Make ’em See – Music by Richie FaReal

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Richie FaReal is a super talented musician. He’s a songwriter/producer/rapper with music that I actually listen to which is a bonus not to have to generate love for a project.  Over the span of two days we maneuvered across San Francisco finding locations to shoot. My goal is always to capture the most minimalistic, clean and sharp images but this project organically turned into something that I thought was better suited to view as desaturated, black & white, gritty and grainy. Most of the performance was shot months ago but scheduling conflicts kept me from completing this. Richie and his manager did an outstanding job creating an official music video (here) that Richie actually heavily edited himself, talented guy. A window opened up and I wanted to complete what I started and here’s the result.

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Since the official version was so clean and elegant, I thought we would go for the opposite, which became the goal months after the first day of shooting. Everything was captured with a Canon 5d Mark iii in plain h.264 with Cinestyle as the picture profile. A variety of lenses were used including the 50 1.2, 16-35 2.8 ii, 135 f2, 24-105 f4 and 100 2.8 macro is. We occasionally used a 160 led lite panel, especially for the performance sequence with smoke. Richie was completely backlit for that with a second lite panel used for fill. I shot as high iso 6400 and was wide open most of the time. We also drove around San Francisco with a Canon EOS M suction cupped to the rear passenger window. The Manfrotto Fig Rig got a lot of play during walking shots. Otherwise things were kept minimal incase we needed to run!

My favorite lens was the Canon 135 f2l, the bokeh is perfectly round and the out of focus bits looks sort of anamorphic-ally stretched. Everything was loaded into FCPX and synced with Plural Eyes 3. Color Grading was kept to a minimum, as I prefer Cinestyle’s flat look in the instance. So I desaturated the shadows and performed a Black and White conversion to a few of the angles. Worked with the red channel for the conversion and and applied a LUT s-curve to them as b&w lends itself nicely to contrasty footage. Added a touch of grain and then some more. Two levels of sharpening, USM and FCPX sharpen tool.

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You can download Richie’s music for FREE over HERE.

Thoughts on FCPX multi cam

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I think it’s great that so many features are built into FCPX that allows me to stay there. Things that in the past required me to take something out of it and into Motion or After Effects are simple and easy to use plugins in Final Cut. I can quickly color correct, key and add titles. FCPX’s Multicam feature unfortunately fall short.

Very often I’m stuck having to use Plural Eyes 3 to sync and then re-import back into FCPX. Some of the things I’ve noticed are:

1. anything more than about 6 clips and FCPX multicam will have trouble and/or take substantially longer than plural eyes to sync

2. clipped audio may result in unsyced clips

3. each clip will get its own track. In other words if i shot 4 clips on the 5d, instead of making one continuous track it will get split into four tracks which sucks when editing.

side note:  I edit on a 15″ Macbook Retina and multicam clips present a real challenge especially since I’m only at 8gb of ram. So I change the timeline viewer to no thumbnail and edit on a single screen when cutting realtime.

Even with all these drawbacks I still find ways to use it. I had to edit a basic music video for a client. He shot it and gave me the footage. Wide, medium and close. 2 takes each. 6 angles plus audio at under 3 minutes. Used FCPX multi cam and it synced it perfectly and quick. VIdeo was shot in black and white. I recommend not doing that, you can always remove color in post but you cant put it back in. I don’t like black and white personally, but I understand the motive for it. I thought I could achieve the same feel by adding some blues into the shadow. Music video done in record time. Thanks in part to FCPX’s built in Multicam.

Here it is: