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Edd Hawkes

The ramblings of an ex-pro unicyclist

The Answers – Short Film

On the first Thursday of every month, I attend the Rapture Film Hub in St Albans. They play a wide variety of shorts and it’s a great way to discover new content you wouldn’t usually watch.

This film is probably one I would have stumbled across eventually, but it was good to be able to see it on a big screen for my first ever watch. I really liked it; it tackles a theme I think about a lot. I love the way it starts off light-hearted and turns more serious towards the end. The Film Hub crowd were sitting in stunned silence for almost a full ten seconds afterwards. Amazing!

The day that rocked the BMX world – Dave Mirra

Today rocked the BMX world.

We often hear about deaths in the media, especially recently, but you never really think it’ll happen to anyone in circles you frequent. This morning my social media feeds were full of messages of condolences to Dave Mirra. To those that don’t know who Dave was, he was almost undoubtedly the biggest star BMX has ever had. What made it even more shocking, is that he was just 41 and died from an apparent suicide.

It always fills me with sadness when I think of the feelings that someone must be holding inside them to make them think that doing something like that is the only way out.

mirra bmx

I’ve seen loads of videos, photos and personal messages all day, but I found this memoir by Chris Doyle that paints the best picture of who Dave was as a person.

“I grew up in Raleigh, NC, only a little over an hour from Greenville, where Dave Mirra moved to in the mid-90’s. Being the BMX nerd that I was/am, I was all too familiar with Mirra as a rider (he was very “BMX famous” before breaking into the mainstream) and I couldn’t believe that he lived so close to me. I eventually met him when my friend’s dad brought a group of us to Greenville’s Jaycee skatepark. He was so nice to us. He shook our hands and introduced himself to us, as if we didn’t know who he was. He rode with us the entire day and said to give him a shout the next time we were coming to Greenville… he was listed in the phone book (remember, this is the mid-90’s). I was 14 (maybe 15?) at this time, and I couldn’t believe how awesome he was to me and my friends. A couple months later me and my crew were back at the Jaycee park and he came right up to us and was like, “how’s it going, Chris? What’s up, Kevin?”… He remembered all of our names.
Fast forward a year or two and I was starting to make my own way in the BMX world; I was 16 and I was a sponsored dirt jumper. Mirra’s fame by this point had skyrocketed. He was the X-Games golden boy and was showered in success… yet he still remained humble. Occasionally, Mirra and a crew from Greenville would come to Raleigh and ride our trails. It was funny to watch Dave ride trails because they definitely weren’t his strongest suit, but he had fun nonetheless. On one of these Mirra trail boss occasions, I had to leave the session early to go to my high school job at a movie theater. I was saying my goodbye’s and Dave stopped me and said, “Chris, why are you going to work? We’re going to ride street at NC State, you should come with us… you don’t need that job”. I immediately called in sick and rode street with the crew. I mean… come on, this is DAVE MIRRA!
That following summer (1998), I qualified for my first ever X-Games. Mirra WAS the X-Games at this point. He was larger than life, the “Golden Child”, “The Miracle Boy”. Early in that weekend he won the park competition with ease. Everywhere he went, he had a camera following him, he was the first BMXer that I ever saw with an entourage. I was a first-timer, a rookie, just one of the riders to take up space on the deck. After dirt practice on one of the days, I was gathering my stuff and starting to make my way back to the hotel. Dave passed me by and was walking about 30 yards in front of me, he had a camera pointed at him and of course, his entourage was surrounding him. He looked behind him at one point and noticed me. He stopped (as did the entire entourage) and walked back to me and said, “Chris, it’s so awesome that you’re here. Last year you were just a local kid at the trails and now look at you. I’m looking forward to watching you ride this weekend… Oh, and when we get back to NC, we gotta have another trail session!”. He was larger than life and he still took the time to say a few words to an overwhelmed kid who had nothing to offer. It meant the world to me and I will never forget that day.

Rest in peace, Dave. – CHRIS DOYLE”

Taken from: http://demolitionparts.com/blog/news/never-forget/

A sad day.

Top Ten Tunes!

Check out my alliteration. This weeks Top Five tunes is actually a Top Ten!

I listen to Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy radio show every Friday evening. This weeks guest mix was by Jerome Isma-ae and his tune selection is amazing. The whole set is a total banger and I couldn’t not post it. So, spend half an hour in heaven.

 

My Slog2/Premiere/Davinci/Handbrake workflow

Have fun with this one, Steph!

After seeing some chat on the Unicycle Cinematography Facebook group about shooting flat and grading using LUTs, I’ve decided to write a blog post about my video workflow. I thought it might be interesting for other unicyclist filmmakers (or indeed any filmmakers) out there who may be using Slog2 or other flat picture profiles to see how I’m working.
I don’t claim to know everything about workflows or grading, this is just how I do it. One of the cool things about filmmaking is that there are many different ways to do the same thing. If you have any questions or advice for me, please pop a comment at the bottom. I’m always looking to improve my videos and I’m also happy to share my knowledge.

Continue reading “My Slog2/Premiere/Davinci/Handbrake workflow”

Jezzorx – Live!

Shout out to Steph!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘proper’ blog post. Around this time of year my motivation is always low and recently I’d just run out of enthusiasm. However, last night I went along to a spoken word open mic night with my sister and some of her friends. Jawdance is run by Apples and Snakes in Shoreditch. You put your name in a hat and they draw out 12 people to perform. My sister told me she went for two years by herself before plucking up the courage to put her name in. Even then, you don’t get picked often and she’s only ever been picked once.

I was over the moon when, at the beginning of the second half, the compare picked her name out. I’ve seen her videos a million times and she’s sent me countless audio clips of new material but nothing compares to seeing it live. I know how insecure she is about her work, so I was worried that nerves would get the better of her. As soon as she walked up on stage and got behind the mic, I knew I was worrying for nothing. She was so confident and recited her piece flawlessly (even though she’ll tell you she fucked it up) with such style and humour. She had full command of the audience and it’s the first time I’ve really seen her at her best. Even her audio clips and youtube videos, filmed in the comfort on her own home without anyone watching or listening, seem a little awkward in comparison. This was my sister unleashed, turned up to 11, doing something she loves and you could tell.

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I might be biased, but she is so amazingly talented and I hate knowing that she is so insecure about it when I know she can put on a performance like this. Loads of people came up to her at the end to show their appreciation and she even got asked to perform at someone’s spoken word night! I’m so glad I went along, as well as being able to witness my sister like I’ve never seen her before, it’s given me so much motivation do get on and do the things I want to do.

Bursting with pride!

Top Five Tunes

I’ve been neglecting my blog as of late. I’ve been pretty busy, trying to concentrate on my studies.
I’ve also got Instagram now, so I’ve been posting quite a bit of content on there. You can see my feed at the bottom right of this page.

I have an old CD head unit in my truck with no aux input, so I chucked a load of old trance CDs in there. I’ve been listening to loads of old classics. Heard this yesterday and remembered how good it is.

While we’re on the old school trance…

Best London Grammar remix I’ve EVER heard. Haha, yes Shy FX!

The original of this was in my Top Fives a few weeks back, but this remix has just been released as a free download. Not as good as the original, but almost.

Last but by no means least. I haven’t followed Hybrid Minds over the last year but I think they released a second album. I heard this for the first time this week. I haven’t had Riya on Top Fives for a while. Best voice in DnB. Gwaaaan Riya!

Top Five Christmas & New Year Mixes

The best thing about Christmas for me is the number of end of year mixes and podcasts that are about. I thought I would wait till the holiday season was over before I posted my favourites to give me time to listen to them all. These are the ones I’ve been going back to over and over.

I have no idea what’s being said on this one, but the track list is epic. Some luuush rollers in there. I had this on repeat more than a few times over the holidays.

I must have listened to this one more than ten times. Tune selection is spot on as you would expect from Lenzman, combined with the soothing drawl of MC Dan Stezo. Vibes.

Straight out of Russia, here’s a great mix from Celsius Recordings. This one’s jazzy as hell, guaranteed to get you moving.

More soothing rollers from Russia! Stuffed with soulful tracks, this one’s a banger.

This one’s a bit different, Aruna’s ‘The Hot List’. Top 20 vocal trance tracks of 2015. It’s a bit more commercial than the other mixes in this Top Five but I’ve always been a sucker for cheesy vocal trance. There’s some great names in the tracklist too; Jes, Kyler England, Tritonal, Myon & Shane 54, A&B and Andrew Bayer to name a few.

NYE London Ride Video & SLog2 Workflow

This year, rather than spending New Years Eve drunk, I thought it’d make a nice change to stay sober and go riding. I arranged to meet up with Simon, Mike and Tirryn and see in the New Year with them. It’s been ages since I’d seen Mike and Simon so it was really nice to catch up and it was great to meet Tirryn.
We spent the day riding the usual central London spots; South Bank, the curved walls and St Pauls and then we headed to Simons in Greenwich for dinner. After eating we headed out to a local underground carpark where it was light, dry and warm. We spent the rest of the evening riding in the carpark and headed out at 11.55 for the countdown and to watch the fireworks. All in all a great evening and no hangover the following morning, result!

I shot a video of the day, which you can check out below. I’m mega pleased with how it turned out, I’ve been struggling with my workflow ever since I got the Sony A7s and I think I’ve finally got it figured out. Read on below the video if you’re interested in the technical bits.

As mentioned above, ever since getting the Sony A7s, I’ve been trying to refine and improve my workflow.
I shoot in SLog2, the super flat picture profile on the A7s. The major problem I was having was once I’d finished the video, graded it and done the final render from Premiere Pro, the colours were still looking flat, washed out and with a blue tint. Every video I made was coming out the same, even when I massively overdid the grade.
At first I thought it was my monitor. I have a Dell Ultrasharp U2413 as my grading monitor which is calibrated from the factory but I use an X-rite i1 Display Pro to calibrate it with, so I thought it was weird that the monitor would be at fault. You can see the blue tint and dull colours in this example. It’s not quite as flat as shot, but no where near what it looked like in the grading software before I exported it.

To begin with I was using the 3-way colour corrector in Premiere, so I began using Abobe Speedgrade instead. I was still getting the same results, so I switched to Davinci Resolve. Resolve threw another spanner in the works. I work on Windows, so I use DNxHD as an intermediate codec for editing. I was finding that Resolve was having trouble reading the DNxHD files and it was introducing what looked like interlacing artefacts into my footage. I spent hours reading online and eventually found a solution. It was as easy as ticking a box. I just had to make sure that the field order was set to ‘Progressive’ in the DNxHD preset settings in Adobe Media Encoder.

With one problem sorted, I went back to trying to get to the bottom of the original one. After literally days of reading up about Resolve and exporting (I was roundtripping from Premiere, to Speedgrade/Resolve for the grade, then back to Premiere for titles and audio) I realised that my videos were looking good until the final render out of Premiere. I started reading up on the exporter in Premiere and sure enough, other people were complaining about having problems with rendering to H.264 using the exporter in Premiere and Adobe Media Encoder. Someone suggested exporting uncompressed Avi from Premiere and then using Handbrake to compress to H.264. I tried that and viola! All my colour problems are solved!

So, it turns out Adobe is shit at exporting H.264. Hopefully this will save someone some time and hassle. I’ve been pulling my hair out over this for months.

Norway – December 2015 Video

I wrote quite a bit about it on the photo post so I’ll keep it short here. A couple of weeks ago I went to Norway with my Sister, Jess and my Brother, Leo. It is one of the most tranquil places I have ever been.
I shot some video of our stay, just general bits and pieces and nice scenery. Jess wrote the poem in the intro to put in the guestbook in the cabin we were staying in but I asked her to perform it for the video.
I shot everything super flat, in PP7 (SLOG2) on my Sony A7s and actually enjoyed grading it. As usual though, the grade is rank. Annoyingly, I thought I had sorted my grading monitor out but apparently not. Once uploaded to Vimeo it looks almost like the raw footage again.

Anyway, enjoy.

Top Five Tunes

This week I’ve been listening to:

 

 

 

I absolutely love the original and I hated this remix at first but it’s growing on me. I love the change of key and lush guitar licks.

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