It's a dirigible!

A project collective of video and music by Chris Howarth.

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I recently finished editing this video for my friend Alex Pinto of a performance he did way back in November at Viracocha in San Francisco. With the help of Tim Howarth and Tim Finn, we filmed Alex’s set with two Canon 7D’s for close ups and a Canon XH-A1 for the wide, as well as a Zoom Hn4 for the sound. Although the main goal of this shoot was to film the show, the challenge was that we ultimately wanted to edit one of the songs into a music video — we just didn’t know what song. This was a little tricky because our 7D’s have limited space in the amount of continuous footage we could capture on the cards.

Essentially, short of purchasing several larger CFs, we opted for capturing a bunch of “generic” close ups throughout each song of the set in hopes that we could use the footage regardless of what song we ended up featuring in the end. For unique shots, we tried to rotate the 7D’s on the fly for filming solos and whatnot for each song. Tricky stuff for filming within a small space with low light where the only communication we could use between cameramen was with hand gestures, but I think the end result came out alright! Be sure to check out Alex Pinto’s website and listen to his music. It’s cool beans!

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Here’s a video I made for funzo of the drive from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boulder via I-80 in an old school Volvo 240 DL. Twas good times! Equipment: Canon 7D

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Recently I’ve been working on several projects with a new tech start-up called FlixMaster. FlixMaster’s goal is to bring online video into the modern age by creating tools for users to make their videos seamlessly interactive for the audience. Think of how DVD’s work, with interactive menus and being able to skip to different chapters and whatnot, and apply that model to the online world. That’s more or less how FlixMaster works. The above link is an example of one of the uses of FlixMaster’s technology, where owners of the Sphero robot can navigate through online instructional videos of Sphero’s basics. 

One of the things that most impressed me about the FlixMaster technology was the ease of use of their tools. Basically you upload your videos, drag and drop them onto a grid, then connect them by creating paths. Within the videos you can add pre-made or invisible buttons that navigate to either videos or external links, as well as giving instructions to the video on what to do when it reaches the end (i.e. Freeze frame, Loop, Go to another video/link). It’s this feature that I think sets FlixMaster apart. Unlike Youtube button links where they’re only clickable during the video, FlixMaster gives you the ability to make a looping menu or freeze frame that repeats/holds until the viewer selects an option, essentially giving the user ultimate control on how someone experiences their videos. This eliminates situations something along the lines of somebody randomly stumbling on the 4th video of your series before seeing the other 3 segments or what have you. Also, FlixMaster is built in HTML 5, which means many fun times for interactive video on mobile devices. Cool beans for sure. For this project I created the motion graphics and music for the menus, as well as the animated buttons that pop up during the various segments. Be sure to stop by FlixMaster and take a look at what they’re doing.

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Here’s a cool project my brothers (Jonathan Howarth and Tim Howarth) recently completed with a local band called The Deaf Pilots. My favorite thing about this video is the mixed use of motion-tracked CG with the grimy look of a “grind-house” type of film. Kind of a juxtaposition of old and new school films.  It’s a good example of the professional level results an independent film maker can achieve these days with little to no budget. For this shoot they used a Canon 7D and After Affects for all the motion tracking and animation. Check out the original post here.

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This is a video my brother Tim Howarth and friend Tim Finn of Terrabang Studios made to test out Twixtor. Twixtor is a plug-in you can get for certain video editing programs (they used After Effects) that enables you to simulate the type of slow motion footage you might get from a high speed camera. Below is what Tim Howarth posted on Terrabang about the project, or visit the original here.

Finn and I decided to head over to the Concord Skate Park to meet up with a friend of ours to see what we could capture using the 7D at 60fps and some added digital slow motion, courtesy of After Effects and Twixtor.
We shot for about an hour and a half at various shutter speeds and using a couple of different lenses.  Then we spent about 2 hours editing and working out the slow motion.  We took the 60fps shots and interpreted them back down to 24fps, giving us true slow motion.  We’ve done this overcranking effect with real film before, and wanted to see how digital compared.  If we wanted some additional slow-mo, we implemented Twixtor.  Do a little bit of color grading, throw some cool music on there, and it’s ready for export.  I don’t remember how long rendering took, but that’s irrelevant anyway.  Here you have it, a quick and dirty but fun little test.