Short Film: The Bicycle Ride


Bike ride on Thessaloniki’s waterfront from Concert Hall to the White Tower.

Filmed with Sony RX100IV in 4K. Slow motion clips shot in 1080p and upscaled to 4K. Graded with FilmConvert and LUTs by luts.iwltbap.com.

Prologue

This project had been in my head for weeks. In fact, I had shot a similar project last winter but unfortunately, no clip of that footage ever made it online. This time, I promised myself that I’d publish it if I decided to do it.

Did I have second thoughts? Of course.I thought of

I thought of canceling and going back home at least five times while riding the bicycle before I made it to the promenade. Quitting is always an option for me, contrary to popular motivation quotes you keep hearing on the net. No harm done if I don’t feel like doing something.

Eventually, I arrived at the waterfront on this cloudy morning. I could tell weather wouldn’t help. Still, I found the strength to get the camera out of my little bum bag. That was the end of my second thinking.

4k and slow motion with a single pocket camera

If you check my videography gear, I began shooting with a Canon 70D and have recently purchased a Sony RX100IV for more discreet shooting. I am not the most confident person in public places, which gets worse when I setup tripods or film myself.

sony-rx100ivThus, for this video I decided to leave the big DSLR home and use only the pocket camera attached on a GorrilaPod tripod.

It’s generally recommended to always shoot video in Manual Exposure. That means you get to decide the shutter speed and the aperture (the f number). However, after months of shooting videos with this little camera, I nowadays shoot on Shutter priority mode.

Let me explain why.

Given I shoot at cinema’s standard frame rate (24fps) and the shutter speed needs to be two times that rate, I set it to 50 and forget it. While there are times when we should use a different shutter speed depending on the action and the feel we want the film to have, 50 gets the job done. Setting the aperture comes next in combination with the ISO level.

Instead of fiddling with those settings I let the camera decide the proper settings for a properly exposed image. By using the Shutter mode, both aperture and ISO are automatically set by the camera (ok, I could set ISO manually, but why bother when shooting outdoors in daylight and it’ll always be the minimum?). I just input 50 for shutter speed and concentrate on the composition and the story telling.

And there’s another trick for this camera. Locking the dial button.

Given its small size I often give that dial button at the back a bump by mistake, changing one of those numbers. Imagine doing a difficult shot, only to realize that you moved the shutter speed to 60 or 80 when you pick up the camera to check the footage afterwards. So I found a way to get rid of that annoyance.

The RX100 allows you to LOCK that button, so no matter how hard I hit it, no settings will change. The perfect run and gun setup.

Moving from 4k to slow motion in HD used to be time consuming. Recently, I’ve used the memory slots of the camera, so now I can quickly move from one mode to another with a turn of a dial and shooting at the settings I think best for each occasion. This does take into account other options, such as not using the ND filter in slow motion, since the shutter speed needs to be significantly high (250) so less light makes it into the sensor, and the picture profile (Slog has a minimum of 1,600 ISO while Cine 1 Pro requires a base ISO of 200).

Perhaps I should do a video of how I’ve set up my RX100IV, since by now you may feel overwhelmed.

What I try to achieve with this kind of videos

What is my goal for making this film? As a matter of fact, I do not have a plan or goal. I do it plainly for hobby and for practicing, as sometimes I get to make videos for my other hobbies, that get more attention. You can find them at the top menu.

The best way to improve at anything is practice. So, while I am having fun, I’m learning how to use my camera and other filmmaking gear better. When the time comes to shoot a video for more serious stuff, I’ll be better prepared.

Let me know how you liked this film and I’d love to hear your suggestions.

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  • Ģirts Kizenbahs

    Jim, very nice movie. I like music and slow pictures feeling. Interesting blog about trade game. I will get back to read. Thanks, Girts, Riga, Latvia, EU

    • Wow, thanks for commenting Ģirts! That was great motivation for me! Stay in touch.

      • Ģirts Kizenbahs

        Hi, Jim
        I want to ask about Your info gathering methods in FX trade. Is some prediction calendars or so on? I am very newbie in Forex…Thanks forward!