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Taping a Training -- Pointers??

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by GeekLawyer, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. macrumors demi-god


    Hey everyone, as the resident "geek" in my office, I'm often called on whenever there's a technology need. So, I've been asked to attend and video record a "talking head" type of training that will probably amount to 10-12 hours of recording over the course of two days.

    I have a Sony DCR HC-20 MiniDV camcorder, a tripod, and my trusty Macbook. Now, video work is a little outside my realm of expertise. My plan includes using the tripod and AC power for the camera. I've done some tests and I believe from the range I'm looking at, the on-board mic should be sufficient, though there's an external mic jack if that were to be an absolute necessity (then I would need a mic recommendation...).

    I guess my real questions are these:

    1) Should I plan to record the sessions onto MiniDV tapes and, if so, can I do this at LP (90-minute) speed, without compromising my ability to edit the footage with iMovie?

    2) Or, would be it be possible (and feasible) to keep the camera connected to my Macbook and record either MPEG2 or H.264 to the harddrive (about 40Gb free) and then edit from the resulting data file(s)? I have QuickTime Pro.

    3) To put this footage on a DVD, I can use iMovie to edit and encode it, yes?

    4) If I wanted to break the training up into hour-long blocks, what is the best software solution to encode the video for web-distribution? I dislike Flash as my only option, but realize that most potential viewers of the content will be using Windoze of some flavor.

    Sorry to ask so many questions. I am a real noob when it comes to video stuff. However, I think between my Macbook and iMac, I can produce something decent with these great tools and this amazing software (not to mention a little advice from you fine folks). Thanks!
  2. macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    That will be fine and toasty.

    No, don't do it.

    H.264 is the best, so go Quicktime. If people don't like that, provide a link to download it. Just because the rest of the world use flash and other horrible technology, doesn't mean you have to ;)

    Also, get a Mic if you can, but be sure to test and practice using it. Sound is very important. Get plenty of light too. And use an external HD for that huge amount of raw footage.
  3. macrumors 6502a



    10 - 12 Hours of video will NOT fit on one DVD, it will also result in a HUUGE file on your MB. A lot more then 40GB.. I hope you do not expect to capture ALL of the footage on your MB.
  4. macrumors 603


    Just to give you some idea. 1 hour of DV footage takes about 12GBs of space.
  5. macrumors demi-god


    1. Don't shoot in "LP" mode. It can cause problems down the line. If you need longer than 60min tapes you can buy 80min ones
    1a. Make sure you can signal the presenter when you need to change tapes so you won't miss anything.

    2. As previously said, bad idea.

    3. Yes, but you are limited to two hours of video on a DVD.

    4. An hour long video net video is a very long time to watch something on a computer screen, FWIW. I would go w/Flash because it's nearly universal. Most people in corporate situations are locked out of installing apps so linking to QT is problematic because it will require an IT person to come around and actually install the app on the users machine.

    5. Buy a mic. Is the presenter going to be behind a podium? Sitting at a desk? Walking around?

  6. macrumors demi-god


    Thanks everyone. And mega-thanks to Much Ado and LethalWolfe. This is my first attempt, so hopefully I'll make something useful out of it, even if it's just practice. Or I could screw it up the point that I'm never asked to do it again. Really any result will be fine. ;)

    Since I'll be recording to tapes, I'll end up doing editing and production work on my iMac, which is connected to 500Gb of external storage.

    As for the finished product, you've given me a lot to think about. I had no idea that DVDs would be so limited in terms of space. I may have to rethink the media I distribute it on. Or maybe the format. We're not talking about a cinematic epic here. Video quality isn't going to be the greatest concern.

    And I'll be out shopping for a mic tomorrow. I'm assuming I'll be looking for some variety of zoom mic, although I've been impressed by the build-in mic on the camera.

    Thanks again everyone.
  7. macrumors G5


    Borrow or rent a backup camera. Roll 2 tapes with staggered change times if you can.

    Get tripods and set them up for a dry run in the presentation room Before the day of the event. You want to know if you're going to have a problem with lighting, sound or ability to get wide enough.

    Make sure that the presenter has signed a model release or that their contract explicitly includes videotaping and for what uses.

    Google for advice - there's a lawyer who has posted a whole website on how to video depositions, there some decent hints there.
  8. macrumors demi-god


    IIRC you can use Toast to get more minutes on the DVD (at the lowering of quality obviously) but you won't have the menu creation features that iDVD has.

    If the subject is going to stationary (at a desk or podium) you can put the mic (and mic stand) right in front of him (like you see on TV press conferences) and run the cable back to your camera. If the presenter is going to be walking around you'll probably want a lav mic (one that the presenter wears and clips onto his lapel or shirt). Even something from Radio Shack would be better than the on-camera Mic.

  9. macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

    Yes, Toast works quite well, or it could be easier just to dump a load of highly compressed QT files on the DVD as you would a regular CD.

    The '2 hour' rule applies if you want a proper, full quality, play-when-you-put-it-in disk with the iDVD features.

    OP: You seem to like your in-built mic ;) Honestly, do try and get a proper mic, as this will be useful now, and also in the future. I also forgot to mention before- if you have a stationary subject then use the manual focus. Really crucial.

    Most of all, enjoy the experience. Making films, of any kind, is a great passion of mine, and i'm sure you'll get a lot from this too.

    Good luck,
  10. macrumors 6502

    1. Don't record in LP, always get the best quality possible.

    2. Borrow a 2nd camera if possible.

    3. Get the best quality to you can onto a DVD (1-1.5 hours or so)

    4. AUDIO, AUDIO, AUDIO. Make sure your mic is close enough to the subject to capture without too much ambient noise (pay more for audio if you need it- put a RODE NT-3 on a mic stand close to the subject, out of the shot, connected by XLR cable until it gets to your camera and connect it into your XLR inputs) if only have the little jack, consider:


    it's not great, but it'll suit your purposes. always try to get the mic as close to your subject as you can.

    5. include at least 20 seconds of pre & post roll for each shot (when you press record until stop)

    6. inform the presenter & have them try to chunk the presentation into 45-50 minute blocks that allow him to pause for a moment for you to change tapes.

    7. mark your tapes BEFORE you shoot

    8. buy tapes in bulk, you'll need more than you think

    9. don't interrupt the subject unless absolutely necessary

    10. make sure there is enough ambient light and NO shadows - use extra lights if you need to (out of the shot). it will be worth it

    11. Try to shoot from a higher angle. Straight ahead is really boring

    12. PM me if you have any ?s, no matter how stupid you might think they are
  11. macrumors 6502a

    If you have a 500gb hard drive to edit everything, why not hook that up to your macbook and record the video as DV straight to it? You'll have to hook it up via firewire (USB is too slow), but that would save you lots of time and money by not having to buy MiniDV tapes and capture the video in real time.

    I would also say you're much better off using a lav mic. It will make a big difference.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Unless the laptop, the app, or the HDD acts up and you lose everything you've been recording for the past 3 hrs. ;)

  13. macrumors 6502a

    When I record long live events, I always record to tape and hard drive simultaneously. I can swap out my tapes in the camera while still recording to the hard drive and just use them as backups.

    But yes... if you record to the laptop only you run the risk of losing everything if the computer messes up (it's happened to me before...)

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