001 The Establishment

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting." - Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Budhism, 563-483 B.C.

  I think from time to time we're all victims of either only going part-way, or never beginning at all. Honestly I know I've been that way before, but if you check out the video posted below, you'll see that we at Crossroad Studios not only have begun, but we've begun strong. Special thanks to all our sponsors:

Revolution Mfg
Board of Provo

If you're interested in sponsoring the film and/or the podcast, please feel free to contact me here on the blog or at parkercross3@gmail.com

   Episode One - The Establishment showcases some excellent riding, and the incredibly capabilities of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. If you had any doubts about that trusty piece of machinery, you can throw them to the wind, because the thing is incredible. Obviously, as with all new technology, it has it's drawbacks, but the pros far out-weigh the cons in relation to our production this season. It's really funny though; I've been photographing and filming quite a few parties and events, especially considering the fact that at the launch of this episode, we're about halfway through the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival. People who spend a lot of time at high profile events are used to having their picture taken on a regular basis, and are more than willing to strike a pose with no warning, and when I come up with my camera (which, for those of you who don't know, is the first digital SLR to offer 1080p HD video capture) people put on their pretty face and try to hold as still as possible. I have to yell above the tumult and the noise to inform them that I'm actually shooting video and that they should just dance or act natural, or treat it like a video camera.
   There are some things that I was initially nervous about. In low light, the camera automatically controls the ISO, and there isn't a manual override, so if you look very carefully, you can see some digital noise in the dark sections of the shots that are filmed in low light. Also, because it's compressed data, and not Raw HD imaging, you can see some artifacting in some areas of the final picture. I've come to conclude that it has the most trouble with rich blues. The H.264 codec used to compress the images is extraordinarily processor intensive, so after importing the clips, I have to cross-process with the Apple ProRes 422 codec, and then it runs smoothly in the Final Cut Studio.
   Just a couple items about the production. The filming consists of 4 different days. Two days of shooting in the park, 1 day of shooting the night ledge, and then an early morning sunrise for the intro of the podcast. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II was used for all shots, and almost all the daytime shots had an ISO of 100. The aperture varies from shot to shot, but the majority of the fisheye work was done with a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 lens, with the aperture closed down pretty tight to get a really deep depth of field. That lens is so good that if I had the aperture at 2.8, it'd be really difficult to keep the subject in focus. I did, however, open the aperture all the way up when I was shooting on the bus, and some of the little things around the resort. The distance shots, as well as a lot of the time-lapse of the chairlifts were done with my ProMaster 70-300mm Macro/Telephoto lens, at varying focal points and apertures. For several shots I also used a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 prime lens.
   Post production includes several steps. Importing and cross-processing, and editing the clips using Final Cut Pro 6, color correction using Color 1.0, and motion graphics and titles using Motion 3. I like to use Apple's compression software Compressor, because it's really easy and user friendly when exporting out to different codecs and compressions. I'm running a MacBook Pro 2.5 GHz intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 DSRAM, and the Final Cut Studio. The source file uploaded to YouTube was 1280x720 H.264 AAC. If you have any questions about the production, please feel free to contact me at the above mentioned email address.
   The next episode will be available February 2, 2009, which is rapidly approaching. we've already been able to gather some footage from hiking in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and there's more footage to come. Stay tuned.

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