Week 50: Miami NightLapse

For Week 50 I was in Miami, making a video for Rapper Fat Joe.


Directing a scene.

It was a video to bring him on stage at a companies World Conference. It was a fun shoot, with speed boat chases, yachts, and police.


Shooting on the speed boat with the FS700.

You can see the video here. I also made a gallery of Behind the Scenes pictures here.

It was a busy week of shoots, editing and travel so I didn’t have a lot of time to make a video for the Challenge. I knew I wanted to do something quick and I knew I’d have to try and squeeze it in at random parts of the day. I was using the new GoPro Hero 4 Black camera for the shoot, and I saw that it had a NightLapse Mode. So I figured I’d test it out.


GoPro Hero 4 Black.

When testing a new feature I like to see what the camera does on it’s own first, then latter go in and play with the settings to see what I can come up with. So I turned the GoPro on and pressed the mode button until I got Multi-Shot. Then I hit the settings button, and then changed it to NightLapse. At this point you can go in and select your shutter speed and your interval. But I wanted to see what the camera would do on it’s own, so I let it stay on the default setting which is Auto. After that I just needed to find a location and let it run.

Like I said earlier, I was really rushed so I had to find time during the day without interrupting my schedule. The first two NightlLapses I did was when I was at dinner. I ate at Bayside, an outdoor shopping center overlooking the water. After I ordered my cheesesteak, I went out on the patio and set the GoPro on my little Benro Travel TriPod and let it go for 10 minutes. I then turned it toward the other direction and shot another 10 minutes. It took maybe 2 minutes to set up and 10 minutes each to shoot.


GoPro on the Benro Travel TriPod.

I finished my cheesesteak and went back to work. When I got back to the hotel I set the GoPro on the luggage stand and placed it in front of my window to capture the view. I didn’t have a Lens Skirt with me to block out reflections, so I just threw a black T-shirt over the GoPro and it worked fine. I hit record and took a shower.


The T-Shirt worked great to block out reflections in the window.

I knew I had to check my emails and I wasn’t ready for bed, so I walked down to the park beside the hotel and placed the GoPro in a tree overlooking the water, and recorded while I went through my emails. I find it fun and challenging to try and work in shots at different parts of the day.


Use what you have available, this tree worked out great.

The next night I had to shoot a party in Miami. I brought the GoPro with me and did two more NightLapses. One of a yacht, and another one of a palm tree. The one of the yacht, I set the GoPro on a ledge and propped it up with my lens cap. In the picture you can see how dark it was and how the GoPro adjusted the shutter and interval to get an image.


See how dark it was.


GoPro’s Auto settings adjustment.

For the Palm Tree shot I just put the GoPro facing up looking at the Palm Tree, then went on recording the party.


Simple things sometimes get cool results.

Once I had my NightLapse test shots, I brought the clips into After Effects. Basically you create a new comp, and then select “Import Multiple Files” navigate to your footage and select an image, select import all acceptable files and AE will import all images in that folder,  make sure you have import as jpeg sequence selected.

Once in AE the image is pretty big, so you can zoom in and out, or pan across the image as you see fit. I like movement in mine so I’d recommend doing some sort of movement, but you don’t have to.

After I had my files and made the zoom in and outs I exported the footage and brought them into Premiere.

I added a title, the font was Lithos Pro. It reminded me of the Miami Marlins baseball team’s font. I had seen similar fonts all week, so I went with it.

I then added some music. I got a track from a Footage Firm CD called Acoustic Nuevo Chic. The song was called “Taking Tomorrow”, it had a Miami Latino vibe to it.


Footage Firm CD, I got a promo offer 10 CD’s for $8.

I edited it in about 20 minutes, The AE files took about 40 minutes all together. I shot it in roughly an hour or so. 10 minutes each shot, and a minute or two set up.

Overall I thought the GoPro did an OK job in Auto Mode. There was some noise in the footage, and a few color shifts. It certainly wasn’t perfect but it’s something I could utilize in the future. I’m looking forward to going in and changing the settings to see what I can come up with.

It was a fun and busy week and I had a good time testing out the new features.

You can watch Week 50’s “Miami NightLapse” here.

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