Eibon Films Horror, Fantasy and SciFi writer / filmmaker and friend of the weird

7Nov/170

I am an idiot GH5 user… but I’m not the only one!

So I bought V-Log finally for my GH5 camera - and that wasn't easy! (but that's another story - I've added at the end).  But how could I get it to work???

Why I am an idiot:

I followed every hastily written or edited instructional article and video I could find and none of it seemed to show me how to replicate what I was seeing in the pictures and videos - no matter how well written (like this one: http://www.4kshooters.net/2017/04/10/panasonic-gh5-how-to-install-v-log-l-footage/ ) . Because all of those videos and articles assumed that you were not stupid, like me - or assumed that you already had a level of knowledge, that you in fact do not... yet. Apologies, if you are not as stupid as me. Laugh at my idiocy! But here's where I went wrong when trying to access the Creative video modes...

So let me hlep you out and point out where I went wrong and many others, on forums and redit threads seem to also go wrong when trying to get V-Log working.

GH5Vlog21

See the Green circle above - enclosing the white mark - that is where you need to line up the items on the revolving dial, to activate the Creative Video mode (With the movie camera and M symbol) from the 'Drive mode dial'. And do not line it up with the 'One/off' button white line (enclosed by a red circle in the image above), as I was doing and many other users seem to be doing!

Then, if you've correctly installed V-Log, you will magicaly see it appear!

In my defence - I have not finished going through the manual. I bought my camera from a Swedish retailer and sadly only got Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish manuals. So sadly I am trying to work my way through an English manual which I only have in PDF format. So this is a classic moment where men should read the manual first, before trying to fudge their way through it, as I was very clearly doing! Had I done that I may have remembered the little white dot and not got it completely the wrong way around.

So it's great that I can finally play with V-Log and shoot my movie and carry out some pre-production tests!

Re getting V-Log - the saga:

Normally I try to set my default settings for camera useage and shop sites to English, because most people deliberately set the language of such sites to the regional default. My Swedish isn't yet good enough to happily follow technical subjects - although I can carry on brief conversations with barmen when ordering a pint. I found that I was unable to buy V-Log from the Panasonic UK website, as I no longer have a UK address. I couldn't order it directly from the Swedish Panasonic website either!  So I had to buy it from a local Swedish retailer.

The package then has to be issued by Panasonic and shipped to the retailer who then packages it up for you! This meant that I was waiting over two weeks for the activation code, from the point of purchase, as these retailers do not keep them in stock.

Then when it arrived, it was not sent to my actual address. It was sent to a random Post depot, where I had to go to sign for it, producing my ID and then receiving a ridiculously large and very light box. Said box, upon opening, reveals another box within - wrapped up better than you would wrap a piece of expensive glassware - and inside that is a small manual and a black envelope. Overkill indeed! See it all pictured below...

GH5Vlog

I appreciate that V-Log is expensive and highly desirable. And it is necessary to avoid people sharing the codes and trying to circumvent official channels etc. But surely they can find a way to mail you an envelope to your door? The average postie won't have a clue what the package contains... and god help you if you need V-Log in a hurry for an urgent shoot! You'd be better off borrowing it in advance to avoid waiting!

But no it's not a sustainable / environmentally friendly process and it will generate plenty of needless packaging...

 

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25Oct/170

Camera swap – time for 4K

Gear porn is a hard addiction to fight. Our desire to stay ahead of current trends in video production, to produce something that can hold its head up high in an ever changing media landscape is tough to keep apace. And I know, in that regard, that I'm an addict. And it's hard to deny the urges that stem from creative desires...

It's little more than a year that I've been playing with and trying to master working with HD video - namely 1080p. Trying to shoot for web delivery and produce videos that can hold their heads up next to the kind of visuals that we can see on the small screen. Although I am obviously not a professional cinematographer, in the traditional sense - as in someone that almost exclusively studies their craft and is hired to capture a marketable vision for others - I do hope that until I can get the chance to work with a professional, that my own visuals will hold up along side that of my peers. And until then master the pesky world of DLSR videography, at least to a point that i can be proud of the results. Currently, I'm not near where I want to be. I'm still a beginner.

But when I wanted to shoot a new film - and was deciding, during pre-production, what I was going to do with the film, I found that there was a little voice that kept talking about not doing the film in 1080p and trying 4K...

The use of 1080p is clearly waning. Now is the time for 4K... and then what? 5 or 6K? lol. No I won't chase every passing bandwagon. But I do think that 4K should be with us for a good while yet. So now is the time for me to invest in it and learn how to use it. My problem is that I don't currently have a computer powerful enough to handle 4K yet. So I'm waiting for Apple to sort their lives out and hurriedly release the new Mac Pros. It's been a long time coming and if they disappoint, I will have to jump to another PC manufacturer, after years as a loyal Mac fan, as they've already wasted enough time and ignored their pro customers long enough. So until then, I'm focussing on the camera - to worry about the edit later.

So why 4K?

4K (3840 pixels wide × 2160 pixels high) is a much bigger frame than 1080p (1920 pixels widw and 1080 pixels high). Even if you plan to release a 1080p movie, that bigger frame gives you plenty of options to crop creatively, to compose artful frames, that were better than that shot on the day. It also gives you more power to stablise unintentionally jerky shots in the edit. But it also future proofs your footage, assuming that 4K TVs become the new mainstream home viewing format.

So what camera have I chosen?

Z-PANASONIC-GH5-BEAUTY

It was a tough decision. I loved the ease of use, using my Canon 70D. And for vlogging, my point-and-shoot G7X MKII. However, Canon seem unwilling to solve the 4K riddle for their lower end semi-prosumer clientelle. I waited and they failed to deliver a good affordable 4K camera. Yes they've delivered what they call 'affordable' models in the C200 MKII and the C300 etc, but they're hardly affordable for people on lower budgets for anything other than as a rental. And I don't see much to like in their other DSLR range. So even though I love the way they do things and their glass, it was time for a change.

Now I loved what I saw in the Canon C200 MKII, the Panasonic EVA1 and the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro. But if you buy those, then you still have to buy more gear to go with each. And you'd have automatically doubled your costs before you've even invested in storage to capture your footage on. I just couldn't justify the investment right now. Also those cameras are big. for my needs, right now, smaller is better. But in the future?...

It was a tossup between Sony or Panasonic, for me. Sony seem to have mastered the low light capability - something the guerilla filmmaker needs to deal with every day. But after using the RX100 MKIV and trying to Vlog with it and seeing how they p*ss battery power up the wall in minutes, I was not keen to invest in a more expensive camera that might have had similar issues. Also, their cameras tend to have a softer look that didn't quite do it for me. Instead, I went for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 - mainly because I heard much of the previous GH4 model - as a go-to for many wedding videographers and low budget filmmakers. They tend to bea bit more vocal about this camera than I tend to see in the Sony world. Having an active community to support you and advise you is key to me, as a learner. And I will just have to be creative when it comes to getting enough light.

The GH5 isn't cheap. Nor is it a simple proposition to switch format and then invest in new gear. Everything comes with a little risk. But so far I am happy. And before I committed to my chosen path I wrestled with the decision for a couple of months and did so much research that I felt incredibly depressed by the thought of doing any more.

For me, I was lucky in that I chose to switch at a time when my Canon gear, although it had depreciated in value, was desirable enough to give me a decent sum in a part exchange. So I had a good starting sum to play with. Then I waited for the new firmware update for the GH5 to come out - as there had been many criticisms of the camera on it's initial release earlier this year. And then I pounced. 🙂 At least it felt that way.

I purchased the body and then of course, unless you want to also invest in a speedbooster adapter, so that you can use your existing Canon glass with the different format camera - the GH5 is a Micro 4/3rds format - you then need new lenses. Lenses are not cheap - not if you want to invest in Pansonic lenses with inbuilt image stabilisation, so you fake a gimbal-like smooth moving shot. Although there are many cheaper 3rd party lenses that don't have that stabilisation - as well as 2nd hand lenses that do, but have dropped in value. Also, if you want to shoot in V-Log (a professional video codec that enables you to shoot in a professional format and then colour grade the footage later), you then need to buy the license key to unlock that pro format in the camera. The SD cards needed for that V-Log format at 4K are also very expensive, and have recquired SD card manufacturers to develop a new way of marking their cards, to guarantee that they can handle the footage. You need lots of them too, as 4K will eat up lots of storage in the shoot, nevermind the hard drive space you'll need when you take it into the edit. In short, I could go on with what I am learning, but it is truly dizzying to see how much other gear costs need to be factored in when building a kit - e.g. lights, sound gear etc. So I won't bore you any more. But suffice it to say that this camera, with a few more lenses will complete my basic kit and give me plenty to learn and keep me plenty occupied for a while now.

So far I've only had the briefest of time to play with the photo capability, to try out the new lenses and installed the new firmware update - I've purchased but I am waiting for the V-LOG key and have yet to put try editing any footage. But soon! First I need to go through the manual and play play play!

For now, my gear porn addiction is sated. Now comes the post purchase guilt and the need to shoot this damn movie. And then will inevitably come the post-production issues that I need to research and rehearse before the shoot. It never stops. Right?

Links:

Some video links that might be helpful:

GH5 Cinema Set-up & Tests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0btY-irwawk

Panasonic GH5 - Everything I found out that you should know:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6O0XrHzGgk

Pansonic GH5 6 months later: https://youtu.be/N6BcaykMp88

4 Best Video Cameras for Indie Filmmakers in 2017: https://www.lightsfilmschool.com/blog/4-best-video-cameras-for-indie-filmmakers-in-2017-aec

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8Oct/170

Sickness is a time to reflect and learn

I had just penned a new short film script, one designed to be predominantly shot in one location for ease of production and shared it - and after very positive feedback from my good friend and creative partner Darwin - I was super keen on shooting the film and working out some of the gear we might need to be able to capture it, including some audio gear.... and then disaster struck. We had a death in the family; a very tragic and sudden death. And everything obviously went to sh*t...

...A while after this, when my mind was slowly turning back to creative things, and the days were slightly less preoccupied by grieving, and I was gearing up to let Darwin know that we would soon be back on to film, and then I got the flu - and even threw my back out again while coughing violently.

I have an atrocious immune system and I rapidly succumbed to filling up baskets with tissue, coughing up buckets of green slime and bemoaning anything that involved physical activity or concentration. But despite the illness, I find these things go through phases of creativity, from the random and less focussed to full blown acts of inspiration - where you can even forget your suffering, for a while.

First, it's watching films and shows that you've never had time to get around to watching from your sick bed. And reading the books that have been neglected when you're restive and can't decide on anything else to watch. Because you're too headachey and sick to do anything more challenging. And sometimes those inspire you to watch other things and they get your brain all fired up; and enjoying such visions can stimulate new or cause other dormant ideas to resurface...

Then when you're pumped full of cold medication, you start to contemplate what's lacking. For me it was thinking of camera and audio gear, thinking of problems with the structure of a feature script, worrying over how to bring my creative vision to life...

Until you start to heal, and some semblance of the former energy returns...

Having that time to think and a lack of energy to do anything else was invaluable. The dreams stimulated by the cold meds were a useful catalyst also.

I noticed a Martin Scorses Masterclass and the Shore Scripts Screenwriting course and signed up for both, taking advantage of the early sign-up pricing (after all I was too sick to go out partying and spend the money in real life, why not put it to use, right?) and even diving into the first lectures and doing the pre-reading. After lurking online in the web store, I eventually made it outside and went to the actual camera store (after heading to the pharmacy) and checked out the audio gear I've been drooling over and figured out what I needed.

I'm not entirely mended yet. But I am itching to get at it.

For now, I am enjoying the build up to my favourite holiday, Halloween. And taking part in a film a day challenge - 31 days of horror - #halloweenFest. And I'm working my way through the lectures and tasks... and I'm playing with the new toys and learning how to capture the sounds I think that I will need.... while revelling in the classic visions from master filmmakers. And I'm glad that even when I couldn't stand my own infected shell, and the fluids it kept emitting, I could still make use of the time.

I just need to shake this damn fever... and get back at it when I'm ready.

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14Sep/170

Soundscapes – Redux

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Fans of synth soundtrack music, video nasties and 'the glory days of VHS' - please check out the excellent new album REDUX: https://videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram-redux

- The keen eyed will notice my name appearing in the credits - for a video ident I did for him (and what the album cover design is based on). Which I hope you will get to see soon.

- thanks Magnus (aka Videogram)! You're very kind.

I really like this album and it's great to write to. I can't wait to somehow persuade a film soundtrack out of him. (*sssh!*)

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15Jul/170

Don’t Forget To Breathe – in production now

Film poster for DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6207538/?) - a film I co-wrote with Darwin Reina, is being shot right now in Barcelona, and I'm not there. It's a weird feeling. On the one hand, I am super stoked that the film is going ahead - after a lengthy but much needed pre-production period. On the other, I'm feeling a bit disconnected from it - a social media lurker, merely peering in through the lens of posts on Facebook and Instagram and checking up on progress. It's strange... so why am I not there?

I've been working my fingers to the bone recently - I had some very tough script deadlines to meet and some business travel to conduct. All of that is now done. And soon my holiday starts. But right now I am exhausted. Any creative will know that feeling of having recently achieved something significant, but then being in a weird limbo of not knowing if it is even any good? If people will even like what you've created? And having given everything to hit that deadline and to then be utterly crushed as the weight is removed from your shoulders - and the rest of you sags to the floor. The fact that I am able to sleep right now - in my new house and new bed - is propping me up. My brain is firing on all cylinders creatively, having been well-warmed up by the recent productivity, but I need to allow myself to rest and not dive into the next big thing right away. And that also means that although I technically could jump on a flight to Barcelona.. and book a hotel... should I?

Image of a magnetic whiteboard

Creativity lives here... or does it?

I've worked on films before and it is exhausting. It's an amazing process - long days, lots of standing around, great camaraderie etc - but although it can be incredibly rewarding and give you a chance to forge new creative relationships, it can also be very draining. If it was in a week, I'd be there. But right now... I need to cling on to rest.... My holiday starts then. But right now, I'd be no good to them. I'd be the worst kind of on set hanger on. A sleepy and irritable guy,  and feeling like a zombie the whole time, trying to follow what's going on and needing everything to be explained to him again in another language - and merely delaying and exacerbating the inevitable crash that will follow. After all the film is being shot in Spanish and although I did a year of it in school, it was 35 years ago and I can only order a cool beer right now. I'd only have to get people to use English, and it would bring the wrong kind of vibe to what is by all accounts an otherwise smooth production. So despite being torn, and really wanting to be there, I must give in to my need to rest. After all, I've been working crazy hours, often 7am to 1opm all week round for weeks on end, and doing this since November!

So all I can do right now is urge you to check out the social media feeds, follow and share the posts and await the eventual film - as I am doing.

I'm waiting in case the cast or crew have a question about the script that I can help with. I'm going to be there to help Darwin with the edit and the post production. And when we make the next films that I am writing for him, we'll do it together.

For now, I have a big magnetic white board to fill, and it's crying out for some index cards, some story beats and some fresh ideas. I can do this from an arm chair. It's a kind of rest. It's creative. But I'll also be hawk-eyed on my social media feeds...

Good luck guys! ¡Buena suerte!

 

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16Jun/172

It starts with a desk…

I'm excited. I've just moved into my new house. It's a three bedroom house 'in a much quieter area' - allegedly. As a result, I now have a studio again! In fact, I'm so excited, I want to mock myself and say 'Oh, a 'studio'!' in a terribly uncool, camp falsetto - to mock the usage of the term and make me check myself. But regardless, I am excited. Very excited. Why?

Studio view - trees

The view from my new office window

It's been 2 years and 10 months since I've had a dedicated place to write or edit films. I've missed it. But I've not wasted that time by mourning it and not creating. But the loss of it has had an impact. It's meant that many times I've been wasting creative effort, trying to block out other people's noise with headphones and use music and auditory meditation techniques to try to focus through all of life's distractions and achieve something; and being aware that I've been less productive as a result of that wasted energy. It's not easy doing that, at least not for me. It also meant that I couldn't just leave papers or notes around and have things set up for the next day of work. I had to pack that away to tackle the stuff I actually needed for my day job, or because it was messing up the one-room apartment I've been living in for that entire time. That meant that if a few days would go between work on a project you had to spend time to get back into the project, to re-immerse yourself in the notes and find your place before resuming work, for the day job - and often then running out of time again! This has made it nigh on impossible to work on any significant feature scripts or my novels in that time. Especially as the day job can result in me having to down tools for many days, to pull unusual long working hours for my clients. And that re-immersion can be draining and demotivating.

Anyway, all that should be a bit easier once I have a place to work. Right? There should be a lot more struck things, while Irons were hot. Right? Let's hope. So I have a room, which currently has my old desk and computer setup, and will soon hold an extra new motorised IKEA standing desk that I've drooled over for 3 years and could finally afford. Then I just need some storage for all of my writing books and film equipment. I have a stool arriving in a week, for when I don't want to stand all of the time or just need to change things up by adjusting the height of the desk for a small change of scenery.

Eventually there will be other improvements and embellishments, to make this place feel more like a studio. Including the addition of a corkboard like thing for attaching Index cards, to better analyse plots and restructure stories etc. But these will not delay the writing process. The important thing here is DO THE WORK. And not to spend time thinking of other things you don't really need and letting that get in the way of doing the actual work. Which as for writers, we know is a tempting proposition. Procrastination is our go-to.

DO THE WORK by Stephen Pressfield

DO THE WORK

And that work is definitely to be done! I'd start now, but I'm still unpacking - not procrastinating. Honest! But sooooooon!

And there is work to be done. Two new short film projects I might be being commissioned to write for Darwin Reina.... more news on that soon... and of course my feature EIBON HEIGHTS, which needs redusting off and reworking for submission. And a short film edit.

Anyway, I can hear the van arriving now. Soon I will be in the midst of confusing assembly instructions and looking for my IKEA tool. IKEA tool

 

 

 

 

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Tagged as: , 2 Comments
16May/172

Still alive and well?

Hi - this is your absentee creative, back from the presumed-dead. I am very much alive, although very much still in work hell. It's a long story, but essentially to make up for a very slow year last year, we agreed to work ourselves into a potential breakdown in order to guarantee this year was profitable. But it comes at a cost. Such is the crazy world of working in my industry. We work while we can, as much as we can, to invoice as much as we can. But I think that the crazy late nights, every night and working weekends, every weekend, are now at an end. I even enjoyed an actual weekend this weekend! And I've planned a long summer break of creativity.

Soon I can return to editing the Vlogs, [potentially ignoring] this blog, and picking up my dusty film script to resume editing it / polishing it for circulation and submission, and releasing that damn short story already.

Elsewhere in my world... I feel a list coming on:

  • I've been working on a video ident for a musician friend, which gives me the opportunity to spend whatever free half hour I have (yes really, that little time free) to work on it - and hope to share it soon It's 15 seconds of After Effects motion graphic 80s video tape inspired goodness. We're just waiting for the key ingredient, the music, to be added to it before sharing it. - This task was to force me to dust off old and unused skills and see if I can still fumble my way around After Effects, since it's been updated. I can indeed! But I know I have much to relearn.
  • A script I wrote for Darwin Reina, is being filmed in Barcelona in July and has been adapted into Spanish. Yes this is dejavu, the production date changed, but it should be going ahead this time - DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE.
  • I'm about to release my 40th Vlog. Yes in one week I will have been vlogging for a whole year. And I will soon share my thoughts on the medium and what I've learned from doing it. I know they're just a bit of fun, but I feel good having created 40-somethings that would never have existed, had I never filmed them or done anything with the footage. One thing I can share now, they've been a great excuse to force me to ignore or suppress my grief, to get up and go out and experience life rather than lie in bed sulking, to try and capture a snapshot of it and bring it to life in some form for others to share. And I feel that I'm only getting started. If you want to check them out, you can find them here: VLOG PLAYLIST
  • I've been scripting constantly for work for 5 months - so I know I can deliver, come rain or shine, even when I feel like doing anything but, and more especially even if I can't share them with anyone due to non-disclosures.
  • I've done more real estate transactions than I would care to ever do again, all at the same time, to try and simplify my life! Yes that's not a typo. And in 3 weeks I will soon have a new home, with a proper writing studio again!

Anyway, enough of that. There'll be a real post soon... Thanks for stopping by!

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11Feb/170

Progress – what’s going on?

So, I have been busy. Here's a very quick update:

  • I've made it to one of my writing groups. This is great for motivation and I must make sure that I attend more of these sessions. Don't suffer in silence at home. Get out and see other creatives and talk about your work / share your work for feedback. It's the only time I find that people are willing to listen - when you're own friends and family are not - and will understand your issues.
  • A story I am planning to publish on kindle soon - as a one-shot - has placed in the quarter-finals in the Screencraft cinematic Short Story contest. This is great news. It probably won't make it further, as it's dark and violent and extremely gorey. But it's nice that it made it this far. More news on that when I know it.
  • I've been editing a feature script of mine - with a view to submitting it to writing board / job requests as a sample / spec submission.
    • The process:
      • I've already done the first pass read through, liked it, and was surprised by that.
      • I made notes, identified typos and areas that were unclear / didn't read well or needed more 'amplification' - on a printed copy of the script. It's just easier to do this all on paper.
      • I've worked through 40 pages so far, with a deep edit. This time it's mainly about clarity and amplification of emotions and subtext.
      • There'll be at least two more edits, focusing on different elements each time. More on that process later.

Unfortunately, now is the key period when work gets in the way of everything and I typically have to work 14/15 hour days. I would like to avoid this and stay strong. But we'll see.... I'm not whingeing. I know I'm lucky to have a good job. It would just be nice that it didn't frequently spill over into my private life.

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24Jan/170

2016 is dead. What will 2017 bring? (Year Review and Creative goals)

So - full disclosure here - those familiar with previous year's lack of blog posts will be used to my excuses. Sorry. To you this will be old news. To me, this is very real and I'm slowly trying to deal with it and get my sh*t together - in a snail's pace process of continuous improvement. But life often gets in the way and seeks to derail us. I'm getting better at not beating myself up about my failures and trying to stay productive - but there's been a lot going on.... please bear with me, or move on as life's too short to read this - don't worry, it's fine. I won't blame you.

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22Aug/160

Stockholm Zombie Walk

So despite being sick, I managed to go out and support the 10th annual Stockholm Zombie Walk. And I filmed some of it. I did make a colossal cock-up though and so fudged the crucial recording of sound. But a very kind and extremely talented artist agreed to allow me to use two of their tunes to improve what would otherwise have been a massive waste of time.

Click here to view the VLOG.

Many thanks to Videogram and Cineploit for allowing me this great musical honour:
Videogram.jpg

Click here to check out their music and purchase.

Although I sounded dismissive of the Walk in the video, I was just tired and testy, and urgently needed a beer and some rest. But I will do my best to take part in it next year. It was good fun. And I'm really impressed with the quality of the makeups that some people attempted. I also liked the creativity behind the strange types of zombies that people did come up with - and pleased to see a DEATHGASM Zombie in amongst all of the SUICIDE SQUAD Zombies.

I think I'm having fun with this Vlogging lark. I do need to get better though. And soon I will share some of what I've learned. What I have definitely benefitted from is getting back to being productive, to choosing to film something, or choosing to do something with footage I shot for no reason other than to learn about my new camera, and to finish the task. Too many projects have gone unfinished. The immediacy of Vlogging dictates that you get the material out there to be digested, and so certain compromises need to be made. It's invigorating to fail and to learn from it and even have fun with your failures.

Anyway, enough about me, thanks to the organisers and the Zombies who took part in the Walk and all of those who supported. It was a great day out. And thanks again to Videogram!

#szw10year

#stockholmzombiewalk

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