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My first film

I still remember my first film as if it were yesterday; I was 13 years old and my father had just bought our first video camera for the summer holidays. I had never hold a camera before in my life; big, full of buttons, a black and white monitor and bulky tapes...it sounds ridiculous for today's standards, but I I fell instantly in love! A rainy afternoon and a 3-minute adaptation of Orient Express casting family and friends that made absolutely no sense later, I had discovered my new passion: filmmaking!

It may have been many years since then, yet films are still my true love. So when I was presented with the chance to work on a low-budget yet ambitious production, Looking Over The Dragon (IMDB link and Twitter feed), I jumped straight in! What better for my first feature than a story of "greed, corruption and addiction"?

Bikes, Videos and Books

My two great obsessions in life are bicycles and making videos. And books. Okay, my three great obsessions in life are bicycles, making videos and books. So when I got the opportunity to combine all of them on one project I thought my ship had come in.

We at Video Production London recently received a request to produce a short film for an independent bookstore in central London. They wanted a simple piece that captured their passion precisely. So we had the idea of books featuring in all aspects of their lives – from Maupassant in bed, to Steinbeck in the shower and Hemingway over breakfast. We even wanted to share their love of books somehow while the owner, Pete, cycled in to work.

Obviously it was a bit dangerous to have him on his commute racing through the prose as he raced through London traffic. So we put our heads together and came up with Gatsby…

As I said, I’m a cycling obsessive and take great pleasure in building bikes up from scratch and trawling boxes of parts looking for exactly the right components.

Bjorn in the USA

In November a competition was launched by Reed Recruitment to produce a film. It’s a yearly thing they do and normally draws in a host of great video production teams who work on some excellent content. Naturally I didn’t see it until a fortnight until the deadline.

Undeterred by the prospect that some excellent filmmakers and video production companies had already had several months to plan script and shoot their efforts, I sat down with a pen and paper and got to work.

My plan was pretty simple. The brief from Reed was nice and open – simply two words, “The Boss” at three minutes or less. I had already done a bit of research and seen some other entries online – lots of gangster movies, lots of Office Space meets Spaced efforts and they were all very good – but they seemed to be missing the glaringly obvious: Bruce Springsteen.

Scene change detection during encoding and key frame extraction code

In a previous post we explained how to generate thumbnails for each scene change using Edit Decision Lists from your non-linear editor of choice. Sometimes, though, you won't have an EDL along with your video assets (for instance, when you are using off-airs or videos edited by somebody else). In those situations we can still create a thumbnail for each scene change thanks to how frames are structured in digital compression.

According to Wikipedia, a GOP structure specifies the order in which intra- and inter-frames are arranged. A Group Of Pictures can contain the following frame types:

EDL to HTML with thumbnails for every shot change

For video production companies video asset management is an important part of our post-production workflow. Being able to re-use footage can reduce our production costs considerably and enhance the creative editing process. The more footage we have, the better the video will look.

As our best footage always ends up one way or another in a sequence, it made sense to us to use Edit Decisions Lists as the starting point of our online video asset management.

The problem is that EDLs are text-based and, therefore, don't give a visual representation of the shots. For this reason, we needed to convert the information in an EDL, the timecodes, into thumbnails that would correspond to every shot change of the original sequence. We also wanted to use these thumbnails to control a low-res video file so we could preview not just a frame but the whole length of a clip.

For this purpose, we designed the following EDL to HTML workflow using Powershell, FFmpeg and the JW Player. We hope you'll find it useful.

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Video Production London Blog

  • I still remember my first film as if it were yesterday; I was 13 years old and my father had just bought our first video camera for the summer holidays. I had never hold a camera before in my life...

  • My two great obsessions in life are bicycles and making videos. And books. Okay, my three great obsessions in life are bicycles, making videos and books. So when I got the opportunity to...

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