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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 24th, 2006, 08:34 PM   #1
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New GL2 user saying Hi and looking for advice

Hi, DVInfo! Thank you for validating my registration. I've been reading this forum for the last week and biding my time waiting to join the community.

Let me start by stating that I'm a rank newbie at film and photography. By profession I'm an attorney, but my son is getting married in September and, because he was so impressed with a video I made for my Dad many years ago as a Father's Day gift, he has asked me to produce a video for his wedding. Simple stuff, photo and video montage with music and appropriate themes, but he is a film student and I'm pretty fanatical about most things I do, so I'm taking this very seriously.

Not knowing where to start, I picked up a GL2, a scanner, and some software (Adobe PP2.0, Encore 2.0, CS2 and Audition 2.0). I also bought a little ZR500 to use as my editing deck. I'm having a blast putting together concepts and learning these fabulous tools. It's really whet my appetite to take this to the next level. That's why I'm here.

What's a good way to get introduced to the basics of photography? Right now I'm shooting most things with auto settings, but have started to use the manual controls for things like color control. I'm at a complete loss at how to use the exposure and other manual controls that are probably 2nd nature to most of you. Honestly, I couldn't tell you the difference between an f stop and a backstop, although I understand some abstract concepts like depth of field, etc.

I've learned how to use PP's Color Correction facilities and have made some remarkable improvements in post with some relatively crappy source material (old Hi-8 stuff from the two families). I'm very comfortable with technology (I founded a software company and published a successful software product), so I'm not afraid to tackle complex technical topics, and I have no doubt I will become quite comfortable with my equipment over time. But right now I'm fumbling in the dark.

What's a good way to get introduced to the technical side of this pursuit. Should I look for a photography class to get some basic grounding? Should I just shoot a lot of stuff and experiment with the various controls to see what they do? Is there a more methodical approach that will help me learn things of value without enrolling in a film school? My practice takes 150% of my time as it is, this gets the other 50%. ;-)

Thanks for the great resources here. This is going to be FUN!

RP
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Old July 24th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #2
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just read everything you can and learn from your mistakes.Shoot a lot and have fun
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Old July 25th, 2006, 05:07 AM   #3
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What learning method works best for you. Classes can be a fun way to learn, especially if you like interacting with faculty and other students, and you have the time to attend.

Reading and experimenting can be done at your convenience and often lower cost, but may be more difficult for some folks than in a class.

Remember that one of the major difference between an amateur and professional is that the amateur shows you ALL of his work.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Don Palomaki
What learning method works best for you.
When I'm learning a new field I tend to read everything I can about it and then re-read it to pick up the understanding I missed the first time through. This is great for theoretical knowledge, but fails usually for gaining practical knowledge, something I wind up picking up in random bits and pieces. Classes can help, mostly because there's no substitute for having the opportunity to talk with people who do the thing I'm trying to learn. But time is a real limiting factor. That's why asynchronous communication vehicles like forums populated by do-ers are such a great resource for me.

Any good reading material you can recommend on basic photography? Do you think I need to learn it in order to make good films? Paul McCartney never learned how to read or write music, didn't seem to hold him back much.

RP
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Old July 25th, 2006, 07:43 PM   #5
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After having studied photography and worked in the field, I find that I very rarely relate still photo concepts to video(film would be different). I guess that it's always in the back of my mind, but for some reason I just don't think in thirds of a stop in video. I just adjust it until it looks correct. I think that it might have something to do with the fact that the settings on the GL2 are designed more like a point and shoot camera than a professional SLR. Also, with the small sensors of video cameras and the subjects I end up shooting, depth of field isn't as big of an issue when shooting video of moving subjects than with stills.

I'm not saying that learning photographic concepts wouldn't help you, but for what you want to learn how to do I would look for books that deal specifically with video. Other than the GL2 manual, I can't really recomend any though.

When I'm shooting family or event type videos where I have no control over the lighting, I often use the auto settings. I let the camera find a close exposure and then lock it and shift it up or down if I need to.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #6
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Ahh, thanks Cannon. I should probably be embarassed to admit this, but I had no idea there were such significant differences between film and video in these respects (yes, folks, I'm a newbie).

I will focus on learning video fundamentals and study my camera manual carefully. Thanks for the tips. Meanwhile, I've been reading every thread in this forum. This place is hands down the best resource I've seen for someone like me.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #7
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Robert,

You couldn't have become a lawyer if you couldn't learn well from books!!

Jumping in with the full adobe suite is a huge undertaking just in itself!! I would stay with premiere for now, get out and shoot as many hours with that camera as you can and shoot in a variety of circumstances so you can see the differences. Shoot the same shot a few different ways to see the effects. I found when i am out doing test shooting I have to write down what i did so when I get back to watch it It helps me remember what i did. Of course, if you want just recite the audio of what you did.

A good way to move away from auto is to set the camera on TV , adjust the speed to a 60th or 100th of a second. If you want to pull stills out of the video footage set the camera to 30p or Frame and shoot a little faster shutter speed to have less movement blur.

The elements of photography that are most pertenent are composition and the relationship between shutter speed and aperature as they effect exposure and depth of field.

As stated, the difference between a pro and amateur photographer is that if they both shoot 5 rolls of film the pro may keep 2 or 3 pictures, the amateur keeps them all.
Video is no different, except it is hours of footage.
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Old July 26th, 2006, 07:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Perez
Ahh, thanks Cannon. I should probably be embarassed to admit this, but I had no idea there were such significant differences between film and video in these respects (yes, folks, I'm a newbie).
The basic photographic concepts are pretty much the same. I just meant that for what you want to do it's not really necessary to learn all the little details of photography. If you wanted to shoot advertising or features it would be different. After you get a basic handle on the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, its mostly just a question of making the video darker or lighter so that it looks right.

And like everyone else says, buy a lot of tapes and shoot constantly. Your family may get annoyed with you at first, but they'll eventually get used to it.

One thing that I think helps family and event videos is to shoot with an idea in mind of how you want to edit it. You wont have a script for it, but try and tell a story. Try and think of good opening and closing shots in addition to the main actio of the event.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 11:29 PM   #9
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These guys know what they're talking about. One of my cameras came in the NIGHT before a wedding i was supposed to film, so I had to learn how to use it while in the middle of the wedding, basically. Let's just say I got really lucky. Shoot as much as possible and get comfortable with it. See what you like, see what you don't. Visit the "One Time Shots" board (or whatever it's called). It's really helped me out a lot!
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Old July 31st, 2006, 02:14 AM   #10
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Excellent advice, thanks everyone. I've been shooting tons of video with an eye toward collecting lots of different angles and stuff so that I can have more choices when editing. These adobe tools are immensely fun, if ridiculously complex. I picked up some good aftermarket tutorial books (Jeff Schell's is particularly good) and that's helped the learning curve a lot.

Today was my birthday and my wife got me a VL-10 light and a DM-50 mic, along with a few dozen of my favorite brand mini-DV cartridges, so I'm in GL2 heaven. I bought myself a nice new tripod and smooth head with a cool auto release thing. I think I'm set for a while for accessories, although I suspect I'll want to get more batteries.

Question: what's the consensus on pre-striping tapes? Good idea? Bad idea? I bought a little ZR-500 for capturing and rewinding, if I do stripe my tapes should I do it on the ZR-500 or my GL2?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 09:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Perez
Question: what's the consensus on pre-striping tapes? Good idea? Bad idea? I bought a little ZR-500 for capturing and rewinding, if I do stripe my tapes should I do it on the ZR-500 or my GL2?
Robert, behind me up on shelves there must be . . pheeeww.. about 400 Sony 60 Premium minDV tapes. Guess what? I haven't pre-stripped any of the. Some might say I've been lucky,others will say it is a waste of time and head-wear. I never done it, I wont be doing it.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:36 PM   #12
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Robert,

I must add support to what Grazie said about pre stripping. I use sony tapes too, never strip them and have never had a drop out in any of my 4 video cameras.

I always shoot a little past where I have mentally finished a shot. then if I am compelled to view it before the tape is finished it is totally easy to stop before you reach the end. also it gives me some room when editing in post later.
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