Singapore a place of treasure and adventure.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a week in Singapore. What a place!!

Most people consider it a stop over on there way to the more fancied Europe. To those who do, you don’t know what you are missing. If you love architecture , food , shopping and insane amounts of fused together cultures crafts and colouSome notes aboutr Singapore is for you. If you drink , smoke like dropping litter or using drugs best not to go or you might end up in deep s**t.

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Singapore has a lot of everything, malls are huge retail is like a religion . One famous story in Singapore called the mustafa centre is a prime example of this. Go to any supermarket in australia you might find 10 different toothpastes but at the mustafa centre there is a whole wall of toothpaste.

There jewellery floor is an example in to much is never enough giant cases as far as the eye can see of gold.

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The electronics section was equally as incredible with every headphone , phone tablet , computer you could imagine. The surprise for me was that while not overly expensive a lot of the goods weren’t much cheaper than Australia.

For anyone going there a few no go’s. First of all China town was totally over rated. It has a 7 day a week market that happens there it is totally full of tat. Basically cheap mad manufactured trinkets. There is no hand made crafts in the centre for that you have to go of the main drag.

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The food was exceptional my favourite dish is definitely the chicken rice. Which is so simple but rascally varies depending on where you get it.

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It is basically steamed chicken then put into ice and hung up to room temperature. The rice is cooked in a chicken broth. As you can see it also comes with a little bowl of warm broth as well. When done well its so yum its indescribable. The mango slushi drink pictures is so sweet so rich and so nice. The whole meal was about $9 Australian.

The big problem I had.

The heat is insane like a sauna. Do yourself a favour go sit in a sauna with yr cloths on and thats pretty much it. Singapore is really hot really muggy and uncomfortable. If we westerners walk to far without drinking you will inevitably suffer heat stroke. The best way to do things is to get the MRT train where you want to go and get a taxi from there. Everywhere is air-conditioned which greatly helps. To live there you just couldn’t be outside for large amounts of time in the middle of the day.

The MRT train is quite something to. Firstly it is incredibly cheap is barely a few dollars at most to go across town. There is no graffiti no rubbish, no torn seats and surprise it turns up on time. I know the Singaporeans are incredibly proud of the mass commuter system they have every rite to be. Just don’t drink a bottle of water or munch on your favourite sandwich as that to will bring a $300 fine.

I know there are people out there who will say. Singapore is unfair Singapore is this and that. But I look at it another way. Any country where you can walk home in the middle of the night without be hassled. Anywhere where there is no graffiti, drunks on the street and very minimal crime overall . How can you argue thats a bad thing. Yes alcohol is ridiculously expensive as are smokes . Its really pricey to get drunk but I am all for it. I never felt unsafe. Everyone was very giving. There was a story I read where a thai couple left a million dollars in a cab in Singapore , guess what the cab driver handed it back. Did he get a reward I can’t say.

One of the highlights of the trip was going up to the top of the hotel complex Marina Bay Sands.

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The view is just astonishing, sitting up there on a warm day with a nice fruity cocktail was just wonderful. The complex itself is a major marvel of engineering and western ideology. It has 2000 hotel rooms that are never empty as well as countless shops a casino for very high rollers and some of the most amazing restaurants I have come across.

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Next on the agenda was gardens by the bay. It is a man made garden on reclaimed land housing 2 of the most spectacular domes in the world. Evidently the 2 indoor domes are the biggest non supported glass domes in the world.

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The strutted are a nice change from the 34 degree temperatures outside. They are cool and only grow cool climate plants. This kind of makes sense. In one of the domes you start at the bottom and end up at the top of this man made waterfall. All the while you are being sprayed with lovely cool water. The orchids are a particular highlight here. The richness of the colour and the odour is quite something.  You end up at the top and you walk your way down a long winding bridge which ends you up at a little film theatre showing a film on how the worlds stuffed and life will end as we know it.

I also have to give a nod to Changi airport. It is no wonder it has won so many awards. It is the most user friendly airport I have ever been through. From leaving the aircraft I was in a cab no more then 15 minutes later. Its absolutely pristine. Very easy to navigate. They even have a little train that travels from one terminal to another for free. I was able to get a shower before coming home and have a great meal there for a very reasonable cost. Checkin was very quick and again there are lots of customer service people around who keep asking where do you need to get to. Then one is pointed in the rite direction.

Keying and compositing onto a non green screen background in Final Cut Pro X

This is a follow up to my previous post about video producing.

I was working  on my footage within Final Cut Pro X and I had an issue.

The background behind my interviewee was white and very bland. So I decided to try and replace the background with something more interesting. I asked a few colleagues I know if that was even possible. I was told it wasn’t without a green screen. Low and behold it can be done. The internal keyer within Final Cut Pro can do it and it it very well indeed. Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 1.34.57 pm

The way I did it was to blow out the background so to make it as pure white as possible. Once I had a solid white the keyer was able to analyse the clip and workout and seperate the foreground from background.

Its just so ridiculously easy once you know how.

This technique allows you to shoot without green or blue screens . You can now do a composite using a white wall.

A few things to keep in mind if doing this. Make sure your subjects don’t wear white otherwise the key can be harder to obtain. The same goes if your shooting green screen make sure there not wearing green. 

Make sure that your background is brightly lit and that the lighting is consistent without shadows.

If you adhere to these rules keying in post production will be quite easy. If mistakes are made there is more work and the process can drag on.

 

 

 

 

My process of being a Video Producer/ Editor and one stop shop

Yesterday I started a freelance job in the role as a Video Producer. I am shooting, editing and doing all the graphics. The job has entailed working closely with the client to realise there vision. The company is a recruitment firm who are wanting to use video as a method to grow and market themselves in a new and innovative way.

Together we are developing a branded online TV product that will be used in an online jobseeker education product.

When commencing a job such as this there a few interesting challenges to overcome. I am shooting in an office boardroom so lighting isn’t fantastic and secondly audio is a mess so my options are limited.

To over come the lighting, I used one big LED light as a fill light and with the audio close miked the interviewees with lapel microphones. I was able to obtain a clear punchy audio track as well as a nice well filled in lighting look.

The next part of the process will be to take all the captured footage to the client and create an edit decision list of what parts fit where and the shape it will take into the final product. 

As part of this I will also be designing lower thirds and graphical overlays to enhance the educational aspect of the points the interviewees are making.

I will post some more thoughts on the process as well as some screen shots in future posts.

Shoreditch Street Art with my X-Pro1 and Xf27mm

sgoldswoblog

So it has been a funny old week in my new office, not a million miles away from Liverpool Street. We’ve had a dead mouse in a desk, builders playing a girder and spanner symphony across the road and a seemingly endless walk to the kitchen.

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It is however a considerable improvement on a building I worked in about 8 years ago that had rodents, a lethal 1970s filing system (the kind of one you move with a wheel), porn and beer cans blocking the loos, flaky air conditioning/heating and no kitchen!

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Today I finally made it more than 300 yards from the office to Shoreditch. Originally this was intended to be a post about the swift transition from the city to the east end and the industrial/post industrial lanscape of shoreditch. In the event I was sucked in to taking plenty of photos of the really great street art…

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Review The I shoot Grip for the Fuji X Pro 1

The other day I took delivery of the iShoot grip for the X Pro 1. I shoot camera grip

This is a copy of a grip made in europe which is more than double the price of this one made in China.
The camera grip comes in at $69 so what is the quality like? It is quite incredible that this grip is a Chinese knockoff. It is made of well made metal everything is tight and fits wonderfully well. I decided to get this grip after being very frustrated by the official X Pro 1 grip. That grip covered up the card and battery compartment , where this one allows complete accsess to change your battery or card without taking the grip of.

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Where this grip really impresses is the hand grip . It has indentations for 3 fingers and just makes the camera feel more secure and comfortable in my hands.
The Grip really doesn’t feel any more heavier than it did with the official fuji grip.

All in all a really worthwhile purchase they can be found by doing a search on Ebay.

Fuji 55-200 mm on a 720nm IR converted X Pro 1

Review of the Fuji 55-200 I shall have mine by weeks end.

Mark Hilliard Atelier's Blog

Finally, a LONG X Lens for the Fuji Family!

Yes, the new Fuji 55-200mm lens arrived for my fuji camera systems!  I am currently shooting with a color X-E1, a color X Pro 1 and a IR converted (720nm) X Pro 1.   I know how well the 55-200 works on the color bodies but what I really needed to know how did it work with the IR system!  Would it give hot spots as so many of the Fuji lenses do?  This post is the report of my findings.  The final verdict is that it works very well and as long as you do not go higher than f/16 there are no hot spots to worry about at any zoom range! To me this is a really big deal.  

So far only the 14mm and 35mm Fuji lenses are usable in infrared. So the addition of another lens…

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Paul McCartney & Wings Rockshow For The Ages

Cool review of rockshow

Thoughtmare: The World Wide Glen

Music DVD Review: Paul McCartney & Wings – Rockshow

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Rockshow, the long-awaited concert film documenting Paul McCartney & Wings historic 1976 Wings Over America tour, is better than it really has any right to be. This isn’t so much because of the surprisingly high quality of the video and audio restoration (particularly considering its near forty year vintage), nor of the performance itself (which is excellent start to stop).

Rather, what makes Rockshow a particularly stunning achievement is when you take into account the venue where the bulk of this concert was actually recorded. Seattle’s enormous Kingdome was a gigantic, indoor structure made entirely of cement. A domed stadium built primarily for Seattle’s then NFL expansion team the Seahawks, the Kingdome was the sort of acoustical nightmare that was never meant to play host to rock shows, even of the stadium-sized variety.

Over time, the NFL eventually figured out…

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