Monday, 3 August 2009

Oppavsofaen.no Going Live



I shot some sequences for the Norwegian Socialist Left Party in spring, which are now live at oppavsofaen.no. You can choose from a list of names, relations and subjects to tailor your very own personalised speech with party leader Kristin Halvorsen and send to a friend via e-mail. The speech is automatically generated from a (wide!) range of names and sentences/speeches that Kristin performs on camera. The concept might not be revolutionary, but as a photographer it was an interesting project to take part in.

Web video compression and color grading is quite a pain in the a**, and maybe one of the biggest challenges for the web as a serious challenger to traditional TV (and even, some day, the cinema). I had a few sessions with the bureau about the final image and how they should compress it, and soon realized how much they have to compromise to reach the largest possible number of viewers. Broadcast television on the other hand is a more or less defined environment, where a minimum of quality is ensured between all the different TV units out there, and you have a reference for where you should put your colors and contrast.

With the latest version(s) of Flash and the introduction of H.264 compression, you can make some really good quality video with relatively modest bandwidth consumption. But not everyone has the newest version of Flash. And some people still use a dialup modem. And even if you pass those requirements, you still need a powerful computer to play back high quality video without glitches. For some applications you can go for the best possible setting and just rule out some of your audience, but for a political party (and I guess most other commercial uses), that's not even a remote option.

And the photographers cry at night.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. With the introduction of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, PC and Mac will finally have the same standard gamma setting. And maybe in some future development of Flash video, the client or server will be able to quickly scale down video to match the wide range of system configurations out there. Also considering the constant advancements in video compression, it gets more and more viable to make high quality, consistent, visual experiences available to the masses in the not to distand future. In the meantime, we're still allowed to dream of better days.

For this project we ended up using a quite new version of Flash, because H.264 is just that much better than it's predecessors. The clips are downrezzed to from 4k to 2k for editing, and finally 720p for publishing. A bit of compromise on both ends, and the result is quite acceptable in my opinion.

The sequences were shot on RED with Cooke S4 primes at Zone 5 Studios in Oslo.

2 comments:

  1. The Norwegian political press is really embracing this campaign:

    http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/innenriks/valg/valg_2009/1.6720659

    http://valgpanelet.no/forsiden/oppavsofaen_no---potensiell-nettvinner/

    http://valgpanelet.no/forsiden/oppavsofaen_no-vs_-viktigfordeg_no---game-on_/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very nice - easy to follow, simple, and working. Thanks for the knowledge!
    More templates easy to download

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