PIZZA, one of my favorite meals at home.Good ingredients, whenever possible from our gardens.

PIZZA, was the only dish I made until recently. Now I do some more in the kitchen, ………….Tony………….

I started with a ready-made dough from the supermarket. That’s as if you took other people’s pictures from the Internet and make an AV. The music we borrow anyhow usually. I try to get away from that.
AV, that’s Audio and Visual, limited in the slide days to stills. Now with video recording in the same camera, this project became quite involved.

My local music guy (recording studio, events organiser) gave me a choice of 2 songs by JJ Cale. The entertainer chap made cover versions of various songs, so my recorder mensch had the new instrumentals on a separate track from the voice. I wrote the words – a lengthy process – fitting in with the music, keeping close to the original number of syllables / words.

Then the entertainer guy played hard to get. I tried a busker, no go. Again, a lot of time wasted. Finally my music guy was recording an album for a gospel singer – Zach, as in Zachariah from the Bible. We did two takes and the song plus some words for the end were done. That was about a year after I started planning the AV – Video.

I thought of a variety of setting up the necessary subjects, fitting in with the words. The lyrics guided my work of video and stills, but I did not adhere to the sequence – start to finish. Whenever I had some ideas and time I photographed and programmed in steps fitting into my timeline. The basics were the text, which I did not alter.

The lyrics dictated the sequence , e.g. rolling the dough comes after kneading, and mixing before that. The almost finished product I show at the beginning in sync with the beat. The end is a revision to round off the whole process, also repeating certain points, which might have gone too quickly or left out in detail in the fast moving body of the work.

The video clip with the large dial: I had to deliver that clock to a customer long before “PIZZA” was finished and the filming had to be perfect as no repeats were possible.
The modern clock movement has a fast forward mode for setting. I slowed this down to about 70 % in Video Pad, still faster than normal seconds, but fitting in with the rhythm of the kneading.
I had experimented with a domestic clock, but it did not work as well as the above. That goes for many set-ups, lots of time-consuming tries. Thinking up the effects initially was another story. (Not Dream catcher or DreamWorks, but Staying-awake-at-night-works)

Most of my special effects are not programme-based, e.g. the vinyl lettering on the roller itself. The first three credits I wrote in the Title Editor, but how to let them vanish? The shadow at the bottom of the roller helped a lot combined with carefully used dissolve times. I thought of using masks, but actually I don’t know how – yet.
Sieving the flour, I thought of taking a special metal sieve with moving parts using a dynamic angle. The old sieve however tied in better with other traditional items, e.g. the wooden board.

Camera? My one and only digital is a compact type, Nikon Coolpix P 7700. Naturally I used tripods, an old one hangs permanently suspended in my studio / store-room, a home-made copy stand is indispensable for me, a spare camera shoe I mounted to a ceiling beam in the kitchen. The fully articulated camera monitor is essential, and a little remote control eases the work. If you look very closely you can see this in my first shot of grating the cheese.

Picture to video ratio, a bit more than one third video, 120 files all together including sound. The latest large screen-version I saved as 1920 x 1080 pix,150 MB.

A few tweaks I managed earlier this year (2018). At 0:43 to 0:44 the flying dough pieces where not all there and the sound was dodgy. I synchronized images and sound within that 1.5 seconds – what a load of work – but worthwhile. And at 1:56 to 1:57 the wooden roller slows down a little as I grab it. The new program – feature made light work of that one.

Timing was important on certain shots, my tomatoes were plentiful and at their prime for the first three month of the year. The title – PIZZA – is laid out in red peppers. My wife often grills those, peels off the blackened skin and soaks them in a mixture, never mind what, but they are very pliable. There is just no waste in my food photography, except a teaspoon of yeast for the macro shots at the end. I probably made about six Pizzas to get it together, all of them we enjoyed.

Thomas Niemeyer, amateur cook, amateur photographer, master clockmaker.

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