New to cameras......Filming Drawing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Xeocon, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Xeocon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    #1
    Hello there,

    I'm an Illustration student entering my final year at University. I thought it would be an interesting idea to film my process as a workbook. Basically I want to film costume experiments (with the intent of painting them after), video 'blog' styled sessions where I will be explaining my conceptual process and most importantly film myself drawing.

    For the last piece of criteria I will be working on an A0 (33" x 46") sized drawing board (think architect styled) and I want know the best way to position a camera so that I can clearly document my line work etc?

    I'm also a student so budget is an issue. I'm looking to spend about US$350 on a camera.

    Camera I was looking at:

    http://www.dse.co.nz/dse.shop/4b31a46500ede2ee273fc0a87f3b0721/Product/View/XG1046

    Possible solution for the positioning on a table:

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/Camera-accessories/Tripods/auction-261231784.htm

    ^^^ Kind of looks like it could be awkward and it might get in the way of my work space?

    Any advice on suitable cameras and tripod solutions would be great.

    Thanks!
     
  2. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    Two things:

    Firstly, I like Sony Pro cameras, and their mini DV cameras as well but I'm not keen on the Memory Stick format. It's still fairly pricey and there's no need for Sony to keep pushing it.

    Secondly, I think you'd want to be further away from an A0 surface than that tripod can achieve. Borrow a cheapie from a friend and experiment. The Dick Smith tripods can get to 5' or so. I put my HFS10 on a Manfrotto 190 at full height of about 1.2m and pointed it down to the floor. With my trusty A4, I guesstimated an A0 size and it only just makes it in the frame.

    Thirdly (out of two), consider a video camera that can shoot a frame at intervals. That may be a useful artistic tool. You can do that in your NLE, but capturing frames as you go can be a timesaver.

    Fourthly, remember to light well.

    Fifthly, there is no fifth thing.
     
  3. Richardthe4th macrumors regular

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    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    Below Sealevel
    #3
    Hi,

    Interesting project.

    To show you working in a decent timeframe (not a one hour movie), I guess you can best use a time-lapse recording (for example you record one frame every second, so when played normally the movie is speeded up 25 times, or any other factor).

    I use the programm 'I can animate' for that (ttp://www.kudlian.net/products/icananimate/) but there are of course many other programms

    For a simple example of the result, see (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Um25lMtCeg)

    Tips for a good result:
    -use a good tripod, your camera has to be stable
    -you can use a simple consumer dv-cam, even a webcam (el cheapo;-). because the programm uses multiple images to make one frame, you get a better result then the normal output (sharper, less noise)
    -a nice frame is perhaps Over Sholder, the camera looks from above on you working

    Good luck
     
  4. Xeocon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    #4
    Hey guys,

    Thanks very much for your helpful responses!

    I think flash memory wont be a problem for me. I wont be shooting for longer than 2 hours at a time. Most filming will be done indoors right to next to my Mac for easy transfer.

    Tripods seem fairly cheap, I'm sure I can adjust my drawing board as well to find the right shot.

    Yes, I am definitely interested in doing time-lapse orientated filming. However, I would rather just speed up a clip to create a smoother time lapse if that works, as opposed to frame intervals? I have access to After Effects, will this be suitable?

    I do want the footage to be of reasonably high quality for the price bracket. My aim is to create a short film (16:9 format) using the gathered clips to be presented at the end of next year for hand in.

    I'm now looking at these two cameras:

    http://www.bondandbond.co.nz/camera...al-memory-camcorder-topaz-blue/prod47424.html

    http://www.bondandbond.co.nz/camera...y-memory-stick-handycam-silver/prod11513.html

    The JVC seems cheaper and I've read it has the best low-light capabilities of the entry level cameras across the major brands. With sufficient lighting, will these cameras be able to perform indoors? It seems to output an anti-Mac file type known as MOD? Has anybody dealt with this file type?

    Thanks again for the help,

    Cheers!
     
  5. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    What will you be editing in?
    Video is painting with light. If your light is low, get more light. Don't be sold on a camera's "low light" capabilities if your primary use is fixed use in a situation you control.

    I've never used a MOD file but they seem more hassle than anything. Here's a converter:
    http://www.fceconverter.com/mod-to-final-cut-express/

    Alternatively MPEG Streamclip should work, but you'd probably need the Quicktime MPEG2 component from Apple (free with FCP, purchased for everyone else).
     
  6. tempure macrumors newbie

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    Dec 24, 2009
  7. Xeocon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    #7
    I will be editing in After Effects.

    I've been watching some video reviews for low end cameras and they all seem to perform well outdoors, but suffer once inside in low light. I'm not sure if it was to do with natural light allowing the camera to function better, or just varying volumes of light overall?

    Also Hi-Def or Standard-Def? Am I better off buying a good standard definition camera or a poor hi-def one?

    Thanks again, very informative help.
     
  8. Xeocon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2006
    #8
  9. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #9
    IMO a better standard def. Your final delivery won't be in HD, will it? (ie blue ray) Plus working in HD = larger size and needs more light.
     
  10. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Australia
    #10
    I can't say anything for or against AE as an editor since I've never used it - I was under the impression that it was more for compositing and motion graphics but if you can use it for editing too, great. I think that Adobe Premiere can import .mod files.

    In my experience, "great low light capabilities" is the difference between 'OK' and 'blah' video footage in low light. While that's an OK consideration for a video camera primarily for family shooting, it's not OK for something you are making yourself that is intended for a professional look: add light. Compared to the cost of the camera, computer, software and your time, lights are cheap.

    HD or SD? At work I still do everything in SD.
    (1) I'm lazy. ;)
    (2) My delivery system is DVD, local PCs (I can do ridiculously high bitrates so SD looks great) and an analogue MATV modulation system.

    At home, it's HD all the way.
    (1) I have the time to experiment
    (2) I can show it on the 50" plasma via AppleTV. :)

    What is your delivery method going to be? What do you anticipate it to be over the next few years? What will you keep using the camera for?

    Shooting and editing HD and scaling to SD will give a good result, not to mention that you'll always have the footage in HD for the future, but will it be better and worth the extra time and HD space than SD alone?

    You'll be quite restricted in choice with a price limit of US$350, especially in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Macworld has a buying guide that includes a $500 high def Sanyo Xacti. Alternatively, all the kids are getting Flip HDs these days, but for US$200 you get 720p res, only 9.0 Mbps, no zoom, no image control etc. Shooting a largely (I think) white image under artificial lighting would be aided by the ability to white balance, or at least have some presets.

    I'm probably giving you more questions than answers, which in itself is a good thing, but maybe not what you want. I'd hate to give definitive advice, though, when I know that the (non-existent) perfect camera always costs more than I have to spend on it. Would it be possible to borrow some from friends to have trial run? Does your uni have an AV department?
     
  11. Xeocon thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2006
    #11
    I think I will incorporate motion graphics into my project and After Effects is also great at colour alterations with treatment of video. I'm used to Photoshop, so AE is the natural progresion for me.

    As for the projects final resolution, I can't lie, I am enticed by having it in High Definition. It may not be necessary, but to be able to play my film on any viewing plateau without worrying about stretching the image sounds good to me.

    I'm also going to be recording my on-screen Photoshop work with some sort of an application (does anybody know how to go about this?) I'm picking a 27" i5 iMac once the yellow tinge problem eradicates and you can reach some pretty high resolutions with one of those. So I figured if my project is a mish-mash of HD on-screen recording and SD footage of me drawing it may not look very uniform. I will most likely have issues with choosing suitable dimensions to output the final piece if thats the case. Best to work with a HD camera to blend better with HD on-screen recording no?

    The Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 is starting to look like the camera for me. I don't need image stabilization at exceeded zoom levels. With an i5 iMac I should be able to work reasonably well with 720p footage as well I'm guessing. I can pick one up for under NZ$600 as well.
     
  12. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Australia
    #12
    Good call. Having the whole thing in HD would make the screen caps look much better.

    I forgot to add that some of the things I do are dropped into PPT as SD files and stretched out (proportionately) to fullscreen. No-one seems to notice, but it makes me cringe a bit. Still, a lot of my stuff comes in as SD (from DVDs etc) so there's not a lot I can do about that. Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

    I see the Sanyo does 1080p. My non-i5 iMac (2.8 GHz Core2 Duo w/ 4 GB RAM, 256 MB Radeon HD 2600 Pro) does just fine with 1080p in FCE. It all gets brought in as Apple Intermediate Codec so it's nice and smooth. Premiere can cut AVCHD natively so maybe AE can, too, but it won't be as smooth doing it that way.

    Camtasia and Screenflow are popular screen capture apps. Both have free trials.
     
  13. xStep macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Also note that Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) does full screen captures too. It is built in, so free with 10.6.
     
  14. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #14
    Have you tried it? It's a bit ... "limited" is a nice word. The frame rate is pretty low and the quality is so-so. File size is huge. I haven't tried Camtasia or Screenflow, but it would be useful to compare them.

    And someone has.
     
  15. xStep macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Yes, I've tried the built-in option. The point was that it is free and may be fine for the intended purpose in this thread. Yes, the frame rate is low and I think it could be a sharper image than it is.

    The URL you pointed to revealed that the guy had another review for Screenflick, an inexpensive option.
     
  16. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    #16
    Cool. The more the merrier. And Screenflick seems to have a demo version as well.
     
  17. Xeocon thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    #17
    Thanks guys, will look further into this screen-cap business. I guess I do need it to be able to keep a high fps and record at a high resolution. Best solution if this is the case?

    I think I'll pick up the Adobe Master Collection. This way I can grab After Effects, Premiere and Soundbooth.
     

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