I’ve been asked to blog today, as I was the one who was behind the video shoot for the trailer for the Froud Meditations Pathways to Faery App. I’m the Art Director at BBP Creations. Some of you may recall Aurelia’s blog in February discussing our research into shooting on an iPhone 4S and then editing the footage on an iPad 2. She had brought up some questions that we were facing and after a few more months of research we were able to find the answers to successfully shoot our video in the UK.
Now what I’m about to explain is not something we developed or can take any credit for. Several people have achieved the same outcome using an iPhone and an iPad. We did find it challenging to find all of the answers we needed in one central location. Hence, the reason we are putting all of our information here, in this blog. We want to help anyone else who is looking to do the same and is needing every bit of detail about how to do it, from start to finish. That information seemed to be lacking everywhere we turned. But after tons of research and testing out several pieces of equipment, we found what worked and what didn’t.
Here are the items we used:
- iPhone 4S (2 iPhones are needed. One to film and one to use as a camera.)
- Apple Dock Connector (Cable that comes with the iPhone)
- Almost DSLR App
- EnCinema & OWLE Bubo Combo Kit
- Nikon Converter
- Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit
- 3 NEEWER 160 Dimmable LED Video Lights
- NEEWER 32″ Collapsible Reflector
- SIGMA 50mm 1:2.8 DG MACRO lens
- 4 tripods
- iPad 2 (2 iPads are needed. One to film and one to use as a monitor.)
If you are reading this and thinking, “Geez, this looks like a lot of work,” well it was and is. This was purely done out of love for Apple, their products and as a tribute to Steve Jobs. We knew it could be done and we had an opportunity to try it out with one of our clients. We needed a video for Youtube and thought this was a perfect fit. So, we hit the ground running and didn’t look back.
Here is how you’d set it up:
1. Load the App Almost DSLR onto your iPhone.
2. Remember to turn off your ringer or turn it to Airplane mode before filming.
3. The OWLE Bubo comes with a flexible case for your iPhone. Place your iPhone inside the case and then pop it into the OWLE Bubo metal frame. That will hold your iPhone in place within the frame.
4. Screw the OWLE Bubo onto the tripod.
5. Blow clean all of the lenses before you attach them onto the frame.
6. Attach onto the OWLE Bubo frame the three silver NEEWER lenses that came with the OWLE Bubo. They should be in this order starting from the OWLE Bubo; Close-up+2, Close-up+4, and Close-up+4.
7. Attach the MACRO 37MM Wide Angle Converter lens, that came with the OWLE Bubo kit, onto the NEEWER lenses.
8. Attach the EnCinema SLR Lens Adapter. Be careful with this as you’ll see the lens is square so getting it centered and keeping it centered is really important. When you begin to film, if you see corners or dark spots in the corners of your frame it is from this not being centered. Follow the instructions that come with it to help you with that.
9. Attach the Nikon Converter to the EnCinema SLR Lens Adapter.
10. Attach your SLR Lens. We found the best for close-ups on an iPhone was the SIGMA Lens. SIGMA lenses will fit the Nikon converter.
11. Set up your lighting and reflector if you need one.
12. Attach to your iPhone the Dock connector and then onto the end of that attach the iPad Camera Connector. Do not plug this into your iPad until after you have filmed and want to see a test of the footage. While filming you’ll want to disconnect this from the iPad as it will not update your new footage.
Now that it is all set up and you are ready to film, we suggest you run a few tests before diving into your production. Reason being, the iPhone can be deceiving due to its screen size. We found that the screen could look beautiful and in focus, however when we transferred the footage to the iPad and watched it in full screen and in optimized playback, through iMovie, you could instantly see that it was out of focus. This took a while to figure out and discover. We would love it if someone could tell us of a way to hook up a monitor to our iPhone and see in real time any focusing issues, but for now the only way we were able to create our own monitor was by using the iPad and iMovie to show us every shot prior to filming our scenes.
To do that set everything up and shoot for 10 seconds. Then take the cable, that is already attached to the iPhone, and plug it into the iPad. The iPad will take a moment to register the video from the iPhone. Once you see it on the iPad, you then have to select it and import that video to the iPad. After it is downloaded go to iMovie. Make a test project and click on the test video to put it into the timeline. Then go back to the opening screen to preview your movie and click the play button. You will then be prompted to Optimize Playback. Click Yes. This will allow you to see what it will look like once you have uploaded the video outside of iMovie. Give it a second to optimize and then it will go full screen on the iPad. If you like what you see on the iPad then you can use the set up you currently have in place. If you don’t like what you see, then adjust what you need to and take another test and repeat all of the above.
Another issue we ran into was a weird vortex or rings appearing on the iPhone before and during shooting. This could be fixed by carefully tightening the lenses. Sometimes one would become loose and would create this weird effect. Be careful not to over tighten.
The glare on the iPhone and iPad were always an issue. We found it easier to shoot in darker settings or dimly lit rooms with just our lights. Adjusting the brightness of your iPad or iPhone screen in your settings can also help with glare issues.
Once we filmed everything and had transferred it onto the iPad it was really easy to cut dailies for our client to see our progress. In fact, we had everything cut and ready before we ever left the UK. Final editing was another story. iMovie was okay to use once we realized our limitations. I’m used to Final Cut Pro and having the ability to do everything I want to do in one program. iMovie is a basic editing program and fine for making quick movies, but for this video I did have to finalize pieces on my Mac. Then I had to sync them with the iPad and pull them back into iMovie.
The interstitials were one of those pieces. I created them in Illustrator and Photoshop. Once I dropped them into iMovie the Ken Burn’s effect was automatically placed on them. If you don’t know what that is it is a slow pan across your image. Apparently, in iMovie on the iPad there is no way of stopping this within the settings unlike its Mac counterpart. Luckily, I found an article in MacWorld that gave me a quick fix to stop that effect.
Audio was another set back. The ability to edit audio in iMovie on the iPad, it is extremely lacking. Audio tracks must be less than a minute in length in order to be able to edit them. If they are more than a minute they automatically become background music and un-editable. So, I did have to use SoundBlast to cut the audio down into pieces and then sync them to the iPad in order to edit the audio to the video. Once the audio is in iMovie, again it is difficult to blend it or fade it with other tracks.
Once I completed the video, uploading to Youtube was extremely easy. iMovie has several options to upload to Youtube, Facebook and several other sites.
Overall, I enjoyed the challenge of filming on the iPhone and editing on the iPad. The look and the feel of the footage was exactly what we wanted. Our goal was to showcase the app, up close and personal and on different devices while letting the audience feel the magic that the app can bring them. I believe it did all of that and more.
See the magic for yourself in the new app Froud Meditations Pathways to Faery set to be released this October. This app helps guide anyone to the veil of his or her own making, to touch the Realm of Faery. Whether you are an artist, a musician, a writer, a middle earth fan or a person that just needs to escape, the Froud’s have created a way to do just that, anytime, anywhere, anyplace.
For more on BBP Creations follow these social media links.
Thursday, September 13 – Holly Hartzell-Reviglio guest blog on filming on the iPhone
Thursday, September 13 – Release of the trailer to Froud Meditations Pathways to Faery
Thursday, September 13 - Goblin-King Launch Party in London for the Trolls book
Thursday, September 20 – Holly Hartzell-Reviglio / Art Director BBP Creations
Friday, September 21 - The Dark Crystal film screening in Plymouth, UK
Thursday, September 27 - Wendy Froud / Writer and Meditations Guide/Voice
Thursday, October 4 - Brian Froud / Artist
Saturday, October 6 – Trolls Exhibition Opening at Animazing Gallery in NYC
Thursday, October 11 – Trolls Book signing at Animazing Gallery in NYC
October 11-14 - Comic Con NYC / details to come