Dexter Chaney Web Promo

Recent Web promo video I produced for Dexter + Chaney to announce their 2013 User Conference here in Seattle.

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Fall Leaf Jumping

This past summer has been busy. Traveling, working, editing, and buying/ renovating a new house! We found a real gem (albeit hidden under a layer of dirty carpet) in Green Lake, the Seattle neighborhood we’ve been living in but renting for the past 2 years. Our neighbors are wonderful, the kids all play together and basically it’s a Norman Rockwell-esque dream come true. After spending the past 2 months in a haze and alternating between working, pulling up carpets, and running to Home Depot, it was nice to spend a weekend simply hanging out. We raked, built a leaf pile, and the kids had a ball. For the sake of prosperity, I grabbed the camera and captured the moment on film SD card.

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Todd Henshall BMX Video

Todd Henshall is a NW BMX biker – produced this video for him this past summer at Lower Woodland and Jefferson skate parks in Seattle.

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Sister Schools auction video

Sister Schools is a Seattle-based organization that provides school supplies and clothing to Schools in Uganda, from “sister schools” in Seattle. I produced / edited this video for their annual auction event on Oct. 13.

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Canon 8-15mm zoom fisheye lens

It was my husband’s 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago. He’s a typical Seattle man-child and I love him dearly despite of (or maybe because of) this. I wanted to make sure his 40th bday present was the best ever…….and it was.

Yup, he’s going to spend the day with Tony Hawk in August. This is a big deal because my husband is an AMAZING skateboarder. He grew up watching the birdman and the rest of the Bones Brigade troop every weekend before heading out with his own adolescent troop of skaters, trying every trick they saw in the videos and skating until sunset. He still skates every weekend, although now his troop consists of other 30 and 40-something die-hard skaters, and my 10-year old who can hold his own against the old folk.

So what in God’s name does this have to do with the Canon 8-15mm fisheye lens you ask? Well dear readers, skateboarder + birthday + video producer spouse= skate video! I spent a day at Jefferson skatepark with Euge shooting on my 7D and primarily used the Canon 8-15 mm fisheye. The 8-15 mm zoom has a limiter switch for APS-C cameras (cropped sensor like the 7D or 60D). The lens begins to vignette at a focal length of approx. 10mm on APS-C bodies, so the limiter helps avoid this. It gives you a choice of Manual or Auto focus, gives off great light, and captures an enormous field of view. I liked the fact that it gave off a smoother, less extreme “fisheye” look than a lot of the cheaper lens add-ons you can purchase, but again, this is a $1400 lens  (approx), so it should! Of course the difference in the “fisheye” look changes dramatically depending on how close you are to the subject. I’m filming a skateboard hurling towards me, so I can’t exactly get 20mm away from that. There’s no image stabilization, but it didn’t seem to affect the image. Of course I switched up using a tripod, rig, and skateboard dolly, so it was always stable anyways. I absolutely loved using this lens to shoot skateboarding. It will become a mainstay lens for shooting action sports videos for sure! For a more in-depth review check out Camera Lab’s review of the 8-15mm fisheye.

Here’s the video of my old guy still holding his own – most of  the DSLR close-up footage was shot with the 8-15mm fisheye.

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GoPro timelapse examples

I’ve been incorporating my GoPro Hero camera footage into more videos lately and wanted to see how it performed for  timelapse video. There’s a plethora of timelapse video out there – some great (the Philip Bloom Skywalker Ranch video is breathtakingly beautiful), some not (click here for a bad timelapse ex.)

The process of setting up your GoPro for timelapse, and uploading the images to play out in Quicktime  is super easy – This great tutorial by Camarush walks you through each step – A few notes and extras that I learnt through the process:

– I shot all my Timelapse videos at 5 second shot intervals (a picture every 5 seconds) – you can adjust this setting on the camera – tutorial walks you through it.

– You will need QuickTime 7 to transform your images into an image sequence – QT 10 doesn’t have this feature. You can upload QT 7 HERE.

– I imported the finished timelapse video into FCP and adjusted the sequence settings for HD 720p (960x720p) video with a square pixel aspect ratio and ProRes 422 LT compressor. When dragging the footage into the sequence do NOT allow the sequence settings to match the video. This way you can keep the large size of the timelapse video and have the freedom to manipulate it with motion keyframes or hone in on a tighter shot.

– I also adjusted the aspect ratio (viewer window motion tab > distort carrot) to 10 to prevent the video from stretching out.  I color corrected the footage as well using the 3-way color corrector under Video Filters.

The 3 timelapse videos you see below were done quickly in the past couple of days. I tried to find scenes that draw the viewers eyes to a particular area and showcase movement in different ways. I shot them with the purpose of incorporating them into future videos to add a different video perspective, not as stand alone videos – I think you would need some pretty dramatic landscape or city imagery to keep interest in a stand alone timelapse video.

The first video was shot in half an hour and shows a high street angle that highlights the sky – clouds or a sunset/rise are a must for this; a blue sky moves very little! The second video was shot over a one-hour period and was placed at eye-level. It highlights the fast-paced action at a local skatepark with the cityscape in the background and lots of moving clouds overhead. The third scene  was shot over a period of 2 hours  – it’s a cityscape that draws the eyes to the activity on the water and the transition from day to night. I’m going to go back and shoot this video over a longer period of time to capture to full transition to darkness because it didn’t get dark enough for me to use in a video, but for this purpose  I’ll use it as an example so you get an idea of what you can get ( 2 hours of hanging out at Seattle’s GasWorks park until 9:30pm after a busty work day as enough for me for this purpose).

As always, I’m interested in hearing your feedback and any additional GoPro timelapse tips or tricks that worked for you!

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Ideal Video Export Settings

I get asked a lot about export settings. An editing program’s export settings can be a dizzying land of confusion for the poor average law-abiding citizen who just wants to post a video clip of their co-worker Ted spewing out mashed potatoes while laughing at the bosses’ lame joke – let’s get real people, it shouldn’t be that hard!

Actually, if you simply want to edit out the bad parts of a video and throw it online for pure blissful entertainment, iMovie really isn’t that hard, in fact, it’s really easy. Just click on “Share” in the top menu and you can put choose “YouTube” to put it straight into your youtube account. If Vimeo’s your bag, again click on “Share” > export movie. Choose “HD” if you shot movie in HD, and “Large” if it’s your handycam (yeeeeah….you might want to upgrade that camera, and uh…it’s getting harder to buy VHS tapes these days as well you know 😉

What if you’re editing something for work and you spent a lot of time on it? If you want to be more precise and picky about settings:

Click “Share
Choose: “export movie using quicktime
and click the  “options” button  (see below)

After that, click the  “settings” button and you’ll be brought to the image below
compression type: h.264 (the gold standard – it has never failed me)
Frame Rate: choose 30, unless you’re shooting in 24fps, and if so, why are you editing in iMovie,  Mr. filmmaker?
Key Frames: automatic
Compressor quality: Best (only choose “better” if you need the file size to be small, otherwise why wouldn’t you want the best quality?)
Encoding: Best Quality (multi-pass)
Data Rate: automatic, or you can choose restrict to 5000 kbits/sec – Vimeo’s recommendation and it does a good job of preserving video quality
Size: 1920 x 1080 if you shot it on a DSLR or full HD camera, or 1280×720 if it’s HD but you want to upload it to Vimeo or it’s compressed HD, or 640×480 if you shot it in SD (again, let’s talk about upgrading for a moment….I kid, I kid).

So what if you’ve moved up in the world and have started on Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro – here are some basic guides for exporting video from these programs. Keep in mind, these settings are BASIC, are assuming a lot of things here – that you’ve shot your footage using an HD DSLR or Video camera, you are editing something to post online, and that’s where it will live out it’s happy life. Playing it from the computer onto a projector will work fine with these too. However, if your purpose is to make DVD’s, Broadcast it on TV, or transfer over to some other codec, server player, etc, these will NOT be your ideal settings.

Go to: File> Export > using Quicktime Conversion
click “options
(from here it’s the same as imovie since you’re using h.264 – of course! – see pic above)
compression type: h.264
Frame Rate: choose 30
Key Frames: automatic
Compressor quality: Best
Encoding: Best Quality (multi-pass)
Data Rate: automatic, or restrict to 5000 kbits / sec
size: 1920 x 1080 if you shot it on a DSLR or full HD camera, or 1280×720 if it’s HD but you want to upload it to Vimeo or it’s compressed HD, or 640×480 if you shot it in SD (pfff.).

FCP includes Audio settings – adjust them! (see pic below)
Format: AAC
Channels – just go with Stereo
Rate: 44.10
Quality: change to “Best
Target Bit Rate: 320 kbps

UNcheck “prepare for internet streaming”  – this little option has been around since I started editing with FCP in 1999 (I know, cue the coffin-opening sound effect here). I think it was included because the internet was still relatively new and a 30-second video would take half an hour to stream to play – I don’t know anyone that leaves this checked. If you do and there’s a good reason I’m actually quite curious and would love to hear it!


Format: h.264 (yes, this codec crosses video cultural boundaries and is loved by all)
check “export video” and “export audio” unless you don’t have video or audio.
Select the video tab in the section below choose:
TV Standard: NTSC (PAL is european and will turn your project into video-rubbish)
Frame width: 1920 pixels (1280 if you’re uploading to Vimeo or want a smaller file size)
Frame Height: 1080 pixels  (720 if you’re uploading to Vimeo or want a smaller file size)
Frame Rate: 29.97 or 30 (or 24fps and just starting with Adobe Premiere Pro after the disappointing latest release of a certain editing program that shall remain nameless – just don’t look up )
Pixel Aspect Ratio: square, or widescreen 16:9
Profile: high
Level 5.0 (recommended from Vimeo and Youtube)
check the “render at maximum depth” box
Bitrate settings:
Bitrate encoding: VBR 2pass (always choose 2-pass variable encoding – this allows the video data to be analyzed first, then encode your video to the highest quality possible using the first pass data)
Target Bitrate: 7.8
Maximum Bitrate: 8
(increasing your bitrate increases video quality, but also increases rendering time and file size – vimeo recommends 5, and I’ve read that for 720p video, anywhere from 4-6 is fine, and for 1080p video, 8-10mbps is a safe bet).
click the “use maximum render quality” box – I ignore the others.

Audio (same as FCP)
Format: AAC
Channels – again, just go with Stereo
Rate: 44.10
Quality: change to “High
Target Bit Rate: 320 kbps

Hope these help – hey, let me know if you’ve found additional ways to export web-ready video – I’m always interested in learning new tweaks and export settings!


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