image quality is fantastic, and has a more unique feel than the latest X-Trans sensors (and that is saying a lot because the X-T2 is a lovely camera). 

My only real issue with the camera is that it cannot do silent shutter. This is a must for mirrorless cameras for street photography, and it seems odd that it was not set up to have this feature. 

The overriding question is can it hold up in 2018? Yes. Does it matter that it has a 16mp sensor? No. The images are sharp and look fantastic printed large. That is less of an issue for me than not having a silent shutter. So if you have a chance to pick up one cheap, I say: go for it! you can always sell the camera for the same price you got it. 

- Sly.

Preferred Films

Both 35mm and 120 film are important to me, and I have been lucky enough to try a large number of different B&W and colour films. So what do I prefer to shoot and and why? Is there a particular reason I tend not to use certain films as much in my work? 

My favourite B&W films I have tried so far are:

Bergger Pancro
JCH Street Pan

When it comes to Tri-X, it is difficult to go wrong. It looks great, is easy to shoot, and you get consistent and great results. Tri-X was always my go-to film when wanting to shoot film at 1600 asa. The grain structure is lovely, and it scans well. What about the whole Tri-X vs HP5 thing? I am not a fan of HP5. I have shot it a number of times, and although it's not a bad film, I have struggled to get results I like. Tri-X will always triumph over HP5 for me.

Bergger Pancro is a cool film. You get contrasty results, with good acuity and sharpness/pop. This film is best shot at 400asa, but gives a really retro/ old school look when pushed to 800 or 1600. It is probably my most shot B&W film along with Tri-X.

JCH Street Pan 400 is a film I love using on the grey winter worn streets of London. This film is very contrasty, and is made to be pushed or pulled. It looks great when pushed to 1600, but I prefer pushing it to 800. The down side is, if you have a lens with great micro-contrast (ala Yashica ML 50mm F1.4), then the results won't be as good as you tend to find with those sort of lenses. I think this is down to the high contrast of the film. That isn't to say you can't do it, but why waste a nice expensive film by not being able to utilise its strengths?

My favourite colour/C41 films are:
Portra 400
Fujifilm Pro 400H
Ilford XP2

Portra is just a lovely film full stop. I can push this film to 800/1600 all day, and love the results. This film tends to yield ideal colour results at 400asa, but when pushed can give a grainier, more street friendly aesthetic. It also converts well to B&W once scanned. You can't go wrong with this film, save that it can get expensive to buy. 

Fujifilm Pro 400H. This is a film I 'discovered' by accident. Having nothing to shoot for my medium format camera, and being fairly skint at the time and needed to cheaply process C41 film, I bought two rolls. I have to say, I love the look and feel of this film when pushed. It washes the colours out, adds a bit of grain, and is very welcoming to green and blue colours. A different flavour to Portra, this film offers me a lovely alternative when needing to shoot colour.

Ilford XP2 is an interesting one. Technically a c41 film designed to yield black & white results, this film is cheap, quick, and easy to process. I usually use this film to test a new lens or camera, but to say that it is for people new to B&W or for testing alone would be unfair to Ilford. This is a great film, and you can get some really interesting results with it. I tend to find that this film is very consistent in results, and works well when it has snowed or with lenses with a number of different issues. There will always be a place for XP2 in my film box. 

Why is Ektar 100 not on this list? Simply put, although I have enjoyed shooting Ektar in the past, the results aren't something that speak to me personally. A great film, and certainly has its place, but for my street photography it just doesn't FEEL right.

Anywho, just a quick one. Signing off from Milton Keynes tonight - Sly!

Shooting film photography videos

So going out and shooting film on video has become the latest development in my life as a London street photographer. I have a lot of equipment that there isn't much decent review or footage of on youtube. This makes it very easy to go out and shoot videos with. 

For example, most of the vintage Zuiko OM line has not been covered on youtube. This is always the direction I have gone with my camera gear reviews, as I lean towards putting information out on these amazing cameras and lenses. This has now evolved from images and story telling/ reviewing at my desk to hitting the streets and shooting, allowing viewers to see the journey unfold. 

Granted, being filmed draws more attention that usual, and as such does make general candid photographs harder to get. I have gone from being my close/ in your face street photography, to being more laid back and holding out for shots. This benefits filming the street photography more, and is better for the workflow of shooting- developing - scanning- and then editing the videos. 

What have I learned so far? With each video the content is getting better. Not just general shots which started off with medium format camera on a tripod, to going more mobile with 35mm range finders and SLRS-  to capturing more of my humour, which is important in allowing personality to shine through. 

I have enjoyed laying in some of my old music, as well as editing in some of the raw live audio in sections so the video does not feel detached from the situation. One of my songs has become my 'theme tune', and I have now been editing in the mistakes and comedy moments at the end of the videos. 

You can look forward to more Zuiko OM videos in the near future, intertwined with some Rolleiflex and Mamiya 645 1000S videos. I plan on moving around to challenges after I have shot a number of lens, location, and camera videos. 

- Sly