Thursday, April 21, 2011


Managed to get out today for about 3 hours of shooting

My main objective was to do some time lapse shots, very high angle and long, of traffic, subway trains and people.

I live right by the Allen Expressway and the subway tracks run along it at street level so I just walked over to a nearby overpass. For the timelapse I need to shoot a long sustained shot and then probably speed it up in Final Cut Pro. A tripod is essential for this; frame you shot the way you like, lock off the tripod and walk away from it. It was windy as hell up on the bridge but hopefully I'll get a long enough steady shot to do the effect.

Although I am kind of making this up as I go along, I do have certain shots in mind, I want some of the footage to be blurred and strobey and I would like other shots to have a distressed look. The weather today was fickle; clouds and sun and almost rain.

I was not totally happy with the very sunny shots. They will not suit the theme of the video very well. You have a few options to deal with this. While shooting you can adjust your iris and your exposure; the Sony does have manual exposure settings but they are not very sophisticated. My XL1 has terrific manual focus controls but that goes with having a kick ass lens. So my options here will be to do the effect in post.

Generally I am not a fan of in camera effects. That's what I have Final Cut for. I would rather get the best quality video I have than build any effects I need in post. While shooting I would rather concentrated on the essentials: Rule of thirds, head room, lead room etc. If you have a properly composed shot you have a world of possibilities

I'm thinking a lot about trains, subway trains for this video. Toronto has a subway of course but it actually took me a while to realize the true inspiration: On the home page for Hello Future contest there is a picture of Moby .. with a subway train in the background. Duh

So I have exterior shots of trains and I recorded some footage while riding the subway into the downtown core. More to come I'm sure

One of the other shots I knew I wanted was going to be at the Eaton Centre. My theme here is one of urban isolation, of being lost in the crowd (not terribly original but I have to start somewhere) and I thought Canada's largest mall (I think) would be a great place to get that footage. I went to the highest level in the mall, mounted the Sony on the tripod and took some very long shots down through the various floors and levels. Lots of people in the mall of course, and I got the whole "they look like ants" thing going on

I took similar shots outside from Varsity Stadium and at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor. I couldn't get an elevated shot on Yonge St, I had to shoot from street level but it's a busy intersection, lots of traffic both vehicle and pedestrian. I think it will work for me.

The next series of shots I want to try to capture will be night shots; high angle trains and hiway shots again and the lights of the city.

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