Working on a tutorial to demonstrate Mocha as a matte input to Sapphire in Media Composer

Sapphire 10 has some very nice additions to the Effects Builder including dedicated matte and background inputs based on tracks in the Media Composer timeline. We want to demonstrate how Mocha can be used to track a moving surface to create a very accurate matte track which can then be used as an input into Sapphire - all within the Media Composer timeline. Stay tuned...

Forwarding the 'Message'

I recently came across a blog from a fellow named Joe Caneen (a.k.a. The Video Whisperer). Joe is one of those gems you may be lucky enough to encounter in an otherwise lacklustre sea of video tutorials and articles found on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong – I have learned a lot about the mechanics of videography, lighting and postproduction through watching tutorials on YouTube, but I always felt something was lacking – I got the How’s but not the Why’s of all these skills.

Enter Joe, stage left… Joe has decades of experience in both production and post production from large scale Hollywood endeavours to one-man operations (or ‘Lone Shooter’ as he often calls it). Joe recently published a book called ‘Run ‘N Gun Videography: The Lone Shooter’s Survival Guide’ (avaiable from Amazon for Kindle). It’s a great read and I highly recommend it to both experienced videographers and for those looking for meaning behind all the production technology available to us today (the How’s).

The introduction deals with the definition of Run ‘N Gun (so as to clarify that this is not a book about firearms) and then quickly moves to the second chapter – ‘Think Before You Shoot’ – The Message. This is where Joe distinguishes himself and where for the balance of the book he returns to tie the mechanics back to this idea – The Message – “It’s why you are there in the first place”.

This simple idea that no matter what you do with the technology in your hands, if it doesn’t further the message being conveyed and doesn’t increase the audience’s engagement then it doesn’t add value (and therefore doesn’t belong – although Joe is never dictatorial and tends to steer clear of absolutes, provided what you do does not detract from The Message).

This was (is) a breath of fresh air. If you’re like me and you want to learn more about the Why’s of film and video storytelling, I highly recommend you check out Joe’ blog over at Run ‘N Gun.

The Message is clear.

Looking back at 2015 - Blake and the Vultures

On January 6, 2015 a group of us got together with Blake Berglund and his band ‘The Vultures’ to record a few tracks at the Canterbury Music Company. The studio was fantastic and Blake and his crew were really great to work with. The whole production was coordinated by ‘At Risk Media Productions’ and funded by several private sponsors. We used four cameras including an oldish Sony HDR-FX1, a Sony Handycam (AVCHD), a DSLR and a GoPro for the wide shots. The HDR-FX1 was the only camera that natively shoots on tape (HDV) but we used an FS-H200 to record directly to compact flash. We used camera audio to sync the camera shots (using PluralEyes). The final music mix was done in ProTools. Editing was done in Avid Media Composer. Color grading was done using Baselight for Avid.

We actually had several takes of each of the three songs: ‘High Water or Hell’, ‘Shotgun Gypsy Queen’ and ‘Pretty Good Guy’. We had both floor takes and booth takes. While the vocals from the booth were a bit better, we went with the floor takes because of the energy as seen in the final video.

This was a really great experience and Jeremy Darby over at Canterbury Music Company was a real treat to work with – very professional and really knows his stuff. I highly recommend this studio if you are in the Toronto area and looking for something with a lot of character and really great sound.

Thanks also to Brad Sharp over at ‘At Risk Media Productions’ for putting this all together.I've linked to the video below. The whole production runs for about 22 minutes and we interspersed interview footage with Blake between each of the three songs. We didn’t have a lavalier mic on hand and had to make due with a shotgun – not great and we needed to do a bit of post-processing on the interview audio to get rid of background noise but it holds up reasonably well.


Getting Started with DaVinci Resolve 12.5

I was recently over at the BMD forum for Resolve users and I came across a reference to a really excellent series of YouTube videos created by Goat's Eye View. There are very quick, focused video tutorials that absolutely fantastic (and they are free). I've linked to the first in the series here. I highly recommend you check them out and subscribe.

Note: Nelliedogstudios is in no way affiliated with Goat's Eye View.

Another site that has some excellent, albeit not free tutorials is - These are comprehensive and very professional and they do a pretty good job of showing you how to use the editing and grading tools in Resolve to handle real-world grading challenges.

The instructor is none other than Alexis Van Hurkman. From the site:

"Alexis Van Hurkman is a writer, director, and colorist. ... As a colorist, he's graded programs that have aired on The History Channel, The Learning Channel, and the BBC, features and shorts that have played at the Telluride and Sundance film festivals, and video art pieces that have been exhibited at the NYC Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Alexis has also authored and contributed to over twenty books and user manuals on post-production, including two editions of the industry standard “Color Correction Handbook,” and five editions of the DaVinci Resolve User Manual."

A new beginning...

It's been a while since we first created NellieDogStudios. Its original purpose was to act as a hub for a series of video tutorials relating to video editing, compositing and color grading using the likes of Avid's Media Composer along with various plugins from BorisFX (including BCC, Mocha and Sapphire). In the coming months we intend to honor our original vision by creating a new series of tutorials that we hope will instruct and inspire our community.