August 20, 2017

Krog Street Tunnel Graffiti Jib Shoot using Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler Portable Jib System

This video shows the practical application of a portable jib system in a field environment inside the Krog Street Tunnel in Atlanta, Georgia.

The jib system used is this video is the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler. The system lived up to its claims to be a lightweight, one piece portable jib solution promising smooth results. User dependent of course.

One has to pay attention while using the jib. I would say the degree of effort and concentration to get to the threshold point for a smooth shot is like poring a glass of beer into a glass without creating a foam of bubbles.

Over the course of several weeks, I managed to record some solid pieces of me putting the portable jib system to use at a number of different locations. What may not have been covered at one location, may be revealed at the other location. So be sure to watch them all to get the full breath of my use of the jib system.

I call it a jib system because it requires a number of different pieces to work beyond the actual jib. A solid tripod and head, to include a secondary ball head on the end of the jib for the camera mounted there as well. The weights are also vital as well.

Once the physical hardware is put together, you will then need to add the electronic portions to the system which include the camera, and monitoring systems as well.

Various adapters and mounting arms are also needed to tweak the mounting of the monitor and other accessories, such as an external microphone, should you desire to record quality audio from the jib’s camera as well.

Across the several location, I tried to focus on a few key areas of using the portable jib system. The most important of which, is actually using the jib at a real “in-the-field” location, as part of a solid visual composition.

I mention this because many of the video’s I’ve reviewed as part of my research seem to be backyard demonstrations.

I actually try to show the entire process of actually getting to a location with the jib, which I feel sets the stage of the actual effort that is needed for a particular project. Things like properly testing your gear before departing to the jib site are covered.

In addition, the packaging of the gear to transport is also important not only to safely get the gear to the location, but to also repack the gear when your done. Some locations require a good walk to get to. So you don’t want to be just walking around with all your gear dragging behind you. There are clear steps to getting to the location. So that means properly packing, transporting, and then repacking the gear when done. This will ensure that the project is successfully accomplished with no loss or breakage of gear.

I also try to illustrate various composition considerations as well once the gear is setup. Such as carefully exploring the beginning and closing shots of a jib movement. Sometimes this is clear from the start. Other times, its an evolutionary process uncovered once the jib is set in motion.

Since I used a DSLR to record video during the jib shot, properly setting the exposure and focus are an entirely different category of the shoot which is also important to get right. The need to bring extra external lighting will also need to be considered if the jib shoot is going to be done at a location with limited or low lighting conditions.

The Krog Street Tunnel

This particular jib shoot takes place at the Krog Street Tunnel. It is one of my favorite places to explore. It is an historic site in Atlanta, Georgia. Basically it is an underpass which goes underneath the CSX Transportation rail operations allowing traffic to get from one side of the tunnel to the other.

Inside the tunnel, there are two pedestrian pathways on each side of the two lane street. There are three rows of supporting concrete columns holding up the overpass above the tunnel. Graffiti painted over metal hand rails spanning the entire length of the tunnel’s pathways too.

The dusty road debris ridden pathways are lit up by a row of cob web covered lights that lead from one end of the tunnel to the other. The lights, even though sufficiently bright, reveal the graffiti riddled surroundings in an almost gloomy manner.

Because the tunnel interior construction is made up of concrete, with the exception of the two hand rails leading down each of the pathways, it echoes any and all of the sounds which enter it. This means that when cars, trucks, motorcycles, walkers, bikers, skateboarders enter the tunnel at one end, their presence is made know quite vibrantly until spewed out the other.

As you can see, the tunnel really can make an impression. I recommend visiting it at night. During the day, it seems to lose its mysterious qualities almost like when all the lights are turned on in a night club at closing time. So, yea, visit it at night. Oh, after 9 p.m. to allow rush hour traffic to pass. This way you can experience the Krog Street Tunnel at its fullest.

If your lucky, you may even observe a graffiti artist at work.

Getting back to my jib shoot video.

As an ongoing student of using a jib system, my shots are a work in progress.

That means, developing and honing in on the skills needed to achieve adequate jib shots with smooth action and quality compositional demands takes work and practice.

But that is both the fun and challenging part of deciding to use a portable jib system.

Once you get the hang of it, you really can start designing some cool shots.

The Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler

In terms of my decision to use the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler system for my series is concerned. The actual system you decide to acquire will undoubtedly be decided by your style of shooting and budget.

In my research before getting the Kessler system, I took a look at the other brands out there. For the most part they all seemed to offer the same degree of performance balanced with a system designed for portability. Prices also varied, but not by much.

The one you choose will ultimately be up to you and your budget.

I hope your able to pick up a couple of things from my jib series. They were difficult to produce, adding to the gear I had to lug around from one jibbing location to the next.

I found the use of the jib system a welcomed tool to use for composing video shots. It surely changes a static tripod shot to something that is dynamic full of parallax. Parallax is the funky perspective shifts between foreground and background objects which takes place as the camera is moved using the jib.

I would compare the significance of the parallax video effect when using a jib system to stark difference in still photograph taken at a shallow depth of field using an F/1.4 lens. The two results are that dramatically different and appealing. But each effect come at a price one in effort, perhaps, while the other is with specialized gear.

In addition, for the most part video footage obtained using a jib system is only part of the bigger picture of a production. It will primarily be used as B-roll material on the timeline, much like the material gotten when using a slider.

There are many ways to use the jib system, and I’m sure your find your niche if you choose to explore the tool and use it to create create compelling video imagery.

So sit back and enjoy the series. I hope you find it both informative, insightful, and entertaining.

Lucky Clan’s Videon Degrades Video Bit Rate During Trim and Split Editing

 
Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 14 Videon Icon 02_800xAUTO.JPGDuring a recent project, I discovered that Videon iPhone video application degrades the video bit rate from that of a source video clip during split and trim functions.

Gravitas

Over the past year I’ve been fortunate to have discovered and use Lucky Clan’s Videon iPhone video recorder and editing app as a goto app for recording many of my projects.

Videon had a far superior video image quality, provided manual control of exposure and focus, and contained powerful trim and split editing features which saved time by allowing the use of the iPhone to conduct initial post production tasks portably and before the real work took place behind a desk at the editing workstation.

I recently had to abandon Videon for the video recording portion of my projects in order to use DSLR video cameras to take advantage of their refined manual settings control and interchangeable lens options.

One feature, however, I regret not having at my finger tips. That is Videon’s simple and highly efficient trim and split feature.

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 10 Videon Trim 02_800xAUTO.JPGVideon’s interface is far superior and simple to use over other top iPhone video recording and editing apps.

The manner in which Videon allows the user to set multiple split points on a source video clip, before sending it off for splitting, saves time and acts like a batch splitting tool.

Videon’s split and trim tools are intuitive, and are simple to use providing frame accurate placement of in and out points.

Videon further incorporated a logical renaming scheme when producing the resulting sub-clips after a trim or split procedure. The created sub-clips are subsequently chronologically numbered with an extension to the source video file name.

This keeps the new sub-clips closely associated with the original file name so they don’t loose their place in the directory listing. Unlike some iPhone video editing apps which sometimes merely create new file names added to the last name or number on the device which creates chaos and drastically reduces work-flow efficiency.

Trying to Keep Videon in the Workflow

Without fully abandoning Videon from my production workflow, I found I was able to copy my source files recorded using a DSLR camera into the root working directory of Videon on the iPhone. This requires a hack these days, given Apple’s insistence to prevent users from accessing an app’s directory area, forcing the user to resort to clunky iTunes in an attempt to quickly add or copy files from these areas on the iPhone or iPad.

Once the prospective files needing to be trimmed or split are in the apps work director on the device, they will appear much the same way as any file created by the app, in this case Videon. The files can then be freely worked on using Videon for splitting or trimming.

Tricky File Naming Scheme

Working on video clips in Videon’s working directory on the iPhone was a bit tricky at first.

I had to first figure out compatible names for my source files before copying them to the apps working directory. If named incorrectly the app may not see them, or, when creating sub-clips after a trimming or splitting operation, as in the case of Videon, it may truncate the file names when characters such as the underscore “_” are encountered.

If a file was being worked on by Videon which contained an underscore in its name, the resulting sub-clips would be renamed by truncating from the underscore and by adding the three digit file name extension (i.e., 001, 002, 003, etc.).

For instance, if a source clip named 20151210_1500_001.mov was copied to the working directory of Videon on the iPhone. Then, if the clip underwent a trim or split procedure in Videon, Videon would look for the first underscore after 20151210_, and then start its chronological renaming scheme at that point, naming the new sub-clips as 20151210_001, _002, and so on.

The way around this is to remove all the underscores from the source file names to 2015121015001.mov. Then, when Videon goes to apply the renaming scheme to the clip after a trim or split procedure, it would rename the sub-clips to 201512101500001_001, _002, and so on. Keeping the clips in their respective order in overall file name scheme.

MP4 vs. MOV Renaming Trick

I also found out that if you rename a source file clip originally recorded in .MP4 format to .mov, Videon would find and work with the file without any problems. Afterward, the file could then be copied from the Videon working directory and later renamed back to its original *.mp4 name as needed.

Future LuckyClan Updates Unknown

All said and done, it is most desirable to keep the portability and time saving characteristics of using Videon and the iPhone to work on mundane tasks such as trimming and splitting source video clips to be later used at the editing workstation. However, given the revelation that Videon reduces the bit rate of the source video clip by as much and 2.7 times is a critical quality control issue of concern.

Shooting video using a DSLR camera is already handicapped in terms of image quality by the limited amounts of stops of light it is capable of recording. So every little “bit” helps. And a reduction as much as 2.7 times in the bit rate is not something to ignore.

Developer Awareness

Before writing this article, LuckyClan.com was emailed advising them of the issue regarding the underscore “_” file naming truncating issue, as well as the source video bit rate reduction issue during Videon’s trim and split procedures. Unfortunately, Lucky Clan did not respond by the time this article was published, so they were not able to shed any light on the issues.

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 06 Videon Apple Store v2_800xAUTO.11 Nov 8 2014 Info.JPGIn any event, Lucky Clan has been made aware of this issue, and hopefully will find it noteworthy enough to include any improvements and modifications along these lines in a future Videon update. Consequently, Lucky Clan, at the time of the writing of this article, had not updated the Videon app since November 8, 2014, so it may be time for an update from its current version 2.11 (Rel. Nov. 8, 2014).

Case Scenario

All that said and done, lets look at the specific case scenario and resulting degradation by Videon after splitting a source video clip from a modified Nikon D800 recording at 1080p 24fps at 36Mbps.

After the clips was recording by the D800, it was then transferred to Videon’s video clip working directory.

Videon was then opened up, and the clip was retrieved where it underwent either a trim or spit procedure.

The resulting sub-clips were then copied back to the editing computer and a media report was conducted on both the source and sub-clip files revealing the following results.

Videon source clip:
37.1Mbps (1920x1080p (16:9), at 23.976 fps
AVC (High@L4.0)(CABAC/2 Ref Frames)
(1,536 Kbps, 48.KHz, 16 bits, 2 channels, PCM (Little/Signed)

Videon Sub-clip:
13.7Mbps (1920x1080p (16:9), at 23.976 fps,
AVC (High@L4.0)(CABAC/2 Ref Frames)
(256 Kbps, 44.1.KHz, 2 channels, AAC (LC)

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 04 Videon Clip Info_800xAUTO.JPG

Simple division between 37.1Mbps and 13.7Mbps, the difference between the source and resultant split sub-clip, results in a 2.7 times reduction in quality. So again, that is a 2.7 times less video bit rate density than the original source clip bit rate which Videon started off with before the split.

To explore this issue further, I then tested another iPhone video and editing app, FilMic Pro on the same clip.

After copying the editing the source clip in the same manner done using Videon, it was discovered that FilMic Pro had little to no degradation applied to the video bit rate of the resulting sub-clips.

FilMic Pro source clip:
35.4 Mbps (1920x1080p (16:9), at 23.976 fps,
AVC (High@L4.0)(CABAC/2 Ref Frames)
(1,536 Kbps, 48.0 KHz, 16 bits, 2 channels, PCM (Little/Signed)

FilMic Pro Sub-clip:
32.7 Mbps (1920x1080p (16:9), at 23.976 fps,
AVC (High@L4.0)(CABAC/2 Ref Frames)
(1,536 Kbps, 48.0 KHz, 16 bits, 2 channels, PCM (Little/Signed)

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 13 Filmic Pro Logo_800xAUTO.JPGThere is negligible difference here in the bit rate. Also notice that FilMic Pro did not modify the audio quality either.

Spitting and Trimming

Using FilMic Pro for basic trimming and splitting of large extraneous clips resulting from a video production was definitely not as easy nor ergonomic as Videon.

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 08 FilMic Pro Trim 02_800xAUTO.JPGFilMic Pro’s trim only interface is clunky to say the least. And FilMic Pro did not seem to offer a split feature. The user is limited to one instance of a trim to the source clip which was then saved as a sub-clip. Then next trim would have to be “reloaded” and done again along another point on the source clip. Wash, rinse and repeat.

On the other hand, Videon offers a multiple point designated split feature which allows the user to designate multiple split points within a clip through the designation of tick marks.

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 10 Videon Trim 02_800xAUTO.JPGThe user simply scrubs through the source clip, placing split point ticks along the time line of the clip. Then, when ready, the ticked up clip is sent to the splitting process resulting in multiple sub-clips being generated for each of the designated split points. With the option to preserve the original source clip of course, or not, user specified.

I recommend preserving the source slip, because sometimes there is a system memory log jam which may corrupt long video editing operations.

So to play it safe, preserve the original source clip until the split or trim operation has been completed successfully.

Sub-Clip Naming Conventions

Each of the sub-clips generated by Videon’s split feature are named with chronological extensions added to the original source file name. This allowed the resulting sub-clips to say in chronological order to its source file, if preserved. Or at the least, continue on in the master directory list of source files.

Lucky Clan’s Future Development of Videon Uncertain

It is uncertain if Lucky Clan will modify their Video product to address this degradation in video bit rate issue when their Videon app performs split and trim procedures on a source clip.

There last Videon update was over a year ago, and perhaps having been made aware of this issue as a result of this article, they may seek to include an update in the near future to address the bit rate reduction issue.

It seems like it would be simple fix, and any current bit rate modifications currently being applied to split clips may merely be a proposed default setting used in the programing of Videon.

A proposal would be to have Videon inspect the source clip’s format and quality settings, save them to a variable, and apply them when rendering any sub-clips resulting from spitting and trim operations.

FPS and Bit Rate Configurability

Videon also does not provide refined configurability of its bit rate settings in its app. It simply allows the user to use percentage based settings (i.e., 100%, 200% quality, etc.). This is consistent to the theory that the bit rate issue was not given full granular design which given today’s iPhone capabilities, with 2K, 3K and 4K offerings, can’t be overlooked.

Especially when other iPhone video recording apps such as FilMic Pro, though limited in its ergonomic functionality, offer more refined configuration menus options. Additionally, FilMic Pro does not degrade the bit rate quality of its source clips when conducting trim operations.

(Screen shots to be uploaded at a later time.)

Screenshot Gallery:

Videon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 01 Filmic Pro Source Info_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 02 Filmic Pro Clip Info_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 03 Videon Source Info_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 04 Videon Clip Info_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 05 LuckyClan Logo 01_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 06 Videon Apple Store v2_800xAUTO.11 Nov 8 2014 Info.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 07 FilMic Pro Trim 01_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 08 FilMic Pro Trim 02_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 09 Videon Trim 01_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 10 Videon Trim 02_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 11 LuckyClan Videon Page 01_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 13 Filmic Pro Logo_800xAUTO.JPGVideon Bit Rate Reduction Screenshot 14 Videon Icon 02_800xAUTO.JPG

Open Box – NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 MN 6700 WiFi Smart Router (review)

Open Box – NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Model Number 6700 WiFi router.

This video walks through the process of opening up the box to a new NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 MN 6700 Smart WiFi Router.

This video includes three parts showing the opening, putting together and then conclusion of the open box and review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk.

This was just a quick Open Box video project. I would like to include further videos perhaps discussing the admin panel and setting up the system using its setup menus.

VID: 20141130_2345MX