Music-video shot on XM2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 19th, 2003, 03:52 PM   #1
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Music-video shot on XM2

Hi there!

First let me introduce myself. I'm a 22 year old boy from Norway. I guess what I really want to do, is to become a film director, but just to have something to fall back on, I currently study marketing. I have been a long time reader of this board, and finally managed to get the XM2 earlier this year. To get things started I shot a music video for some friends of mine. It was shot under very difficult circumstances (the location was an old pre-WW1 fortress that is located inside a mountain, where it is constantly cold, wet and dark). It is close to zero-budget, so don't expect too much. Anyway; for my part it was just a test to see if I 'had it in me', as they say. I have made the video available online in different formats, and it would be very nice to hear what you guys thought of it.

RealVideo: http://www.merlincore.com/bbvideo/Merlin-BBI.ram
Windows Media: http://www.merlincore.com/bbvideo/Merlin-BBI.wmv
Quicktime: http://www.nilsth.com/Merlin-BBI-big.mov

Next time I'm going to film somewhere a bit more "friendly", so that I can really show of this cam's amazing quality! ;-)
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Old June 19th, 2003, 04:04 PM   #2
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I liked it. That was pretty cool, my style too, the location was great, I wish I could find something like that around here. Only one thing missing though, where's the band performance at? If you shot the band performing and all that, and reedit it, it would be much better.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 04:21 PM   #3
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Nils,

Excellent job! Looks very professional. I presume that the XM2 Frame mode was used. A lot of planning must have gone into this production. Did you carefully ‘storyboard' all the shots?

I think that many of us could benefit by learning how you made it! Would you care to discuss how you made your short film? Or perhaps let us know some of the methods used and important production choices that you made.

Ken W.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 05:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys!

Alex: It was decided early that we would not shoot the band performing. The reason for this is that the band and I believe that mixing them playing characters and them performing as a band, in a way breaks the illusion. It would be kind of like Tom Hanks in one of his films suddenly turned to the camera and said "Hi, I'm Tom Hanks". There are many advantages of shooting the band performing. You get a lot of shots for "free", so you can break away from the storyline when a shot didn't turn out as you had hoped, for instance. I had this problem with the beginning of the video. Half the crew got sick after the first day(again, it was not friendly conditions down there), so my brother had to fill in for me a few hours on the second day. This resulted in that I didn't get all the shots I had planned (although they deserve credit for what they managed to do), so it would have been nice to edit in a performance there. In the end though, I do believe that we made the right decision. For me, one of the most important things is always to maintain the integrity of the story you're telling. Other people might see it differently, and I respect that. :)

Ken: Actually, I didn't use the Frame Mode. Although FrameMode was one of the primary reasons for me buying the XM2, I felt that I didn't have enough experience with the camera yet, "to burn that bridge". In my experience the FrameMode demands more of the user, and you can get quite heavy strobing if you're not careful. Therefore I decided to shot interlaced and then use the Magic Bullet software to convert it to 24P. That way I had the choice. In fact, after experimenting a bit, I decided that conversion to 24P didn't make such a huge difference that it justified the extremely long rendering time. The fact that a lot of people think (you are not the first) that it was shot in FrameMode, kind of proved my point ;-)

I would have storyboarded the video, but I can't draw even if my life depended on it. My stickman drawings usually confuse more than they clarify! Also, the plan often falls to pieces once you start filming. As the military says "No plan survives the first encounter with the enemy". I think storyboards are more useful when you are working on bigger productions, where you have more control over the environment you are filming in. In low-budget productions you can't build the set to match your ideas, you have to make your ideas fit inside the sets and locations that are available to you. This of course depends on what kind of filmmaker you are. I like to think that my strongest side is the visual look of the film/video, and so I don't need as much time to prepare that side of the shot, as someone who maybe are more focused on the actors and dialog. My biggest regret is that I didn't spend more time preparing to direct the actors, as that is one of my weak sides.

I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the production! I'm no pro, and most of what I say is just speculation and my own thoughts on the subject. Heck, I'm probably wrong most of the time too! ;-)
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Old June 20th, 2003, 11:27 AM   #5
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Nice work, Nils. Keep it up.
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Old June 20th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #6
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Hei Nils Thomas,

Very well done, I liked your work a lot. I´m proud to see a young norwegian making such a good production just as a favour to his friends, not being a professional. I agree with David, you must keep up, I expect to se more of your productions in the future.

You are still a young man, and to me you look talented, so maybe we will se your name as a film director in the future?

Lykke til! (means Good luck! in norwegian)

Ivan

PS! What´s the name of the band, by the way?
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Old June 20th, 2003, 03:40 PM   #7
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Nils,
Great job. I really enjoyed your video. What impressed me the most throughout your video was your camera work. The shots were beautifully done, especially for one of your first real productions! I do have a couple of questions for you though:

1. What was used for your moving shots? Were you using a Steadicam or a Glidecam?

2. What settings did you have your camera on? It seemed like you had pretty good low-light performance from your XM2. On my GL2 every time I shoot in low light I get tons of noise and grain in the picture. Were you shooting in Auto, or Manual, etc?

Thanks, and great job!
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Old June 20th, 2003, 08:15 PM   #8
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Nice work Nils! I found most of the shots very convincing and pro looking. Some of the shots, mainly those with only the guy in the girl in, like in the beginning and such took away a bit from the overall quality feel of it though.

Scott: My limited experience with the XM2/GL2 has shown me that it tends to turn gain on even in good light conditions and and turn it way up when it's darker when in the automatic shooting mode. Manual is pretty much the only way to go when shooting low light.
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Old June 21st, 2003, 03:33 AM   #9
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Again, thank you so much for the feedback guys!

Ivan: Nice to see a fellow Norwegian on the board! I'm a big fan of Harald Zwart, and what he did with the Velvet video for a-ha was a huge inspiration for this video. The name of the band is Merlin (http://www.merlincore.com). Great up-and-coming band!

Scott:
1. No Steadycam og Glidecam was used. We either we had it on a tripod, handheld or we used a dolly that we had built. The dolly was not easy to work with. A construction error caused it to jerk and jam at times. Going to have to get a better one for my next project.
2. I was quite impressed with the low-light performance of the XM2. I always had it on manual, because as Benjamin says, the automatic mode has a tendency to boost the gain to much. There is one shot where I had to turn the gain up (it's right in the beginning, when the boy and the girl split up to go different ways), and it looked terrible when I looked at it afterwards. Tried to smooth out the noise as much as possible, but it just don't look good. Sadly, it was the only shot I had, and I had to use it.

Benjamin: I totally agree with what you are saying about the beginning of the video. In retrospect I understand why. When we planned/wrote the video (which we did two days before we shot it), we only planned the scenes involving the band members in detail. In the shooting-script, the scenes with the boy and the girl are only described like "Moves from point A to point B". We thought (well, I thought), that we would figure it out when we got there. Stupid mistake, but hopefully you learn from them.

Btw: We put up some stills from the video, so those of you who don't want to download the entire thing, can have a look too:

http://merlincore.com/bbvideo/

(the images are straight from the camera, so there are no post-prod. work done on them)
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 08:25 AM   #10
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Great video- it's amazing that it was shot with the XM2. I love the band- do they have any other music available?
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Old June 22nd, 2003, 10:13 AM   #11
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That was really a great video! I loved your use of light. The scene of the typewriter, the girl and guy looking in the room. Keep up the good work and posting your future works. They're great inspirations for the rest of us.

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Old June 23rd, 2003, 03:52 AM   #12
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George: Great to hear that you like the band! I do too. You can download a few tracks from their website (http://www.merlincore.com), and you can also order their album there. I really recommend their album. Almost every song is a potential single, and if I could, I would have made a video for every song! :)

Vince: The scene with the typewriter was probably the scene I enjoyed the most. Everything just turned out exactly as I had visualized it in my mind. Sadly, we could use very little of the material we shot, because of how the video is timed.
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Old June 23rd, 2003, 10:22 AM   #13
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Could you give me some pointers on how exactly you did the typewriter shot? Did you pan a light around it? Pan the typewriter around a light(probably not)?

thanx

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Old June 23rd, 2003, 05:53 PM   #14
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Never mind my last comment. I was studying your footage a little more and I think I've figured it out. I'm hooked on that song, it's great.

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Old June 23rd, 2003, 07:08 PM   #15
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xm2

i have a gl2 and have been reading about the xm2 but don't know what it is. is it just the european version of the gl2?
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