2009 MIAA T+F indoor state finals
28 Feb 2009
I put this together using about 700 of the 1100 photos I took last Friday at the meet. I had put together a similar video from the previous week, but this time I shot the event basically with this as the final result in mind, so I put a few hours of work into it. I had to chose between shooting JPEG and not worrying about space on my cards, or going with RAW and having a better chance of offsetting the terrible lighting is post. I went with RAW and just barely got away with it; I walked out with 6 photos remaining on 13 GB of cards.
After getting everything into Lightroom, I knew I wasn’t going to spend the time going stack by stack and getting the exposure and WB perfect (there was a pretty big variation from one side of the track to the other) so I made up a preset that was a good compromise in most cases. The first time through the photos I eliminated stacks that I knew weren’t going to make the final cut; either there were too few keepers to make a good motion picture of the race, even with more manual editing the colors weren’t going to be saved, or the shots were too similar to others (back to back heats from the same location) that would have just made the video boring.
I ended up with about 80 “takes”, which I went through photo by photo and cropped and did any final developing. When cropping, I made sure each stack visualized a nice movement of the focused runner across the frame. This was tougher in head-on shots, so getting a progressive scale was more important there. I also dropped some unnecessary frames from the beginning and end of certain stacks. At this point all the frames that ended up in the video except for about 10 were finalized.
I exported to JPEG and brought all them into After Effects. I wish there were some sort of ‘export stacks to separate folders’ option, which would have saved a lot of time in the next step, but oh well. I dropped the whole bunch into a comp, sequenced them, and then when through stack by stack and pre-comped them, so it would easy to reorder things. For longer races where I had four or five takes, they all ended up in one comp. I overlooked the timecode at this point, and ended up with comps at 30fps and each image was three frames. It obviously made more sense just to have each image be one frame and drop the frame rate to match the image rate (I decided to be 7, maybe could have gone with 6 to slow some of the quicker shots down).
So after going back through and fixing that, I found a few races that had several heats, meaning I had a single athlete running the same thing, but from different angles. I spliced them together to make things more interesting, and also to decrease the number of times a few athletes/teams showed up, because it was somewhat out of balance. After mucking around with the order of clips for a while, I found something I liked, so I synced up the music, added a title and called it a wrap.
Total time was probably about four or five hours. If I were to do it again I could probably get the same quality in about three hours, but would probably do a little more work in Lightroom to get the colors and cropping a little more consistent.