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Fight Crab! Rough Box Crabs fighting away in east Bali (Lumix LX10)


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Hello all,

Taking a break from tiny subjects here in east Bali, here’s a little clip of two fighting Rough Box Crabs (Calappa gallus) using holds and projection techniques in what looks like some sort of crustacean jiu-jitsu!
 

 

To give some background to the clip, I stumbled upon these two ruthless opponents in the shallows a couple of weeks back, and stayed with them for a while, as the fighting was quite relentless and quite fun to watch...
 

Technically, my LX10 kit was set up for macro, but its buoyancy is now quite neutral (only a tad negative), which allowed me to simply fold-up the quadripod legs and follow the action hand-held.

It was tricky at times, as they were going quite fast especially during the chases, and I did feel the limitation of having only a single Backscatter MW4300 light, here in 4300 lm wide-angle beam mode.

While it certainly would have been nice to have a slightly larger pool of light to keep medium-sized subjects like this in the spotlight, in the end I actually also like the fact that they’re moving in and out of the shadows like this.

The camera was shooting in manual focus, at f/11 with the Inon UCL165 +6 diopter on.
It’s all shot in 4K 30fps – I considered dropping down to 60fps so I could have access to slow-motion sequences but ended up shooting the whole sequence in 4K 30fps, and it turned out ok, and I didn’t need to crop or stabilise in post.


 

While I liked some specific sequences in the footage from that day, I wasn’t was not quite sure how to approach the edit, and was initially planning on working on a much shorter clip showing only the "action highlights",  to avoid boring viewers with a single subject.

After drifting through various musical choices (including Japanese kabuki theater music), I settled for a percussion-only track to edit on, and started cutting away in FCPX (Final Cut Pro that, not the Fisheye Conversion Port 😉)

But then my wife stepped in, saying she thought my sequences were too short, and that itwas better to give it time to let the action develop - she then offered to work on the first edit instead.

When I first watched her initial proposal, I thought it was too long at first, but ended up keeping most of her original structure and just shortening some sequences.

For me what stands out the most in this clip is her audacious proposal to keep the 1”20’ uncut long shot sequence, from the 40 seconds to 2-minute mark – (her "Touch of Evil" opening shot moment, one could say )

This was something I wouldn’t have done (applying the mantra of our attention-defficient day and age, too long = boring!) but she insisted on leaving the sequence uncut as is, to let the viewer watch the action develop in real time (and, herm, also something a bit more mysterious about respecting the crabs... 😅)

Anyhow, in the end I grew to like it as well, as keeping it as a single long uncut shot does help really follow the tension and dynamics of the fight - and even if it's a bit on the long end and not really in zeitgeist,
these little guys are quite fun to watch!
 

cheers!

ben

Edited by bghazzal
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Lovely sequence.
I don't know what your version was like but this one is very entertaining. Maybe I would have tried to close it with a winner!

How was it that you mounted the diopter? I wouldn't have thought it possible to shoot such subjects with a close focus lens mounted.

Actually the outlined circle of light accentuates the epic of the clash. It almost looks like a boxing ring or a circus ring 😆

 

Thanks for sharing

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3 hours ago, Davide DB said:

Actually the outlined circle of light accentuates the epic of the clash. It almost looks like a boxing ring or a circus ring 😆

 

Agreed!

 

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20 hours ago, TimG said:

Wicked! Great team editing and a super choice of music. Nice work, Mr and Mrs Ben!


Thanks Tim, this kind of team work isn't always easy but this was a fun little project to work on together!

 

18 hours ago, Davide DB said:

Lovely sequence.
I don't know what your version was like but this one is very entertaining. Maybe I would have tried to close it with a winner!

How was it that you mounted the diopter? I wouldn't have thought it possible to shoot such subjects with a close focus lens mounted.

Actually the outlined circle of light accentuates the epic of the clash. It almost looks like a boxing ring or a circus ring 😆

 

Thanks for sharing


Yep a winner would have been great, but the fight just dwindled out at some point and each went their own way, so I guess it was a draw.... 😄

Regarding the diopter, the Inon UCL165 is really flexible on my setup, I can still focus at roughly 1m distance, and the advantage is that if subjects get closer, I can keep focus while zoomed-out a little.

But In this particular case, I think I just made my life more complicated actually since I wasn't zooming in and the focusing area was pretty clearly marked by the lights...
I shot the mimic octopus vid just straight from the port for instance, but that did get wider at times as it was much more mobile and frequently moved away into ambient light only.

I agree the circle of light works well in this specific case, ring-like indeed!
I'm also trying to imagine what the same area would look like if instead of a single central 4000 lumen light I had two side-mounted ones. 
Given that these are not very powerful lights, it's difficult to visualise what two crossing cones of light would give in this kind of scenario, as opposed to a central spotlight...
 

Edited by bghazzal
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5 hours ago, bghazzal said:

I agree the circle of light works well in this specific case, ring-like indeed!
I'm also trying to imagine what the same area would look like if instead of a single central 4000 lumen light I had two side-mounted ones. 
Given that these are not very powerful lights, it's difficult to visualise what two crossing cones of light would give in this kind of scenario, as opposed to a central spotlight...

 

What's your ISO? 

It seems clean to me.

 

Although many people say so, flooding the scene with lots of light is not always the solution. we should look for shadows, even with the position of the lights. I like the lighting you have achieved. The shadows give plasticity to the subjects.

 

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30 minutes ago, Davide DB said:

 

What's your ISO? 

It seems clean to me.

 

Although many people say so, flooding the scene with lots of light is not always the solution. we should look for shadows, even with the position of the lights. I like the lighting you have achieved. The shadows give plasticity to the subjects.


Yes, you're right Davide - I have more than enough light for smaller subjects, it's just an extension of this medium range which is tempting...

But then again it doesn't happen that often, and frankly I'm not sure what a more wide angle like positioning of 2 cones of 4300lm lights - instead of single frontal one as the main light source - would have achieved. Good chance it might be wider but also less concentrated.
The grass is always greener on the other side I guess...

And I do have two smaller video lights on the side already, which opens up a lot of options when you have the time to try things and play with the positioning - in this case the crabs were already deep into it when I got there, so I just had time to quickly adjust exposure and the 3 lights to form a light pool and then it was all about following them around...


The sequence was shot at ISO 125, so I have a bit of room, not to mention that I'm actually using a slightly tighter angle than the 180° rule as I find that it's actually more flexible and works well for critters (I think i was at roughly 100° but mum's the word 😉)

Edited by bghazzal
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