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Old     (deepstructure)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-29-2003, 5:25 PM Reply   
a few folks have asked me how i did this or that effect in the la familia videos. so i thought, since we have this dedicated forum, wouldn't it be cool if as people posted their films, they also put up a post here explaining what camera they used, what software, maybe how they filmed something or how they did a certain effect, chose a certain shot or didn't, or just their thoughts about their film. a little director's corner type thang.

i know i'd love to hear other people's tales about their fun in the darkroom slaving over fx, or a particular cut. so, i'll toss out the opening salvo...

the equipment

i use this camera exclusively. not because its such a great camera. its

just the only one i have:


i bought it new in 1998 to make a short film with. it's a bit beat up as i crashed with it while filming myself racing down a hill on a snowboard in mammoth. it actually survived the crash better than i did, but has in the long run shown more wear and tear. ;)

the software

i run adobe premiere pro on a xp windows pc (1GB RAM, P4 1.38ghz proc, 60GB hard drive). i think its an excellent program, but haven't used much else to compare it to.

breakdown - part I, the don

la familia is obviously an hommage to the godfather films. when i make a wakeboarding film, i like to come up with a theme. just shoving together a bunch of shots doesn't interest me. picking the music, finding a thru
thread, all of this makes the process of putting together a film much more interesting.

so, since i had spent some time with erica and mark and the rest of their family and friends, i was thinking about family and the godfather theme
seemed a natural fit.

i searched the web for quotes from the godfather and used what i found to determine how i would construct the films. i didn't realize at first that i would be making three films. i thought it might be a two-parter, simply because i knew i had a lot of footage. as i started to put together mark's film, the idea of breaking it into three sections started to coalesce.

the first thing i did actually was create the opening credit sequence for mark's film. i hadn't yet finished digitizing all my footage (which i do at work since i don't have a breakout box for my comp yet - my camera is analog
and doesn't have a firewire connection), so i didn't yet have anything to work with. instead, since i had been struck with the inspiration of doing a godfather idea, i searched the web, found quotes and actual sound bytes from the godfather, and went thru various versions of the theme music on kazaa until settling on the mandolin version.

i did a search on and kazaa for songs with family in the title, which is how i found the bt&h tune. i didn't know it before i started. its a mellow tune, had the right refrain and seemed to fit mark's smooth mellow
style. this first video doesn't feature any sfx except slow-motion and basic cuts and cross-fades.

what would i change/fix?

explict lyrics - unfortunately, i forgot about the language in the thugs song. there's really only one instance of the f-word that really stands out, if that wasnt in there the other stuff might not even be noticed. regardless, it wouldn't take much to edit out the profanity smoothly by using the same music file, but finding a part with just music that matches and
blending the two to obscure the word.

music edit - i didn't do any matching of the video to the music. the music and mark's riding are more flowing - not punctuated by beats and emphasis points so much, so it was easy to just let the music ride underneath the images. but i would probably edit the music a bit. i don't particularly like the accompaniment during this section:


image stabilization - during this shot the image jumps around quite a bit, even in slow motion:


this of course happens when you zoom in, as i was doing to focus on the fact that tim was riding out of his bindings. i could stabilize this shot a bit by zooming in on the image and then moving the image to adjust for the camera movement...but its a serious pain in the ass to do.

i'll continue the discussion of the next two installments in subsequent posts. }
Old     (deepstructure)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-29-2003, 5:55 PM Reply   
breakdown - part II, the women

i really enjoyed this section. i had that great quote about women being more dangerous than shotguns, which made the intro a cinch.

i got the idea of doing the photograph effect because when reviewing erica's footage, i was struck by how well she holds her grabs, and i wanted to capture that. so the obvious way was a frame hold. simple enough, but i not terribly creative, interesting or justified.

then continuing in the mafia theme, i remembered all those documentaries about gansters - they always feature black&white crime scene and surveillance photos, which seemed like the perfect justification for a freeze frame. plus, its also reminescent of fashion photography, and since they're both beautiful women, it makes perfect sense! :-)

the effect itself is simple...

1) freeze a frame. pick a good one and hold it.
2) switch to black and white
3) add in a camera shutter sound fx (i got my free off the web)
4) overlay a cheesy camera view-finder graphic

the last part may not be so easy if you haven't done it before, but just requires learning about chroma keying. basically, you put your graphic on top of your video, then tell it to take out everything that is a particular color.

so in this instance, i made the graphic in photoshop with simple drawing tools, white on a black background. then i brought it into premiere, laid it on top of my freeze frame and chroma keyed it to black. which means i told the program to make everything in the graphic that was black, see-through. thus the only thing you see is the white graphic and the freeze-frame underneath.

the only time this got tricky was with the first grab erica did that i froze. she was up in the right hand corner of the screen and not at all within the frame work of the view-screen graphic. looked terrible.

so i just zoomed the image in a bit and re-positioned it so she was more center frame. voila.

other than that, the rest of the video is pretty straight-forward. since the music is more upbeat i wanted the editing pace to pick up a bit, but that was a bit difficult to do with kimberly's footage as she doesn't ride that aggressively.

i was able to do it more with erica's section, not only because she goes bigger, but we also had more footage of her. i ran out of tape at the end of erica's second run, and kimberly was the last to go so i had less footage of her.

things i would change/fix?

nothing really. again, i didn't really cut this one to music that much, and the music goes into a breakdown near the end that isn't really matched by the images. i would have liked to have matched that up better, and perhaps overall i would try to conform more to the beat - but the music, typical of dance music and especially disco, is fairly even in dynamic - more of a continual pulse, so i didn't feel it was as dramatic to cut to the beat with it.

although i can't do much about it when i start editing, its really a pity that erica's excitement at landing the hs/ts backroll combo is mostly obscurred by the spray from the boat. in fact if i have any complaint about my filming that day it was that i was too lazy to get a bit higher and not have so many of the shots begin behind a sheet of water.

(Message edited by deepstructure on November 29, 2003)
Old     (deepstructure)      Join Date: Jun 2002       11-29-2003, 6:40 PM Reply   
breakdown - part III, the capo

so, the third and final installment. i was a bit unsure of what i was going to do for thane's section as i felt it might almost be a bit of a let down if i didn't do something cool, and i had no idea what cool thing i could do.

i had wanted to use the quote about friendship somewhere and had orginally thought of putting it at the end of thane's section. i knew at the end i wanted to bring everything (everybody), back together again - to punctuate the family theme. i thought the quote would be a good way to do it.

but then i realized i had setup this precedent of starting the films with a quote - and as much as i tried to find one that i thought could work, i kept coming back to the friendship quote. so i put it in - and it worked perfectly with the music. the music doesn't actually end at that point btw, i edited it down. but its a natural stopping point, being as its the end of the melodic theme.

another interesting thing about the quote - i actually just watched the first two godfather films over thanksgiving (kimberly had never seen them). that quote wasn't in either. apparently its said by the don to johnny (im assuming fontaine), but its not in the original version of the movie. its in the book i believe, and perhaps is in an extended version? but its all over the net as one of the godfather quotes.

once i had decided to call thane the capo, the famous clemenza quote fit right in (clemenza was a capo in the corleone family). and it was short enough to work perfectly with the intro of the tears for fears song.

'everybody wants to rule the world,' is a piece of music that has definite beats and emphasis. in fact the whole ebb and flow of the music is predicated on the punctuations of the main chords. so i had to cut to the music - something i love doing as i am also a musician.

although surprisingly many of the shots naturally lined up with the music without much effort - the bpm of this song matched neatly with the rhythm of thane's riding, there were a couple of times i had to help it out. most noticably is during this scene:


you may not have noticed it the first time - but if you actually just watch thane's body when you watch this cut, you'll clearly see how i sped up his crash - just for a few frames as hits the water.

interestingly, the original footage then got shaky as the boat slowed down and the camera moves quite a bit. when i sped up the film from the apex of his jump just to his entering the water, even tho it comes back to normal speed, it all looked ridiculously fast because of the camera movement at the end of the shot. so instead of coming back to normal speed, which the shot started at, i come back into slow motion - which made it all look normal speed. funny what
the brain interpolates.

im especially happy with the sequence that begins at the bridge of the song here:


i really like the way the guitar chords and the three jumps come together.

at the end of the video, when thane slides the wake, i go to slow-motion and black and white here:


when i first did this i just had it go to monochrome - but the original footage is so blown out color-wise it almost is black and white already, so i also slightly dimmed the scene. i wanted to get that faded photograph look, a feeling of wistfulness, of reminescence.

finally, im an really happy with the way it all came together at the end. as i said before, i had thought about using the friendship quote at the end, and since i had put it at the begining i wasn't sure what i was going to do.

i knew i wanted to bring everyone together. i
originally thought about doing the crime scene photo idea - four black and white pics of each rider frozen mid-ride, perhaps accompanied by sounds of gunshots. but that seemed a bit to mafia, criminal-like. i was more interested (obviously), in the familia aspect. so i decided on moving photographs.

once i had built this scene:


with the four sources, i realized it needed something textual to pull it all together. at first i was just thinking of the title "la familia," but then i hit on repeating the main part of the front quote - and thats when it all (for me at least), really came together and put a perfect ending on it all.


one interesting discovery from making this scene was that the frames still look good elongated horizontally. not so much vertically, but you'll notice if you look closely that the upper right image of kimberly and the lower right image of mark and tim are both squeezed vertically, but not horizontally, yet they still look good.

well, hope you enjoyed viewing these as much as i enjoyed making them. i hope others will also give us the insight on how they made their films.


(Message edited by deepstructure on November 29, 2003)
Old     (dcervenka)      Join Date: Sep 2002       11-30-2003, 11:51 PM Reply   
Very nice!

Just incase you want to check out any of Chris's videos, here are all the links:

la familia part I

la familia part II - the women

la familia part III - the capo

Old     (shutupandboard)      Join Date: Aug 2002       12-15-2003, 11:39 PM Reply   
Chris, I just wanted to let you know i watched and read everything. It's nice how you put the trilogy all together. I liked the explination of everything and your work doesn't go unnoticed.

One thing i thought i would mention is, I thought the click of the picture was a little loud. although maybe it's because i just got the logitech z-560s and i can't watch anything without turning it up. The clicking actually scared me a couple of times. I did love the effect though.
You might make me shoot a couple vids with 16:9! Looks smooth.

Oh, Nice Style Capo.
Old     (deepstructure)      Join Date: Jun 2002       12-16-2003, 2:24 AM Reply   
hey jeremy and fu, your comments are much appreciated. that's funny about the shutter sound fx jeremy - i hadn't noticed it was that much louder, but i'll keep that in mind.

i love shooting in 16:9. there's something really classy about it.
Old     (Pad1Tai)      Join Date: Jan 2013       08-23-2016, 1:57 PM Reply   
Reviving the old thread.... 11/2003

Check out the awesome video links from back in the day......

The wake looks like peaking lot curb.... lol


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