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Author Topic: I need some help - What Video Camera / Combocam  (Read 4536 times)
SC1
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« on: December 13, 2008, 08:51:46 AM »
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I have been given the green light to buy a new video system. The main two items that I will be shooting is dramatic lit products that are the size of a shoe box. The second task is to shoot a documentary in the streets of NYC - mostly at night - interviewing people.

I am a 1Ds shooter and have the original Ds to the current. I just bought a 5D2 and the video I can shoot with it is awesome. But.... it can't out focus (well - not usable for sure) and I assume I have to get separate audio recording device because anything that requires mechanics on the camera is recorded loud and clear. I'm outputting to the web and DVD... wish I could do Blu-ray.

Here are my main big questions.

Should I get a true video camera for the main work and use the 5D for the "creative" shots?

I had a mac back in the Mac II days and have had PCs since. This is a new system and I have to buy a new PC or Mac. If you were starting from scratch would you go with a Mac or can I do everything with a PC (I would rather stay with a PC if at all possible). And of course this will change what software I use - Final Cut Pro or Premier Pro.

Where can I go online or what books should I buy to dive into this world? And are there any good classes or instructors that I can go to in Miami?

I have blocked off my schedule to dive deep into this world - I know it is going to be frustrating but it will be fun at the same time.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2008, 10:43:42 AM »
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Quote from: SC1
I have been given the green light to buy a new video system. The main two items that I will be shooting is dramatic lit products that are the size of a shoe box. The second task is to shoot a documentary in the streets of NYC - mostly at night - interviewing people.

I am a 1Ds shooter and have the original Ds to the current. I just bought a 5D2 and the video I can shoot with it is awesome. But.... it can't out focus (well - not usable for sure) and I assume I have to get separate audio recording device because anything that requires mechanics on the camera is recorded loud and clear. I'm outputting to the web and DVD... wish I could do Blu-ray.

Here are my main big questions.

Should I get a true video camera for the main work and use the 5D for the "creative" shots?

I had a mac back in the Mac II days and have had PCs since. This is a new system and I have to buy a new PC or Mac. If you were starting from scratch would you go with a Mac or can I do everything with a PC (I would rather stay with a PC if at all possible). And of course this will change what software I use - Final Cut Pro or Premier Pro.

Where can I go online or what books should I buy to dive into this world? And are there any good classes or instructors that I can go to in Miami?

I have blocked off my schedule to dive deep into this world - I know it is going to be frustrating but it will be fun at the same time.

I am dived in deep too

The 5d is going to be ideal for products I would imagine - if you want to move the camera round or across the products you are going to need some very smooth kit - indyslider or something
As for shooting at night I beleive that handycams have really bad noise - but they do have AF and 'steady shot' - so you win some and lose some

The 5d more 'arthouse' the handycam more 'safe'

Macs v PCs I have both - the PC has a nicer keyboard and right click - thats all I really know about computers

I have found FCP on the mac pretty easy to learn the basics of (apart from encoding/compression and rendering - there doesnt seem to be a 'basic' way of doing it)




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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2008, 12:24:43 PM »
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Quote from: SC1
Here are my main big questions.

I have blocked off my schedule to dive deep into this world - I know it is going to be frustrating but it will be fun at the same time.


To begin with learning and becoming even semi expert on a non-linear editor like fcp or avid will suck more time out of your life than 4 years in jail, so just be prepared to go into your suite turn on the computer at 8am and don't leave until 4am the next morning.  Repeat this process for a few months (minimum).

You can learn fcp through a variety of sources online and in classes, some of the best classes are in LA and though I don't discourage anyone from learning the basics of editing, because it will make you give you a better understanding of shooting and directing motion, I do suggest once you learn the basics to align yourself with a good editor or editorial house.  Good, to great editors can make or break a project (just like in stills with good to great retouchers) and few photographers, directors or dps, are good (or care to be) good at editing, timing/grading, titling, effecting all the way to finish out.

As far as cameras, in the prosumer range none of the hdv, videocams work that well in low light, or with dark backgrounds if the gain is pushed at all they will snow storm up quickly.

The chips are tiny and and the sensor is packed so it takes very little to lose detail and require a lot of post work correction to kill the noise and adding filters to moving footage is much more time consuming than stills.  The 5d2 or the Nikon n90 will work much better in low light than any prosumer high def.

If you really need autofocus and low light look at the older xl1/2 canons as though they shoot a standard def frame they go to high iso very, very well.  

If your shooting dialog, then you defineatly need either lav's or a good boom operator and for anything manual focus you might be able to learn to pull focus by yourself on moving subjects, but good fluid head, a follow focus system (even prosumer grade like red rock) an external high def monitor that is closely calibrated to the computer and if the budget permits an added crew member to pull focus is required or will make for much more professional imagery.

Motion is a much different animal than shooting stills.  It's not just pretty pictures with slight movement, but it's should be a cohesive piece that tells a story, even if it's a visual story and sound, focus, jerky movments,  excess noise, bad color, rough editing, will cheapen the look.  Any one of those elements out of place and the piece is ruined.

The one thing most still photographers forget when shooting motion is the story telling part.  You must, let me repeat this, you must have a script, storyline or storyboard, even if it's rough even if it's drawn with stick figures and you must make it cohesive.  The story doesn't have to be exactly linear, (see pulp fiction) it's should never be predicatable (see 99% of every movie, tv show and you tube video) but it has to be more than pretty pictures.

You also have to get it through your head that walking out with a shoulder or hand mounted handy cam and just shooting a lot of low lit footage will not please anyone (or at least shouldn't) and learning how to shoot motion is up there with relearning how to become a photographer.  It's that big of a leap.

There is a reason even small productions have sound technicians, gaffers, swings, grips, focus pullers and once shot, color experts, effects houses, title design and usually multiple editors in dedicated suites.

Now the good news is, apples final cut pro will do just about anything from color correction, effects, titles, even some basic masking, but the bad news is it will do all of these things and to master every one takes huge volumes of time.

Even something that seems as rough and real as this adidas commercial takes a large crew and a huge volume of preproduction, planning and editing.

And it requires a story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT3Jj9OGMA0

Once you add dialog the story and the cohesiveness is even more important.

http://ishotit.com/SixMan4.mov

Both of these two simple projects takes a lot more than one or two people and not good but great editors.

I guess you can do everything yourself and do it well, (it has been done before) but for even a small compelling motion piece you need to dedicate months.



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SC1
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2008, 12:53:53 PM »
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^Thanks so much for the insight. I'm the kind of person who takes on projects like this and runs with them pretty hard. Right now I have to do this and do it right. My budget isn't all that big but I do have enough to get some decent equipment. Right now I have to make the correct decisions on the equipment / software as I won't have additional budgets to cover huge mistakes.

I'm looking to buy an indiSlider and maybe the Merlin Stedicam. I'm going to take a lot of time to use these items well... luckily I have a good sense of balance and reflexes - I hope this helps...!

Now onto getting the system put together. And once I start shooting I'll make some posts and hopefully they will either inspire or scare people off!!
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citizenjoe
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 09:39:34 PM »
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That six man football short is great!

H
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Hugh, from Winnipeg.
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