Chicken Ying Yang Climbing & Adventure film

Chicken Ying Yang Director’s Cut

This time 2 years ago I had decided to quit my job, become a freelance designer and create my own climbing and travel film. I set my ambitions high but I never imagined it would take as long as it has to complete this film. Finally, after many months of waiting, the full length director’s cut of our Climbing and Adventure film is here for your viewing pleasure, enjoy.

It is the sum of two years work that started life as a simple GoPro only climbing film, filmed mostly on the Hero 2, with the Hero 3 Black also getting a taste of the action. However, it soon became something much bigger and before long we had DSLRs, LED lights and more. We filmed scenery and long shots with an old school Canon HV20 and lets not forget the amazing Canon 5D Mark II that we used right at the end of our 2 year project.

My workflow from the start of the editing process to now has also changed dramatically. At the beginning I was bouncing around from sequence to sequence with no clear objective. I now have a far better understanding of what is required to create a polished 2 minute sequence. It involves rules and restraint but the end results speak for themselves. Look out for a future blog post where I will breakdown my workflow process so you can better the different stages involved in creating a polished 2 minute sequence.

Without the help of Ant (his site), my number 1 buddy, this film could not have happened. A demon behind the camera, his skills and knowledge were indispensable. With a supporting cast of friends and budding cinematographers this film has achieved everything that I set out to do and more. Thank you.

Exhibit A, Big Blue Whale Studios

Exhibit A, Big Blue Whale Studios

Big Blue Whale Studios is a collective of creative minds that has come together to create awesome media. ‘Exhibit A’ is Big Blue Whale Studios first release and we could not be more proud. By combining a number of different skill sets including photography, timelapses, graffiti, body painting, music production and video editing we have created an exciting, attention grabbing video piece that is sure to draw the eye.

My contribution to the piece was video editing and post production. I was supplied with raw timelapses of graffiti and body painting, high quality photos and the original music composition. It was my job to combine these elements into an engaging and cohesive video. I started with the basic edit in Premiere. Once happy with the flow I imported everything into After Effects and started creating the high impact transitions. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve in terms of transitions which helped establish the look and feel but I was soon free wheeling and the ideas were coming thick and fast. From start to finish it was just over a weeks work.

It was a great experience and lots of fun to be involved in a project with so many motivated and creative people. Everybody involved from Big Blue Whale Studios is very happy with the outcome, I hope you are too.

You can check out more work from the other contributors here:

Scott M Salt Photography
Anthony Harvey Photography & Design
Mister Batlow
Civilised Mess

GoPro Hero 3 Vs GoPro Hero 2, quick edits

Hi gang, I recently got myself a GoPro Hero 3 Black edition. I think that is the correct order of words, each GoPro release becomes more and more of a mouthful! Not that I am complaining though as my new GoPro Hero 3 is great. It is better in every regard compared to the Hero 2 except maybe in battery life. I will not go into detail explaining the merits of the Hero 3 as the internet is already awash with information but I will say I love the resolutions and frame rates available and the fact that you can shoot in raw. It gives you so much more to play with in post.

When I first got my Hero 2 I created a quick video of my trip to Granada with my parents in 2012. I have created a similar quick video with the Hero 3 of my brother’s visit except this time I was shooting in raw so I had full control in post for colour correction. The Hero 2 video has no colour correction and was edited at a time when I was dusting my skills off after an extended break from video work. The two videos should be a good comparison between the two cameras in terms of what you can quickly create with basic knowledge of video editing and is also a good comparison for me to see how my editing skills have developed over a year.

Let me know what you think, which video do you prefer, do you like the out of the box video settings for the Hero 2 or prefer the extra flexibility available with the Hero 3?

GoPro Hero 3 / Rob’s visit to Andalusia, 2013

GoPro Hero 2 / Granada & Berchules, 2012

Inspiration and Travel

During the early stages of my own climbing and travel film I researched a lot of travel films.  One of my biggest influences was the In Asia series by Vincent Urban, Clemens Krüger and Stefan Templer.  The series inspired me to push my own work, gave me a benchmark to aim for and excited my senses.  I do not want to bore you with text so watch the video and be sure to watch all 5 episodes and get taken on a journey around Asia.

Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5


Mary Robson, Cathedral Cave

Here is an emotional video of Mary Robson singing a beautiful Irish folk song based on the poetry of Irish wordsmith James Stephens (1882 – 1950).

It was filmed and editing by Anthony Roberts, one of my very good friends.  You can check out more of his work at here, his photography work is awesome.  He is also my partner in crime for the now long overdue climbing and adventure film I have been working on over the last year and bit.

I have been working hard on paying the bills this last couple of months and have not had much time to work on the film.  I aim to remedy this in the coming weeks.  The film is even closer to completion now but work is still required.  All the main sequences are signed off, just colour correction, transitions and effects to go.  Unfortunately I am a bit of a perfectionist and these things have taken so much longer than I ever expected.  I have submitted a 90% complete version of the film for a competition, lets hope I win.

I am also working on another film project with Anthony that will be revealed soon.  All I can say at the moment is Big Blue Whale.  Stay tuned for an update soon, it is going to be epic!

A Day In Spain

Hi all, it has been over a month since my last post so I thought a quick summary was in order. It goes without saying that I have been working hard on my climbing film. It is getting to the stage now where I do not want to share anymore Work In Progress videos as I want to keep some surprises for the full length film. I have however not been devoting all my time to the project, in fact, I have just had a two week break from even looking at it. Much like when Hayao Miyazaki was working on Princess Mononoke, he took a break and created a music video for Chage and Aska called ‘On Your Mark‘. A Day In Spain has been my break from the climbing film. It is a short film of a day out in Spain with my good friend Nick.

A Day In Spain

This week I am starting work on the project again. I hope to view the film with fresh eyes which will allow me to complete the final rough edits. I will then concentrate on adding additional elements to the films such as animated characters, informative text and comedy elements. I will share some of the assets I have created in an upcoming post. The final stage of creating the film will be to colour correct it. This is not one of my strong points but with A Day In Spain I finally figured out a system of colour correcting that works for GoPro footage. Magic Bullets Colorista Free is simply amazing and I recommend everyone has it as part of the toolkit.

The last bit of exciting news is that Ant is coming over to Spain for one final visit. He is here for 9 days so we can get some final bouldering shots as well as a few extra context shots for the film. It will also be a great chance for us to sit down in the same room so we can finish the editing. I am flying back to the UK at the end July for my birthday celebrations. This is the deadline I am setting myself to complete the film as I want to be able to share the finished product with my friends and family. Stay tuned for more!

The Never Ending Film Project

Reach for the Lazers Final Film Version

Not much activity on the blog recently but that does not mean I am not working hard on the film. This last month I have been working super hard on completing as many sections for the film as possible whilst still working on projects that make me money. This juggling act has been difficult and is one of the main reasons it is taking longer than expected to get the film finished.

A couple of months back I upload Reach for the Lazers Version 1. This new version has been streamlined, it has a much nicer flow and tells a better story. This is also the first sequence from the film where I have implemented colour correction. Colour correction is not my strong point and I have a lot to learn so expect the colour palette to change over the coming weeks. I have also incorporated post production effects in After Effects to make the sequence more exciting and engaging. This is the level of detail I wish to achieve for the completed film. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to detail.

You will have to wait for the final film to find out whether we send the problem or not. Check Version 1 here for a comparison and let me know which you prefer.

How to film a Swipe Cut and other useful tricks

As you may have realised from previous posts I am a big fan of Vimeo. Another reason to love them is their Vimeo Video School video series. If you are interested in filming, video effects, cameras or just about anything that involves motion design then you will want to check out their videos. They are literally overflowing with great motion design and film ideas.

One trick I have seen a number of times but never fully understood is the swipe cut. The swipe cut is an easy trick to connect two separate shots into one seamless sequence. In order to achieve the effect quickly pan out of your first shot and then pan back in to your second shot. When it’s time to edit, find a similar blurred frame from each pan, then splice them together at those points to create a transition between the two shots.

3 Tricks For Your Impossibly Small Film Crew

If you want to check out the full tutorial click here.

My first Swipe Cut attempt

Remember to share your swipe cut links in the comments below.

5 Simply Amazing Animated Videos

Hey up chaps, I have not posted for a while due to holidays, broken computers and having to work for clients to pay my rent. To get things rolling again here are some recent videos that grabbed me by the eyeballs and got my attention. Enjoy.

Caldera by Evan Viera

An emotionally strong short film that delves deep into the mind. Stunning characters, animation and lighting with a hint of Ghibli. Watch on a big screen with the volume LOUD.

Premier Automne by Carlos De Carvalho & Aude Danset

Another breath taking short film with a strong visual presence that explores 2 very different worlds. The level of detail in the designs is simply stunning, great use of particles.

Mike Luck – Cityscape by maxmana

A music video that has a real cinematic feel. A retro futurist 3D drive through city and desert full of crystals, purple , curving roads and a super rad car.

Easy – Mat Zo & Porter Robinson by The Line

Another music video but this time hand drawn. Clearly inspired by Japanese anime this video tells the story of a pop star and her floating pet. The end confused me though!

Splash by Paulo Wang

Abstract paint explosions and more. This video features some great fluid simulations and lots of brightly coloured paint, lots of fun.

If you liked the videos be sure to comment and share with your friends.