Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unexpected Revelations of Beauty and Grace

I have spent the last week learning Final Cut Pro and getting started editing some 500+ clips shot with the Phantom HD high-speed video camera. The camera can shoot 1000 frames a second at HD resolutions. The results can be truly mesmerizing. Thankfully, editing the clips for stock is relatively simple. Nonetheless, learning to use “four point garbage mattes”, 3-way color correction filters, and Time Lines has been a bit challenging. But all of it is worthwhile when I get to view a few seconds of unexpected beauty and grace. For one such moment check out the video at the bottom of this post.

The opportunity to shoot with the Phantom came about because over the years I have had a close working relationship with GVS systems, a Leading developer and manufacturer of ruggedized digital video recorders and media management for the aerospace, broadcast, defense, digital cinema, post production, and sports worlds. They needed a beta tester for an elegant solution they have come up with for the challenges of shooting with the Phantom. Their software/hardware solution (GVS9000 2XU 444 VTR) is capable of dealing with the huge quantities of data captured by the camera (32 gigabytes every 4 seconds) in a simple and efficient way.

This was demonstrated to me dramatically when I went on line and checked for alternate Phantom workflows. In one forum I read this:

Download the cine files to harddrive and use Gluetools (Mac) / Phantom Control Software (PC) to mov file in lower resolution workable format for offline. Once edit is locked use Iridas FrameCycler Pro / SpeedGrade HD to conform the edl with Cine files. Iridas products can access cine files directly. The other option is using Gluetools you can relink the offline files with Cine files and then directly export as DPX log frames (settings needs to be done in system preference based on various options and choice) and then take back to Color Grading and output your work to TV / Film.

Phew! I am reminded of what a novice I truly am…and how simple the world of stock clips is. With the GVS workflow we captured the scene, then were able to view the results within seconds at whatever frame rate we wanted. If we liked those results, we “clicked” on “capture” and the raw footage was converted to Pro Res QuickTime movies and saved to the hard drive on the fly, again in only a few seconds. Now I am editing those QuickTime movies in Final Cut pro.

The simple workflow allowed us to focus on coming up with and capturing what David Fischer, the photographer I was collaborating with, called the “unexpected revelation”. Over the coming weeks, I will combine learning Final Cut Pro with narrowing those 500 clips down to the fifty or sixty best. Those clips will then be submitted to stock agencies and go up on my site.

I am not sure yet how large a role video will play in my stock future. But this brief foray is proving alluring. I have enjoyed collaborating with other photographers in the shooting stage. Learning Final Cut, while a bit challenging, does feel good. I guess if I could shoot with that Phantom all the time it would be a no brainer. It feels more akin to the concept images I make in stills…and when we find one of those “revelations”, well, it just doesn’t get much better than that!


Unknown said...

Hi John, just wanted to say how much i really like your work and your blog. it has to be one of the most informative blogs out there. good job. i'm also a photographer and you are a constant source of inspiration. i supply getty but only to PC which I find really frustrating having to pay that amount. i'm also learning final cut and getting in video and found this blog very interesting. keep up the good work.

John Lund said...


Thanks! Yeah, Getty can be a bit frustrating. Since you are into video, I will have an interview up soon with Robert Pascal from Getty's motion division...should be really ineresting!

Thanks again,


Jack Dogood said...

Hi John, That footage was fantastic, how did you like using the gvs9000 disk recorder.

John Lund said...


The GVS 9000 was great. Shooting the Phantom was easier than using my Panasonic HVX-200!


Unknown said...

Beautiful! I have been dying to shoot with that've only made the desire greater! Thank you!