BTS for Before nature wakes up

BTS banner for Before nature wakes up video

It is always interesting to look behind the scenes of any production. Last week I released a video called Before nature wakes up. If you have not seen it, you may visit the previous post or follow the link. For all the curious people, I prepared a more detailed information about the shoot.

The gallery starts with a photo of the equipment. Before anything else, yes, it was heavy to carry it all around. Do not forget that the innocently looking glidecam stabilizer has extra weights to keep the camera balanced. Not to mention the sturdy tripod. They can easily replace a session in a gym.

Here is a brief description of video gear:
     • Canon 5D mark II with ML software
     • Canon 17-40mm and Canon 50mm lens
     • Vello extension tube (for macro close-ups)
     • Manfrotto tripod and ball head
     • ProAm camera stabilizer system
     • Genesis camera slider (60 cm)

I was shooting video and recording sounds separately. Let's talk about video first, I will come back to the sounds later. All the material was recorded on a DSLR camera as a RAW video, using Magic Lantern. ML is a free software add-on that enables new features on Canon cameras, e.g. enabling you to shoot RAW video in the first place.

To give the video more cinematic look, I chose the ratio of 2.35:1 and the resolution of 1856x790 pixels, which was the maximum the camera allowed me to set in current video mode. With these settings, and 24 fps, the camera is recording approximately 60MB/s, which takes about 3.6GB from your memory card for a minute of the material. Keep that in mind and bring enough free memory with you. I also used a CineStyle picture profile, which has very low contrast settings. The footage looks flat, which helps you record scenes with more dynamic range.

I spent about 3 hours in the woods in total. That included location scouting, equipment setup and video/audio recording. When I finished with video, I packed everything up and moved to audio.

Here is a brief description of audio gear:
Zoom H1 digital audio recorder
     • Rode smartLav+ microphone
     • Philips headphones (for monitoring)
     • non-branded twig

Built-in camera microphone is fine for a reference, but it will never offer you satisfactory quality. For that matter I used an external kit. Zoom H1 is a wonderful recording device itself, though I used a lavalier mic attached to a twig for extra mobility. I recorded 9 different sounds, including walking, running, water sounds and ambient sounds. This part was quick and easy, just keep in mind the video sequences and which sounds you may need later.

After a cup of hot tea, I backed up all the material and continued with converting and editing. I recorded about 80 short clips, each about 10 seconds long, which means 220-240 frames per clip on average. When you multiply that, you will see I had to process over 17.500 individual frames before I could even join them back to short sequences and decide which ones to use for further work.

To keep this post reasonably long, I will save the editing workflow for another time when I will tell you how to process RAW video. Until then, you may share your experience or go out and try yourselves.

Location: woods, Koprivnice (Czech Republic)