OT: "Contact - The Humpback Whales of Tonga"

NickHope wrote on 5/18/2016, 7:37 AM
Here's a new video to share of humpback whales in Tonga that I produced in Vegas using 2008 HDV footage.

After colour-wrangling with color-curves in Vegas, I deinterlaced my 30i footage to 60p (using QTGMC in AviSynth), brought the intermediates back to the timeline, slowed most of them down 50% (to 30p), and sharpened a little. To be honest, it was a bit of a crash-fest in both VP12 and VP13, and I ended up saving after everything I did. Not fun. I'm not sure why. Vegas is usually pretty happy with MagicYUV avi intermediates on the timeline, but apparently not in this case.

I tried to convey some of the sense of awe I felt swimming with these magnificent animals. Any feedback, positive or negative, is welcome.



VMP wrote on 5/18/2016, 7:40 AM
Beautiful & Amazing.

I can only imagine what it feels like to be there physically when filming this.

Dexcon wrote on 5/18/2016, 8:06 AM

I was privileged to see whales spouting, breaching the surface, and in one case, doing a tail flip above the surface, around Oahu and Lahaina in Hawaii in February this year while on the cruise ship Queen Victoria. But none of that compares with the view that you had from under the water.


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Kimberly wrote on 5/18/2016, 8:35 AM
Beautiful! Were you on scuba or snorkel? Those are some nice long/steady shots if snorkel.
musicvid10 wrote on 5/18/2016, 8:47 AM
I thought the whales' "soundtrack" was captivating.
How did you mic them?

VMP wrote on 5/18/2016, 10:48 PM
:-D surely they were miked with large clip-on lavaliers.

NickHope wrote on 5/18/2016, 10:53 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

Kimberley, I was snorkeling. No compressed gas allowed. Staying steady was pretty easy underwater, but as soon as you break the surface after a dive you rock with the waves and it's impossible. Lengthy freedives are pretty much impossible in that situation as it's pretty fraught most of the time. Slomo helps smooth things out.

Musicvid, there's a little mono hydrophone on the front of the housing. The quality is pretty awful, but good enough to get a few whale sounds to bury under the music. The housing comes with a little minijack-XLR converter.

Kimberly wrote on 5/18/2016, 11:26 PM
I've picked up Dolphin sounds on my housings -- you can hear them in the distance -- but actual sighting are so very rare : (
Rory Cooper wrote on 5/19/2016, 5:51 AM
Amazing stuff Nick !. @1:41 did the whale move his/her fin down to miss the diver to prevent harm to the diver? Looks that way. As the whale passes the whale moves the fin back again.
PeterWright wrote on 5/19/2016, 6:34 AM
Yes Rory - it looks that way to me too - what great footage!
NickHope wrote on 5/19/2016, 9:26 PM
Yes, the whales are incredibly aware of their own body size and space. Despite some very close encounters I never actually made physical contact with any of the whales for the whole season, and that was most definitely down to them, not me.
john_dennis wrote on 5/19/2016, 9:31 PM
Like all of your work, I very much enjoyed this one.

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