in filmmaking, Uncategorized, videography, videos

My First Slow Motion Test

I recently watched the video above, shot by Diego Contreras, and it really lit a fire under my ass. Contreras shot this with a Canon 7D, a couple non-Canon lenses, and edited/colored it using Final Cut Pro X. In other words, the total cost of the software AND hardware for this video was probably under $2500. That is insane. There is no longer any real obstacle preventing someone from creating something beautiful. All you need is a little bit of cash, the will, and the skill.

I’ve had difficulties making slow motion look good in the past, but decided to give it another try. I borrowed my friend’s Nikon D600 (my Canon 5D Mark II can’t shoot in 60 fps) which had an 85mm f/1.8 lens. Then I went to Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and shot a bunch of footage over the course of an hour. I shot the footage at 60fps (720p), then slowed it down to 24fps in post.

I’m pretty pleased with the results, but here are a few lessons I learned while shooting this, and how I plan on doing things differently the next time around:

For a video such as this, the music is critically important – I tried to find something I could use legitimately, but it’s a huge challenge to find something great and cheap. I have literally spent hours browsing the Vimeo Music Store in search of some hidden gems, and it is tough to find something that will work.

Instead, I opted to use a track off of an album by AnnaLivia, a music group I did some photography for back in Boston. They graciously gave me permission to do this. In the future, I’ll probably try and secure permission from other local groups to use their music in my videos – it’s free publicity for them and allows me the option to use some great-sounding stuff. I also may try, whose music I tend to find pretty decent but pricey.

Faster cuts – While I liked a lot of the motion and faces I was able to capture, I do think this video moves a bit too slowly if you’re not as enamored with the composition as I was. Next time around I think the cuts will have to come a bit faster. More shots, more edits would probably give this video some better energy.

More time spent on color correction – This being a quick test. I threw together a couple of quick presets and applied to all my clips at an attempt at doing a “vintage-y” look. Next time, I will try to massage each clip until it pops just right, and make a better attempt at matching all the clips together.


I’m also open to hearing your thoughts. Let me know what you think!