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Davide DB

Member Since 30 Nov 2010
Offline Last Active Aug 19 2017 06:09 AM
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#386475 On American and European documentary storytelling and our poor sharks

Posted by Davide DB on 04 August 2017 - 01:04 AM

No surprise about Nat Geo: http://gizmodo.com/n...nier-1729683793

 

No competition for greed + stupidity...

 

Very bad news. R.I.P. NGC

 

What we are witnessing is a boost to the concentration and verticalization of media companies. Murdock is the owner of Sky, the largest European satellite broadcaster. He was already distributing NGC, History and Discovery channels in Europe. Now he bought NGC so another piece of the puzzle is set.

 

I guess we have two phenomenons at the same time.

 

As Peter pointed out we are moving towards mediocrity and unless viewing figures fall down it's an unstoppable process. If you think about it it's simple to explain. I'm fifty and I grew up with BBC documentaries enjoyed in a completely different manner: Sir Attenborough commenting on Japanese macaque for one square hour :) but he was aired once a week! Nowadays a cable/satellite channel broadcasts 24hx7. No way to fill such time interval with quality contents. So they are forced to buy and produce a lot of low budget documentaries shows to fill their TV schedule. In the resulting hodge-podge, quality content has less appeal and probably less revenues.

 

At the same time, the old "documentary" category has gone trough an "hybridisation process" with other genres like reality shows, talents, mockumentaries... The result is in front of us. The same applies to other formats as well but while we stay within fiction, results are not so devastating.

 

Bye




#386438 On American and European documentary storytelling and our poor sharks

Posted by Davide DB on 02 August 2017 - 03:07 PM

Favored by summer vacations and some spare free time I had the time to write down some thoughts from the couch. I don't know if it's the right place to post my ranting. even if I will not write about gear I'm going to write about video after all.

 

When I subscribed to Sky, the largest European satellite broadcaster I couldn't wait to see their nature channels. After few months I realized that only few shows were worth watching. But I never paid particular attention at it. Well, until few days ago, when I saw the Discovery Shark Week. A shark kermesse aired by Discovery Channel every year. By chance at the same time I saw the short documentary Gombessa IV Genesis. Wetpixel wrote a small news about it here.
Basically it is a short documentary based on Arte amazing long format Le mystère Mérou re-edited with sharks as main subject. Gombessa IV expedition is just finished and I could even follow them on their Youtube V-log.

 

Let me start off by saying that while I'm passionate about diving and underwater filming I'm able rarely to follow marine documentaries aired by Discovery, NGC, History, etc... I find them mostly targeted to casual public or the average Joe who don't know nothing about diving or marine biology. Let me be really clear, nothing wrong on this. Informing lay people with the most suitable language is the main task of science journalism. Actually seeing these shows (I think show is the proper term, not documentary) some doubt arises.

How much oversimplification can we afford in the name of accessibility?

How many fake infos can we afford in the name of a wider public audience and spectacularization?

In other words, where is the balance between audience and correct information?

 

I see that Wetpixel almost mentioned one part of the show here but I'll try to be clearer.

 

Some example: several documentaries shows of the Discovery Shark Week were shoot at the Bahamas. Some of them at the famous Shark beach.  Why the hell every two minutes do they have to remember me that the diver or the camera operator is risking his life doing this or that? They are in the same place where every year thousand of apprentice divers party with the sharks bringing back home their pretty photos and family video! Internet is flooded of these videos. Music, editing, dialogues, everything rotates around shark diving dangerousness. Even when the diver is in the cage we clearly see that video operator is outside and everything is fake as Disneyland. At the end of the show my mother and my little son thinks sharks are dangerous.

 

Therefore other questions arise. Shark week official declared goal is to show how amazing this endangered creatures are... but after 45 minutes spent remarking how dangerous are those activities are we sure that the usual sentence at the end of the show filled with "amazing... endangered... protect..." is enough to put across the message on shark preservation?

Frankly speaking it's just a boilerplate on a format focused on maximizing the audience. Three shows were focused on shark attacks. I'm done with sharks and surfers. Please. Basically in one week only one show documentary was worth to watch: Blue Serengeti.

 

We know, to attract shark we need baits. All of the shows were doing indiscriminate use of shark feeding or chumming. I'm a practical guy so I will not do a crusade against it but how is possible that in a documentary show there is no mention about opinions or disclaimers on this controversial practice?

By the way,  reading two Wetpixel's articles about the poor traveling octopus I understand that balance between audience and correct information should be a topic dear to Wetpixel but then I see that there is a double aspect even for them. Chumming is ok for Wetpixel. I take note of it. On the topic it worth reading this page of Sharks and People: Exploring Our Relationship with the Most Feared Fish in the Sea, University of Chicago Press, p. 160

 

I'm not fighting against this show. I'm using it as an recent example of what I don't like in nearly all shows about nature aired via satellite or cable: The most dangerous creatures of ... (fill dots with an ecosystem of your choice), Spiders vs Snakes and so on... On shipwreck dives is no joke either! I still remember watching History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives touching wood. Bottom line is that it doesn't worth without someone who risk his life (actually, most of the times someone who acts like risking his life).

 

To summarize, IMHO I find there is a more general "format" problem on USA productions. It doesn't depends on documentary filmmaker and operators involved. They are professionals who sell their images later tailored on their needs by production companies or they directly produce what the market asks for. USA productions prefer a format that is kind of an hybrid between a reality show and a documentary. When did all of this started?

 

IMO French productions I cited above are on another league. I'm not speaking about money involved but the plot, storytelling in itself. Breathtaking images and events still depicted in a very realistic fashion. I participated to some documentation and exploration projects and reality on the ground corresponds on what I see on them. Scientific facts and message to the audience plays always a main role and everything revolves around them. In some respects the viewer is considered an adult person fully capable to understand what's going on. Things seem easy because they are good at them but emphasis is rarely given on character's ego or risks involved. From a storytelling perspective these documentaries mix the old David Attenborough BBC understatement with the superman challenges of Yves Cousteau. Sad to say that French are the only one in Europe to put money on these productions devoted to the sea. Maybe something else form BBC. On the shipwreck topic I could cite U455 the lost submarine. Again a French director with an international production.

 

Maybe it's just me. I'm European and I feel these kind of storytelling more inline with my way of thinking. Yet speaking about fiction, USA storytelling doesn't seem to suffer from these problems. Its language is universal and it spreaded across the world. Maybe when we speak about documentary there is a cultural gap to reduce after all.

 

 




#386386 Color Checker as refrence

Posted by Davide DB on 01 August 2017 - 05:50 AM

If there is one thing I have noticed, those who shoot really good UW video do not share what camera they use, how they get stable footage, they don't tell people if they use red filter or not. People ask questions in their Youtube/Vimeo page, the videographers do not response to question and only thanks for compliments. 

 

Well, your question brings to the table several aspects...

 

IMHO

 

  • Unless the title contains magic words like test, review, etc.. as user I tend to avoid asking techie details.
  • As video producer I do not define myself an artist or a videomaker but I'm frustrated when people write "nice, which camera settings did you use?". I tried to put inside my video an idea, maybe a message. I believe that my video are nothing special but are mine. I would believe that they express my personal point of view and they have nothing to do with the gear I used. Yes I'm naive and I would believe that I could have made my piece with anything. There are countless video about a dive, a trip, a wreck but that video contains my perception of it.
  • I never confused the tool and the goal. Gear is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

 

Nevertheless sometime I would ask which gear they used but I'm shy to ask :) Asking Howard hall which camera used, in some way is like saying "ok with that camera I can do the same".

 

Bye




#386308 Color Checker as refrence

Posted by Davide DB on 31 July 2017 - 06:24 AM

I played around with this years ago with a laminated checker for stills. I was basically trying to work out how deep I could shoot with available light in The Red Sea. The problem seems to be that our brains, or maybe optic nerves, do a bit of colour correction when we are underwater so you then have to adjust for this in post when you are out of the water. It's a really interesting excercise though and I learnt a lot from doing it.

 

How deep then? :)

 

Weeks ago I found this seven years old Thistlegorm video. I know nothing about camera, setup, etc...

 

 

Question of personal taste, of course, but I find its colors amazing. AFAIK it should be shot with ambient light with red filter (except interiors) and the resulting palette/light gives him a very particular atmosphere IMHO. From its pastel colors I could think of a Canon camera or a old Sony video-camera. Who know. Maybe the author will read this.

So with a proper filter and light, at 30m it's possible get good result.




#386306 Keldan 8x - flux or CRI?

Posted by Davide DB on 31 July 2017 - 06:12 AM

I have a pair of (old) Luna-8 CRI. Maybe 6000 lumen or less. Before of these I had a pair of FIX 5000 lumen. 

I was satisfied with my FIX except for lumne output. I mostly do tech dives with older camera and more (light) is better. Nowadays I thing that 6000 lumen is the bare minimum.

Despite of light power I love my Keldan. I cannot say that in water the light is different but I realize that since I use them my video colors are nearly ok out of the camera. I mean that I spend less time in post to get colors right (err, actually colors I like).

Now with newer camera you can easily work at ISO 1600 and beyond while on my camera ISO 1000 is the highest I can afford.

I agree that on shallow waters you need very high power lights. I find deeper shots quite easy because you have just to manage light output and nothing else. On shallows shot it's very tricky to get good color rendering.




#386221 Bigblue lights feedback

Posted by Davide DB on 28 July 2017 - 01:33 AM

Thank Thani et al.

 

In the end my dive buddy opted for a pair of Keldan 4X 6000lm. A Swiss shop had two of them as surplus at 1000€ each. A real bargain. Grabbed!




#386140 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Davide DB on 25 July 2017 - 05:28 AM

Just lend me your NA-GH5 and I will test WB at 100m  :mocking:




#385950 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Davide DB on 18 July 2017 - 01:31 PM

Panasonic uses own sensor regardless of continuous cyclic speculation on using Sony sensors for some of their camera.
I'm sure about Nikon for all its flagship camera. Olympus for m43 cameras and even Fuji.
Sensors are designed by customer and produced by Sony to their specs. Moreover sensor it's only part of the story. All other components are designed by Nikon and co. Same for color science. Sometimes they are able to extract more juice from sensors than Sony itself.
Haha haha don't worry I'm jocking


#385898 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Davide DB on 17 July 2017 - 04:38 AM

A nice video properly shot and edited

 

 

 

Cattura.PNG

 

 




#384348 What are your GO TO Video settings?

Posted by Davide DB on 23 May 2017 - 12:20 AM

I mostly shot WA with artificial lights and deep so my habits could be very different if you shot shallow.

Anyway...

I shot completely manual: shutter speed twice the frame rate. i.e. 1/50 for 24/25p or 1/100 1/120 for 50/60p. I try to stay at least at F5.6 even better F8 to minimize soft corners. Of course if you are shooting shallow in tropical waters even ISO 100 could force you to use F11 or more. In this case I suggest a ND filter to work always in the best F range.

I ALWAYS try to stay in the hyperfocal range so I set my Panasonic GH3/GH2 to use the AF Lock feature. I focus on a medium range object (based on shot subject) locking the focus and then I start shooting.

Regarding ISO setting I rely on my experience on similar dive conditions. In my case most of the times I start with ISO 800 or 1000. As I said I mostly shot at depth of 60/70m or even more so ISO 800 is the bare minimum even with my two Keldan Luna 8. I can lower ISO for close WA shots where my lights completely fill the subject.

 

An evergreen topic is the WB settings. You will find endless threads on it. For my kind of dives I rely on auto WB but, again, your mileage may vary on your DSRL and if you shoot shallow or with ambient light.

 

Bye

 

EDIT: I find this to be a very valuable tool to understand how to get hyperfocal settings for your configuration: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html




#383779 Grass Valley Mync - videos and photo catalog and fast edit software

Posted by Davide DB on 04 May 2017 - 05:38 AM

Thanks. That does look like a useful program.

 

. Vee-Hive was the nearest thing I could find when I last researched this but will it be there in the long-term and support future formats?

 

Who knows?  :pardon:

 

Mostly it depends on the adoption rate among Edius users and beyond. it's important to see how many new features will be introduced in the next releases.

I remember the first versions of Lightroom had only plain tags and later Adobe introduced tag hierarchies.

Currently Mync is packaged along Edius 8.x. Mync means to Edius as Adobe Bridge to Photoshop.

In the next few months I have to build a new editing workstation. I will give it a try and give you some feedback. 




#383642 Grass Valley Mync - videos and photo catalog and fast edit software

Posted by Davide DB on 28 April 2017 - 05:47 AM

I remember that some time ago we discuss about a tool to catalog and view our clip collections. A sort of Lightroom specifically designed for video. AFAIR Nick Hope was looking for a tool like this.

This is one of that hidden gems that GV does not even mention in its official YT channel and it's even difficult to find on their website.

 

If you are PC based you should give it a try.

 

https://www.grassval...m/products/mync

 

Mync has a unique video preview function that is second to none. The powerful video preview function provided is unlike that of any other software. This great feature of Mync is possible because Grass Valley also developed the EDIUS professional video editing software. In addition to the h.264 format that is used widely, including on the Internet and for smartphones, various formats used in professional workplaces are supported. With Mync, unified management is possible for diverse video materials, starting with XDCAM, P2, XAVC and XF-AVC, and including video files that ordinarily could not be checked without launching video editing software. Native data can be previewed without conversion.

Allows simple editing (with export to youtube and such even).

 

Basic version is completely free.

 

 




#383641 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Davide DB on 28 April 2017 - 05:28 AM

A new guest at the party:

 




#383640 Easydive Leo 3 Wi and Panasonic GH5

Posted by Davide DB on 28 April 2017 - 05:07 AM

Housing is always the same, it changes just the wi-fi sw controller:

 

https://www.easydive...op/411/leo3-wi/

 

Now with GH5

 




#380613 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Davide DB on 15 January 2017 - 06:12 AM



http://www.newsshoot...riffin-hammond/