visual hybrid: Paul Stevenson - Video Director - Cameraman - Video Editor
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Myron & E web documentary for Stones Throw Records

Myron & E web documentary for Stones Throw Records

Back in December I directed and filmed a web documentary video about the excellent Stones Throw soul duo Myron & E as they played live with their Finnish soul band The Soul Investigators at The Bank Of Stokes Croft in Bristol, UK. From the early planning stages I got edit overlord Chris Urmston onboard to do the edit. 

Kit wise I knew space would be tight as the gig was a guaranteed sell out and I’d need to be able to shoot both polished interview footage and  harvest quick-fire documentary during the gig. I opted for a Canon EOS C100 cinema camera with a selection of fast EF lenses. I captured the footage out via HDMI to an Atomos Ninja 2 to allow for the highest possible picture quality from the sensor. 

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I knew that lighting was going to be minimal in the venue so decent lenses were a must. I hired a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 for the gig elements and used a 50mm f/1.4 for the interview A-Cam shots. As well as doing a fine job lighting the interviews, Dan Read filmed alongside me and shot the interview B-Cam footage handheld on Canon EOS 7d with a Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 lens.

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We lit the interviews with a 3 piece Dedo kit and used a hot shoe mounted LED panel for the gig clips. 

Sound wise we recorded the interviews with discreet Sennheiser G3 lapel mics and filmed the gig with both a mixdown feed from the sound desk (cheers Eppo) via XLR radiomic transmitter and a db limited Rode NTG-2 camera mounted. 

I was wowed by how well the C100 handled things. It’s a compact little thing to handle and Canon have nailed it with both the form factor and the intuitive placement of buttons and quick to access menus. Picture wise, even the clips shot at 4,000 ISO stand up strong and the grain on the higher ISO clips is really nice to look at. 

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Credits:

A huge thanks to Myron, Eric and the Soul Investigators for sending it despite being 23 days into a 26 day tour. Legends. And also a big thanks to Stones Throw for having us.

Produced and Directed by Paul Stevenson.

Filmed by Paul Stevenson and Dan Read on Canon EOS C100 with Atomos Ninja 2 and Canon 7d.

Lenses: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 L, Canon EF 16-35mm f/.8 L, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L.

Lighting by Dan Read.

Edit and post production by Chris Urmston

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smsd av project - the rebirth

This post was originally posted on the smsd blog, click here to view. 

smsd_BrisTo

Martin (screen3/Dronesclub) and I have been talking about re-staring the smsd project for a good while now. Probably a fair few years if we’re honest, but other things have got in the way up until now. We couldn’t just let if slip away though - it was too good a concept.

As we’ve both now moved cities since the original smsd series, (which started back in 2005) we’ve adapted the rules. I’m now in Bristol (Paul) in the S.W. of the UK and Mart is in Toronto, Canada, so pretty far removed from being just a London Tube journey away.

We’ve decided to use the distance creatively. Our aim is to record a video each month from each of our home cities. I will record audio and video in Bristol and Martin will record in Toronto. Each time Mart will create the music track from the audio sources and then I will edit the video (now DSLR) footage over the music track.

(all the pictures in this posting are from the new smsd project)

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The old rules for audio production largely stand:

- Make a music track from the audio gathered on camera during a single shooting session.

- Other than electronic drum loops, the only sounds that are allowed are those captured during filming. (eg if you want a bass riff, make it from a motorbike revving) Audio of instruments/ voice captured while filming are OK, so long as they aren’t staged.

We’re adding an additional rule to the originals. We’ve scale synched OS maps of Bristol and Toronto with both being anchored to their central railway stations (Bristol’s Temple Meads and Toronto’s Union Railway Station). 

I started the ball rolling last Tuesday on a very sunny and fresh autumn morning heading from Bristol Temple Meads as my entry point into the new project (smsd_BrisTo Part 1b). During recording I GPS logged my 5 mile route and then gave Mart the starting point for his first Toronto video by plotting my GPS coordinates onto the scale synched OS maps. Having our start points indirectly chosen by the others movements 1000’s of miles away adds a quirky bit of chaos to the whole thing. 

The filming rules are pretty straight forward:

- Shoot on one single day. Start location will be determined by the previous film*. Audio and picture are to be recorded simultaneously. Record at a maximum of 3 locations. 20 clips at each location max.

- Natural lighting only. 

No staging of actions.

Audio should then be stripped out and shipped to Martin for music production.

(expect a hearty mix of urban grit and colourful personality)

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For Part 1t, Mart will start at my end coordinates, then will be free to roam as he wishes and in turn, his end point will dictate where I start for Bristol leg part 2b. 

The concept is pretty out there, but with the original smsd we found that having certain parameters that were pre-determined was an interesting way of working. Sometimes not having to make too many choices and be impulsive within the constraints of your environment helps your ideas thrive.

(is this lady singing or shouting? You’ll have to wait to find out)

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The rail station starting point fitted in nicely as a segway refrence to the London Underground location dictator in the original smsd.

(Bristol Temple Meads station on a sunny October morning)

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We’ve decided not to film on super8 film this time round. Super8 is something very, very special and was formative to my early film making, but since 2005 the cost has sky rocketed and it’s difficult to get film stock processed quickly. We’ll be filming on DSLR and mobile phones depending on the mood. I’ve got a collection of my dad’s old vintage SLR glass from his Praktica camera from the 1980’s. With a M42 to Canon EF-mount adaptor it works a treat and gives pictures a really interesting look.

(assorted vintage Praktica SLR glass)

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smsd_BrisTo Part 1b should be ready in the next couple of weeks. Until then, the 3 parts of the original series can be seen in the post below.

Source: mrthomasisill

Backflip on an ebike?

We travelled to Essex a couple of weeks back on one of the sunniest days of the year so far to meet up with 18 year old skater, surfer and MTB dirt jumper Olly Parker and watch him attempt to backflip an ebike. That’s right, an ebike, one of those heavy, awkward, massively un-cool hulks of a bike. This won’t end well we told ourselves and felt guilty about the prospect of filming in silky 400fps slo-mo as the sheer weight of the electric bike ploughed down upon him.

Here’s what happened:

So after watching Olly lay-down a few practice runs, we could tell that he had balls and made riding a bike look very natural. The pressure was on to capture the action as best as we could to do Olly’s backflip attempt justice.

Thanks to Olly Parker and Radical Bikes in Essex for arranging the excellent filming location.

The tech behind the shoot:

We filmed this with a multi-camera sync shoot. We used:

Camera:

1 x Sony FS700 for all the glossy 200 + 400 fps slo-motion material.

1 x Sony FS100 as our A-camera for the interviews, full speed action and additional 200fps slo-mo.

2x DSLR 550d/ 600d for C-camera (safety shots).

2x bike mounted GoPro HERO2 for action shots.

Sound:

For our interviews with Olly, we recorded sound using Sennheiser G3 lapel radio mic with Rode shotgun mics for backup/ ambiance and safety audio.

Crew:

Rider: Olly Parker

Producers: Jim Eveleigh & Paul Stevenson

Director: Paul Stevenson

Camera: FS100 Paul Stevenson. FS700 Liam Murphy

Sound: Paul Stevenson & Liam Murphy

Photographer: Steve Behr

Post production manager & video editor: Chris Urmston

E-bike contact; Dave Evans (Spin PR)

Mark Cavendish custom Specialized Venge

I filmed this quick ‘Bike check’ tech video of Mark Cavendish’s custom Specialized Venge Tour de France bike while out for BikeRadarat the 2013 Tour de France, Corsica.

Turnaround of videos at the Tour is extremely fast so this was filmed and uploaded within a couple of hours. 

Camera: (weary) Panasonic HMC 151

Sound: Sennheiser G2 lapel radiomic.

Sony FS MTB dirt jump shoot
We filmed UK dirt jump rider  Olly Parker styling it up on the pump track last week as park of a special project we’re currently working on for BikeRadar. Legendary MTB and action sports photographer  Steve Behr took this picture of me shooting with the Sony FS100. Thanks to Olly and Steve for making me look pro!
I can’t reveal anymore about this shoot for now but the films are scheduled to go live soon.
Picture credit:  Steve Behr

Sony FS MTB dirt jump shoot

We filmed UK dirt jump rider Olly Parker styling it up on the pump track last week as park of a special project we’re currently working on for BikeRadar. Legendary MTB and action sports photographer Steve Behr took this picture of me shooting with the Sony FS100. Thanks to Olly and Steve for making me look pro!

I can’t reveal anymore about this shoot for now but the films are scheduled to go live soon.

Picture credit: Steve Behr

25 Year Of Mint Sauce

MBUK Magazine turned 25 this year - That’s one hell of a lot of pages dedicated to MTB. I have very fond memories of reading earlyish issues of MBUK with my MTB buddies as a teenager in the 90’s. A staple part of the mag has always been Mint Sauce: the mountain biking sheep character who’s been in the mag since the very start. 

To celebrate the 25th anniversary, we send Mint Sauce creator and illustrator Jo Burt a GoPro HERO3 and an open brief to capture the creative process that goes into designing an issue. Trust me, it’s special.

Having a real interest and practical experience of fusing both illustration and time-lapse, I was excited to see what Jo Burt could deliver. I chatted with Jo about ideas for filming and advised on some of the technical aspects. When the jeffy bag landed on our desk a few weeks later we were astounded. We never expected him to send back so much incredible footage. Jo send almost 2 hours of footage as a mixture of time-lapse stills and HD video and the variety and though behind the shots was spot on.

Credits:

Mint Sauce illustration - Jo Burt

Video post & edit - Paul Stevenson

Trail Bike Of The Year 2013 videos

We recently made grouptest video reviews for What Mountain Bike Magazine’s '2013 Trail Bike Of The Year'.

We enlisted freelancer Liam Murphy to film the action up at Coed y Brenin MTB trail centre in North Wales and I filmed the piece to camera parts in the bike lockup at Future in Bath. 

For the edit I followed a similar style to our recent  Road Bike Of The Year series.

Credits:

Location filming: Liam Murphy (Canon 550d, Hague mini jib)

Studio filming & audio: Paul Stevenson (Panasonic HMC 151 & Sennheiseur G2 lapel mic).

Edit: Paul Stevenson (FCP7)

Thumbnail photo credit: Russell Burton

Giro d’Italia 2013 Preview Videos

We made some race parcour preview videos of the much lauded Giro d’Italia for BikeRadar and Cyclingnews. Despite being seen by many as a much tougher and grittier race than the Tour de France ( - even the flatter parts if Italy are hilly), the Giro has always never attracted the same level of media coverage. For various reasons, notably Bradley Wiggins desire to "target" the Giro following his 2012 Tour de France win, the press have jumped on the wagon this year.

Jamie Wilkins from Pro Cycling Magazine tells you everything you need to know to get a flavour for the first Grand Tour of the race season with our 21 stage Giro 2013 video playlist. Enjoy:

Credits

Script and presenting - Jamie Wilkins

Lighting, sound recording and camera - Paul Stevenson

Editing, sound mix and intro ident GFX - Chris Urmston

AFX motion graphics - Ric Rawlins

Filmed on Panasonic HMC 151. Edited in Adobe Premier Pro, Motion graphics created in Adobe After Affects. Lit with 4x tungsten redhead. 2@ 300W, 2@ 150W

Campagnolo 80th Anniversary Groupset Video

BikeRadar were lucky enough to get their hands on the very exclusive Campagnolo 80th anniversary groupset long enough for us to film this tease of an unveiling video. Robin Wilmott from BikeRadar’s Technical Road team talks us through why it’s so special.

There’s a pretty £2,500 hefty price tag attached so for most people it’s probably a case of “You can look, but you can’t touch”.

You can read the more about the groupset here

Credits:

Camera, lighting, sound and edit - Paul Stevenson

Filmed on Panasonic HMC 151. Edited in FCP7 Lit with 4x tungsten redhead. 2@ 300W, 2@ 150W. Sound recorded on Sennheiser G2 lapel mic.

Photo credit: Russell Burton
We were tasked to produce a video series for Cycling Plus magazine’s  Road Bike Of The Year for 2013. The videos we produced for their  2012 showdown were popular, but there were lots of lessons learned, both in terms of shooting and maximising views via better YouTube integration and in Cycling Plus’s  digital edition. 


Credits:
Location filming: Liam Murphy
Workshop studio camera & lighting: Paul Stevenson
Video edit - Top 5 bikes: Paul Stevenson
Video edit - promos: Liam Murphy
Stills photography: Russell Burton

Photo credit: Russell Burton

We were tasked to produce a video series for Cycling Plus magazine’s Road Bike Of The Year for 2013. The videos we produced for their 2012 showdown were popular, but there were lots of lessons learned, both in terms of shooting and maximising views via better YouTube integration and in Cycling Plus’s digital edition.

Credits:

Location filming: Liam Murphy

Workshop studio camera & lighting: Paul Stevenson

Video edit - Top 5 bikes: Paul Stevenson

Video edit - promos: Liam Murphy

Stills photography: Russell Burton

Archive: 'the time machine' 360 degree timelapse & stop motion music video.

Back in 2005 I had the workings of an idea for a possible music video concept - To film 360 degree timelapse, sunrise to sunset using a rotary head.

Back then I was stuck for how to pull-off the mechanics of what I was looking to achieve. I experimented mounting cameras on a rotating plate with a clock motor (for the incremental 12 hour / 360 degree filming) driving the motion via a belt drive, but the cameras were far too weighty for the clock motor and the movements either slowed or ground totally.

During 2008 I entered into the straight8 super8 film competition and was desperate to realise my idea. I’d heard of Bristol based Lobster Pictures who back then were beginning to specialise in clever timelapse and rotary camera filming. I chatted to the founder Robbie Allen and when I explained my idea he very kindly offered up the use of his time machine rotary tripod head.

With the tech hurdles cleared, I then had to work out the maths for calculating a 12 hour daylight window into super8 timelapse. Figuring out which shutter interval would allow a full 12 hours of filming from the 3min 30 reel of film and look correct in 360 degree motion caused brain melt. I won’t bore you with the specifics here but it’s even more complex given that super8 uses 18fps as native normal playback speed.

We set out for The Downs in Bristol before sunrise on a cold March morning in 2008 to setup the shoot. Checking focus in near darkness through a vintage Nizo super8 lens was difficult. Filming started about 30 minutes before sunrise and continued for a full 12 hours as part of 1 continuous take, one (nervous) click at a time. 

Once the filming was completed, we had to package up the un-processed, exposed film and post it off, along with the soundtrack (the specially chosen music track by Rory Nunn) to straight8. The first time that we would see the film was to be the premier screening a couple of weeks later held be straight8 in London. 

The video was a huge success and worked better than I’d hoped. The film screened at several festivals internationally including the Portable Film Festival, LA’s HD FEST and was chosen as Vimeo Staff Pick and posted on the Vimeo.com homepage. It was a finalist at the straight8 competition and got a special mention at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Filming underway - Part way through a continuous 12 hour take.

straight8_time to be taken

Here’s a behind the scenes video we shot during the 12 hour shoot. A timelapse of a timelapse, or meta-timelapse.

'the time machine' time-lapse shoot from visualhybrid on Vimeo.

visualhybrid on Vimeo.

Credits:

Idea by Paul Stevenson. Realised by Paul & Rory.

Cast:

Rory Nunn, Paul Stevenson, Harry Livingstone as the Gorilla, Mr & Mrs Bananarama Barnaby, Joel Burton, John Cowan-Hughes, Jo Isaac, Sarah Ovens, Alex Livingstone.

BIG thanks to Robbie at Lobster Pictures for tech support.

Music ‘Time to be Taken’ by Rory Nunn

straight8 2008 competition entry.

Source: vimeo.com

Chris Akrigg - Lost footage

We were going through old BikeRadar archive footage recently - DVD’s, mini DV tapes, Hi-8, IMAX-HD, Kinetoscope etc  etc and came across some unused ‘lost footage’ of the bossman of raw MTB trails riding Chris Akrigg. The footage is from, a MBUK magazine photoshoot up on a very wet an misty Yorkshire moor and was shot by Andrew Dodd on a GoPro Hero2. Clearly we had to make a quick edit. The guy has real purpose when he rides. His style is very different from someone like Danny MacAskill, it feels more risky less rehearsed.

Incase you haven’t seen Mr Akrigg in action. Here’s a link to some of his other videos on his Vimeo page. Slick.

One from the archive: smsd

slowmotsavi2 (1)

It’s been a while since I gave the smsd AV collaboration I was part of with music producer Martin Egner (screen3). We’ve been chatting about re-kindling the series. Not quite sure how things would work yet as the situations have changed. We’re both still immensly proud of the smsd series so it would be a shame not to collaborate on it again.

Working to defined paramaters (rules) was actually a fresh way of working as it made certain choices for us, allowing us to concentrate on the juice of the project. Filming on KODAK EKTACHROME 100D Color Reversal Super 8 Film was always a joy. Super8 isn’t an excat science and some of the best looking results are caused by imperfections in the film, errors in focus or jams in the projection telecine. I have some beautiful looking vj looks which were caused bu film jamming when projected. There’s somegthing mesmerising about watching the film projection melt infront of you on the screen. This usually happens a few seconds before you realise the 500w bulb is destroying your master film!

Here’s the 3 parts we made in London circa 2005-2006:

visualhybrid appears on 'The Simple Things' blog

vis_Kindle ebook case 

Kindle_Simple Things

I made an ebook case for my Kindle 4 a few weeks back. The Simple Things craft blog have done an article on the vis_kindle case with step-by-step details and photos by me detailing how to make yourself one. I keep getting asked by randoms on public transport where I bought it so I may yet have to start a production line. Thanks to The Simple Things for featuring it. Big thanks to my dear wife, Jo for buying me the Kindle and prompting me to get crafting and Rory for gifting me the book years ago.

I’ve recently been working on my small paul project again. It’s a short animated story which I first started working on a few years back, then got stuck with the ending. Never good.
I think I’ve got the end sussed now, so once I got the words nailed down and edited to a tight script work should start on the animation.
For now, here’s an old scan of one of theoriginal concept sketches. small paul.

I’ve recently been working on my small paul project again. It’s a short animated story which I first started working on a few years back, then got stuck with the ending. Never good.

I think I’ve got the end sussed now, so once I got the words nailed down and edited to a tight script work should start on the animation.

For now, here’s an old scan of one of theoriginal concept sketches. small paul.

smallpaulfickle_640

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