Flying Low in Kallo (video)

I found myself in Kallo again a couple of weeks ago. There hasn’t been too much leisure time to shoot for Maisemassa.com lately, but now I had. I prepared for the shoot the day before: charged the batteries, emptied the SD card, practiced some slick camera moves with DJI Osmo and checked the weather forecast. The next evening was supposed to be lovely. Maybe few clouds, but overall the weather was to be sunny. Perfect for some cliche sunset footage.

As you probably figured out already, the next day was not sunny! When I checked the current weather of Kallo it said cloudy 9/8. What the hell does that even mean, I wondered. Well, it means fog, haze, mist or whatever you want to call it. Would it have been better to call off the day? Absolutely not! There is nothing more amazingly intriguing than a mystical haze floating around. If I could have asked for more, there would’ve also been a flock of bats and an abandoned ship drifting ashore. But you can’t have it all. Unless you have a massive budget or decent visual fx skills, then you can have whatever you want on the screen.

DJI Osmo and Extension Rod
DJI Osmo and Extension Rod

Back to the real life. All  I really wanted to do was to shoot low angle smooth flying shots combined with “jib-like” movement. I thought this kind of stuff would work nicely in Kallo. Also I wanted to see what you can do with the combination of DJI Osmo and Extension Rod. What I found out was, that you can do a lot, but there are limitations and you need to practice.

Here’s a list of thoughts
– “The ninja walk” is essential  Osmo Quick Tips: The Walk
– You can hide imperfect walking technique by filming 50 fps and slowing it down in post.
– You must walk slower when you shoot 25 fps instead of 50 fps if you want the footage to blend seemingly together in edit.
– I did use some stabilizing in post, but that was mainly because of a bad filming technique.
– Osmo + Extension Rod combo is amazingly light. You can fiddle with it hours without wearing out your arms.
– Use of ND-filters is a must. There is no aperture control on X3 camera.
– Changing ND-filters is a pain in the ass. If anyone knows a decent variable ND-filter for X3 camera, please comment below 🙂
– Image quality is decent, but not amazing. I shot only 1080p (with D-LOG profile), so can’t really say anything about the quality of 4K video.
– YouTube basically butchers the image quality. Still figuring out what is the best way to export to YouTube.
– I used ISO 200-800. I wouldn’t go over ISO 400 if I had a choice.
– You should add some sort of a horizontal handle to the Extension Rod for better grip. Still looking solution for this one.
– If you need good audio, you’ll be better off with external audio recorder. I used Zoom H1 to get some ambient sounds.
– DJI Osmo is not weather sealed, be careful. Almost soaked mine when hovering above the water.

…One morOtsikkokuva_Best-compromise_720pe thing I wanted to write about is the YouTube image quality. I wrote about it earlier, but since I had some major problems with this Low Flying -video I tried couple of things to get somewhat decent streaming quality. I think I’ll get back to that subject in the next post. The working title is “The Never-ending Fight with Export Settings”.

 

Gear List

  • DJI Osmo with Extension Rod and Zenmuse X3 camera
  • Haida NanoPro ND Kits for DJI Inspire 1
  • Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

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Kallo (video)

 

Kallo (video)

Snow, ice and water in Kallo.

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The island of Kallo
 The best 1080p export settings for YouTube

 

Kuusamo, Little Bear’s Ring /3

The rapids and steep rocky cliffs! Those you can’t miss when hiking through Little Bear’s Ring.

 

Gear List

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  • Video edited with Adobe Premiere Pro
  • LUTs from:
    colorgradingcentral.com
    deluts.businesscatalyst.com
  • Music and sound effects from audiojungle.net, Adobe Audition Sound Effects and sonniss.com

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Kuusamo, Little Bear’s Ring /2

 

Chasing the Storm – The Archives Remastered

Storm chaser at Kallo
Storm chaser at Kallo

-18.11.2015-
It’s interesting to realize how your own ideals of photo editing change with time. Recently I went through my storm chasing archives and noticed the look of the photos was quite different compared to what I prefer today. Basically I felt the old pics were too contrasty. Is this change a result of personal growth or unconscious mimicking of trendy photo editing styles, that I don’t know. In any case, currently I prefer flatter style. Here are a few photos I shot when chasing the Tapani Storm. I revamped them closer to my current liking.

Uniluoto
Uniluoto

 

Storm chaser at Kallo
Storm chaser at Kallo

Boxing day 2011 – The Tapani Storm
Deep low pressure developed in Atlantic Ocean and raged through Norway and Sweden. In Norway the storm was named Dagmar and it was said to be one of the strongest of all time. Winds gusted there almost 45 m/s.

26.12.2011 the low pressure reached the coast of Finland and still produced exceptionally strong winds. In Kaskinen wind was measured 28,5 m/s and strongest gusts at
35,8 m/s. Winds like this occur once or twice in decade in Finland, said meteorologist Juha Tuomala according to Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

In some point during the day the average wind at Kallo was around 25 m/s and gusts over 30 m/s.
In some point during the day the average wind at Kallo was around 25 m/s and gusts over 30 m/s.

So, how different were the photos before and now? Not that much really, but one can see a difference. There’s a chance you’ll like the first edits better. In the end it’s a matter of taste. Here’s an example.

8.7.2012 I was driving home after a busted storm chase, I stopped by the dock and saw this bench which just didn’t fit in the scene. I thought it would make a nice image. All I needed was someone sitting on the bench. Since no-one was around I sat there myself.
Just when I sat down, I realized it had been raining the whole day. Very refreshing… and then I repeated it seven times to get it right.

2012 Edit
2012 Edit
2015 Edit
2015 Edit

 

 

 

 

 


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 The island of Kallo

 

Kuusamo, Little Bear’s Ring /2

A bit late, but here’s Little Bear’s Ring, the Halloween Edition “The Horror Pancakes with Happy Ending”

 

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Choosing the Editing Style

 

Choosing the Editing Style

Kuusamo <> Little Bear’s Ring (Part I) is all about Myllykoski rapids at River Kitkajoki.

A few words about choosing the editing style. At the moment there are basically two kinds of editing styles, slow and fast, which appeal to me. That didn’t make much sense, right?

Let’s dive a bit deeper. When I say slow, I mean something like Italian neorealism https://vimeo.com/68514760 or the long takes Tarkovsky used for example in Stalker https://youtu.be/hUHBgqx8YP8?t=1h2m37s. You might think tranquil cuts and long takes would be perfect for lyrical landscapes in northern hemisphere. But… Yes, there is a but.

Actually there are a couple of buts and the biggest butt (pun intended) was my shooting style. Most of the footage was shot handheld or with camera on the tripod. I wanted to travel light and that’s why I had as little gear as possible with me. If you want to deploy slow takes when editing landscape related film, in my opinion, you need steady majestically flowing footage. Something filmed with flying camera, slider, or some sort of a gimbal (like the latest of my favourite gadgets I can’t afford: Osmo with X5R camera http://www.dji.com/product/osmo).
When you ponder the concept of slow style further, you soon realize that the long ”Stalker-like” takes would be utterly boring when filming landscapes only. You would really need a dialogue to make it work or a scene where there’s a lot happening.

Luckily I’m a friend of the fast style also. Requiem For A Dream was released in 2000 and it had a profound impact on me. The visual style was something new to me https://vimeo.com/35706561. There were fast paced cut’s like this: https://youtu.be/0rz9VEDeZcw?t=37m20s and a selfie video done pre-selfie era (I know that’s no proper word): https://youtu.be/0rz9VEDeZcw?t=1h15m22s. It was all most mesmerizing. The style of Requiem For A Dream has since been integral part of my visual arsenal.
Last time I saw this fast style used in an amazing way, was when I stumbled on Visual Japan Diaries made by Birdo The Bird https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdOu0Q4dITBJ-ziuLSg-zITN4UMfhlj0i.
Do you see the influence of Requiem For A Dream? Of course you do! Also, pay attention to sound design. Now, watch one of the Japan Diaries without sound. Huge difference. Never underestimate the importance of solid sound design.

These were few of the things I considered before editing. Of course I didn’t implement all the fast style elements the way I described before, but certainly you can see some influences. If you compare my work to Visual Japan Diaries, you might say my style is incredibly slow. And when we’re talking of sound design you have to understand one thing. The Myllykoski rapids is flowing in the immediate proximity of all the shots. That’s why all you hear is basically loud white noise.

One more thing. Please forgive me for using terms fast style and slow style. I’m sure there is a proper name for them, which I’m not aware of.

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Coming Soon: Kuusamo – Little Bear’s Ring

 

The best 1080p export settings for YouTube with Adobe Premiere Pro or an overkill?

If you are reading this, you probably just want to see the settings:

What do you think, are these settings an unnecessary overkill?
I will be using these export settings from now on when I want better 1080p streaming quality in YouTube. What do you think, are these settings an unnecessary overkill?

Let me tell you why I ended up with these settings. I’ve been struggling with 1080p streaming quality in YouTube for some time. Video quality is amazing straight after export, but when uploaded to YouTube videos get this awful compressed and blocky look. It’s really frustrating when you have carefully fine-tuned your footage, but in the end it doesn’t really matter.

With 24 inch monitor you can really see the difference between original and YouTube 1080p HD streaming quality. Then again, if you are watching videos with a crappy tablet or a smartphone the quality issue is nonexistent. A while ago I uploaded this video and it was the last straw. The image quality was so much better before uploading. 

A storm named Valio filmed at Kallo 2.10.2015.
Gear List:
EOS 5D Mark III (+Magic Lantern), Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, RØDE VideoMic with the Windcutter windscreen, Triopo MT-2205+KJ-1S, VisionTech -picture style.


Since I knew YouTube is full of videos that look amazing qualitywise, I really needed to sort this matter out. One thing I didn’t mention before. I like to add some grain to my videos as a finishing touch ( http://holygrain.com/ ). In a sense this has been pointless, since YouTube has crushed the grain unseen. In fact I suspect that YouTube doesn’t handle grain very well, that being one of the reasons videos hadn’t looked as good as I wanted.

So I dove into the dephts of Google search and forums and eventually found some answers. First I thought the bitrate is the determining factor when you want the highest streaming quality, and to a certain extent it is. YouTube has its own recommended upload encoding settings, which specify bitrates, codecs etc. At some point 50 Mbps  bitrate was recommended for high quality 1080p uploads for creators with enterprise quality internet connections https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en. For some reason this specific information is gone now. Here is some discussion overt the topic http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/9460-making-your-videos-look-good-for-youtube/

First i tried to export at higher bitrates up to 75 Mbps, which was recommended here https://youtu.be/MnQDGQAI0yk. The result was better, but not so much i had hoped for. The realization came to me after I watched this tutorial https://youtu.be/tbfDYxjM50o?t=1m50s. So I upscaled the 1920 x 1080 video and exported to 2048 x 1152 resolution. And that was the trick that really made the difference. I’m not sure how YouTube is encoding uploaded videos. I suppose it assigns a certain streaming bitrate for the video depending on the resolution of the original.

Of course there is a catch with my preferred settings. The rendering takes longer and the resulting files are huge compared to something exported as 1080p / 8 Mbps.

If you really have nothing else to do, you can watch my unscientific video tests here. There are 14 videos with different export settings. Number 10 is best in my opinion. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJnvcnZIWYNSHDg_Jw9hNQ57Buo8Anady

Now, please tell me which settings you use! There must be better ways to approach the amazingly intriguing mystery of Adobe Premiere Pro export settings.

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