Girls. Skates. Violence. My roller derby promo video.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Badradio, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Badradio macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Thought I'd share my first "proper" video project:

    YouTube Link

    I was asked to shoot a video for our local roller derby team - the Rainy City Roller Girls - and it sounded like fun. My friend did the editing, we both shot the footage, and I recorded the music with another friend. It was edited in Premier Pro, coloured in After Effects, and the time-shifted sequences were done in Twixter.

    We had no idea what we were doing on a "sports" shoot, so we just got in close with the camera zooms, did everything we could to minimise shake and not get wiped out by the skaters, and figured we'd patch something together in the edit. Not a professional way to work, but like I said, this was out first attempt to shoot something moving this fast.

    My main complaints are the amount compression (thanks, YouTube) and the slight difference in colour between the two cameras (both were Sony's, but one was the prosumer model, one the consumer mode). Yeah, the cameras were basic, but we were shooting for YouTube and knew we were going to stylise the hell out of it in post.

    All feedback gratefully received - I'm pleased with how the video came out, but we're just learning, and all input on what works/doesn't work would be appreciated.

    Steve
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #2
    It is real good. I'm not a video editor or even a videographer, but in my opinion, it is good. There are a few sequences where it would have been nice for there to be a wider shot. As you see them getting closer to you, if it is possible to zoom out and keep things in perspective. Some of those close tight shots are great, but it doesn't need to make up half of the video. You probably cannot change that and I wouldn't really worry about it, but it was something I was thinking.

    On a side note, the movie Whip It f'ed it up for the sport. I went to a roller derby competition and was a bit bored at times because it was not nearly as awesome as the movie. I understand how lame it sounds but even your video shows me that I was robbed when I went because your team looks more exciting.

    Oh and if you shoot again, shoot some with the refs. They're actually there for another reason other than just to kick someone out of the game. They follow the jammer around and let them know who is in the lead. They're actually pretty important to the game.

    Good work, it certainly wasn't a boring promo video.
     
  3. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Thanks for the nice comments, Jessica. I agree about the wide shots; a lot of derby videos are just wides, so we went the other way on purpose, but I think we went a bit too far. It was an experiment on our part, and it was 90% successful, but you're right that we should have shot a couple of wides to break it up.

    I agree about Whip It; I love that film, but the skating is too fake and gimmicky.

    I'm thinking of training to ref myself in a year or two, so I'm sympathetic to their role and skills, but nothing sells a video like girls on skates fighting. Maybe we'll shoot a "Refs" promo. We'll definitely be doing more videos - it was so much fun to shoot - so watch this space.
     
  4. FroColin macrumors regular

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    #4
    Not bad, but maybe too stylized. If you don't have the color information then when you start doing all sorts of stuff it starts to look pretty bad. Not that this was pretty bad but it was getting there. However it was a decent promo, it looked pretty good. And it certainly wasn't painful to watch, I didn't cringe the whole time with the of it (new word I know haha)
    Good job, just next time be a little less stylized that would be my only suggestion
     
  5. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    We actually dialed the styling back from where it was previously :eek:. It is very stylised, but I guess we were reacting to the other derby videos out there. Most are shot under sports hall lighting, so they're very warm. We wanted to desaturate a fair way and add contrast - more to look different and "stand out in the crowd" than for any artistic reasons. So, yes, I agree it's a bit much for many tastes, but for the audience we're aiming for, I think the drama of the style is worth losing the naturalness of the original footage.

    Thanks for the feedback; most people who've seen it focus on the content, but the aesthetic is something I'm very keen to discuss.
     
  6. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    #6
    In terms of the actual video i really enjoyed it! My only thing I would have liked to seen/heard was when the girls when they were in the huddle you heard the cheer they were saying.
     
  7. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Ah, yes. They shout 'Ave It!. It's a Manchester thing...

    The problem with this venue is there's very limited space around the track, so even if we'd taken good mics, we wouldn't have been able to get close enough to use them. We were under strict instructions not to step inside the "suicide line", so even though no one was skating at the time, we couldn't get any closer - just zoom.

    It's something I'll bear in mind for future shoots though - if they're in a different venue with more safe spaces to stand.
     
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    #8
    Too stylized? Okay... each to his own I guess. So, was it pretty bad or pretty good? Make up your mind.

    To the OP, I'm an editor/designer and I thought it was brilliant for a first try at that type of shooting. You really caught the energy and spirit of the competition. And by the way, I loved how you tweaked the color and contrast. Might have been nice to include some of the actual ambience of the place intercut with the music.
     
  9. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #9
    Good job. Liked it. Could have been more stylised (not less - it's roller derby, not the Tate Gallery), which would have helped hide the colour blockiness. I saw some weird artifacts which I assume were Twixtor-induced. My criticism would be from a marketing/communications POV: what was it for? who were you communicating to? what did you want to communicate?

    These questions probably weren't even in your head when you started, but when the people who were in it stop saying "oh, look at me, i'm in it", then who will be looking at it and what will they be saying?

    In the end, we make these things to communicate an idea, and we use video to hook that idea into an emotional response.

    (BTW, they're rhetorical questions.)

    Obviously it's Friday afternoon and I've been at work too long. Home time. :D

    Secondly, is this the third forum topic to mention "Twixtor" in less than a week? Grass roots movement or new wave of astroturfing... :confused:
     
  10. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #10
    Sounds like an instruction worth following :p
     
  11. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Thanks for the great response. The whole shoot was one big experiment - a first attempt form which we can discuss/learn/improve - so this kind of feedback is great. I decided from the start that getting good quality audio was going to be too difficult with just two of us on the shoot (both running cameras) so we went for 100% music soundtrack and didn't look back. I think it works for this music-video style, but for a more in-depth video, I'd definitely want to incorporate some location audio.

    The whole point of the video was to answer the question "What is roller derby?" It's still very niche in the UK, so even if you tell someone there's a bout on this weekend, they're reluctant to try it out as they don't know what to expect. I wanted to capture the excitement of a great bout - get people interested in going along to check it out. We added the links for the Rainys at the end so anyone watching it can easily find more information on when/where to see derby in the flesh. I also wanted to make this about the Rainys - not just the sport in general - which is why I tried to get more "human" shots in there - show the faces and expressions so that people can connect with the team more and feel more involved. The end goal was always to just get more people interested and attending the bouts.
    My input on the edit was purely creative; Chris is the tech guy on the video side, but here's a link to a blog post he wrote about his decision to go with Twixtor. I'm hoping he's reading this thread, so he might jump in with more information on that choice.
     
  12. sp4ngle macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I didn't really put much information on the reasons for choosing Twixtor in that post - maybe I'll post more later. Basically I tried AE time remapping (which is based on an old version of Kronos from The Foundry), Kronos itself, and Twixtor. Twixtor produced the smoothest slow-mo and fewest artifacts straight out the box, and Twixtor Pro allowed the use of mattes, object separation etc. Unfortunately in this time-constrained world in which we live, I didn't get much of a chance to use the object separation capabilities - that'll have to wait for another project.

    The look is from the Rebel Epic set of Magic Bullet Looks. Some may say (in the immortal words of Freddie Wong) that there's "Too much funk - keep it tasteful!" I like it and it stands out from the rest of the roller derby videos, which is what we intended.

    C.
     
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #13
    It's ridiculously late here but I'll toss in a quick 2 cents.

    I've been to a couple of derbies and I could barely follow what was going on. There was not a clear structure to the piece, IMO. Even commercials need to tell stories and the story could be as simple as "drink this beer and you'll impress women".

    If it's a promo for a specific team that team needs to be clearly identified in the beginning of the promo. If you are trying to reach out to a non-derby audience you need to put more things in context. You need establishing wide shots so it just doesn't look like a bunch of girls skating in a gym, you need shots of the scoreboard, you need shots of the jammer avoiding the pack (or at least get the basic idea across that everyone is trying to stop the girl w/the star on her helmet), etc.,. I couldn't even tell which team won. There needs to be more shots of crowd reactions too. If you want to sell how fun it is to see a derby match you need to show people having a great time watching the match.

    It looked like the girls on Rainy City Roller Girls we wearing different colored shirts (light purple, darker purple, blue and black). I'm not sure how much of that is real and how much of that is due to the 'look' you gave it. If it's more due to the look then you need to dial it back. If you are trying to sell a team don't screw w/their colors. ;)

    You really need nat sound in there (heck, even canned crowd noise would add something to the piece). The difference between just seeing footage of derby and feeling like you are at derby is the difference between having nat sound and not having nat sound.

    With all that being said though, as a first stab at something like this though I think you guys did a decent job.


    Lethal
     
  14. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Agreed, but I've no idea how to make the rules more explicit. I've watched a few bouts now, and I wouldn't have worked it out without having it explained to me. Maybe you've just given me the idea for our next derby project...

    That Rainy City logo at the start is pretty big...

    That's actually the reverse of the case; the wider shots showed more of the gym, and it definitely undermined the vibe. We were trying to show as little of the setting as possible.

    Yeah, they lost... :eek: From then on, we were a bit stuck in what we could show as, again, the vibe was the most important thing, and "we're number two!" has been done. You do see the scoreboard at one point, but not after the final whistle.

    Yeah, I agree. We tried to capture the excitement with the establishing shots, but with hindsight, dropping a few more in later would have helped maintain the energy.

    No, they're all in different colours. It's a point of some contention, and something they're fixing right now.

    This is becoming apparent. We made the choice to go all-music, but the consensus seems to be that wasn't the optimum sound mix. Good feedback for next time.

    Thanks!

    Steve
     
  15. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #15
    Having read what Lethal wrote makes me think that there's enough scope for a mini-series of ads about this. :)

    I'd have more to say but I have to go and learn how to coach under-7 soccer :rolleyes:
     
  16. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #16
    With regards to identifying the team I meant more the players. Maybe a shot of everyone huddled up together before the the game. There are individual shots w/two or three people in them but there isn't one big shot that says "These are your Rainy City Derby Girls". Of course it doesn't help that there apparently is not a standardized uniform for them.

    You know what the location looks like better than I do but it is obvious it's a gym so I don't think a wide shot showing the girls skating the 'track' to help give it context is going to blow the vibe. It doesn't have to be on screen very long but it would help communicate the point to people not familiar w/derby that there is a structure to the event and it's not just chix in short shorts laying each other out at random.

    As you guys shoot more events it will get easier to cut these together because one match isn't a lot raw footage (espeically when the team loses :().

    Last thing, instead of just putting the URLs up on screen I'd put something like "to learn more about the Rainy City Derby Girls go to..." or "Follow the Rainy City Derby Girls at..." and then put up the URLs on a single card. This is called a 'call to action' and is used in advertising a lot. If you tell people to do something, such as go to a website, they are more likely to do it than if you just show them the URL. And I suggest putting them up all at the same time so that people won't have to skip to different parts of the video to get all the URLs.

    I know this is a lot of 'notes' but don't get discouraged. I've seen some horrible stuff where I'm just like "Put down the camera and go do something else" but this isn't one of those cases. It comes off though the piece that you guys put effort into this even if your inexperience comes though too, but, hey, everyone is a newb at some point.


    Lethal

    EDIT: martinX, good luck w/the youth soccer. I remember playing at that age and it's pretty much two herds chasing the ball all over the field. :D
     
  17. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    @ LethalWolfe I do appreciate all of the notes - it's those little things that tighten the video into something more efficient in communicating its message. We were limited in what we could get on the day, and that dictated the nature of the final edit, but there are things we could have done to add quality around the footage. Adding all of the links on one page wasn't something I'd thought of (although I think they're going to show the film on the scoreboard projector at today's bout, so I'll see how small we can realistically go on the typeface).

    One thing we did manage to achieve was to impress the team, so we now have more opportunity to shoot for them and improve our techniques. That wasn't hindered by the fact that they got 5 emails from girls enquiring about coming along to skate on the next Newbie night after seeing the video; that's pretty rewarding for us - knowing that what we thought was a cool edit resonated with other people enough for them to take action and join in.
     
  18. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #18
    That's good. Having seen them in action, you certainly wouldn't want to pi$$ them off :D

    Here's an idea: since you're not allowed inside the suicide line (although, as a videographer, you should be willing to put your life on the line for the perfect shot. Even in wedding videos.), see if you can set up some shots outside of a regular game (game? encounter? battle to the death?) so you can get inside the line. With proper angles and framing (and attention to colour) you could mix that in with regular footage.

    Suggestion 2. I've heard the young folk talk about GoPro cameras...
     
  19. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    The rules are pretty strict on the gear you can wear, so I figure any body-mounted cams would be banned. It's the same deal with the suicide line; it doesn't matter how many risks I'm willing to take, the rules are there to protect the skaters.

    We were thinking about "staging" some shots, maybe using trolleys and the like to get into the action. Have to see how things develop, but I have shots in mind I'd like to design, and they can't be done during a real bout, so this is an avenue I'm looking to explore.

    BTW - Rainy City 150, Lincolnshire Bombers 26 from yesterday's bout. The scoreline wasn't a fair representation of the game, but you can't argue with that spread...
     
  20. ibennetch macrumors member

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    #20
    A lot of the other feedback was good, but there's one thing no one seems to have mentioned. The setup/black level looks crushed. I'm not really set up to look at Youtube on my scopes at the moment, but regardless of whether setup is at or below 0, you're crushing some video and that bothers me. The stylized video, not so much, but when you lose detail because setup is too low, then it becomes a bit hard on the eyes to watch.

    Some of the ramping (speedup/slowdown) was pretty well done, like around 0:45 for instance (it did get a bit old towards the end, and there were a few shots that felt a bit too Baywatch for me, but it wasn't terrible).

    It felt a bit long. I guess that depends on what type of video you're going for and what story you're trying to tell, too, but I sort of lost interest along the way.

    All in all, you did a great job of putting it together. Very nicely edited.
     
  21. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Thanks for the great feedback.

    I'm not sure what Setup is, but if the issue is that the black point was too high, that was a result of the filter Chris used. Yes, it's never good to ditch image data, but I did ask Chris to increase the contrast and darken the overall image, as the over-lit style of most derby vids is too common, and we wanted to move away from that. I'll read up on the points you've raised and make sure that, even if we do it exactly the same next time, we're doing it on purpose. Still learning... :)

    As for the length, I disagree; I think it's spot-on for timing. I think the interest holds until about 3/4 of the way through, and then we bring in the information titles. That's the point where the music ramps up too, just to keep the energy into the end. I guess it comes down to the viewer; I put the link up here to get some feedback on the technical/creative choices we made, but it's a video for derby girls and people who might be interested in watching the sport. If you're neither, I guess it'd get boring pretty quick.

    Steve
     
  22. ibennetch macrumors member

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    #22
    Actually, the opposite. It looked too low. But you're correct that setup is the black level. I lost detail in some of the darker parts of the picture -- which was part of the style, and I have no problem with it -- but on my monitor to my eye it looked like the black level was below zero. Note that I didn't look at it on a scope, so I could be wrong. The style looked good, don't get me wrong. You can just run in to trouble if your black levels run below 0 (or 7.5, if you're monitoring in analog).

    I think I expressed it well enough above, but I like the look as you used it. It wasn't so extreme as to be bothersome.
     
  23. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Thanks for the info, that's good to know. The blacks were stomped pretty hard, and I do like the style, but I know that with video, you need to be careful of unwanted results. On YouTube we can get away with a lot more than we could on broadcast, so I think we're ok on this one. Just wish we could have avoided a few more compression artifacts...
     
  24. alph45 macrumors member

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    #24
    general thoughts on the tech side...

    you can make adjustments in ae/twixtor for "problem" areas, may involve rendering say 15 frames differently than other content.

    if this is Magic Bullet, the presets can almost always use some dialing back.

    if you have to shoot with different camera models, match white balance on-site to make post easier.

    color/brightness conform in your editor-of-choice before doing anything with plugins/looks.

    if at all possible, use at least one camera that can shoot 60fps or better(7d for example). when conforming to 24/25fps you already have optical slow-mo at around 170%. twixtor has to do less work if you even need it.

    use ND filters to help get your exposure (assuming a bright environment) if your trying to preserve shutter speed for motion blur. Frees up aperture for DOF control.

    experiment with higher shutter-speeds (2000 for example) to see how that effects artifacting.
     
  25. Badradio thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    This was something we discussed, but we were totally out of time, so had to run with what we had. Definitely something we'll look at doing next time if it needs it.

    Yep. We were kicking ourselves about this one. I'd double-booked myself on the day, so turned up just before the bout, grabbed the camera I was passed and started filming. I think the preparation for this shoot was definitely the weakest aspect.

    All good tips for us to try out. Thanks a lot for the feedback.
     

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