Phil Peel

Film, video, photography, sound and story

I got  a nice comment and questions from  Jan Hawranke in Canada about my recent Buble Magic Video.

“I just love the images and style of this piece! It really grabbed me. Looked like it was shot on film. Not sure why I felt this. Was the sound recorded live, or done in post? Any image adjustments you care to share? Brilliant! Thanks for this.”


First off, the sound was prerecorded for this video. So it was recorded to give the best quality and then Steve sang along with the playback during each take.

If you want to record a live session …and only have one camera, then record the whole of the performance, preferably onto a separate recorder, then replay back from this audio recording as the singer/musician sings/plays along with it, as you film the other angles.

In editing I linked and lined up the 20 (!) shots we filmed for the first number. Easy and automatic with FCPX multicam feature. So I then had 21 tracks ( including the prerecorded music track) to intercut. We had far fewer tracks on the later numbers,as we were limited for time.

The film look..

“It looks like it was shot on film”  Well this may have been because of a variety of techniques.


I shot on the PanasonicGH2 at  24 fps progressive, which I haven’t used much before. I have usually shot 1080 interlaced, as I’ve been wary of the potential for flicker in moving camera/subjects. ( I used to shoot a lot of 16mm film) So this will have certainly reproduced the same effect as film.


I also lit it with strong back lighting. So as I filmed from the right,  we keep the left light brighter and reduced the right. Moving to filming from the left, then the left light is reduced and the right increased.

This can be difficult though if the camera moves. We were filming using a moving jib, which as it moved in, tracked from the right hand side to the left hand side. So what had been a strong dramatic back light became a flattening front light.

This limited the amount of movement I could use. We also had the problem that as soon as we arrived, the rain stopped, the sun came out and was clearly visible through the curtains on the left  hand side of the studio. So I had to shoot most of the performances from the front or left hand side.


Editing – Image adjustments

It was edited in Final Cut Pro X.  After editing I also used Crumplepop plugin Tonegrade on the first two songs and  Finisher on the final song.

2-Buble Magic

The Tonegrade plugin produces a sort of HDR effect.  It simulates the properties of high dynamic range (HDR) photography,  with an expanded range of detail in both highlights and shadows creating the dramatic stylised image I wanted.


The final song  had a different treatment. It was heavily desaturated

3-Buble Magic-last song

So it all seems to worked out well. Copies of  video DVD are now with promoters down in the warm Greek Islands.



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