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Nick Hope

Dakuwaqa's Garden

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I made a video of some of my favorite underwater footage from my time spent as video pro on Nai'a in Fiji and Tonga in 2008 (I'm a slow worker). Told myself I was mainly going to release stuff with informative voiceover from now on but ended up doing another "bunch-of-nice-clips-to-music" video. There'll be a longer-form documentary style video somewhere down the road.

 

The footage was shot with my Sony HVR-Z1P HDV camera in a Light & Motion Bluefin HD housing. I used the wide 80 degree port for most of it, and L&M Sunray Elite lights for the night dives and some of the macro.

 

The footage was shot in 1080-60i HDV converted to 720p for YouTube using my Sony Vegas > AviSynth > Megui/x264 method. The uploaded H.264 file looked great but unfortunately the high-movement footage suffers badly at the hands of YouTube's encoder and becomes a bit of a mushy blockfest, particularly swaying schools of fish etc..

 

I'm interested in feedback. In particular:

 

1. Is it cut too fast, or too much in time with the music? I've never aligned clips to the rhythm of music before like I did here.

2. Do YouTube's closed captions show on your system by default? They contain dive site and species names. If so, do they get in the way? Are they annoying?

3. It's looking a bit dark here on YouTube. Does it look dark for you?

 

If you enjoy it, please "like" or share it, and subscribe to my channel for future videos. Thanks!

 

[youtubehd]mcbHKAWIk3I[/youtubehd]

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A few shots here & there could be alittle longer i think, just an extra 2 seconds or so would be nice.

I didn't get captions though..

Cheers Pete.

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Thanks Pete. I think you're right. I locked myself into the rhythm of the music, so nearly every clip is 2 seconds 6 frames long.

 

The captions are turned on or off by the little red CC button at the bottom, which appears once the video is playing.

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Very nice, especially the whales. I like the quick cuts, did a vid like that myself a while back to a Trance track. Sometimes it's good to take a break from the standard sleepy underwater format :D

 

How many dives was all that footage from?

 

I use Vegas as well and just saw your page about the output work flow. I'm gonna look into that cos YouTube really mangles it. I just render out in 1080i mp4 and the panning shots are a mess.

 

I was always wondering if you intentionally de-contrasted your videos. At the moment I'm kind of torn. Since I switched to the massive L&M 110 degree lens, that floods in so much colour and contrast through the lens, I begun to see that as a bonus getting super contrasted colourful footage, but then.... Your footage looks really nice too! Will give those setting a try & do a comparison. Thanks for posting all that info.

 

James

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/SensationDiveVideos

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Thanks James. I'm glad for the reassurance about the pacing, because a lot of people are telling me it's cut too fast. Was a nice experiment to align the cuts to the rhythm though. I probably won't make another that is so "quantized" like that again.

 

My Sony Vegas > AviSynth > Megui/x264 method is a bit complex but really gives superb quality if you can be bothered with the learning curve and rendering time. I put a huge amount of work into that process earlier this year to perfect it. You can use it without downscaling to render 1080p instead of 720p and send that to YouTube, but for the time being I'm downscaling to 720p as I think 1080p stretches a lot of people's graphics cards too much. 720p still gets flagged as HD on YT. Bear in mind that YouTube are going to mangle stuff anyway, and underwater footage is particularly hard to encode at low bitrate, especially where you've got moving shoals of fish etc.. Vimeo and Facebook mangle footage less but they either use higher bitrate or more advanced H.264 parameters, which in Vimeo's case can make videos stutter on some people's displays.

 

Re. contrast... My Sony Z1P shoots around from around 17 (blacks) all the way up to 255 (whites). In general it overexposes a little. If you upload anything with levels over 235 (or under 16) to the net, it's going to get clipped when it's played back in Adobe Flash Player, and any detail there will be lost, because the colorspace is "expanded" on playback. So I put a Color Curves effect on every clip in Vegas to deal with that. I vary it but in general I roll off the whites down to 235, to retain highlight detail, and I pull the blacks down a few notches, monitoring everything in the waveform scope while I do it. There are exceptions to that, such as the manta clip where I used a different shape color curve to increase contrast in the mid range. Take a look at my page about conforming levels for the web. Be warned there are technical issues with that article that upset some purists, so I'm planning to update it, but the gist of it is correct.

 

Before the color curves fx, I usually put a 3-way Sony Color Corrector fx, to tweak the colours. I try to get them as close as possible as I shoot, normally (when shooting without lights) with a MWB on the palm of my hand through the UR-PRO blue water filter, but many clips require tweaks to get them right. I put a "Color Corrector (Secondary)" fx on some tricky clips where I have warm lights mixed with blue-green ambient light, so that I can use the thresholds to mask areas of the image and only apply correction to other parts. Doesn't work great usually but it's an improvement.

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Hi Nick, i must admit that i didn't have the music on when i watched it. My wife was watching tv so i had the volume turned down. I did like the fast clips here & there for some action but some slightly longer ones thrown in would have been nice.

I also use vegas pro 10 64 bit & will definately read through your tutorial soon.

Cheers Pete.

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Really cool; I think the fast cadence actually makes the whole mood feel much more fast paced with lots of action and tons to do and see. I do also get Pete's point though, I was kind of worn out by the end, so some slower clips to help catch one's breath would help

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Fantastic footage....great compilation!

I just dove Fiji via the Nai'a in June (2011) and your video footage sums up the outer Fiji reefs!!!

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Lovely... Although the water looked too clear and the fish way too colourful and prolific for me!!! Lol

 

You were very lucky to have visited such places mate :D

 

Dean

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Nick, I think the clips are cut at too fast a pace to appreciate each scene. This is especially is one turns on CC. Speed readers have no problem but try reading "Urn ascidians at XXXX" out loud in the clip and you won't be able to do both. I think you can skip 2-3 beats even cause right now you seem to be at 3/4 beat... which is pretty fast. You have some awesome clips, slow the tempo for the reef scenes and let the viewer enjoy. Also having an intro with Bubblevision brand wouldn't hurt you either ^_^

Having a faster tempo is fine if it were shorter. You have it at 5 minutes. A few of the clip cuts were unnecessary since it's almost showing the shot but magnified. Single animal shots sorta work with the quick cuts though.

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Hey Nick,

You certainly used some of your best footage, beautiful lighting on so many of the clips. It was not too fast paced for my tastes but, then again, I have never really been a big fan of music videos. They can be fun to create though. Here's one I did as a challange to myself since the music just speeds up like crazy, it was shot on an old HDV cam a few years ago.

http://vimeo.com/4870945

 

If I copy an embedded code from Vimeo, how does one then post it here on wetpixel?

Steve

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Thanks for the feedback. Point taken about the pace of the cutting. This was my first ever experiment with cut-to-the-beat editing and in hindsight I was too rigid with it. Next time I'll go back to mostly cutting then putting the music on afterwards. All this footage will find its way into longer documentary projects in the future, where the cutting will be slower and there will be voiceover.

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I actually didn't mind the pace of the edit, I liked i a little faster. Some cracking shots in it, my criticisms for what they are worth:

I think you need to try and build a sequence and some sort of continuity with it, at the moment it is lots of great images stuck together.

I would have built up and used more of the humpbacks

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Well, it started life as a very simple showreel of the best of my 1080-60i shots of subjects from the first half of the alphabet, which are the ones I now have online at oceanfootage. There wasn't really supposed to be any story. Just a bunch of nice clips. Then I found the piano track and liked it a lot so decided to lump in many of the shots from the 2nd half of the alphabet and gear it more towards my youtube audience. The cut-to-the-beat editing sort of just happened. But ultimately yes, it's really just a bunch of nice clips set to music.

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Hey Nick,

You certainly used some of your best footage, beautiful lighting on so many of the clips. It was not too fast paced for my tastes but, then again, I have never really been a big fan of music videos. They can be fun to create though. Here's one I did as a challange to myself since the music just speeds up like crazy, it was shot on an old HDV cam a few years ago.

http://vimeo.com/4870945

 

If I copy an embedded code from Vimeo, how does one then post it here on wetpixel?

Steve

 

 

Hi Steve, if the video is yours you will have a number when you view it in your browser.

So to embed your own video here you start with this vimeohd then you add your video number here & then repeat the vimeohd, but this time put a / infront of the word vimeo.If it is not HD then take out the hd at the end of the word vimeo. You need to put the vimeo words in brackets though.

Have a look at the front page of this forum as it shows exactly what i am trying to explain.

Cheers Pete.

Edited by bluefacemanta

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Thanks for the feedback. Point taken about the pace of the cutting. This was my first ever experiment with cut-to-the-beat editing and in hindsight I was too rigid with it. Next time I'll go back to mostly cutting then putting the music on afterwards. All this footage will find its way into longer documentary projects in the future, where the cutting will be slower and there will be voiceover.

 

Cutting to the beat is fine. I'm just considering the CC where unless someone is a fast reader, there's not enough time to watch and read... sorta like a foreign movie (watch the movie, read the subtitles, missed the crucial scene!). Depends on what you want. I don't think many people giving their comments bothered to check the CC timing, so their comments are accurate for the visual side, just not the side with CC.

 

Hi Steve, if the video is yours you will have a number when you view it in your browser.

So to embed your own video here you start with this vimeohd then you add your video number here & then repeat the vimeohd, but this time put a / infront of the word vimeo.If it is not HD then take out the hd at the end of the word vimeo. You need to put the vimeo words in brackets though.

Have a look at the front page of this forum as it shows exactly what i am trying to explain.

Cheers Pete.

 

You mean this:

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=14961

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I added the CC really for people to check what a species or dive site is, if they're particularly interested. i.e. the types who would watch it twice or more. But then I may be incorrectly guessing viewer behaviour. I would be very interested to know how many people get the captions by default and how many people have to make a decision to turn them on. If it turned out that a majority were getting ugly big captions across the middle of their display, above the existing ads, then I probably wouldn't add them again unless there was actually a voiceover to transcribe.

 

I must admit I was also influenced by YouTube's confirmation that the content of closed captions is taken into account in their search results.

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More reef scenes, even though some are awesome. ^_^ Fiji must be great. Overall I like your work. I bought your Reef Life of the Andaman DVD years ago when I was in Phuket. I still enjoy it.

 

Cheers.

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Great stuff Nick. Not sure why I'd missed this until now, but worthy of a bump up the message board anyway!! :)

 

Cheers, Simon

 

(and 5,000,000+ views on YouTube?? Jeez your AdSense account must be bursting at the seems!!)

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Thanks Simon, it's done pretty well considering the proportion of people who don't like the music (which I certainly did mix too loud) and think the cutting is too fast (which arguably it is).

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I just watched that agin. That is some really nice footage there.

Cheers Pete.

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Nick sure we all can make changes with hindsight, but it is what it is and it is great. I've watched it at least 10 times now :)

 

Cheers, Simon

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