Sunday, March 31, 2019

"The Milky Way Galaxy, Our Home" short film. Updated 7/16/19 /Premier a success and ABC 13 News


"Milky Way Galaxy, Our Home"
Short film premiered June 29,2019
Experimental Film Virginia Festival

Filmed at 4 dark sky locations on the Eastern Shore of Virginia ranging from bortle class 1-4 Produced by JBOTV, Mermaid Bay Media Productions LLC and Mermaid Bay AIR

6/29/2019
Film Premier, Palace Theater Cape Charles Virginia
Jim and his wife Donna Bozza Experimental Film Virginia Festival 2019



“Nicely done Jim. Congrats! I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack worked perfectly. Great work!”
                       ~ Jae Sinnett
Jazz Radio Host/Producer Sinnett In Session/The R&B Chronicles WHRV FM - Music Educator/Drummer/Composer at WHRO Public Radio

“It came out really good!!  Congrats on those sweet time lapses.  I like that Redbank spot, I might have to check that out”
                                                 ~ Mike Eversprill “Milky Way Mike”
National Geographic, Weather.com, Stargazer, Photography Week digital magazine.

“Are you kidding me! Magnificent! Too cosmic! Humbling! Powerful and moving. And. I see you are the composer as well! A simply stunning film. Congratulations on your masterpiece.”
                         ~ Musician Peg Volk

“Wow beautifully done and the music is perfect. Double congrats!!!”

                                        ~ Pianist, Earnest Mathewson

It was a great evening and film festival!

***

ANNOUNCEMENT:
6/30/19
 Jim Baugh Outdoors TV special short film project 2019 titled “The Milky Way Galaxy, Our Home” as seen from the Eastern Shore of Virginia was selected and premiered at the Reel & Raw Film Screening presented by Experimental Film Virginia on June 29th at 7:30 pm in Cape Charles Virginia. This short film features four dark sky locations on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Each shooting location was carefully selected from satellite maps and was researched to enable the best camera view of the Milky Way path from solar midnight to astronomical twilight. Over 20,000 images were captured to create a total of 4 Milky Way Time-lapse. Aerial film was also produced of the selected locations and produced by Mermaid Bay AIR. The theater sold out, standing room only and the festival was a huge success.


You can preview the film below
on JBOTV Youtube Ch.




IFO's (Identified flying objects) in the film include:
Fireflies, airplanes, satellites, meteors, and two passes of the International Space Station traveling at 17,500mph.





PRODUCTION GOAL AND DESIGN


GOAL : When I first thought of the possibility of finding some dark sky sites on the Eastern Shore back in  the fall of 2018, my first concern was that I would not be able to find any. Even though the Eastern Shore of Virginia is rural, there still is the light pollution of Virginia Beach as well as from small towns on the Shore. So I studied satellite maps closely on google earth and covered the coastline of the Eastern Shore of Virginia from the Maryland border to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. I found several locations that looked like they would be fairly well obscured from light pollution and most of these sites were sea side facing the Atlantic ocean looking south east. This was VERY good.

After mapping out the locations, it was then time to hit the road for the next few months visiting these sites and getting a visual on weather or not there would be any surprise lighting problems like street lamps, etc. In the end, I settled on 4 different sites that all had a varied look, feel, composition, and bortle class ranging from 1 (Wachapreague) to a class 3 or 4 which was Cape Charles. The sites that we filmed that were extremely dark (Red Bank, Wachapreague, and Magothy Bay) are probably some of the best newly published dark sky sites on the East Coast. Fortunately, these sites are also open to the public, easily accessible and require no hiking or camping. I had many kind people with various park services and private citizens offer for me to film on their private property or park during closed hours. Although very much appreciated, I declined this because I wanted all sites featured in this film to be readily available and open to the public at any time. So yes, you can come and film in the exact locations you see in this film.

DESIGN: I spent a lot of time researching astrophotography for both stills and time lapse. I will say that I have never seen a Milky Way time lapse I did not like. I just love the look. However from what I could tell, most of the time lapse available to view at the time had certain similar characteristics that if I had a choice, we would avoid. The two main items that to me stood out the most was:

  1. The time lapse image was over exposed with to high an ISO setting in the field then boost more in post processing. This makes the Milky Way stand out, but the feel of a nightscape is lost. The sky around the Milky Way is just way to bright and noisy. Now…This to me still looks cool, however I thought if there is away to retain the effect of a night sky, that would be preferable for this film.
  2. Most of the time lapse that I viewed were only partial, maybe filmed over a couple of hours. I could not find many or any that had the full sweeping arc of the Milky Way from below the horizon, to completing its full journey westward overnight. There are a lot of reasons for this, one of which (at least in the mid Atlantic) There is only the new moon of May that you can film this. So the window is only maybe 3-5 days so you have to be extremely lucky with the weather to be able to film all night and also have ways to beat condensation on the lens. Also considering that filming this way, one can expect to be maybe awake for 30 hours or so which is a lot harder to do than filming for a couple of hours in July.

So, these were the two things I wanted to achieve. 1) Produce time lapse film that exposed the Milky Way however kept the essence of the night sky without over exposure and high ISO. 2) Be sure to film the Milky Way in May in order to capture the Milky Way rise from below to over the horizon and complete it’s path/arc through the night sky. This we accomplished at the Red Bank dark sky site. The other almost full arc we filmed at Wachapreague, the Milky Way started just above the horizon and made for a nice long arc over the night sky.

I could not find anywhere a tutorial on how to NOT to overexpose these astrophotography time lapse films. So I had to figure it out in the studio and I came up with a system and technique that worked! It is a combination of how the film is shot in the field in conjunction with a post processing technique that is pretty much opposite of what has been done in the world of Milky Way Astrophotography so far. The result is a Milky Way that is exposed yet retains the look and feel of the night sky without high in field ISO settings and utilizing various global exposure and gain controls in programs like Lightroom.

Sooooooo if all this was not enough to do! Then came my biggest surprise of all. Really, the biggest hurdle. The WEATHER! Out of 40 potential days of filming astrophotography around the moon phase, in four months we only had TWO That’s (2) nights of clear weather. That was it!! Those two nights I filmed all night at the two darkest sites, Wachapreague and Red Banks. As you can see from the film, it was an extraordinary sight. These two location are among the very few on the East Coast that can provide a dark sky view like this. Plus… the camera view of the Milky Way over the ocean. No light pollution at all. Incredible.

In the end, due to the bad spring/summer weather of 2019, I was still filming our last Milky Way time lapse only two days before the premier at the film festival on June 29th. It was that close folks. I had been editing the short film for 4 months and was down to only needing 6 seconds out of the 4:17 minute film. All done, except for those last 6 seconds. I have never worked so hard for only 6 seconds of film in my life.

If I actually got paid by the hour, I could retire today.

Godspeed,

JB

A few quick facts about the film

·         Over 20,000 images were takin to create 4 time lapse segments.

·         Principle filming was done over a 4-month period and B roll time lapse was produced over a 4-year period.

·         Satellite Maps from Google Earth were used to successfully locate the new dark sky locations.

·         The International Space Station flew through our view of the Milky Way twice in one night and appears so in the film.

·         Up to 5 heat packs plus a fan on the lens was used and necessary to combat lens condensation.

·         In order to keep massive flying insects from hovering on the lens in these remote locations, foggers/bug bombs were set off just to enable time to set up the gear. Then rags coated with deet were draped on the tripods plus a battery operated fan with insect replant was dispersed throughout the overnight filming. This kept the swarms of mosquitos, black & green flies at bay.

·         The squiggly blue light that quickly flashes in the lower right-hand corner during the Wachapreague Milky Way, is actually caused by a surf fisherman using glow lights on his rod tip.

·         Out of 40 possible production days based on the moon phase over the 4 month period, because  the cloudy spring there was only 2 nights of clear skies in four months. Those two nights were the result of Red Bank and Wachapreague Milky Way Time Lapse.

·         Magothy Bay was filmed 3 different times, Cape Charles 5, Wachapreague 2, Oyster 1, Townsend 1, and Red Bank 1.

·         This is the first time the featured locations have ever been published as good dark sky sites.

****

Photo Info & Gear:
Cannon SL2 DSLR, Tonika 11 to 16 Lens F2.8 Exposure 15 sec. ISO 1600/800.
Intervalometer
Magnus Tripod
Jaws Grip
Hero 4
Aukey 4k
Mavic AIR Crystal Sky 5.5 Mavmount
OPOLAR fan
HotHands for lens condensation prevention
WD2 wireless portable hard drive
Cannon R800


Software Apps on Galaxy S10e:
Stellarium, Star Walk 2, Sky Map, Luna, and My Radar.

Post Processing:
Premier CC, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, DaVinci Resolve.

Post Production Audio:
Premier CC, Adobe Audition, Yamaha KX 88, Roland JV1080 Synth with Vintage Synth Expansion and M-Track.



SHOOTING LOG BELOW




6/21/19

Magothy Bay



After reviewing our Milky Way film in post production last week, I still was not satisfied with one of our locations and that was Magothy Bay. The weather just has never been quite right the two previous times I shot there. The location is beautiful and has a wonderful foreground, it also is a very dark sky. Bottom line was I really wanted this dark site to work with us however I was running out of time. The “Milky Way Galaxy, Our Home” short film premiers June 29th at the Palace Theater for the Experimental Film Festival and unfortunately this last week the moon phase was not really in our favor. Also clouds have been a major issue… every dam day!

Looking at our film I realized the small section I wanted to replace in length was only 6 seconds. Six seconds out of a 4:17 length short film. I made it a mission to figure out how to get a Milky way time lapse shot that would look great and fill this space. Unfortunately, I can’t control the moon, or the weather.

So what I did was to monitor the astrophotography weather sites everyday throughout the day and hope for the best, and pray a lot. But we were facing some serious issues with the moon and clouds and the next new moon was the week after the festival. It was last Friday, this 21st that I found a small window, only about an hour or two and it turned out to be quite possibly a gold mine of a shot. Here is what I found.

On the 21st, sunset was around 8:30 and clouds and I mean heavy overcast was happening all day. BUT around sunset, the prediction was the west winds would subside and there would be a break in the clouds for only a couple of hours. The moon was not visible but would be rising around 11:30 or so.

Well, what I thought was that it may be possible to get the Milky Way Time lapse started as the sun set, and once darkness came, the Milky Way would pop out of the sky at around a 45 degree angle for about 45 minutes to an hour, then the clouds would come and the moon would rise over the ocean all about the same time. If this works as predicted, we are talking one hell of a beautiful transitional shot for our film. The Milky Way, then the moon would come into the shot, then the clouds would move in and act as a transition or a “Wipe”. Now this would all happen over the course of only 1-2 hours. BUT we get 6 seconds of finished time lapse per hour, so that means I would get between 6 to 12 seconds of finished time lapse and that is EXACTLY how much time I needed.

I planned this carefully and did think it was a long shot that all of this would work. As fate will have it, the sun did set, the Milky Way appeared right where it was supposed to be, then the moon rose over the Atlantic ocean, then the clouds came in. The shoot could not have been more perfect. I edited the shot the next day over about 9 hours, my last edit, and completed the film.

This was an incredibly narrow window to film, but it was not the only time I had to plan to film in such a narrow time frame based on the moon and weather. During a March shoot my window to capture the Milky Way was only 1 night (due to clouds) and the predicted time we would have clear skies was only 1 hour. Turns out, that was exactly the window of time I had to film and that was between 3 and 4 am in the morning.

For the purpose of this short film, I did want to have 1 if not 2 all night time lapse that would show the Milky Way from below the horizon to rising and completing its full path over the night sky. We accomplished this; however it is worth noting that the 2 all clear nights we had to film, were the only 2 clear nights we had in four months of filming.

The finished film is quite breath taking and look forward to its debut at the film festival. I am also looking forward to taking a few nights in July and August and just enjoying the Milky Way leisurely without worrying about if the dew is going to set in on my lens and if the heat packs are gonna work.

It has been an incredible journey these past four months with some stories I will tell for a lifetime. During my 31 years of producing television, music, and short films, this project is definitely at the top of my favorite list.

We will post more info about other festivals and in late June the film will be on the Jim Baugh Outdoors TV Channel on Youtube and social media.

“The Milky Way Galaxy, Our Home” as seen from the Eastern Shore of Virginia premiers June 29th at the Experimental Film Virginia Festival in Cape Charles Virginia. The festival will showcase the films at the historic Palace Theater as well as remote projection screens along the waterfront/beach. Tickets are available at the Lemon Tree Art Gallery.

Godspeed,

JB


6/4/2019
Cedar Island
Wachapreague VA


Milky Way over Cedar Island, Eastern Shore Virginia.
WOW! Fantastic shoot just north of Wachapreague, this was our last shoot for our Milky Way film to debut at the film festival in cape Charles June 29th. These are just a couple of sample stills from the shoot. I think so far we have captured maybe 20,000 RAW images complied into 4 time lapse segments. All 4 locations are on the Eastern Shore. This was only the second clear night in about four months of shooting. Incredible location with hardly any light pollution at all, basically none.

This shoot went extremely well and we had very clear skies plus a nice 10 to 15mph wind so the bugs were not bad at all plus very low humidity. I had prepped the lens with heat packs just in case, but there was no condensation at all. Total exposures was around 2000, iso 1600, 15 sec exposure, 20 sec interval. I burned through two batteries on the SL2, actually had more jucie in the second battery but had filmed for some 6 hours so had 35 seconds of finished timelapse which is more than I needed.

If you plan on coming to Wachapreague and need accommodations we stayed at the artist apartment above the Current Reflections Art Gallery located right in Wachapreague, this is only minutes away from our dark sky site where we filmed, here is the web site go check them out. Awesome place with two rooms, full kitchen, living room, bath, great place to stay either while doing photography, fishing, or even bird watching!
Facebook link for Current Reflections Lodging

Milky Way over Cedar Island Wachapreague  Eastern Shore of Virginia

5/7/2019

Red Bank


WOW! This overnight shoot was certainly our best weather wise as well as our best dark sky site. The south east rise of the Milky Way was over the pitch black Atlantic ocean and had clean visibility through most of the night. The light pollution you see in the lower right is Virginia Beach (approx. 50 mi away) and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  I had picked out this location several months ago and have been anxiously waiting for the right opportunity to film it. The location is called Red Banks on the sea side of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Although the skies were super clear, the big fear I had was dew. The relative humidity was I think 93% and the temp was gong to be around 56, so I knew I was headed for possible problems. So this was the first night I pulled out all the stops, in an effort to film all night without ANY condensation on the lens. The good news is because of these things we did to prep the camera, although we had dew almost immediately on everything early in the evening including tripods, chairs, etc, not one drop of moisture was on our lens. It amazed me! Here is what we did and without taking these measures, we would have never been able to film and we ran the camera from around 11pm until 4am the next morning with not a drop of dew. Here is what we did.
1 Climatize:
I took the camera and put it in it’s camera bag and set it outside for 4 hours. Once on location, I put the camera bag outside near the tripod this was around 7pm, filming would start around 11. At about 10pm I took the camera out of the bag and velcrowed 4 heating paks (hand warmers) that I had attached to a sock with rubber bands, this was wrapped tightly around the lens. I also used gaffers tape prior to lock down both the focus ring on infinity and zoom so the settings could not be accidentally knocked out of wack. This works very well. Once the heat packs were on the camera went back into the bag and again set outside next to the tripod.
2 Heat Packs:
The hand warmer heat packs are the disposable ones you can find anywhere. I attach then to a sock which adds more insulation to the lens and camera. The four heat packs kept the camera completely dry while everything else, and I mean everything, was covered in dew.
3 Battery operated fan:
I bought a battery operated fan from amazon for 13 bucks that would run all night off AA batteries. This fan was mounted close the lens and pointed directly at it. This did 2 things, kept the millions of bugs off the lens and moving air across the glass continually will greatly reduce the chance of condensation.
Combating the bugs!
This is a biggie. Here on the Eastern Shore the flies when they bite (and they do non stop) will actually draw blood. These insects not only make it impossible to film, but they can play havoc on your lens. I thought about experimenting with a couple of things and all I can say is I only got bit once all night. Never had flies around me for the most part, and no flying insects ever touched my lens. Here is what I did.
1 Clothes:
Cover your body with clothes, I wore sweat pants, hoodie, socks, etc. Then spray anything exposed with your fav bug spray. Next, spray your clothes.
2 Deet Rag:
Get a rag and place it on your tripod and spray it liberally with your bug spray. Get it good and soaking and leave it on your tripod.
3 Off Clip On Battery Operated Mosquito Device:
This is something I was looking for, not sure it would work, but it seemed to help. I mounted it under the tripod to cover the small area I was filming. The fan kept running all night and never ran out of power. This is an ideal set up if you are sitting still like filming timelapse.
Between doing all these things, I had zero issues with bugs in one of the worst buggy areas I have ever been. I will continue to use this when ever doing overnight timelapse. The fan we mounted pointed at the lens also helped.
The camera I used is our SL2 with Tonika 11-16 lens. This evening we shot close to 2000 RAW and Jpeg images. I did have to swap out a battery once during the overnight shoot, but that was it. I also used our intervalometer set to 15 sec exposure with a 20 sec interval and set to continuous. The intervalometer was totally soaked starting early in the evening but worked fine all night.
At this point we have only one more location to film before we complete our Milky Way Madness 2019 short film of locations featured from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We have been editing as we go along filming and the project is turning out very nice. I was mostly worried we may not ever get a chance with the weather to produce a very clean and complete Milky Way time lapse. However fortunately, we did accomplish this last night.

Godspeed,

JB

5/2/2019
Cape Charles
Success! JBOTV filmed last night from 11 to 5 this am in Cape Charles. We had a lot of moving clouds but was able to shoot around 2000 RAW exposures for a time lapse to be in our upcoming Milky Way film featuring Eastern Shore locations. Here is the finished image. From here we film north up the Shore through July. New moon is coming up this weekend so as long as it is a clear night good time to do a little star gazing. Will be reporting on our drum show as soon as it is finished hopefully over the weekend. Tight Lines, Cheers. JB






Filming Notes for this shoot:

Since our last time lapse was plagued by dew, on this shoot again we were set up only a few feet from the water of the Chesapeake Bay with changing temps as the night cooled. Before leaving for the shoot we climatized the camera outside for five hours and before heading out, wrapped 3 warming packs around the lens and secured them with Velcro straps. Prior to this we also anchored down both infinity and aperture with gaffing tape. Once again on location tested out iso and shutter speed and captured several foreground shots. Once on location plans changed a little due to some street lights that were on timers so our location changed for the time lapse by about 70 feet. Once ready to time lapse, we again used an intervalometer set to 15 sec exposure, 20 second interval with a 10 second drive mode to start. I also took a battery fan for the lens but it was not necessary due to a pretty good 10 to 15ph wind all night long.

Although we did experience some dew on the tripods and our clothes, the lens was 100% clean of any moisture. The heat packs worked extremely well and lasted from around midnight to 5am. The entire shoot of the Milky Way passing.

4/11/2019
Mermaid Bay
First clear night in quite a while and the moon set before midnight, sooo, set up time lapse cameras between 2 and 4 am to catch the Milky Way. This was shot at Mermaid Bay on the Shore. The next shoot in May will be quite further north on the sea side, much less light pollution. We did catch some meteors in the time lapse, very nice night. This image was a 4 exposure stack out of 300 RAW images. 15 sec exposure, 1600 ISO F 2.8. Foreground light painted at 200 ISO 15 sec exposure. Next shoot is May 4th on the next new moon. Cheers.



4/4/2019
We are on new moon eve however the overnight weather forecast has given us almost no window to film astrophotography. Early this am there was a small window of only partial clouds. So, at 3 am this morning we had our cameras set up at two new fairly dark sky locations on the Eastern Shore, Oyster and Townsend. Both locations had partial clouds however it made for some pretty cool images. We will shoot again on the next new moon in May 2019. In September we will produce a short film featuring all the Milky Ways we filmed both in photo and time lapse. Cheers. Below is Oyster and Townsend this morning.

Oyster Virginia

Townsend
Photo Info:
Because of the clouds in Oyster we did not take but a few exposures. The final image here is taken from only one exposure, no stacking.
The image from Townsend was an 8 image stack taken from about 30 exposures. Included was calibration dark slate. Townsend is closer to the light pollution of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and we were butting up against twilight, however the image has a pretty good signal to noise ratio. All post processing was done RAW in Lightroom and Photoshop and downresed to these jpegs. JB

3/31/2019
Tonight’s Milky Way over the Eastern Shore! Our first photo kicking off Milky Way Madness 2019. Had been trying to get in some shots of the Milky Way but the weather and moon have not been on our side for a few weeks.

Tonight we had a VERY narrow window from 3am to 4 am to catch the Milky Way. I checked two different weather services both reporting a clearing between fronts but only for a couple of hours and our Milky Way window was only from around 3:30 to 4:10am. This was also the only time we had a break in the clouds for days. The Milky Way rose high enough to film around 3:30, and twilight was starting around 4:30am, plus a front with lots of rain heading our way in a matter of a couple of hours. So... we really did have a very narrow window to get this shot.

I got to say, the weather folks called this one perfect. We did get that window of clearing, and just long enough for us to get the right shot.

The new moon will be this coming Friday and weather permitting we will film it again. Camera settings and technique: SL2 11to16 F 2.8 ISO1600 15 sec exposure 40 images captured RAW Edited in Lightroom and image stacked 4 exposures in Photoshop.
Picture taken 3:30am in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia approx. 5 miles north of Kiptopeke State Park. The pic below is the exact camera location during day light,

***

7/1/2019
NEW MOON July 1 2018
We wanted to shoot some stills of the Milky Way in July and August for this post. Last night it was another cloudy night as it has been for the last four months. However we did manage to pull this one off filmed at Mermaid Bay in Cape Charles.
The dune grass was light painted for approx 4 seconds of a 15 sec exposure and 4 exposures were takin, then stacked and medan merged.
This shot of the Milky Way was only two days after the Film Festival our our short film premiered.

Below are the dates and time of the new moons during Milky Way Madness. This will be helpful to plan your trip to a low light pollution area to film some awesome night scapes. Here on the Eastern Shore we will be filming from Cape Charles to Assateague From March through August 2019.

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