Many more companies are turning to video to help build their business. Jonathan Edwards understands that and uses Final Cut Pro X to make films that get brands exposed on websites & social media. If the images look familiar, that's because Sony picked up his work for for THFKDLF as the background for their media cloud services website.
Tell us something about yourself and how you came to making this video.
I am 31 years old and studied Design and Art Direction (D&AD) at the Manchester Metropolitan School of Art. I work as a senior designer for the NHS in the UK, and have been in the industry for the last nine years.
Alongside this I started to direct my own productions which lead to winning the Commercial Sector of the Sony Production Awards in 2013 and have since developed two on-going quarterly series of films.
Précisions is a bmx series presented via defgrip.net and Ascensions which is a new fashion series exclusively released via Highsnobiety.com. I decided with already working full-time, combining personal project processes within commercial work would mean creative freedom and these ideas lead me to the first Ascensions release.
Whilst shooting personal timelapse work out in the Snowdonia National Park I stumbled upon the surreal small village and the abandoned slate quarry which features.
The quarry was the largest underground slate mine in the world and spanned 26 floors beneath the scouted location. The film itself was shot over two winter months and ten visits of eight hour shoots. The weather was consistently against us, in the minuses and fast changeable. But saying all of this, the winter light, frozen pools and general cloud movement were perfect shooting conditions.
What equipment did you use?
With the location being so testing, kit was always kept to a minimum. Separating visits and kit to concentrate on certain elements, for example, a full day of time-lapse, slow-motion, and model work. The primary camera was the Sony FS700 and the secondary camera the Sony A6000, both with Zeiss Touit lenses. A Manfrotto MT190 tripod with 500 fluid video head and Sony microphones.
The video footage was recorded at 1920 x 1080 format, 24fps and 240fps, with internal Sony AVCHD codec and timelapse work via the PlayMemories app.
The FS700 was set to picture profile 5 Cine Gamma to shoot flat and the A6000 with a manual match via Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness all turned down.
For editing I used a Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15", with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB 1600 MHz DDR3 upgraded memory. The graphics card is the standard 4000 1024 MB Intel HD Graphics.
All work is also backed up to an external Iomega Hard-drive for peace of mind and more importantly having an end client or commercial project means the footage is somewhat more valuable and includes a price tag as such. Losing a personal project would be devastating, but losing professional work with your production company name attached could lead to all sorts of problems or even lawsuits.
On any live fcpx project, all AVCHD folders are located via the desktop for ease of use and to reduce any possible system and import lag. Regular removal of unused render files again is a great feature of FCPX and even removing all current render files of any libraries and projects which are not being worked within.
How much footage did you shoot?
In total we shot over 120gb, I like to keep cards clean so clips were viewed and deleted before each final capture to keep file sizes to a minimum, and edit selections easier. That's not to say each clip was shot multiple times to make sure we'd have the best results.
All footage is then split and keyword out of the original AVCHD source folders via the show package content option, and where possible saved in timeline order for capture into FCPX and easy file location. Again good housekeeping means a faster workflow.
Tell us something more about your editing process.
The edit was built around the audio track, the electronic pace, the build ups, the break downs, all tailored to the track. So obviously the music choice is hugely important and would shape the whole edit.
Again with this being a mix of personal and commercial work I decided upon an artist and track I knew. Ambient noise and depth was very important to the release and I felt the track worked perfectly not only for the edit but also the demographic audience with this having a commercial element.
The editing process was set to stages whilst the filming continued over the winter months, so the film took shape with every visit and it made the next shoot clear once the previous was in the timeline and cut down. I wanted the film to have a fast commercial style pace whilst still being highly viewable for a slightly longer duration, so the initial timelapse and slow-motion work broke this up from taking usually half second clips to 2 or even 3 seconds.
Which third-party plugins did you use?
The only plugins used were within the colour grade, via vision color LUTs. The LUT itself was the classic M31 rec 709, applied after an initial base layer of colour correction and sharpening. A final adjustment layer was then added to match clips and differences of days, light and weather conditions. I would like to add the motion titles were animated via the excellent Yoke Creative.
How long have you been working with FCP?
I started classes in Final Cut Pro 5 whilst attending the Manchester School of Art in 2004, taught by Creative Director Gary Peploe. I switched to FCPX in 2012 and although it lacked some of the professional features of FCP7, the new visual layout and background rendering was very appealing and obviously since the original release the updates have taken the program way beyond version 7.
Some close friends prefer and suggest Adobe Premiere Pro or even working directly in Davinci Resolve to cut and turn to After Effects for further missing elements but with a graphic design background I have always been an Apple user and Final Cut Pro will always be my first choice.
What project are you working on now?
I am currently finishing the second spring release in the Ascensions series, this time working with Keith Hufnagel's brand Huf Worldwide. Based in San Francisco and being a streetwear fashion brand with a strong skateboarding influence, Huf really suits the series and the DIY aesthetic process behind my work. I am honored to be working with a brand i have respected and admired for years.
The Précisions BMX series will continue over the summer months. We are mixing this up with some younger pro riders rather than well established names. That's not to say the two guys to feature aren't short of amazing. They're both young, keen, and intelligent riders. All of this will help to create two further episodes within the series.
Finally, where will your next Ascensions video be shot and do you have a released date?
Without giving to much away on the ascent, we're shooting at a rural waterfall location which is actually higher than the famous Niagara falls. As for a release date, no concrete date as yet, but be sure to check Highsnobiety around mid June to see the second film.
Huge thank you to fcp.co not only for this interview but also being number one in fcpx resources.