Post Production Blues / by brasscollective

As mentioned in the "Moving to Mirrorless" blogpost recently, I've been tasked with a music video for a local EDM artist. 


Parts of the shoot were done in Hejio Palace, Nara. A stunningly beautiful place with the most gorgeous sunlight I've ever experienced. 

However there were time constraints and several creative blocks happened, so I didn't get a chance to finish up the entire MV shoot there, and had to return to Singapore to finish up. 


Consistency was an issue, I wanted to present the feel of a place that's not in Singapore, however that was a huge challenge. 

I've done filming in several countries before, but frankly speaking Singapore has the most harshest and worse looking sunlight even in the "Golden Hour" timing. It could be something to do with our location geographically, but I really don't understand why. 


Greenery are too green, skin tones look weird, and I've to stop down to almost f22 for alot of the shoots locally because of the harsh sunlight, depriving me alot of creativity.

Everything just looks too clean, not that it's a bad thing, it works for some stuff, but most of the time it just reeks of video looking stuff no matter how much I try to grade it. 


My Canon 6D was the trusty partner in this whole video, with Magic Lantern pumping up my bitrate. I didn't wanna use CinemaDNG RAW via Magic Lantern because of space constraints, as I've ongoing offline editing with other working videos. 

My colour profile was set in Cinestyle, which wasn't a good idea with the h264 compression. Still probably the best choice I've got, considering the fact that it's the flattest profile available, but more hassle balancing the shots between Japan and Singapore. 

Adjusting Curves, Levels, Hue & Saturation in After Effects

The indoors were still generally fine, it's only when shooting outdoors the real trouble starts. 

It was troublesome trying to go back and forth between After Effects and Final Cut Pro X as I couldn't use Curves and Levels in the latter, so I had to render ProRes 422 as the codec back and forth between the two programs to get the colour and contrast right. 

Final Cut Pro X really needs a Curves layer thing, if not at least Levels. 

It's not like everyone knows how to use Motion, at least for me, from scratch after using Adobe softwares from the start. 

I decided to skip using Davinci Resolve this time round to save on time, as I was rushing it before Friday for the EDM artist to release it in time for his review. 

The amount of green I've to remove from the Singapore shots are fuc-

Again, I really hate to say this over and over again but with the lack of Canon's 1080HD in 50/60 frames, I was in debt to FCPX's slow motion plugin "Optical Flow". 

It wasn't really the best, you could see some(maybe a lot) of bad frame bending inbetween, but it was the best free available software considering the fact that Twixtor costs like $330USD, which was way out of my budget and it probably would had the same effect. 


Some shots were still deliberately shot in 720 60 frames, but with careful editing one wouldn't notice which ones are those mentioned. 

Still, fuc*ing Canon can buck up their game and do a firmware for 1080 50frames(it's been proven that it's possible via firmware update, with regards to my previous Magic Lantern post), then capitalising on every single thing for money. *hints 7D Mark II* 

  Going back and forth in FCPX and AE part 1

Going back and forth in FCPX and AE part 1

 Going back and forth in FCPX and AE part 2

Going back and forth in FCPX and AE part 2

Another thing was the compression of h264, it's really getting on my nerves after being exposed to CinemaDNG via Magic Lantern. 

I couldn't really get back most of the details in post even after shooting on the most extreme flat profile, my highlights were gone and most of the blacks were noisy. 

But imagine the problems I'd have if I shot on RAW, I probably would had need to get a new SSD. 

I found out that FCPX's Library actually adds more data everytime you do something to it, even like Background Render to playback in real-time. 

 Before background rendering for playback

Before background rendering for playback

 After background rendering for playback

After background rendering for playback

It's a whole fuckin' 5GB just for background render to double check my work. 

I'm not sure whether there's a way to offset this, but if this continues on, FCPX might not be the best choice for editing in the long run. 

Firstly, the Library doesn't really "save" the footage in the media, because of the original file is shifted, it will appears broken. 

Then what's the whole point of creating such a goddamn huge Library file if it doesn't contains the footage. 

I'm finding that my workflow for this music video to be particularly slow compared to what I had in mind. 

Might have to rethink my editing strategy for the next few coming projects. 

In the next post, I'll be mentioning more about the music video and the idea behind it. 

P.S. I'm using a Crucial 512 SSD btw, so this project is actually taking more than half of my Macbook Pro's memory. I love the new Yosemite comparability with the SSD after the update though, everything seems much better with no crashes nowadays. 


- Henry