What’s Your Pandemic Project?

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robedge

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What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 9:31 pm

Here in New York, Governor Cuomo’s “stay at home” order takes effect tonight. My neighbourhood is already pretty quiet, but the order should end most remaining activity. I had hoped to use the absence of parked cars on our local business street as an opportunity to photograph storefronts, but I neglected to consider that most of them would be covered by steel grills. So much for that idea :)

The current plan is to shoot B-roll on our local streets and to record the unusually quiet ambient sound. I have to wear gloves and be careful about physical distance, but I also want to shoot at our two local subway stations and possibly at the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia. I think that I can do both within the terms of the order. Trees are starting to bloom, so that’s also an opportunity. On a scouting walk this afternoon, I concluded that there are some good sound recording opportunities that would be impossible in normal circumstances.

I’ve also arranged to shoot footage over the next couple of weeks for a restaurant’s social media. No eat-in customers means lots of room :)

It’s supposed to rain here for most of tomorrow, a good opportunity for both video footage and sound recording.

Anyone else shooting video/recording sound, or planning to?
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robedge

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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 1:59 am

Here’s an example of the kind of opportunity that I’m talking about.

A block from me, there’s an important church with distinctive bell ringing on a very busy road. When I shot this church about a year ago, I wound up excluding the road from the image because the heavy traffic was highly distracting. However, excluding the road didn’t entirely solve the problem. The sound of the motor vehicles drowned out the church bells. I wound up going up the side street to record the bells separately. This was much better, but between pedestrians and fairly regular side street traffic it took four visits (the ringing only lasts for maybe three minutes) and some luck to get the recording, and even then it wasn’t quite as clean as I’d like. This week, I’m pretty sure that I can get more balanced footage of the church and a very clean recording of the bell ringing.

Relative peace and quiet is perhaps one of the reasons why film and television producers pay serious money to get entire New York City blocks cordoned off.

I’m not sure about video, but over the next while I think that a lot of sound recordists will be bringing along a recorder and one or two mikes when they go out for a walk.
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Uli Plank

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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 3:47 am

Blocks are not cut off for sound, but for avoiding people staring into the camera. Sound in movies is a very synthetic element, composed in post with ADR, Foley, libraries, etc. whenever you don't have controlled conditions. I'd rather collect rare views. Well, maybe some very specific sounds too.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 4:09 am

Uli Plank wrote:Blocks are not cut off for sound, but for avoiding people staring into the camera. Sound in movies is a very synthetic element, composed in post with ADR, Foley, libraries, etc. whenever you don't have controlled conditions. I'd rather collect rare views. Well, maybe some very specific sounds too.


Thanks, I’m quite aware of how TV shows and movies are made, having been brought up in the business. Of course, the whole point of cordoning off whole blocks in NY is to create your “controlled conditions”, and I’m happy to tell you for a fact that sound is indeed recorded in these situations in NY. Some of it is wild sound, some of it is dialogue that will be replaced by ADR and some of it is dialogue that will be used. Furthermore, by “peace and quiet” I also meant relative absence of pedestrians and vehicles.

Not that an argumentative lecture on how TV and feature films are made has anything to do with the subject, and more importantly the spirit, of my posts.

I was kind of hoping, in these trying circumstances, for something more constructive, maybe even with a bit of humour thrown in.
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Uli Plank

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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 4:18 am

Sorry, Rob, I was not aware of your background and not even aiming my comment at you.
Just trying to add some information for beginners who might look at this thread. Probably I've seen too many ambitious novice movies ruined by trying to record sound on location without knowing about the other possibilities.
And then, maybe I'm just frustrated since I can't record a nice chime of bells around here, which is popular with tourists at normal times, because of curfew.
Last edited by Uli Plank on Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 4:22 am

Cool Uli, so are you planning some things yourself?

What I’m doing is not terribly ambitious, but I imagine that some people have more substantial plans.

It’s clear that there are people working on films about the pandemic itself, and it would be great to hear from anyone here doing that. I’ve already seen two shorts made by boutique European production companies for New York media platforms.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 5:05 am

The Guardian has just uploaded a brief clip, presumably shot Sunday afternoon, showing the state of road and pedestrian traffic in Manhattan. The clip overstates things a bit (residential streets are somewhat more active), but it’s pretty close. Governor Cuomo’s “stay home” order took effect after this was shot, at 8:00 p.m. NY time:

[EDIT: The Guardian took this video private after I posted the link]



The order is not intended to discourage people from going outdoors. As Cuomo put it, “Go for a walk or a run, but don’t play pickup basketball”. Rather than wallow in the situation, I intend to use it as an opportunity to shoot some footage and record some sound.
Last edited by robedge on Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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rick.lang

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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 5:07 am

I see a one minute short. Part one is the visuals of a bustling city with the sounds of silence except for a few birds to be recorded this week by robedge. Part two is the city completely empty with the sound track full of vehicles, voices, sirens, and chimes. A memory and a warning.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 5:46 am

rick.lang wrote:I see a one minute short. Part one is the visuals of a bustling city with the sounds of silence except for a few birds to be recorded this week by robedge. Part two is the city completely empty with the sound track full of vehicles, voices, sirens, and chimes. A memory and a warning.


Thanks, I like that thought. I was thinking in terms of my neighbourhood, but that Guardian clip has me thinking about expanding this. I have a car, so I don’t need to worry about using the subway, and parking, which normally involves either driving forever to find a spot or paying crazy hourly rates at a garage, is not going to be a problem.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 6:27 am

I'm using the spare time to work on my archives of 'nice idea, but I'll do it later' stuff ;-)
Since I'm a perfectionist, I started with finding ways to deinterlace and upscale some nice older footage.
I have to thank our helpful friend Dmitry Shijan for pointing out ways to do this without spending money that I'll soon not have anymore: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=109259

Another great, but slow tool is Topaz Video Enhance AI, which you can use for trial in the next 30 days. It works miracles after a good deinterlace.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 7:48 am

Actually Rob, that's a great idea. If I was back there, I m might do the same. I'm in Dubai, and as of today (Monday here), we're restricted to our homes except for grocery shopping and the pharmacy. We can walk outside, but I think I would get a heavy fine if I was caught shooting anything or even just recording sound with a microphone.

The security forces can be pretty strict here.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 1:46 pm

As soon as the "Shelter In Place" order in Ohio is lifted, i'm going to start shooting my Short Film: "For Emily".
It's about two teens that find comfort in friendship during a nationwide lockdown.
The scenario is if you fast forward the outbreak and maximize the deadly potential for 18 months, you'll land in a government-controlled society. Everything is issued by the State and the youth are allowed 1 hour of recreation a week.
I have props and actors already lined up. Just have to clean up the script and map out shots.
I'll be using my Ursa Mini Pro with my Anamorphic Setup (Kowa 16H + Hardcore DNA).
CAN'T WAIT!
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 3:34 pm

Adam Silver wrote:Actually Rob, that's a great idea. If I was back there, I m might do the same. I'm in Dubai, and as of today (Monday here), we're restricted to our homes except for grocery shopping and the pharmacy. We can walk outside, but I think I would get a heavy fine if I was caught shooting anything or even just recording sound with a microphone.

The security forces can be pretty strict here.


In New York, the focus is on getting people to stop congregating in groups. I don’t think that the police are likely to intervene just because someone has a camera or audio recorder. From this morning’s NY Times:

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday laid out new guidelines for New Yorkers wanting to visit the city’s parks. The biggest message: While exercising outside is fine, people should not gather in groups.

“You can go to the park but only for a limited amount of time,” the mayor said. “Families can stay together but don’t mix with other families.”

The mayor said that the police would “break up” anything that looks like the beginning of a gathering.


Given that it’s 38°F/3°C and raining this morning, group interaction probably isn’t an immediate issue anyway :)
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 3:50 pm

robedge wrote:
Adam Silver wrote:Actually Rob, that's a great idea. If I was back there, I m might do the same. I'm in Dubai, and as of today (Monday here), we're restricted to our homes except for grocery shopping and the pharmacy. We can walk outside, but I think I would get a heavy fine if I was caught shooting anything or even just recording sound with a microphone.

The security forces can be pretty strict here.


In New York, the focus is on getting people to stop congregating in groups. I don’t think that the police are likely to intervene just because someone has a camera or audio recorder.


Yeah, I wouldn't expect that in NY. I was saying that about Dubai. Just going outside on a regular neighborhood street with a camera with a mic on top...boom, they run over to you and ask you what you're doing unless you have a permit. lol
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 5:09 pm

Adam Silver wrote:Yeah, I wouldn't expect that in NY. I was saying that about Dubai. Just going outside on a regular neighborhood street with a camera with a mic on top...boom, they run over to you and ask you what you're doing unless you have a permit. lol


Yes, my own experience is that Middle Eastern/North African countries can be pretty jumpy about cameras. New York was as well post-9/11, when among other things there was serious discussion about banning cameras on the entire subway system. The current ease about cameras is probably Steve Jobs's fault, with an assist from Instagram and YouTube :)
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 6:01 pm

Stay home
Last edited by goran diffner on Wed Mar 25, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 11:11 pm

Miserable weather in New York today, but the forecast is perfect to shoot and record audio tomorrow. Mix of sun and cloud, light wind, 56°F/13°C.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 12:04 am

Here’s one for you. Some friends of mine had a political action scheduled for March 16 in Albany. I was planning to travel up to film it. But as The Virus descended, they decided that the in-person action would be untenable.

Instead, we decided to do a music video online rally where all the performers delivered their instrumental/vocal performances from wherever they were in NYS. One musician recorded a base track and all others performed to the base track, recording themselves with whatever improvised means they could muster. They then delivered video to me and audio to a sound editor. There are also some deserted Albany shots one person recorded.

Everything in this video was recorded and edited between March 14 midday and March 15/16 midnight, except for the lock-down and police shots at the very beginning.




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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 12:07 am

And here is a fun little music video about hand washing, shot a couple of days before social distance guidelines were issued. This one turned out to be quite popular — well over 100K views on FB and Twitter.


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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 12:24 am

OwenCrowley wrote:And here is a fun little music video about hand washing, shot a couple of days before social distance guidelines were issued. This one turned out to be quite popular — well over 100K views on FB and Twitter.


That’s a hoot :) If you don’t have it up on YouTube yet, I think it’s a winner.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 3:01 pm

It has been a month since I was hired to do a corporate shoot at a hospital.
Subject matter was related to the coronavirus.

This was a good shoot with good outcome for the patient. It was a positive thing.

We shot many testimonials of staff members.
What got to me was the emotional strain on the nurses that were the first to deal with this.
The bravery of these two ladies.

How much has changed in a month is mind blowing.

We are all experiencing the same thing all over the world in real time.

I am not a producer but I think that collecting testimonials in real time via Skype or other apps for future documentaries would be a good idea at this time.

Be well.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 4:12 pm

Good for you Leon. So difficult to do that now. Documentaries about COVID-19 will be so important as we struggle now and reflect on later. Incredible perspectives abound, but the personal impacts are the hardest to do and to watch.

Everyone not involved in essential services must STAY HOME as the government of Canada is about to pass unprecedented and far-reaching legislation for our national COVID-19 emergency later today.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 10:00 pm

Perfect shooting weather in New York today. There was quite light street traffic, which for my purposes is good. I want some traffic, but not the usual bumper to bumper jams and accompanying cacophony.

Shots that include pedestrians are complicated by the fact that a high percentage of people are wearing face masks. Unless I decide to make something about the pandemic, footage with face masks is pretty much useless.

Trees are budding and some are starting to flower.

From a sound recording perspective, hum from residential buildings (window air conditioners) won’t be an issue for a few weeks.

I’m a happy camper, although more rain is forecast for tomorrow :)
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 1:12 pm

The B&H store is closed except for pickup. I have an order to collect and I’ll be taking the car to avoid the subway. I may take, and post, a few photos of Manhattan streets on the way there.

As indicated earlier, I want to record video and sound at my two local subway stations, but I’m not inclined to get on the subway cars. Ridership is down 87% from this time last year, but the transit authority has just cut service by 25%. There’s a debate now over whether the service cut will make it difficult to maintain adequate physical separation in the cars. I’m not very interested in testing this.

Interesting situation on buses. To protect bus drivers, passengers must now board, as well as exit, using the rear doors. The result is that traveling by bus is now free.

The city says that it’s still got people out issuing stiff tickets for parking meter violations. Given how light traffic is, this seems to be mostly about continuing to generate revenue.

If anyone is wondering how B&H and Adorama are continuing to function, the New Jersey order closing businesses, which applies to the B&H and Adorama warehouses, exempts retailers that are selling online.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostThu Mar 26, 2020 12:30 pm

Another stream-concert yesterday.

https://www.facebook.com/moldeliveas/videos/291349988503466/

We basically used two ursa mini, pocket 4K and couple of EX cams.
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Re: What’s Your Pandemic Project?

PostFri Mar 27, 2020 9:32 pm

robedge wrote:The B&H store is closed except for pickup. I have an order to collect and I’ll be taking the car to avoid the subway.


For locals reading this, B&H is using its Exit for pickup. That’s also where the waiting area is, so it’s very spacious. Few customers this morning, so maintaining distance was not a problem. The parking meter wardens are out in force :)
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