Feb 082013
 February 8, 2013

So I’ve finally gotten round to updating my showreel. Pretty scary to think that my last one was made at the start of 2010, and was less than 1:30 long. It’s served me well over the last few years however!

I never planned to leave it this long before updating it. And I won’t leaving it 3 years before I update it again! It’s one of those things that gets cast aside when you’re busy, and before long it’s become a huge job to take on.

There’s not much to say about the body of the content. It’s all my favourite clips I’ve shot over the last few years that I’ve had permission to use. There’s a lot of other work I’ve done which I’d love to include, but sadly didn’t get permission to use. But there’s a few amount of variety in there so I don’t think it’s missed too much. It’s mostly DSLR footage.

What I did want to talk about (and the reason to this blog) was the title back plates. I first saw Seeing in Circles probably close to two years ago. I absolutely love the technique he used to getting an interesting perspective on various household objects and locations.

Since that piece was created, industry tools have massively improved and there’s been an abundance of affordable and incredibly compact HD cameras out there that would work with this technique, but provide a much higher resolution output.

I’ve had a GoPro Hero knocking about for a year or so now. I first used it on the Blazer Pro Promo I shot last year, and have since never really done anything with it!

I felt this was a great opportunity to actually do something worth while with it, so I strapped it to a drill and tried it out with some things laying around.

Initial findings:

  • The effect works greatly with colourful objects
  • A faster spin offers more pleasing images
  • The codec of the GoPro breaks down easily causing macroblocking

The first two points were fairly straight forward, I just had to find some of the more colourful objects around the flat to focus on, and make sure I was spinning the drill at full speed. The codec issue was disappointing however. And no amount of post fiddling is going to get rid of a broken codec. You can see in the image below the macroblocking. Despite heavy contrast adjustment it was still very visible, and unusable. This was due to the large amount of information the camera was having to process. Each pixel was changing every second, meaning the data rate was just maxing out.


So I got online and checked out what the latest GoPro had to offer. Turns out the ProTune upgrade (available for the Hero 2 and up) provides users with a boost in data of 35Mb/s (stock is 15-20Mb/s). This was promising, and thanks to my friend Tim I was able to get one the next day to try out.

I upgrade the firmware an activated ProTune. The results below speak for themselves, the image is much much cleaner.


I then setup some fairy lights on the floor in a well lit room. It was important the room was well lit as GoPro footage gets noisy fairly quickly.

In post I added extreme contrast, saturation and brought the blacks right down, this brought out the colours of the fairy lights. I also added Neat Video noise reduction.

As I was working on a 720 timeline, I then had 40% of scaling to play with. So I scaled the footage to 100% and offset it to the right, seating the centre of the image under my titles. I think it’s quite effective!

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