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The Fujifilm X100T makes a movie

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The beauty of having a digital camera these days is that it’s just so much more than a camera. Whilst the Fujifilm X series of cameras aren’t renown for their film making abilities – yet – I decided to see what I could do with my X100T regardless. The old adage of ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ has always rung true when taking stills, but what about making a movie with the X100T? It’s the only camera I have, so I gave it a go…

This would be my first ever movie, and really just an experiment in how to use movie editing software, which was my ultimate goal. YouTube has opened up a massive community, and it’s no wonder it is the web’s second biggest search engine. People enjoy watching, not reading (a little counter productive to say in a blog entry – the irony is not lost on me!). I want to be able to produce movies and share content that might benefit others, so I started with a little test footage of how I indulge another of my passions – making a great cup of coffee.

I searched all over YouTube when I was researching the type of espresso machine that would suit me. I eventually settled on the Rancilio Silvia, then in it’s third version. It has given me consistent results for well over 3 years but it was initially a steep learning curve, and can be a little awkward to use if you are unfamiliar with the process. So I thought this would give me the story that I needed – my morning coffee routine, or how I make my morning coffee that sets me up for the day.

X100T-shot-listPre-production

I spent a little time storyboarding the shots that I thought I would need, and tried to work out the best way of getting them. Then, with this pre-production out of the way, it was off to location – my kitchen!

X100T Production

I used a couple of tripods to get the shots I needed. One was a traditional Cullmann Nanomax 260 tripod with a CB6.3 ball head, which was perched on the floor and also on counter tops, to get overhead shots. The other was my Cullmann Magnesit Copter multiple tripod with a CB2.7 ball head, a tiny tripod that is great for low down shots and countertop work. Whilst I didn’t use it, this tripod can also produce great tracking shots if slid along a counter – the compound of the rubber seems to make it grippy enough without sticking, and it produces a great fluid motion that will no doubt appear in upcoming videos.

So, how did the X100T fare? Well, it’s not the best camera for video, but it’s certainly not the worst either. I wanted to record the shots using Classic Chrome, X100T-movie-screen1my film simulation of choice. After a quick play to set the ISO at around 800, I simply then used the aperture ring to give me the brightness and depth of field that I wanted. It was shot indoors on a cloudy day, and the light was sometimes amazing, but more often simply awful – so the aperture ring got a thorough work out!

I was a little unimpressed with the autofocus for video work. I would set up my shot, half depress the shutter to ensure focus was where I wanted it, then hit record. The camera would then refocus – more often than not out-of-focus – and I’d have to reshoot. This process didn’t last too long, as I switched to manual focus, set up my focal point by hand, then hit record. Much better, and actually gave me more creative options.

Post-production

With the list of shots now complete, it was time to edit – the reason behind this X100T-movie-screen2little exercise. I dumped all the clips into iMovie, and after watching a tutorial on YouTube, got started. I really enjoyed this process. It was just what I imagined it would be. I’m not going to go into much detail here as I don’t have the expertise to help much at the moment, but I will recommend that if you are thinking about making a movie, just go for it. Start the process. I found it very rewarding.

Distribution

Finishing the edit and outputting it to a file was easy enough. Now, it was time to upload it to my new YouTube channel. Again, this was relatively straight forward. The only snag was my broadband upload speed, which seemed to be set to ‘exhausted crawl’. Turns out there has been a fault on my phone line – on it’s way to being sorted – so the next upload should be much faster. But eventually, my work was online!

X100T-movie-screen4I’m pretty pleased with it as a first attempt. Yes, there’s much improvement to be made, but at least I now have a starting point on which to begin improving.

As far as the X100T goes, I look forward to using it again soon. It’s the sort of camera that the more you put into using it – to understand it, to work out how to get the best from it – the more it gives back. I can’t blame the camera for bad results. It’s user error at this point. But it’s not going to stop me using my camera for movie making, as well as taking beautiful images.

Thanks very much Fuji – I can now add film-making to my interests!

Here’s my first movie, shot on my Fujifilm X100T. I hope you like it.