A Short Film about Dublin, My Home City

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a bit of footage of Dublin City and I wanted to do something with it so I began putting this little video together a while ago. I’ve been playing with the edit on and off for months, spending few hours here and there tweaking. There is footage spanning the last 5 years or so, shot on lots of different cameras and It’s not in any way meant to be a comprehensive look at Dublin. Instead it’s a visual poem of sorts, showing a peaceful and pretty side of the city as I see it.

Over the past year I’ve been working on a photography project called the Streets of Dublin. I’ve been creating a website and a Facebook page dedicated to showing a nice positive side of Dublin, and this little film reflects the mood that I’ve been trying to convey. In fact I posted it on the Streets of Dublin page, and the reaction has been really positive, so I’m really grateful to the community for such a great response.

Behind the Scenes

This film kind of started organically. I’ve had all this footage collecting on my drives since I first got my Canon 5D Mark II 5 years or so ago. I’ve noodled with it on and off in the past, and used some of it for a few other short films and various other pieces of work, but for most of the time it’s been just sitting there, and so a few months ago I realised how much I had and I wanted to try and do something nice with it. It was also a good chance to practice my editing skills and spend some time with Final Cut Pro X

I started off putting it together in FCPX but I ended up moving the project to Premiere and finishing it there. I had been meaning to learn to use premiere and this was a good opportunity. My main reason though was that I wanted to use the excellent FilmConvert on it, and FilmConvert behaves much better in Premiere than it does in Final Cut Pro X. For those who haven’t seen it, Film convert is like VSCO Film, only for video (and its a plug-in rather than presets).

Getting stuff to match wasn’t easy either, as it’s been shot on several different cameras and in lots of different lighting conditions. I’ve done some grading in the past as part of motion graphics projects, but this was a challenge. Some of the shots were originally just taken as experiments or when getting to know the camera, but they were nice shots and I wanted to use them. Some of the footage I’d shot on my hacked GH2 was really hard to get right because I’d shot it with a weird white balance (totally my own fault!). There’s some Sony NEX7 footage in there too, and most of it is Canon 5D Mark II (Moire and all!). In the end I realise that while the grading side of things is far from perfect (but it’s much better than the original) I would spend an eternity tweaking it, so I got it to the point where I was reasonably happy with it and just went with it.

I ended up re-cutting it several times and changing the music several times too. The track I was originally going to go with was a relatively obscure piece from a Japanese composer, but as it was a commercial release, I wanted to use something open source, so I re-cut it to this piece from You Tube’s library of music. Even though I was quite fond of the original version, I’m really happy with how the final edit and music worked. It’s a nice peaceful and tranquil version.

I would really like to go back and do this again, this time shooting it all properly, preferably on something better than my ageing 5D Mark II. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good camera, but there’s lots of issues, especially as I have quite a few wide shots and wide shots on the Mark II are moiré and aliasing magnets. Anyway, I’m planning a re-do at some stage. Maybe in 4K !