Sunday, December 7, 2014

special announcement :: baby stuff and a NERD FILE addendum

Sitting at the MacBook Pro, fish sauce is dripping down my chin and pork skin falling to my lap from my Vietnamese leftovers. Sticky fingers bang away at these keys as I try to focus on the task at hand that is today's post.

WTF Is My Major Mental Malfunction?

First, why can't I make this YouTube thumbnail bigger?

Second, and more importantly, The wife and I just discovered that the bundle of joy that is brewing in her belly is of the XX chromosome type. Needless to say, my mind isn' exactly "on point" this weekend. Awe and excitement would be a better locution to describe my state of mind.

Me? Being a dad? Holy shit that is scary enough. Now add a baby girl to the formula? Exactly.

Never have I been so anxious and delighted at the same time.

My Uncle Jimmy said that ours (Stefanie and myself) would likely have the most photographed baby on the planet. I laughed but hell, look at today's short film. She's (her name is still somewhat top secret) months away from birth and I'm already piling up the footage.

Which Brings Me To Today's Creative Discussion

Upon learning the sex, instinct had driven me to devise a special announcement to share on the social networks.

Obviously the film would have to be creative, Machiavellian even. My brain went to work; ideas were pouring out of me. Luckily my wife worked on this one as a much needed buffer. Why? Pure shit is why. I had some really shitty ideas. Creative? Yes. Cute? Certainly. But, as the wife informed me, that the ideas were not of MICHAEL ANTHONY MURPHY :: PHOTOGRAPHER style.

Never has my work been on the soft side. Why should this video be any different.

Nerd File :: 

These days, I've been working motion into the creative repertoire. Many of the same concepts hold true when working across each medium. Variables such as composition, color, exposure, rule of thirds, etc. are all constant. I find shooting/directing motion just as comfortable as has been shooting stills.

The thorns, yes thorns, in my side are were audio and editing. I've been working my ass of to remedy those weaknesses. And doing little personal projects such as this one is the only way to hit your 10,000 hours. Sure, I read the Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) book from cover to cover and watched a surfeit of educational video resources but the true way to master certain skills is to apply them in real situations. Theories are great on paper but until you feel what it is you are working with than it is hard to grow in any particular discipline.

Here's the super duper easy breakdown of the FCPX edit ::

Media has been imported, optimized to Apple ProRes and files are ready to be dropped in the timeline. As this isn't a detailed FCPX tutorial, I will assume you know the program to some degree.

0:00 - 0:04 :: Opening Credits

Easy stuff here. Used a Slide Reveal Build-In. Fonts were chosen to be consistent with my brand as not only is this a creative but promotional piece. If you didn't know, EVERYTHING you share is a promotional piece.

0:05 - 0:06 :: Fade to Color

The next drop in the timeline is exactly as it sounds; fade to color. A controllable transition from build-in to scene.

0:06 - 0:18 :: The Footage

One simple revealing scene, shot about 100 times to get it just right. No joke.

I knew in advance that it would be slowed in post but I still forgot to switch the rig from 24 to 60 fps. Guess what? I think I slowed it to about 30% with FCPX and it still looks amazing. Who needs a Phantom?

0:18 - 0:38 :: Closing Credits

I like to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) when it comes to the credits. All of that crazy shit looks super amateur to me. Clean and classy. Less is more. For this and most motion projects, I use the Scrolling credits.


I went with a robust song from Jack White's new Lazaretto album: "High Ball Stepper." It's in your face as am I. Why wouldn't the announcement be?

Took a long time to figure out which verse of the song would be best. I didn't start from the song's beginning.

The fade in and out? A matter of taste and feel. Audio is new school for me and working those waveforms and decibel tweaks are starting to feel like butter.

The Other Stuff

Color Grading? Exposure? All straight out of camera. Zero post production in that department.

Shot around 4900K with a 300 watt daylight balanced hot light just out of frame at camera left.

I may have been somewhere around f/11.0 at ISO 1600. I totally forget. Hey! Pixel Peepers! It just looks rad. Chill your asses. Go dig up my metadata if it really bothers you that much. With love of course.

Once looking awesome it was time for the export from Apple ProRes 422 to H.264 at 1920x1080. It's similar to exporting your RAW photograph to a .jpeg.

Watch and enjoy.

Now, I gotta find a washcloth to clean up this fish sauce.


Until next time...