Video

Photography Portfolio

Cuddy's Crags view of Hadrian's Wall at Dawn

For those who are interested, I’ve just rebuilt my photography portfolio, which incorporates a bit of video and screen printing too.

The link at the top now takes you to an exciting new page, adambowie.photography which has a much neater design asthetic. Yes, I’m using one of those new(ish) domains. And it should be full responsive too.

For those who are interested, I built this using the Adobe Porfolio tool which is part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud. The nice part is that I can decide which albums I want publishing within Lightroom, and then sync those across to the portfolio seamlessly.

I need to tidy up a few captions, but otherwise it seems good so far.

I do feel that this blog needs a bit of an overhaul too. But that’s for anther day…

DJI Osmo Pocket: A Slow Motion Test

Over Christmas I treated myself to a new camera – the newly released DJI Osmo Pocket. This thing is a wondrously small gimbal mounted camera, that I thought might be really interesting to carry with me on bike rides.

This absolutely isn’t a proper review, since I’ve not had the device long enough. Instead, it’s a few early thoughts.

The thing is tiny. I knew this as everyone said it was tiny, but it really is. Even the box that it comes in is tiny! But it’s size means that you can put it in just about any pocket. Certainly it’d be safe in a cycle jersey pocket.

Yes, phones are great, and more and more of them have optically or digitally stabilised cameras, but you can’t beat mechanical stabilisation with a bit of leeway for shakes. And there’s no real problem taking both this and your phone out with you. Indeed, you can use the two together to get a proper screen Note: This can be important if you want to get your focusing right. Focusing is perhaps the thing you need to most worry about with the camera. A couple of the shots above are definitely a little “soft.”

To really use this phone properly you will need either a USB-C enabled phone like a Google Pixel device, or an Apple iPhone. If your phone uses micro-USB you lose a lot functionality. I suspect that limitation is because different manufacturers have the micro-USB port oriented differently. USB-C and Lightning connectors are reversible, and the adaptor to the device only works if you have the screen facing you.

The device is 4K and can shoot at 60 frames a second, meaning that you can slow it down a bit if needed. But it also has a good slow motion mode, shooting at 120 frames a second in regular 1080 HD. The video above is shot using that 1080 mode.

Usually I edit all my videos in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, but for this I thought I’d try a more portable solution at least to start with.

I shot that video without a phone attached – people barely could see there was a camera there. Then I edited it roughly using Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe’s new lightweight video editing application. It’s iOS and desktop only at the moment, so I used it on an iPad rather than my Pixel 2 phone.

I did a rough-ish edit on the iPad, but also did some colour grading there too. Then using the Adobe Cloud, I opened the project on a laptop to fine-tune those edits. I’m not sure that Rush is quite there yet for really precise editing – certainly not on a touchscreen interface. Shortening clips can be tricky. On the other hand – you can certainly get something out the door very fast with it.

Incidentally, I seemed to need to open my project it in Rush on a PC before I could open it in Premiere Pro CC on my PC. Theoretically, I shouldn’t have had to do that, but the project failed to open (although a previous project did!).

I ended up finishing up the video in Premiere Pro CC, where I tightened edits some more, added some music, and added a couple of fades (Rush has limited transitions available). Finally, there was a little bit of camera tracking to be done in After Effects to get that text on the wall at the start. Not necessary, but the wall lent itself to it.

While you can edit a 4K video on a phone using something like Rush, I don’t think it’s all that practical. Mostly that’s because of the sizes of video involved. Your phone or tablet will need plenty of free space to work with, and even transferring the files between camera and device is a slow process. If your phone has 128GB or more, then go for it. For short videos anyway. But even a 15 minute video might be difficult to find space for.

Anyway, I might write a fuller review of the Osmo Pocket once I’ve used it for a while. But in general terms, I like it a lot.

Late Autumn

I thought I’d try to get my drone up for the dying days of autumn before the leaves have fully gone and the cold settles in. So late afternoon on Saturday I captured some footage over Trent Park. 

I was pretty satisifed with the results, and because I’m seeing Amiina on Sunday evening, I used one of their Fantômas tracks for the video.

I used a 96fps frame rate which allowed me to slow everything down to a quarter speed. However the image is only HD. I usually use 2.7k as a compromise with slightly more versatility than 4k allows on a Mavic Pro. But you can’t get a high frame rate in anything better than HD. The downside is that the image does come out a little soft if you’re watching on a big screen. It’ll like fine on your phone however! (And yes, the Mavic Pro 2 becomes tempting.) 

It wasn’t just video of course. A couple of photos here, and more over at Flickr.

Trent Park Autumn-8
Trent Park Autumn-11
Trent Park Autumn-2

Cycle to Work

This is a quick video I shot the other day of my ride to work. Shot with a cheap GoPro Hero 4 Session, I’ve run it through Microsoft’s Hyperlapse application.

I’m not sure that app gets an awful lot of love, despite being really useful for making this kind of video. The stabilisation is immense, even if it can require a reasonable amount of computing power to do a good job.

The ride is about an hour condensed down to two and a half minutes. You’ll note that the first third and the last third are actually pretty good cycling paths and back roads. Only the middle section, from Wood Green to Finsbury Park, is on a main road.

The music is some free music from YouTube.

Empty Essex

Empty Essex from Adam Bowie on Vimeo.

Empty Essex is the name of ride in Jack Thurston’s excellent Lost Lanes book (NB. The first one. There have been two others since, for Wales and the West Country). The route starts in Southminster in Essex, heading out to Bradwell-on-Sea and past the St Peter-on-the-Wall chapel on the Dengie coast. The route goes offroad around the northern tip of the peninsula, past the now decommissioned Bradwell Power Station (although it may be redesigned and recommissioned in the future).

The route runs along the mouth of the River Blackwater, and the area is popular with the sailing community. Then it heads south passing through Southminster before reaching the southern part of this coast at Burnham-on-Crouch. From there, it was the train back.

This video was shot with a combination of my DJI Mavic Pro drone, and my Garmin Virb Ultra 30 camera mounted on my bike.

Note that there is an off-road part of this ride, meaning that thoroughbred racing bikes are not suitable. Something like a cyclo-cross bike, mountain bike, touring bike or hybrid will be much better. It’s a fairly flat route since, as the video and photos show, it’s a flat part of the world. On the other hand, you do have to face wind. It’s not for nothing that there are on-shore and off-shore windfarms all over the place.

As well as the photos below, there are more over on Flickr.

Dimanche à Vélo

Dimanche à vélo from Adam Bowie on Vimeo.

From last Sunday, trying out a different way to mount my Garmin Virb Ultra 30. I’m not completely convinced that I wouldn’t be better off with a high end GoPro rather than this, although it does let you add data overlays to video very easily. Inevitably, the experimenting also means playing with output settings of Premier Pro CC and seeing how they play with Vimeo. I tend to use 2.7k as I can still get some in-camera stabilisation if I use that. But it still seems to struggle with skies.

The music comes from the soundtrack to a film called Les Gants blancs du diable. The track appears on the recently released compilation album, Paris in the Spring compiled by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of St Etienne. This in turn I learnt of via the Bigmouth podcast. Invariably, you can’t go wrong with a bit of 60s French pop as you’ll know if you’ve watched any of my other videos. But now I need to explore some of the other albums Bob and Pete have collated (NB. They don’t seem to appear on services like Google Play Music or Spotify. So you may have to, you know, actually buy them!)

Snow and Mist

Snow and Mist from Adam Bowie on Vimeo.

The country has been covered with snow for the last week or so, but it’s not straightforward to get some spectacular drone shots because of the weather. Consumer drones aren’t capable of flying while it’s snowing. And you also have to consider wind speed, and there’s been quite a lot of that.

So my only practicable solution was to get up very early in the morning. Although a fresh fall of snow had been dropped the previous afternoon, and overnight the temperatures had remained sub-zero, but this morning the melt was very much on.

I shot this video and these pictures during a misty dawn. There was still plenty of snow on the ground, although it would disappear fairly rapidly as the day went on. The key thing to always remember with snow photography is that you need to increase the exposure beyond where the camera thinks it should be.