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8th Annual Passion for Pinot Noir Summit Wrap-up

2010 March 3

Although this was the 8th Pinot Summit, this was my first (yes, I was a Summit virgin) both as a participant and a judge. There are few wine varietals with such a passionate and serious following and the process for selecting the top wine is a long and arduous journey that Barbara Drady does with love and commitment. I really appreciate her allowing me to sit and judge with some of the most extraordinary palates in the area. And for allowing to get in touch with my feminine side of wine.

I tried to capture the flavor of the event and record who were the workshop panelists and moderators along with some of the wines I personally liked and some of the delicious food. Of course, you’ll have to wait for Barbara to post the official results on her web site before you can find out all the winners. Read about making the video below to find out why.

A Lesson in Video

I learned some valuable lessons from shooting this video, both technical and planning. First, a good mix of high-res photos and video footage gave me more options for editing. Second, shooting in mixed lighting is tricky. The combination of tungsten, fluorescent and bright sunlight made for some challenging white balancing. Third, moving through a crowd with a waistpack of gear was difficult. Taking off that waistpack, however, meant that anything I might have needed was no longer within easy reach. Fourth, don’t count on your subject to remember to get mic’d up before they start talking. They won’t. And lastly, check your camera’s battery status often, especially if changing it is an ordeal because of audio brackets and stabilizers. Noticing that I only have 5 minutes of battery power when Barbara launched into a long speech was one of those oh, shit moments that I’ll remember. Of course, I’m sure I’ll do it again.

Because of these lessons, I wasn’t as pleased with the outcome as I hoped. The footage of the final winner somehow was lost (not recorded, glitched, etc.) in the transfer to my PC for editing, hence the video FAIL at the end. 🙁 What did get recorded was split by a battery change and I think the white balance was altered. Trying to fix it in post-production only seemed to make it worse. Two of the workshops were backlit and difficult to get the exposure correct, even with backlighting compensation. Finally, I was going to edit this in Final Cut Pro 7, but after watching some of the footage, I decided I would just do it quickly in iMovie. Not worth the extra trouble I thought. Maybe next time.

Techinical Details

The video was shot using a Canon Vixia HF20 at 30 fps, progressive, 17Mbps. Auto exposure, auto white balance and backlighting compensation were used. Still images were taken with a Nikon D300 and primarily a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Sound was recorded using a Canon DM-100 mic for most shots and a Sony UWP-V6 wireless mic for Barbara’s voice. I was pleasantly surprised that despite the Sony wireless lav mic being omnidirectional, how little background noise was actually recorded. Editing was done in full HD and output as an H.264 Quicktime movie at 1280×720 resolution with audio at 44100 Hz for upload to YouTube. Average data rate after reducing the resolution but before uploading was 9.86 Mbps, losing just less than half the initial data if my calculations are right.

Thanks to everyone who appeared in the video. I can’t give all of you credit, but you know who you are. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. WhatDebPours permalink
    March 3, 2010

    All you need is an assistant (hint, hint). Fun video, despite the technical difficulties. Keep it up, we love your stuff.

  2. March 3, 2010

    Wow, I loved the combination of photography and video. Excellent work. A video like this could have easily been a 20 minute bore but you made it very interesting to watch till the end. I felt more a part of the process and the event. Awesome – Thanks!


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