I'd like to present you my last video. It's about a knighs tournament that is held once a year in the small town of St Helena in Croatia.
It was really fun to do this project because of the medieval theme, so there were a lot of interesting details to capture such as sword fight, etc.
Scenes that are in the movie are not trained but are all recorded on the spot. Shooting approach was completely documentary. Only interviews with the organizers of the tournament were filmed after the tournament.
The film was shot with two cameras, the Sony HVR-Z1 and Canon 550D with lens EF 24-105 f/4 L. Because Sony Z1 is capturing in HDV and Canon in h264 codec, all the material was encoded with MPEG Streamclip in ProRess 422 HQ progressive codec.
The entire post-production of the film was done in FCP X - editing, color grading and sound processing. I worked on a couple of films before with FCP X, duration of 2-3 minutes, but the magnetic timeline left me breathless at this, a little larger project, because we have had to redone some sequences, and that was quick and painless for the rest of the material.
I do not have any major objections for FCP X on in this movie, except that I'd like that effects that are tweaked on shoots in the timeline can be individually copied and pasted on new shoots, as was the case with FCP 7. Currently, FCP X can only copy all effects from one shoot, and copy it to the new one, which is often impractical.
As for Color correction and Color Grading within FCP X, it would be good if Apple allowed a bit more freedom in the window rearragment. I have worked on a 15" monitor, and when you turn on scopes, then the video is too small for comfortable adjustments.
The same remark applies to the processing of sound within FCP X. As I pumped a lot of sounds of fighting and fencing, I had a lot of audio timelines one over another and then processing became a bit impractical.
In this film, only titles and graphics were made in other applications, Cinema 4D and After Effects.
All in all I am satisfied with the speed and ease of working in FCP X. It needs more finishing, but I'll certainly continue working my future videos with it.
Very professional production, music & editing, slick & perfectly appropriate for the material, the blending of the 2 camera’s footage is seamless. The epic feel you went for is achieved nicely thru your choices for score, 3D titling, gothic text, etc. The pacing works, as does your building of tension & excitement. Perhaps I’m not giving enough credit to your work with music & sound here, it’s really outstanding.
However, I can understand the concern over text size in your lower thirds job descriptions. Upon closer inspection, it’s not really the size of the font, it’s that you’ve got too much going on at those moments. The person is speaking, so there are subtitles (which we don’t want to miss), then you’ve got your animated 3D graphic with their name (which is gorgeous, BTW), but then on top of that you add a moving flare. Plus their description is only up for a few seconds, hence the difficulty for absorption.
Speaking of flares, don’t overdo a good thing. I love your dramatic Scene Titles set against the dramatic clouds, text with moving flare. Or should I say, I loved it the first few times. Variety is the spice of life, as this piece stretches to 7 minutes, your amazing tricks become slightly stale the umpteenth time we see them. Just tweak them a bit each time; have your clouds move in reverse, ramp their speed, change the tint or hue, alter your flare, change it up, we will be more engaged.
Also enjoyed your use of fade to black in the opening sequence, it built tension nicely. However, as we join one of those shots, it appears a man is yawning, definitely the opposite of tension. Sure he was probably shouting something, but at that point we only hear the building score, the shouts a second or so later. It’s a small concern, but not insignificant. The focus pull as we meet the opposition is effective & the rush to battle thrilling. Absolutely love your dramatic sequence that builds to the title thru mounting music, spinning sparks & dramatic impacts, then we see your 3D flyby against a stormy sky. Beautiful stuff.
When the knights reach the fortress, your freeze-frame of weapons raised, is a few frames too long for my taste. A sweet smooth pan later on too, which might have even been a dolly shot, on second view, they all look like pans, but nice ones. Rich additions with the insert shots of the old catapult designs on aged parchment, nice touch.
Another tip on variety; you favor the medium long shot on your interview subjects (we see too much of their knees not enough of their faces), why not add some variety here too? When we see a subject’s hands fidgeting throughout an interview, it’s a detraction. Of course you do have some medium closeups in these sequences but they’re all static. Please avail yourself of the lovely little plugin Alex has created which he calls Grow Shrink (aptly named as our interest grows as our familiarity shrinks), basically it adds a perfect little slow zoom to your static shots. Slow & smooth, very subtly it draws us in, literally & figuratively.
One more point on your interview shots (great sound by the way, well mic’d), I love the vignette effect you’ve applied, with a kind of earth tone burnt yellow to orange on it, you might want to vary that a bit too, with the different subjects. Also as we meter off towards the edge of the frame, that’s an appreciable transition, but the result is your subject’s faces are almost all too hot, bordering on over exposed, we’ve lost their skin tone into a washed out look. A couple of the night shots were a tad dark too. You’ve used some wonderfully creative angles & varied techniques in filming your knights in the exterior shots, maybe try a few interesting style shots with your interior interview shots too. Hey, you’ve got 2 cameras, lock one down & go handheld with the other, 2 cameras on an interview ups value.
For your 3D text flyby, if you want to add perceived value & a slightly more big budget epic feel, thicken those letters so the flyby lasts a few frames longer. This is what Hollywood has programmed us to expect.
All in all, a very pro looking piece. Impressive work.
Thank you for, I can say, extremely useful and benevolent advices. Also, in time that you took to write them.
We all strive for perfection so I accept some suggestions such as the size of the text and a little more variety with the plans of interviewed subjects. They were filmed with two cameras, but I was not satisfied with the result and the quality of the picture from Sony Z1 during the recording of the interview. So I decided that we will use the two plans that were shot with a Canon 550D.
I'm glad you liked the movie and I hope that you find the time passed quickly while you were watching it.