Amazing Beatboxing on Juggling Live

Last weekend I spent a few days in Nottingham at the British Juggling Convention producing hours and hours of video content for one of my side projects, www.JugglingLive.com

 

Here's one of the highlights of the convention, an act from the Renegade Stage on Saturday night, which so popular Vid came back the following night and rocked the stage again.  Charley Dancy and Haggis were hosting that night...

 

For more content from the BJC and last years EJC get over to the JugglingLive site and check out the archive.

The beatboxer on the video is Vid Warren of www.vidwarren.com

Another great thing about Juggling Live last week was working with the sponsors who made it all possible! Check out the Greentop Circus and, if you're wanting to make more money as a performer, go sign up for the How To Sell Your Act eBook.

The Best Act at EJC: Cristiana & Stefan in "Tangram"

 

My favourite act (by far) at this years European Juggling Convention was "Tangram" by Cristiana Casadio and Stefan Sing.  It was a perfect blend of juggling and contemporary dance/ballet.   It's a beautiful and moving story with a captivating sound track.  Anyway, enjoy!

I edited this video to be included on the EJC DVD and sent a low quality video file to Stephan who put it up on youtube.  I would have sent him the High Def version if I knew he was going to upload it!

You can buy the EJC DVD over here.  Check out Stefan's website here.

EJC Live! Where the European Juggling Convention comes to you...

This is an announcement I have seeded onto facebook, web forums and discussion groups of a large project I am organising for the European Juggling Convention.  Basically I am going to be live video streaming as much of the festival as possible.  Over the next few days i'll also be producing a video announcement and releasing more details.  But for now, here's the text version:

Announcing EJC Live! Where the EJC comes to you.

This year the EJC Organising Committee are proud to announce a new concept in juggling conventions which takes the amazing performances, events, atmosphere and energy of the EJC to a world wide audience.  All you need is a few hours to spare and computer with some broad band attached!
Watch hours of original content streamed live from the EJC every day at www.EJC2010.org/live (web page coming soon).
Live streamed events will include:
Fight Night, Eurovision, Competitions, The Games, Open Stages, Renegades and anything else which is happening within Wifi range.  We'll be posting a full schedule in the coming few weeks.
There will also be many hours of extra content daily including interviews and discussions with the guest artists, prop manufactures, interesting people, geeky site swap theorists, hard core sports jugglers, plus any one else who you request before or during the event.  Daily competitions and quizes with prizes* will take place for live viewers and those at the EJC to get involved with.†
Most video content will be immediately archived as online episodes so anyone who can't watch live can catch up later.  For those lucky jugglers attending the EJC, you can watch the episodes when you get home.  An EJC2010 DVD will also be available after the event with exclusive footage including the Gala Show plus many highlights from EJC Live!
Alongside the the EJC Live! video content at www.EJC2010.org/live there will be a live chat room where you can discuss what's going on, ask questions for the guests, make suggestions, etc.  You can also tweet @nathanrae or use the hash tag #ejclive to get your comments to us and around the world.
Although this is technically a Nathan Rae Production, EJC Live! is for the European and global juggling community and will only work if the community helps out.  The best way to do this is to watch it live, get involved in the chat room, ask questions for guest interviews, make suggestions, etc.
The next best thing to do is to tell all your juggling friends about EJC Live! at your juggling clubs, facebook groups, forums, etc.  Then when you are watching live please tweet/facebook/email about it as much as possible.
And lastly here are two quick audience competitions for you.†  Winners and prizes for these competitions will be announced on the first day of the convention.
We need an EJC Live! logo.  Something bright which fits with the over all EJC2010 branding.  Get creative and email your entries here: nathan@nathanrae.co.uk with "EJC LOGO" in the subject line.
We would also like some theme music, about 20-30 seconds, upbeat and fun (but not too cheesy).  Please send you mp3 files here: nathan@nathanrae.co.uk** with "EJC MUSIC" in the subject line.
So copy and past this post anywhere you can, spread the word and get involved!
Thanks,
Nathan Rae and the EJC Organising Committee
ARE YOU A TRADER OR MANUFACTURE?  Please contact me if you would like to show off your gear or would like to "sponsor" some episodes.**  Email nathan@nathanrae.co.uk with EJC TRADE in the subject line.
ARE YOU ORGANISING A JUGGLING CONVENTION OR EVENT?  We want to use EJC Live! to help you advertise your juggling convention, show or event.  Please contact me if you want to come on and tell the world about it or would like to "sponsor" some episodes.**  Email nathan@nathanrae.co.uk with EJC EVENT in the subject line.
DO YOU WANT TO HELP OUT AT THE EJC?  We are looking for some helpers to make the show run smoothly.  We'll also be on the lookout for a couple of cohosts for some of the events.  Email me if you would like to get involved: Email nathan@nathanrae.co.uk with EJC HELP in the subject line.
DO YOU WANT TO HELP OUT FROM HOME?  We'll be needing a couple of chat room moderators, a question wrangler/researcher and a twitter/facebook monkey to help out daily.  You'll get some gear/tickets (depending on what is donated) and loads of respect.  Email: nathan@nathanrae.co.uk with EJC HELP in the subject line.

*If we get some sponsors on board.
† Terms and conditions only exist in my head and my decisions are final. 
** Some donated gear as prizes or a couple of free tickets is all it takes. Hard cash also welcome.

WTF? 5 Diabolos? (Monday Morning Mini Movie)

He runs five (Yes FIVE!) diabolos and he's only 15 years old!  Enjoy:

This is one of the best made gym based juggling videos I've seen in a while and also some the best "sick wicked diabolo skillz" I've ever seen.

I remember a few years ago I was talking to some fellow jugglers about the upper limits of diabolo control.  We concluded that 4 diabolos would be the maximum because none of us could think of a way of starting 5.  This proves the juggling equivilant of Clark's Three Laws which are:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Now just replace "scientist" with "juggler" and "technology" with "juggling" and you're set.

Juggling Video Competition - Win A Trip Around The World

This week my brother, Luke Burrage, released an amazing video of himself juggling in over 50 countries around the world.

 


At the end of the video you may have noticed the CallJuggler logo.  CallJuggler is a mobile phone app which is launching in February 2010 which blocks, hides and secures contacts, messages, call logs and media on your phone.

As part of the launch, CallJuggler has asked me to help run a World Wide Juggling VIdeo Competition with some big prizes at stake:  iPods for the monthly winners and a Round the World Trip for the overall winner.  Luke is also helping with the competition and will be choosing the overall winner. Here's a video of him explaining some more about it.

As a juggler I'm hoping this will encourage a lot of people to produce a lot of good quality juggling videos and as a film maker I'm looking forward to watching some well made short films based on juggling.  So get creative, grab a video camera, a tripod, a friend or two and get filming.

We are using the broad definition of juggling which includes all forms of skillful and artistic object manipulation.
The videos can be artistic, pure skillz, stop motion, animated, music video, experimental.  Anything really.
You may want to go for a pure viral video for maximum view count, or you may want to make a quality juggling video which will be much more likely to win the over all prize.
We're looking for new, not recycled videos, under 3 minutes in length.
You can enter more than one video, but you are limited to one entry per month.

How to enter.
1.  Upload your movie onto your own YouTube account and make sure the title starts with CallJuggler.com - (eg. Calljuggler.com - Footyjuggle).
2.  Post it as a video response to Luke Burrage's International Juggler video.
3.  Send your video link to all your friends, family and fans, because the video with the most views each month will win an iPod Classic.  Monthly winners will then go into our grand final, where Luke Burrage will choose the overall winner to receive the pair of "Around the World" airline tickets.
4.  Check the CallJuggler channel to view the video leader board.
See complete rules for full details plus terms and conditions at www.calljuggler.com.

I am going to be picking out my favorites to feature on the CallJuggler blog, on Youtube and the Facebook group.
I'm also going to be running little competitions and games on twitter with smaller prizes (eg. Amazon or Mobile Phone vouchers) and promoting my favorite videos, answering questions, giving advice, etc. Sign up and follow me here: www.twitter.com/calljuggler

Over the coming week I'm going to be producing a number of blog posts and videos on what makes a quality juggling video, tips on shooting and editing and advice on how to get as many people to view your video.

I'm looking forward to this...

Practically Perfect In Every Way? Or: How to make a Perfect Experimental Film.

No Experimental Film from me this week.  Instead, why don't we take a close look at someone else's.

When Mary Poppins measured herself we saw that she was "Practically perfect in every way!"  I don't think this was ever adequately explained.  Was she only perfect as a nanny?  Or as a cook also?  Or did she have a body perfect for old Van Dyke to get jiggy with?  A measure is no good unless you specify the units being used.

With this in mind I'll explain the units of measurement I use to judge experimental films.  I wont use one of my own because none come close to perfect.  Instead I'll use the experimental juggling video "Das Model" which I referred to in a recent tweet as being  "almost perfect in every way!"  Please take a moment to watch it as the rest of the post will make much more sense if you do...


Performed by Elena Shapoval.  Directed by Taras Pozdnyakov.

Obviously if you are just throwing around a few ideas or testing something out you won't go through all these steps in as much depth as I outline below.  But even giving them a little thought could improve your film or video a lot.  These Measuring Units appear in roughly the order you work on them when making a film.

Measuring Unit 1: The Concept

All experimental films start with a concept that is either original, combines two or more other concepts, or is exploring an existing concept in a new way.

In "Das Model" the concept is both the relatively unknown prop of the long poles and the way they are being manipulated; mostly balancing upright with some contact staff moves.  So far so simple, but this is where most juggling videos fall down before they are even made.  The juggler starts with a list of tricks, then tries to find a concept to tie them together.  That's ok for a practice or squash court video but not for juggling "film."

Measuring Unit 2:  Building of Themes and Ideas

This is where the concept is fleshed out into something more than the original idea.  The concept shown but is then developed in some way throughout the film, building as it goes, ending in a satisfying conclusion which ties together what has come before.

I think this is the strongest element in "Das Model."  The routine starts with a few moves which look quite simple but we "get" what is going on.  Elena then weaves the poles around each other and walks between them, etc.  Then she goes back to the starting pattern but this time is spinning the poles as she does.  Then she is  moving them apart, together again.  More spinning and stepping through.  Now using her legs to spin the poles. Now her feet.  Splits.  One pole continuous spinning.  End.

You can see how each element builds on what has already been shown with the ending subtly different enough to serve as a full stop (period), but not too different as to be disjointed.  (This is where "The Rings" by the same director falls down!  Here the juggler goes from performing inside a large ring with hoops side on to the audience but ends with a big numbers flash at the front of the stage with hoops juggled as normal rings.)

Almost perfect? 
As a stage act it could be a bit longer but for a video I think about 30 seconds could have been shaved off for pacing reasons.

Measuring Unit 3: Design

This is the part where each element that appears on screen is considered.  Costumes, sets, props, people, locations should be evaluated to see if they fit with the over all style and theme.  They are either found, made, remade, left in shot or removed.  Music or sound is also chosen at this point, not during the edit.

"Das Model"
is beautifully designed and it's simplicity is it's strength.  Set, location and distracting lighting have been removed so we are left with the performer, props and floor only.  The costume has colour and is sexy enough without being distracting.  Props look polished and clean.  Elena is made up well with hair pulled out the way of her face.  The music is great also.

Almost perfect? 
I think that the beam of light should make a circle on the floor, not the shadow of the carpet.  It should have been removed or trimmed so the edge lay perfectly flat.

Measuring Unit 4: Performance

Massively important for experimental juggling films.  Who are you performing to?  The camera?  Yourself?  An audience?  Ironically this is the area which most jugglers work on the least.

Elena is obviously very used to performing on stage but for the video she is only performing for the camera.  She makes eye contact, is alluring and confident.  More importantly she makes each movement count.  Each hand is moved and placed on each pole without wasting any time or energy flapping around or trying too hard.  The ending is perfect!  Just as you think she is going to connect with the viewer one last time for some kind of bow or applause, she just turns away.

Almost perfect?  Yep.

Measuring Unit 5: Shooting, Editing and Post Production.

There's a reason why I lumped together all these three areas; they are the least important.  What I mean is that although you can spoil a film with bad camera work, poor editing and inappropriate titles, etc. you can't make a good film without the creative preparation, pre-production and rehearsal.  Until you have worked through 1 to 4 there's not much point picking up a camera.

Taras has directed the camera very well using a range of camera positions, angles, close ups etc.  He has also lit Elena beautifully.  The editing is well paced with no distracting transitions, just cross fades.  The titles fit, are not too long and only give the information we need, not loads of waffle we don't care about.

Almost perfect?
  The one shot I would cut comes at 3:25 where the light source is shown and you can also see some of the rigging and what looks like another person up there.  This is the only shot like this and spoils the very clean black background somewhat.  I would have like a couple of shots where the camera tracked around Elena but no mater.

Conclusion:

Yes, however you measure it, "Das Model" is almost perfect in every way.  Five Stars!

I know my next film wont be perfect, but thinking about some of the areas I've mentioned may get it a bit closer.  What about your next film? 
 

Which Camera Is Best For Shooting Juggling Videos?

After Juggling Club on Monday Caspar and I chatted for quite a while about which type of camcorder would be best for juggling videos, mainly cos he wants to buy one.  It got a bit technical and geeky but after a while we settled on some good ideas.  Basically there are a few aspects or features that are specifically important for good juggling videos.  I’ll out line them below, then look at a camera from all the major players in the market and come up with my top recommendations.

These recommendations would be suitable for yoyo videos, diabablo videos, cup stacking videos and kendema videos, etc.  Anything with smaller fast moving objects I suppose.

Must Have Features:

Proper Frame Capture

The tiny Flip HD, iPhone, camera phones and most compact cameras shoot video in a weird way.  They don’t capture a full frame of video all at once but take the top line, then the next and so on until the bottom.  They then start again at the top for the next frame.  Although the resolution may be quite high the fact that the top and bottom of each frame is captured a different times causes distortion effects when objects move across the screen.  There’s a good blog post and example video here.

For this reason (and the fact the don’t have optical zooms, etc.) we’re only looking at “proper” camcorders. 

Progressive not Interlaced

If you’re not sure what this means here is a really good description video with examples.

Because of the high-speed movement within the frame which juggling produces, shooting interlaced video causes so many problems that I think it would be better to shoot in 720p than 1080i.  Any increase of resolution of 1080i would be lost when correcting the interlacing artifacts, even if your editing program can sort it out, which most can’t!

Wide Angle Lens

Because juggling is often very high (or very wide when passing) after market wide angle lenses are ideal.  They give you much more scope to shoot in smaller spaces and get those interesting angles.

Can I Juggle The Camera?  (Or juggle with it in my pocket?)

My professional camera is great and has all the quality and features you will ever need.  Unfortunately I need a large bag to carry it around and often have to decide between my camera or clubs.  We are looking for a pocket-sized camera which can be chucked (gently) into your props bag and wont weigh us down.

Large Lens and Sensor Chip

The reason my professional camera is so big is that it has a massive lens and three 1/3 inch sensors, one each for blue, red and green.  Small cameras only ever have one chip and (simplistically) the larger the better.  A 1/6” sensor is only 107mm2 whereas a 1/3” is 215mm2 so can potentially capture twice as much light.  Same with the lens but as it is a circle, twice the radius is much more than twice area.

4 More Features (nice but not essential):

  • Large extra batteries – handy at a camping convention or anywhere where charging every hour is a problem.
  • Slow Motion – capture those fast tricks so non-jugglers can actually see what’s happening.
  • High Resolution Still Images – it would be nice to only have one camera for video and stills, not two.
  • Optical (not digital) Image Stabilisation – smother shots without loosing resolution.

 Features we don’t want:

  • 200x zoom.
  • 5.1 Surround Sound.
  • Internal Spinning Hard Drive.

 

Caspar and I found the following five cameras.  Click on the make to see the product website for full specs and photos, etc.

Sony HDR-CX105E

Good: Quality camera. Well built with good lens. Can buy larger batteries. Can fit wide-angle lens.

Bad: Does not shoot in 1080p or even 720p!  Not good stills photos.  Very small sensor chip - only 1/5” sensor.  Beware the Sony Memory Stick! They are very expensive compared to SD cards.

JVC GZ-HM200R

Good: Another good camera.  Shoots in 1080p.  2 SD memory card slots.  Can buy larger batteries and wide angle lens. 1/4 inch sensor.

Bad: Not much really.

Panasonic HDC-SD20K

Good: Very good optical image stabilisation! Good lens. Good zoom. Wide angle recording. bigger battery available.

Bad: Tiny 1/6 inch sensor, image stabilisation will help but probably not enough. Can't see if it records in progressive or interlaced. No wide-angle lens or filters.

Samsung HMX-H104

Good: High resolution stills. Large 1/4 inch sensor. Shoots in 720p and 1080i. Slow motion. Headphone jack (good for interviews). Wide angle lens available. 

Bad: battery held internally so you can buy spares but not larger ones.

Sanyo Xacti HD700

Good: Shoots at 720p. Huge 1/2 inch sensor. Excellent 7mp stills. Water resistant version available. Wide angle lens available.

Bad: Harder to hold steady than the standard camcorder form factor.  No larger battery.

Using the criteria set out above I would probably order them something like this:

1. JVC GZ-HM200R

2. Sanyo Xacti HD700

3. Samsung HMX-H104

4. Sony HDR-CX105E 

5. Panasonic HDC-SD20K

I have personally shop tested the Sanyo and the Sony but not the other three so I’m just going on the listed features on the manufacturers websites. Before getting out you credit card you shold read other reviews, took at test footage on the interwebs and always try before you buy!  Go to Curry’s or Jessup’s and if you don’t like the feel of a camera, don’t buy it, get something else.  There are many, many other good cameras out there with similar features in the same price range but I can’t look at them all.  This good website has most of them though.

Oh, by the way, I’ve not looked for the best price so that's up to you!

Hope that helps!

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Have I missed anything?  Do you have any killer features on your camera you couldn’t live without?  Do you have a specific camera you would recommend?  Please leave your comments below!


Advice, Disclaimers and Warnings!

All these cameras have solid-state memory not tapes.  Once the data is on your computer and you reuse the SD card YOU HAVE NO BACK UP!  Remember: To be backed up you need at least two copies of any data, if not three.
You’ll need to buy a PAL version for Europe.
Check that your computer editing program can handle the codec that the camera records in.  If you don’t know what this means, google it.

Good juggling videos can be made with crap equipment as long as you use it well and are creative with how you shoot.  I'll be posting more about this in the future.

Film 24/52 - Juggling For Nelson (or Plinth Juggling Video)

Sorry everyone for taking so long to release this film.  I know a lot of people have been waiting for this one.

I Present:  Juggling For Nelson (or Plinth Juggling Video)

Youtube video link.

This film was shot during my hour on the One And Other Plinth in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 22nd August.
Obviously as I was up there alone the camera was on a tripod so all the camera "movement" you see in the video was created in the edit.  You can see the whole filming process by checking out my profile on the One And Other site.

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice, ideas and support!  I'd love to hear your comments and feedback so drop me an email or leave them below.

Please retweet video using: http://bit.ly/qA6yq

 

Plinth News and Pictures...

As you probably all know I spent an hour on the One And Other plinth in Trafalgar Square last Saturday.

I shot all the footage I planned and have started editing it into a juggling video. I am working on something else at the mo but should finish my plinth video very soon. Check back for an updates, subscribe or follow me on twitter. If you have an empty hour you can see a video of everything I did.

click to watch

I enjoyed my time in London and the time on the plinth was a real highlight. I only just made it on time as after seeing family in Hyde Park I walked over to Camden Tube station only to find it was closed. I then had to make a mad dash forMornington Crescent and got to the One And Other office at 3.29!

I then signed hundreds of release, waiver and permission forms before the health and safety briefing. Photos came next and then an interview. It was audio only but I still felt very self conscious talking about who I was, my family, my work, my passions and views on art, etc. This will be archived with all the footage of the Plinth and will be combined with whatever AnthonyGormley is planning to do with it.

After a couple of mins chilling, checking my gear, toilet and drink I climbed onto the JCB. The guys driving the JCBs were cool and we chatted for a while about the geeky behind the scenes technical side of running a live video project for 100 days.

As soon as I got on the plinth I started setting up my camera and getting ready. One problem i faced was the size of the space i had to work with. It was tiny! If the plinth didn't have an ledgewhich sticks out just beneath the main platform I don't know if I could have made it. Even with a wide angle lens and the camera rotated to portrait, it still couldn't capture the edge from all angles.

Once I had all the footage I needed I started throwing balls down to people in the square to teach them to juggle! this was very popular but soon descended into a game of "Who can throw a ball up to the guy on the plinth!" Unfortunately this meant that 5 of my balls hit the side of the plinth, fell down on to the base of the net and are still there now... I think a random guy walked off with a couple as well.

The Mexican Wave didn't work as there wasn't enough people watching and the diabalo throwing was difficult as it was quite windy. About four throws later both diabalos were on the floor. Whoops.

After a well deserved cup of tea with Shona we were all so tired it was back to Stepney and bed. I got a lot great comments on facebook, twitter and by text. Thanks everyone for watching and supporting me!

I'll put up some photos and news from the rest of our holiday tomorrow.