External recording with Sony FS5 and Atomos Shogun by Glenn Dixon

Readers are advised this article is quite heavy on what Xisca (my partner) calls ‘The camera settings!’. If that’s not your cup of tea, you are most welcome to skip all the text and watch the videos instead.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with solutions to utilise the raw image output capability of my Sony PXW-FS5. While I love the cameras form factor and image characteristics, its internal recording capability in 4K mode is restrictive to the point of inhibitive. This has not been a huge issue for me in the past because I shoot a lot of content in High Definition and the 10 bit 4:2:2 colour sampling is more than sufficient in most cases. In 4K UHD mode though, you are limited to 8 bit 4:2:0 colour sampling. Far from ideal if you want to do significant colour correction or any form of colour grading.

For a recent shoot I rented an external recorder, the Atomos Shogun, from my friends at VideoCraft. The test shots featured in the above video were captured on the streets around my office. I’m thrilled with the results. The dynamic range and depth of colour far surpasses anything I have experienced with the FS5’s internal recording. I also appreciate the slight increase in horizontal resolution as 4K DCI is wider than 4K UHD.

I used this recorder on a recent shoot for Tactica’s M250 hex drive toolkit. All the product close ups in the Kickstarter campaign video, produced by Burning House, were shot by me on the Sony PXW-FS5 paired with the Atomos Shogun. I love the way the external recorder helped capture expanded dynamic range; from the deep blacks in the material to the specular highlights reflecting off the metal.

Music and light: Partnership with The Melbourne Rainbow Band by Glenn Dixon

Ice-Capades-Glenn Dixon Visuals-1.jpg

I’m delighted to share photographs and a brief reflection on my recent collaboration with The Melbourne Rainbow Band for their Ice-Capades concert. My still and live action imagery was projected in the concert hall behind the band while they performed musical compositions inspired by polar exploration and culture. These projections featured imagery photographed by me in Antarctica, Argentina, Greenland, Norway, Iceland, Japan, Poland and Switzerland.

Event photographs by Aaron Morrison.

In preparation for the event, I attended three band rehearsals to better understand the themes in the music and make sample audio recordings. Once back at the computer, I laid down each audio recording on a video timeline and experimented with image pairings from my archive. I used these recordings as a guide and timed the transitions and edit points in a way that would allow maximum flexibility for the musicians when performing live.

The main challenge from a projection perspective was ensuring the image compositions fitted within the boundaries of the viewable space in the concert hall. We had no control over the position of the projector nor the overhead lighting rig so we had to use the available spaces on the back wall and doors to our advantage. I created a proportion grid as a reference so I could be sure the main points of interest would be viewable.

Behind the scenes photographs by Xisca Mairata and Glenn Dixon.

It was a truly collaborative effort to create this live experience. Rachael Bean, Tracy Videon, Luke David and Jess Bird from The Melbourne Rainbow Band were incredibly supportive. I can’t thank them enough for their trust and encouragement. Xisca Mairata was instrumental in helping map the imagery to suit the auditorium space. To my friends, family and collaborators, I’m so grateful for your support.

It was an absolute honour to partner with such talented musicians to create a unique live juxtaposition of image and sound.

Ice-Capades-Glenn Dixon Visuals-7.jpg

Mentoring high school students on a video production by Glenn Dixon

In December last year the Banyule Nillumbik and Whittlesea Tech Schools approached me to make two videos documenting their respective Mini Maker Faires. We wanted the videos to have a strong element of student voice and ownership so we invited budding high school filmmakers to be part of the production. 

I facilitated an introductory workshop for the student filmmakers, unpacking my filmmaking processes and techniques, to prepare them for the production day. During this time I helped them formulate their interview questions and familiarise themselves with the video equipment.

On the event day the students took control of the filming and interviewing. I was present to help guide them in the technical, logistical and creative considerations.

This video was planned and filmed by the students and edited by me. One of the students is currently in the process of editing a one minute ‘teaser’ version.

Photographs below: The students on set at the Banyule Nillumbik Tech School in November 2018.

2018 - That’s a wrap! by Glenn Dixon

It's difficult to describe 2018 in words, hopefully this video montage featuring some of the projects I’ve created this year goes some way in communicating those felt experiences. It has been a rollercoaster filled with exploration, discovery, challenging work, connection, family time, sickness, death, recovery, deep celebration and love.

This year its been an absolute privilege to create videos with Education Services Australia, Australian Children's Television Foundation, Conduct, VicRoads, Banyule-Nillumbik & Whittlesea Tech Schools, Conversant, The Department of Education and Training, HIPPY Australia, Modern Languages Teachers Association of Victoria, Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria, Tactica Gear, Safe System Solutions and The Real Leadership Company.

I’ve travelled through Spain, The United Kingdom, Denmark, Greenland and Iceland in pursuit of personal projects and leisure time.

A tremendous thank you to the incredible Diana Fisk and crew behind Alfie's Film. To Sash Fernando and the team at Principle Design, your expertise in conceptualising and executing my new brand identity this year is deeply appreciated.

Lastly and most importantly to my inspirational grandmother Margery Cecil and our beloved greyhound Hayley who passed this year. You are so deeply missed.

I wish everyone a New Year full of love, light and possibility. See you soon!

Profile video: The Real Leadership Company by Glenn Dixon

It's a pleasure to share a profile video I directed, filmed and edited for Saul Wajntraub, founder of The Real Leadership Company. This article is a brief reflection on that process and includes quotes from Saul in italics.

"Showing leadership is a difficult challenge and as a new business creating a ‘real’ image of myself was a task I didn’t know how to face. My challenge was creating an online identify through my company that reflected who I am, what I do and also how I’d like to be seen by potential clients. Glenn’s ability to see a story and then paint a picture made the challenge fun and produced a fantastic result.”

While conceptualising this project we discovered that leadership as a concept is challenging to communicate in a visual and sonic sense. Saul and I had many phone conversations early in the pre-production process discussing his vision, inspirations and aspirations for the work. As Saul has a deep love for and involvement in community cricket, I used this scenario as an analogy to demonstrate his personality and leadership coaching expertise.

The footage was captured across five locations in two half day sessions. The cricket training one afternoon in Pascoe Vale. The interview and Melbourne CBD B-Roll during another morning session later in the week.

In addition to the video production, I captured still photographs for The Real Leadership Company to use in their digital communications. If you are interested, please do check out Saul’s website designed by the talented Xisca Mairata.

"Once people have viewed the welcome video there is a confidence in my capability that takes the conversation to the next step. Glenn’s piece has been brilliantly received for its clarity and cinematography."