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Old November 29th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #16
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I've even shot things on two different nights and intercut them. I shoot wide the first night and tight the second. Typically I'll use the audio from the second night, since you can see it sync with the closeups. The wide shots give you something to cut to/from when moving the close up cam between singers/characters. And if the audio/performance stinks on the second night for a given song/scene, you can primarily stay wide, and judiciously cut in a few short closeups that sync well, or that don't involve speaking/singing.

Obviously, two cameras at the same performance is easier in post, but if you're the only camera operator...
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Old December 18th, 2006, 08:59 PM   #17
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Guys - just wanted to drop a quick line to say thanks for all the help on this item - really appreciated it! I did the two shows (2 performances each) and have now started all of the editing / post.

I went with the studio projects mikes, which for budget mikes (~100), sounded great! (to me, anyway, but they really did a great job at picking up the kids distinct voices). I used a whirwind passive direct box to take the aux send from the sound board, and that worked great..padded it a bit and is handy to have available for the solo's etc.

I did end up taping one performance of each show close to the stage and the other from the back, and am now mixing those for the edit (care of vasst infiniticam..nice tool). Will fine tune all the audio once I have the video track down. (so I have a stereo mix from my 3 mikes, one channel from the sound board, and the 4th from shotgun on the cam. )..recorded the stereo mix from the mikes into a tascam 2 channel (hd-p2) and the other mikes into the camera.

only problem so far has been that I may have to recapture the audio from my tape for the sound board and shotgun, as the original capture from my capture deck must have the heads aligned differently or some other differnce between the canon cam and the minidv deck, because my audio gets tinny every now and then, and a trial recapture straight from my canon cam eliminates that (both at SP, SD).

But anyway, again wanted to say thanks, and I can't believe what's possible with these forums..virtual apprenticeship, really incredible...thanks again, and I'll be back for more :-)

thanks again..
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Old December 19th, 2006, 07:04 AM   #18
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I was wondering how the shoot went. Here's a chance to give back. Which Canon HDV camera did you use and how was it operationally? How well did it handle the difficulties of show lighting? What mode did you use?
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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest House
I was wondering how the shoot went. Here's a chance to give back. Which Canon HDV camera did you use and how was it operationally? How well did it handle the difficulties of show lighting? What mode did you use?
Hi Ernest .. I'd be happy to give it a try (and apologize in advance for a very long post).

Just for context, my background for the past seveal years is in encoding, video resotration and DVD transfers (nice ones at that), some editing (vegas 4 - now 7), and various tools, etc. mostly (with one exception each year) for content that has already been created. In fact, one project I picked up recently was what funded me to buy the new camera, so this is my first forray into any type of 'real' camera (other than point & shoot canon minidv cam). But, there's only way way to learn this, and that's to do it (and read, in parallel). So, most of my comments will be based on the above, and I won't have much to say about how this compares to other of the HDV cams. I had about 7 days to learn how to use a real camera, how to shoot an event, how to do all of the audio, and how to use this camera before the shoot (quite a lot to learn!), and had some limited time to test a few encodes of the various frame rates and outputs.

camera / mode / etc:
- Canon XH A1, stock battery, sen ME66/K6 shotgun; sony dvm63 tapes
- Manual - 1/60th, AE, F7.3 - 8.7
- 60i 16:9 SD; +6dB gain and +12dB gain for second set of performances
- WB 3200k preset (those big tungston overhead lights)
- Stock presets (more on that below)
- Also recorded 1 channel from sound board (into cam) and 3 mikes mixed to 2 channels, tascam HD-P2
- vzrock controller

observations (in no particular order):
- this cam gets heavy for handheld work (no shoulder mount); no brace, but I did keep my right arm tucked to my body and used my left hand for additional support (and iris control). thank god the show was only 40 minutes..that's about the most I could do continuous without a lot of shaking. tripod for full shots was great and easy - with the 20x lens - vzrock ignores the zoom preset speed, so takes some practice.

- Used zebra stripes, IRE 100, and those helped me..the lighting was not the (traditional) theatrical high contrast..there was no spot lights, but the stage was dimly let and the 'bleachers' in front of the stage where some kids were were much brighter. F7.3 - F8.7 seemed to give me decent brightness, and I'd back off when I started to blow out any whites. Not sure how that range of F stops compares to what one would expect (maybe went as wide as F6.7), and hope that I was subtle with my adjustments (there's actually a mode to avoid sudden changes which I think includes aperature but I'd have to check this to confirm). But, I felt that I had good control over my aperature with the lens ring (but am a novice so may notice fewer issues).

- I really wanted to shoot this in 30F (p) (thought 24f would not give the right look for this elementary school performance, but that a 30p might look nice). however, I wanted to shoot in SD, and on the A1, 30F SD gets saved on tape as 60i with each frame doubled. And, for some reason, that 60i was encoding with stutters as if to have frame order issues, and I tried several different approaches to fix it (vegas = mainconcept, and also procoder), but none worked and I ran out of time to experiment. So, I had to abandon 30F SD for the time being, and went to tried and true 60i, which encoded in several tests as expected (more below).

- Encoding of SD when your clients have hi - def sets and you or they don't have HD-DVD or blu-ray .. this is tricky, and in my limited tests, I was not happy with the mainconcept encoding of the SD..noisy / mosquito noise. I think I found a compromise in the procoder 1.5 (old version) encoding, which I always liked for interlaced source. Procoder has a soft look to it, but it's not bad, and the content was basically viewable. Both mainconcept and procoder looked fine on my little 4:3 JVC monitor on my editing equipment. But, I have to assume that for these customers (school parents), a good % will be viewing on hi def sets with SD DVD players.

- 6dB of gain I think looks ok, but for the second set of shows, I either got confused or accidentally used 12dB gain, with no noise reduction in the presets. I've only very briefly viewed that video on the PC, but the darker areas were grainy, even noticable to my wife and 8 year old..I'm going to have to use some software noise reduction and hope I don't kill too much detail.

- I really wanted to use the A1's film look gamma and color matrix presets (or just one), but in my very limited testing, these looked a bit dark on a hi def monitor, and I thought that while I might find the look interesting and could play with it a bit, my audience would just think the video was too dark. I didn't have time to then color correct the test or play with it at all, so I had to back off and go a little more conservative for the shoot with the 'flat' presets, just because I thought it would give me more options in post. I didn't try to adjust the blacks, knee, setup etc. because I thought I did ok without that. And, this was before the A1 presets were posted, which I can't wait to try, when I have time. I'll have to do some more testing on the gamma & color matrix presets.

- I thought I had noticed a slight barrel distortion (is that what it's called) when I did some testing indoors at close range, but didn't notice any at the event. (and sorry, can't say alot about the cameras color yet, mostly b/c of lack of experience and reference points).

- I had one hitch when capturing the SD tape on my JVC HR-DVS3U deck in that the audio got tinny, which I didn't attribute to the deck until later (esp. at the 1khz test tone, which got a really wierd tinny and also 'jingling' in it; the voices got the tinny when the modulation was loud, which at first made me think it was clipping of some type or a problem w/ the sound board, but the recap fixed it). I didn't expect to have any issues capturing from the A1 in SD on the JVC deck, but when I recaptured the tape with the A1, the problem went away, so I am pretty sure it's either a different in head alignment or other issue between the two. It's too bad, b/c I'm not sure I can correct it and I really don't want to run my captures from the camera.

- What else can I tell you? I don't think I put a dent in the A1 stock battery for the 1 hour show, the zoom and auto focus worked flawlessly (at least to my eye), iris control was very smooth and I think it worked well, the LCD was fine (although I think some would like bigger, and when I had the camera close to my body for handheld shot, the LCD was almost too close to be usable, but I had both the LCD and viewfinder running so I could use either).

- Good flexibility on the audio inputs on the camera (attenuation, manual level control for each channel, +48v on either channel) although I wish the camera audio in SD was better than 16 bit, 2 channel (48khz), but I think that's SD standard in terms of bits and sample rate. I think the tape could hold 2 more channels, but the cam. can't do it. different story for hi def.

- got no error rate when I compared the clock rate of the tascam to the clock rate of the camera (e.g. tascam shows 0.00% error rate) (I fed the tascam the video signal for the wide shots and for the close up I let each run with it's own clock). hopefully that helps with sync a little.

- photo feature was excellent (to SD), although the switch to switch from tape to SD is small and you need to look at it to manipulate it (which I guess is good so it doesn't happen automatically). I loved having a decent resolution still camera with the 20x zoom for taking a few still pictures to use for DVD artwork, menus, etc.

Well, that's a lot of rambling for now.. I wish I had more to say about the optics, color handling,etc. but I don't..will keep learning and having fun though.. and, in terms of the encoding, I'll play with that too to see how to optimize it, then will move to HD(V) work :-)
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Old December 21st, 2006, 08:32 AM   #20
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Audio Recording

Dave,

There are many way to accomplish a great live recording. I would recommend that you run your mics into a mixer then into a multichanel recording device. An Alesis ADAT is an excellent piece of equipment for this.

You can run a few line level feeds out of the schools main mixer then use a few condenser mics and place them in front of the stage. Once you have captured the recording you can mix each of the channels in post for your video.

You need to make sure that each of the inputs you are getting are at a decent level but do not spike the UV meters (or you will end up with distortion). If the levels are too low they may contain allot of noise and end up being unusable.

Thanks and good luck!
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Old December 21st, 2006, 10:09 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Veloudos
Dave,

There are many way to accomplish a great live recording. I would recommend that you run your mics into a mixer then into a multichanel recording device. An Alesis ADAT is an excellent piece of equipment for this.

You can run a few line level feeds out of the schools main mixer then use a few condenser mics and place them in front of the stage. Once you have captured the recording you can mix each of the channels in post for your video.

You need to make sure that each of the inputs you are getting are at a decent level but do not spike the UV meters (or you will end up with distortion). If the levels are too low they may contain allot of noise and end up being unusable.

Thanks and good luck!
Steve - thanks. that's exactly (pretty much) what I did. 3 condenser mikes which I mixed into 2 channels which I ran into the Tascam 2 channel recorder. I didn't have a lot of time to do research on the equipment, but settled on that as a good portable recorder roughly in my budget. would liked to have more channels, but the edirol 4 channel unit I think was more expensive. and, I liked the ability of the tascam to sync it's clock rate with the video (although I'm not sure if that's really a huge issue since I edit in vegas which I think can stretch or shrink the audio without shifting the pitch), not to mention that I was a little more confortable with flash recorder than hard drive based (but either can fail).

boy, 24 channels would be great, although it would be more than I think I need until I get the call do to live musical events, so I'll keep it in mind..price is even not too astronomical, although it doesn't look quite as portalble as the others. ideally I would have each mike as it's own channel, but wasn't feasible so I made the best compromises I could and went with that. I briefly looked at the PC-based mixers (e.g. preamps and mixer with USB or firewire into a PC for the recording), and eventhough the cost was good, I was not comfortable with pc-based recording to capture a live event - seemed to be too many possible points of failure not to mention more gear to lug around (vs. studio use where if a recording blip happened, the take could be redone).

really appreciate your post, thanks......!
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