The Year In Review – 2014

Wow, what a year it has been. I can scarcely remember the last Year in Review post I did, it seems a lifetime ago, and yet it is only 12 short months. A lot of videos went up over the past year, including many that have become new favorites.

I also have a ton of new videos to release in 2015 that are also new favorites. I am just bursting at the seams to release them, but alas, I must be patient. There are a lot of new faces to see (or see more of). Two of them were in the videos I released at the end of the year. They were particularly special and so while I was going to wait until January to release their first videos, I could not resist putting them out sooner. I like to end the year with a bang.

I am always looking for inspiration and suggestions. I have an idea folder that is bursting at the seams with great ideas from those of you who have been kind enough to offer them. I use them when I can. Some require a particular location, or at least one different than what I typically have available, so those have to wait until I have the proper space. Others might just need a particular prop or the right combination of models to pull off. It is my intention to try to eventually use all of the ideas I have been given, if at all possible. Some recent ones included a classroom setting – I have a few ideas about how I might pull that off.

Looking back, as I was working on setting up more Model Showcase posts, I figured out that I have shot with over 40 models since I started this site. That was a larger number than I expected. I hope that number will only grow in the year ahead. Everyone I have shot with has brought something unique and special to their shoots. Many I will work with again if at all possible.

There are so many more reflections I could make. Shooting videos, editing them, putting them up here, preparing images and so forth, it is all a ton of work. At times, I wonder, why do I do it? As I have mentioned elsewhere, I am lucky to even come close to breaking even on a shoot. Overall, I likely never will. It is somewhat expensive to shoot with five models, for example… And yet, I keep going. I keep feeling inspired enough to come up with new and interesting ideas to shoot and then finding great models to shoot them with. Even the big five-model shoots I just keep having to do when I can because of so many great ideas that require them.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone here for the support they have given – be it feedback, suggestions, or just buying my videos (and thus allowing me to make more). Happy New Year! May 2015 bring even more joy and cool videos than 2013 and 2014…

And now, the main reason anyone probably wants to even read this post: Some of my favorite images from the year:

9 thoughts on “The Year In Review – 2014”

  1. Many of your videos are encoded in “29.97 fps interlaced” format. That’s reducing the image quality of your videos, which is a shame because the quality is otherwise excellent.

    For better results, switch to “30 fps progressive.” It’ll give you a sharper image and it’ll get rid of those weird horizontal lines, like the ones that make Penelope’s nose look blocky in the second screenshot.

    I really enjoy your content. Thanks for all your hard work, and please keep making more!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! As with all things, there is a bit of a tradeoff. The 60i format is higher resolution than 30p, for instance. But I will do some experimenting more with formats to see which look best. Sharper is better, after all!

    2. Was that a typo? The “resolution” is the number of horizontal scan lines, which can be 1080 either way. One could write 1080p30 and 1080i60 to make it explicit.

      30p looks sharper than 60i even at the same resolution. The difference is that 60i has twice as many frames per second, but only encodes half of each frame. Either your eye or your media player has to fill in the gaps.

      Here are two successive screen-shots from your “Mia Ambushed…” video (zoomed in), and their four component half-frames: http://imgur.com/a/LJOoi#0

      A CRT television would physically show those four half-images in succession, even scan lines one instant and odd ones the next. Interlaced content on a CRT looks okay, but progressive content on an LCD or Plasma is sharper.

      Interlaced content on a progressive display is the worst of both worlds. Your laptop can display the four half-images with black lines like a CRT, but it looks bad. Alternatively, it can show the half-images two at a time, but that produces “combing” artifacts that look even worse.

      By default, most media players blur the half-frames together (“deinterlacing”), like in your screen-shots. So at the end of the day, 60i still only shows up as 30 frames per second, but they’re blurrier frames.

      If your camera actually records 60 full frames per second, then you can probably render to a progressive format without changing anything else about that format or your editing workflow. 30p is usually even a little smaller than 60i at the same resolution.

      But if larger files are okay, then go for 60p! It’ll improve any action shot, as well as your outdoor shots where your model moves slowly but the shadows or the camera itself moves quickly.

      I’m happy to talk more about this, either here or by email. I’m sure it’s obvious how much I enjoy your work, and how much I would like to watch it in a sharper format. Hell, I’d re-purchase some of the videos I already own if you re-distributed them at 60p.

    3. Thanks for the info! I meant that my rendering software goes much higher resolution with the 60i. The 30p renders have much lower resolution so in rendering them it does not really end up looking any better. I know. I tried both and compared.

      Maybe a much more expensive editing suite would have more options. Absent that one method I do try to use is just to get in some close up shots.

      When I was asking about resolution and format I was asking about the whole package. There are only so many options in my suite. I will play around with it some more. File size is also an issue. Many of my videos are right near the limit so if a format takes up significantly more space I might not be able to use them except for short videos .

      One thing I can say is overall resolution is better with my videos now and looks better since I got a better camera in mid 2013 and then middle of last year I got s second identical one for full coverage with the higher quality. Of course, there is a lag in posting of videos so that may not be as readily apparent yet… (I have like 33 weeks of updates in the queue and periodically shoot more. ). I do view all of my videos after render to make sure they look good. I have used different formats a few times when I was not satisfied.

      I take pride in my work. 🙂

  2. Ah. Sorry to hear that you’re boxed in by both your editor and distributors. And yes, there’s a very noticeable improvement in image quality since your early videos.

    What editor do you use? I’ve pretty much tried the gamut and I wouldn’t say the pricey ones deliver the best encoding. The absurdly expensive Premiere Pro has smoother editing than the free Kdenlive, but Kdenlive’s encoding is both more flexible and more efficient.

    For the super-ultra-mega nerd, ffmpeg is unquestionably the best encoding tool out there (also free). The downside is it’s command-line driven and has a steep learning curve. There are free GUIs built on it that are easy though (I like tencoder). If I’m feeling especially OCD, I’ll use Premiere to produce lossless output and then re-encode it to my desired format with ffmpeg. 🙂

    1. Before we get too deeply into nerd land and formats, I suggest you send your email in your next comment – I won’t publish it – then I can email you. I don’t put my email on here basically to avoid SPAM.

      And yes, getting a dedicated digital video camera made a big difference (and having two of them is quite handy for editing!) Though that said, some of the early videos are still favorites of mine, with some great scenes and shots.

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