Need help for beginner in Video Production

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by gockemtoad, May 28, 2007.

  1. gockemtoad macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2007
    Hi there

    Got a new MacBook last week and now have to buy video recording equipment to make small videos which I wish to put on the web. I'm trying to start a campaign for a small charity and use a variety of audio-visual resources in order to make it more attractive. We are going to start Podcasting with the inbuilt features of Garageband and the built in mike from the Macbook, but we also want to make short videos to put online which will be mini-documentaries. We all have to start somewhere I just need some help in doing that - my team are full of ideas. We just need a little hardware/software advice.

    Ok - I've no experience of video production so after about a week of surfing the web and getting increasingly confused about where to start I'm posting here. If anyone can supply me with a good link to a site that could answer the sorts of questions I will need answering - thank you! Our budget is variable - we can stretch to as much as it really needs, but we want to keep prices down as I will be working with a charity where money is scarce. What is important is that we can
    - record sound from events so that it is fairly clear
    - upload video to the computer and edit it (we have iMovie with the computer. I understand FinalCutExpress may be a better option)
    - film in fairly low-light situations
    - add extra audio tracks
    - make the video look "professional" so that it doesn't detract from the message we are trying to put out (there is nothing worse than amateurish shakes or poor audio for getting people to switch off)

    Ok - I'm sure these questions make me seem like a fool, but any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    You left out the most important part; your budget. Not knowing that, it would be hard to offer any realistic suggestions on equipment purchases.

    Making the video look "professional" will require skill in both shooting and editing no matter what equipment you use. If someone on your team has experience or raw skills, let them show the others how to shoot and edit. If no one does, then try to find someone local as a mentor to teach the basics.

  3. Jopling macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2004
  4. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't mean to be annoying, but your budget is definitely the limiting factor. I could recommend a setup for you that would be $50,000.00 if you had that much to work with.

    First, audio is very important. I don't think the built-in mic on your MacBook would cut it, personally. You may want to look in to some sort of condenser microphone. I occasionally use this one for voice-over work when I'm not in the studio and have to do something quick. If you're going to be doing on-location stuff a lot, you would probably be better off with a "boom mic," which is comprised of a shotgun mic (this is okay for the price, but quite low-end) on a boom (or fish) pole.

    Another important thing for professional work is lighting. I can't stress that enough. You'd probably want at least a kit of three tungsten lamps (Lowel has good stuff for low-ish prices) for your basic three-point lighting setup.

    So. Audio and lighting are the two most important, and most skipped-over aspects for producing quality work.

    Other equipment would include some sort of digital tape-based camcorder. Don't worry about getting HD if you're just doing this for the web. In fact, things will be so compressed that you could probably get away with a fairly cheap MiniDV camcorder. Shoot on a tripod when you can for professional, steady shots.

    iMovie is good for cutting clips together, but that's about it. If you're going to be doing things like adding titles and mixing audio, you should at least consider Final Cut Express.

    So to sum up:
    • Good audio using external microphones
    • Good lighting for clean, good-looking shots
    • Shot on a digital format (such as MiniDV) on a tripod
    • Basic editing with iMovie, but if you want more, consider Final Cut Express

    I hope this helps! I can't really go specific since you don't have a specific budget listed, but that should give you an idea of what to aim for if you really want the videos to turn out the best that they can.

    Good luck! :)
  5. killr_b macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2005
    Ok. I'll list 'em as you asked 'em.

    - Sound recording has to be well planned or it will never be what you thought. Get wireless mics for individuals who speak. Several shotgun mics can be good to get left and right channels and not record background noise. You can record all the audio to iPods w/ a Griffin iTalk. Your mics may need pre-amp, so keep that in mind.

    -We call this capturing, but we are showing age by such a line. Capturing was done with analog media, but the term didn't die when we moved to DV. I recommend Final Cut Express. If you ever outgrow express you will be ready for FCP.

    -Sony cams consistently perform better in low light than other cameras.

    -I don't know how much audio mixing is in FCE, but if it isn't enough get Final Cut Studio 2. That'll definitely do everything you want.

    -Hmm, back to the Final Cut Studio 2 option.

    Well, basically you have a lot of learning ahead of you. There are tons of great websites on this topic. I'll get you started-

    I'll give you the same line I give all the n00bs that think they can jump right in to an industry of work just 'cause it sounds fun and easy- The amount of book learning and trial and error learning that comes with years of experience will never be duplicated by an unlimited budget. Just showing up with the same equipment will not get you the "pro" look.
  6. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think using several shotguns for stereo is overkill on a small budget, especially since it's dialog, being produced for the web and not broadcast or DVD.

    But anyhoo... ;)
  7. killr_b macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2005
    Oh, yeah… I didn't really 'see' a budget listed, so I assumed he worked for the Catholic Church and had an unlimited supply of gold. :D
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I'm just gonna nit pick cherry pick here...

    Recording like that for short durations will be okay, but trying to record anything of length will lead to sync issues during editing. Also, the OP events mentioned what kinds of events he'll be shooting. If he's shooting an event where the speaker is already mic'd then recording directly from the soundboard would be the best way to go. We need more details from the OP though.

    At least in my experience "digitizing" was the term used while analog media was the most common. That got changed to "capturing" when digital tape formats became the norm and now "capturing" is slowly being replace with "ingesting" as tapeless media has started to make inroads.

    I'll add
    to the list. Although none of those sites are very newb friendly if you ask extreme basic Q's they all have a wealth of info if you have the time to lurk and glean information.

  9. rjfiske macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2003
    Washington State
    I've found the brief 10min tutorials at DigitalJuice to be outstanding in this regard. Have a look here:

    There are more, but these are the ones that come to mind.
  10. killr_b macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2005
    Hahaha. I always though "digitizing" was the "Avid" way of saying "capturing". But I didn't get into the digital market until 2000, I think, with FCP 3 on a G4. So Avid may have the right name, and I'm using the impostor name coined later. :p

    Good websites.

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