Burrowing Owl Guarding the Nest – Making of the Video
Be sure to view the video to the end:
This blog post is about the making of the video. To my Facebook friends – you may have seen this video on Facebook. My apologies for sending it to you twice.
Shooting video is a huge challenge for me and a learning process that will continue for a long time. I love shooting stills and trying to capture that “perfect” image, but video takes me into a whole new realm. I love to tell stories with my photography, and video lends itself to that process. There are wildlife moments that can only be conveyed by video.
Burrowing owls have been a recent subject of mine (some would say obsession). I have been searching and photographying them in various places in Colorado (and unsuccesfully in Arizona) as described in a recent blog post:
This video was shot in Whitewater, Colorado, near Grand Junction (Canon 7D, Canon 500mm lens, Gitzo tripod, Wimberley head, settings on automatic). At the time that I was shooing the owl video, I was excited to capture some interesting behavior and action. But when I viewed the results on the computer monitor – it was a disaster!
The background was ruined with motion from vehicles on a highway that I somehow did not see thru the lens while shooting. A teaching moment for future shooting, I hope. I was so focused on the owl that I lost sight of distracting elements. The video was also too long, with many minutes of no action.
Using the new video editing features of Photoshop CS6 (I recommend this product), I began to operate on the backgrounds issues. My first attempt was to try to clone out the vehicles in each and every frame affected. This attempt was fruitless. Not only were there too many frames to edit, but each frame had to match the previous one. My first sample upon playback made the background worse. What I needed was a global, multi frame clone. This I could not find. If anyone reading this post knows of such a capability, please let me know.
I finally resorted to cropping out the vehicle background motion (Photoshop crop tool which worked well across all the frames). This is tricky, because pixels are being thrown away, and what was once High Definition video becomes something less. I reduced the length of the video by cutting out (video cut tool) the non-action sections and tried to compress the video to its best action elements. I also added a fade-in and a fade-out at the beginning and the end respectively (fade tool). Photoshop CS6 allows export to a variety of formats, codecs and resolutions. I could have selected Full High Definition (1920 x 1080 – the original resolution of my raw video), but instead I selected 1280 x 720, which is still considered High Definition and close to the cropped dimensions of 1247 x 696. At Full High Definition, upsizing would take place and sharpness would be sacrificed, resulting in frames that would be seen as slightly soft.
Hope that you enjoy the final cut. Be sure to view it to the end.