Last minute video gig need advice!

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by nateo200, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #1
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    So I am shooting a Christmas pagent tomorrow for my church. I will be using an HDV type camera as well as my Canon 550D. It's for my church but my church is very large and the intended target will be DVDs for distribution at a low cost. The lady I'm working with is (thank God) a news cast major so she will be running the sound board with a total of 10mics. She wants the whole thing shot wide angle and some close shots. I was thinking getting in close with my DSLR and attempting to get some tack sharp video 1920p30 since downressing that always looks gorgeous but I only have an 18-55mm f3.5 lens so that's assuming light is decent but it'll be at 4:00pm...don't tell me to find a lens with a faster f stop because I'm about to hurt someone over the issue with that as it is I just need advice as to what I can do with what I have.

    For post edit I'll be using my MacBook pro core 2 duo, 6 gigs of ram, RAID, FCP x (and FCP 7 since the lady prefers that platform), and of course compressor. Biggest concern I have is audio. Definitely want it to sound sharp and clear and it needs to be Dolby Digital with discrete channels that will fit on a DVD.
     
  2. smali, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

    smali macrumors regular

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    #2
    Hey,

    I've shot in some pretty dark indoor situations with my 550d and all I have is the kit lens, and a 50mm 1.8 (obv no good for wide angle).

    Some recommendations:

    -Shoot 24p if you can, means you can run the shutter at 50 lets in a bit more light.

    -Don't be afraid to use a higher iso. Even 800iso can look fairly good, just try to find some great angles and people won't even notice the noise. Esp if you are reducing the res for dvd it really won't be that bad.

    -Use the environment to your advantage. Try and shoot where there is a lot more light coming in, for example I was shooting an interview at night outdoors with no lighting. I told the subject to go stand near the street light. Be inventive.

    -In post you can rescue some dark footage without inducing too much noise, play around with levels and such.

    When you have no lights and no fast glass unfortunately you are going to have to compromise on Image Quality, so with that in mind plan some interesting shots. Great editing can also "save" fairly poor image quality.

    Most of all don't stress out too much about the image quality. I've been down that road, wishing to have better gear etc, doesn't help at all.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Stereo or 5.1?
    Stereo shouldn't be a problem if the lady at the soundboard knows what she's doing. For 5.1, you need to record each mic to its own track and mix/pan it in STP.
     
  4. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Ouch... I'm guessing you're referring to the kit lens, 18-55 f/3.5-5.6. This means that for your tight shots at 50mm, you'll be at f/5.6, yikes. smali summed it up nicely, get there ahead of time, find out where's there's more light and when people will be there. I guess you could bring your own lights in. Nothing fancy, but if you can get a spot where the person will be speaking, that's at least one shot you'll know will be clean. (I've never been to a christmas pagent but I think it involves people reading/speaking). But this also depends on the lighting your church. Some are decent and you might be able to get the shots in at something harsh but usable like 800 iso.

    I know you said you don't want to get equipement for this but a 50mm f/1.8 prime could really save you on this. You could also rent one for like 10 to 15$ for the week-end.
     
  5. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    Stereo would suffice but I REALLY REALLY want to learn how to create 5.1 tracks. I went to Dolby's website but it's really vague in comparison to the visuals of "ZOMG CREATE 1920x1080p HD MOVIES" with pure video editing. I want the video so the vocals are very much in the center channel with the music in left and right channels. I could live with 3-1 surround (L C R Sc LFE) which Pro Logic can do right? I don't need insane Dolby Digital but something that doesn't sound monotone...
     
  6. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    I can rent a lens no problem but it's tomorrow at 4:00pm and I would have trouble finding it so soon on a Sunday, suggestions?
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #7
    You'll want to match frame rates between the two cameras to make it easier to edit and keep a consistent look. You'll also want to try and keep the exposures consistent between the two cameras as well even if that means 'dumbing down' what the DSLR can do. You don't want it to be obvious that you shot w/two different types of cameras.

    Do you have an external monitor that can get critical focus to use with your DSLR? If not I'd stay away from shallow focus. The last thing you want is to get into post and find out that the focus on half of your DSLR money shots falls slightly behind or in front of your subject.

    For final audio stereo should be fine. I mean, if you are in the audience watching it everything is going to be coming from in front of you anyway, right?


    Lethal
     
  8. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Nate, leave your audio in stereo then - that's what you mostlikely get out of the board in any way (if it is not a digital board and you capture the sound via Firewire or USB). 5.1 doesn't help against monotony ;)

    Important is the placement of the mics to get your sound as clean into box as possible, and cross your fingers that the lady at mixer knows what she's doing.
    Polish your audio in STP. Start with normalizing, then add some compression. Especially the latter will give your sound a bit more ooomph. A tiny bit of reverb might also help, but I bet you can forgo that one.
     
  9. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

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    #9
    Don't get so wrapped-up in the technology that you overlook the age-old basics of video production. I did ENG for a decade and I still do a half-dozen free videos a year for non-profits so I know this stuff.

    I hope this is obvious, but...

    1. USE A TRIPOD. If you don't have a fluid-head bubble-level tripod GO BUY ONE. It is just about the best accessory you'll ever own, and it will last through many successive cameras. Self-stabilizing camcorders aren't enough.
    2. Use a remote / lavalier microphone, don't rely on the camera mic to pick up your program sound.
    3. Plan your shots. Don't just run around wildly shooting everything from every angle, zooming randomly. Think about the story you want to tell and how you're going to tell it, then shoot to fit.
    4. Shoot a variety of angles & cut-aways, and keep camera motion to a minimum.

    Do the basics right and a VHS video will satisfy your client more than a 1080p.
     
  10. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Do you have 5.1 audio monitoring ? That's an obvious prerequisite...
     
  11. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #11
    5.1 monitoring? Like headphones or would a make shift sound field using a 5.1 decoder suffice...sorry not really the audiophile I wish I could be :(

    Okay thanks thanks! I didn't even think of the exposure stuff, I'm assuming the HDV cam will be shooting 60i so for my DSLR I'll shoot 30p to keep things consistent...though 24p would give a very "film like" appearance, the lady that works at my church is an experienced news castor and she said the cameras are really nothing special and I am most likely not going to shoot 60i then try and go to 24p :O.

    As for dumbing down the DSLR and depth of field, yeah that's the plan for sure. I'm gonna throw it on a tripod and leave it out and maybe change angles a few times? Idk I'll see but either way I'm gonna have to use a deep depth of view if the people are moving forward and back more so than side to side to avoid out of focus video which is just crap. For video monitoring I think I may have an external 10" composite monitor but I'll see...I have used it before and God did it make a difference with the depth of view stuff.

    As for the HDV cam. I have used one maybe once but I'm a fast learner and know all about the tech so I'll play with it a bit. Definitely want to find some ISO settings on all the cams involved and keep that a constant though.
    Yeah I'm leaning towards stereo now just for simplicity. Maybe I'll add 5.1 later just for fun or if I think it will be really beneficial but after the DVD's are out it won't matter since DVD's/BluRay's are the only real way to get multichannel audio (vs YouTube and Vimeo's 2 channel AAC).

    Yeah I'm not planning on distributing 1080p, rather capturing it in that then downsampling for quality since right now it looks like this will be going on DVD stored 720x480p anamorphic 16x9 anyways. Tripod is a definite. Lavalier mics are going to happen but the lady at the sound board will be running that so on cam mics will be used to sync post edit, I suck at that but she said she can show me a bunch of stuff. I've got about 32gigs worth of SD cards so I plan to capture as much as I can, and take out what I need since you can never capture too much but you can capture too little.
     
  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #12
    I know this is probably going to get to you after the fact but 60i and 30p look pretty different. 60i 'updates' every 1/60th of a second where as 30p 'updates' only every 1/30th. It's still easier than mixing 24p and 60i though.

    Lethal
     
  13. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #13
    Yeah I'm pretty sure its progressive scan now that I think about it...here's the settings from Media Info:
    I just got back and have finished dumping all the cards on a back up hard drive and onto my USB software RAID which from experience, has helped with render speed. It was a Panasonic 3 CMOS camera after all! Don't know the name but I took a picture of it (attachment below). It was equipped with a Rode shotgun mic but the audio sounds sort of crappy :/ Luckily audio was captured from all camera angles so I will see what I can do...It was about a half an hour and I have 18.5 gigs worth of video of 3 different formats. I used my 550D, we ran the Panasonic 3 CMOS as the overhead camera above everyone, and lastly we had a Canon HD camcorder with an ultra wide angle lens. Sound board was great, but we could not get a direct audio feed off it for whatever reason...that really was a turn off, how can I make the dialog from the Panasonics shotgun mic sound very defined? Basically clean it up a bit.

    Also if interested here's the stream data from the Canon HD camcorder:
    And my 550D:
    First time I've done multi cam editing and FCP X sucks with that so this will be a challenge...ANY input would be nice! Thanks everyone.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Nate, it says interlaced in the meta data...

    If you synch your clips before you drag them to the timeline, multicam is actually pretty simple with FCP X. I don't think it is as convenient as in the Classic versions, but it works.

    Here's a video on how to do it right now (even though it is not really a traditional multicam workflow):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PmjioVhWApI
     
  15. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #15
    Yeah I copied and pasted and just noticed...ack! Well most of the Interlaced video was stationary. I guess I got thrown off where it said 29.970fps and assumed that meant progressive scan for whatever reason (got my fields per second vs frames per second mixed up). Will I have trouble mixing 30p and 60i together? its all going to be exported at 30p anyways so yeah...I haven't done much yet as I want to let everything render because from the past, trying to editing threw the mess the H.264 footage creates is no fun....thanks!
     
  16. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I have been mixing 60i and 30p in FCP Classic with no issues at all. Compressor filtered out everything neatly.
    FCP X is de-interlacing my HDV 60i footage on import, so no issue there either.
     
  17. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #17
    Hmm okay thanks...God this rendering takes forever! I really hate how difficult it is to set location for render files and how DSLR footage doesn't play nice at all...oh well. I'm converting DSLR stuff to AIC using MPEG stream clip...way neater way to do it as FCP X took 100gigs of render files for 8gigs of H264 :O....(and it wouldn't let me render to my RAID, only to my local HDD while the HD cam stuff had no issues).
     
  18. cgbier macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    If you ever make some money from your filming, save up for some beefier hardware. Them C2D weren't really made for DSLR footage.
    Longer jobs like yours I run over night. Put together the batch in Compressor, then check it starts up while slurping my nightcap. After a good nighty-nighty things are finished.
     
  19. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Indeed, mixing in 5.1 requires a correctly set up 5.1 sound space. Headphones will only pretend to be in surround, but they are not true surround.

    If you don't have a proper sound space, you can effectively end up with a mix that will not be rendered properly on the other end, which would make the whole exercise worthless for your clients and spectators. You can use the digital audio output of your Mac and plug that into a digital decoder... BUT the 5.1 speaker system has to be set up and calibrated to ensure consistent output.

    A pro 5.1 audio mixer told me a couple of months ago that his greatest problem was that he noticed that a lot of people had never bothered to correctly set up their home theater systems. For example some people could barely even hear the center channel for dialog !!!

    Good stereo is invariably better than bad 5.1 sound.
     
  20. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

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    #20
    Uh yeah haha trust me the Core 2 Duo is a pain :mad: People always ask why I need some "elaborate" set ups but I simply tell them that there is a big difference between some crappy 5mbps iPhone 1080p and 50mbps H264 being rendered to ProRes at God knows what bit rate and size! Thank God I have a make shift RAID because USB 2.0 just blows and both my internal SATA drives are filled near max....Definitely looking at the Mac Mini Server for the quad core capability...probably throw 8 or 16gigs of RAM in, make an Internal RAID if possible and call it a day..I would totally get a maxed out Mac Pro if I could even though it would be overkill...I tend to max out computers performance no matter what, with a Mac Pro if I ever got their I would at least know I was doing something wrong!

    I hate when the center channel is off! Easily the biggest turn off when your dialog is equal level with your L and R speakers! It took me a while to calibrate my home theater, mostly through trial and error.

    I'll keep the video stereo now that I think about it. The dialog came over speakers on the left and right so should I forget the center channel and just pan left and right every time that switches sides? Or should I have a center channel for when the minister stands dead center in the middle? I have a pretty decent pair of headphones for stereo monitoring thank God so that should be easy...how should I go about mixing the stereo properly? I know in FCP X you can detach the audio (already did that obviously) and slice it up then choose the audio pieces and select the options..should I do that? Thanks guys I really appreciate the support!:)
     
  21. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #21
    I seriously wouldn't bother too much with the sound. I'm not a professional, but I just leave it on mono. IMHO movies always have the dialog sort or less on both left and right channels equally. Because the actors are in the middle of the frame anyway.

    I also don't think people will notice stereo dialog, they might notice it when it's done bad and it's bothering them.

    Didn't the woman said you should use FCP7 (aka, do you have FCP7?). You could use real multi cam.

    I did a project lately with two different camera's. The light balance was all off, so I had to correct that (I believe FCP X can do this for you with a click).

    Anyway, I transcoded all of my stuff into ProRes. No problems with editing or importing. Just added them to compressor and made it render through the night.
     
  22. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Agreed, for the little benefit of user experience that stereo will give you it has quite the potential to sound like crap. If all you have is from your camera mics, it probably isn't too clear (great if it is), so I'd go with a clear mono mix rather than an odd sounding stereo one.

    I'd personally keep only the audio from the stationary cameras, mix it until it sounds balanced and you can hear people where ever they are and put that in mono or very subtle panning. The problem with stereo is that you need it to sound balanced on both sides. Basically, if you had two identical mics set up perfectly appart, you could mix stereo and it would sound ok with a bit of panning. Hard panning wouldn't sound natural as when you were in the room you wouldn't go from speaking only into your left ear to only your right ear as they moved. But I'm guessing you didn't have identical mics and you probably didn't set up your cameras at geometrical opposites and that's fine for mono.

    For the people in the audience, if you're 50ft away from the actors, there's not a whole lot of stereo action going on, and most of it will be from reverb that your mics are not picking up and that's good as it's easier to understand what people are saying.

    The speakers in the room where probably mono mixes, if not, they should have been as everyone one the room should be hearing the same thing. Think of the poor guy next to the right speaker that would only hear only the right side of the scene.

    Bottom line, go for clarity and consistency, you don't want people to be paying attention to the audio mix. Mono would make total sense.
     

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