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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old January 24th, 2008, 04:34 AM   #1
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Short Nature Reel

I got my A1 a while ago but have only recently decided to get some much needed practice. This short clip was inspired by some of Steven Dempsey's work.


No DOF adapter. VividRGB preset with occasional tweaking. (I mostly used the preset as is.) Auto White Balance. -3 Gain mostly.

24f Frame Rate. Almost all shot at 1/48 Shutter Speed. Used ND filters when needed to keep aperture between 3.4 and 5. Most of the time I zoomed in to about the last 10% of lens range to get as shallow a DOF as possible. Used LCD (with PEAKING turned on) for all framing and focusing.

For stabilization purposes I used a $40 tripod that was locked down 99% of the time.


Uploaded footage to computer using HDV Split. http://strony.aster.pl/paviko/hdvsplit.htm
(I've found HDV Split is much more accurate than Vegas at splitting footage into scenes.)

Bought the music score at http://www.killertracks.com/launchpage/KillerTracks/


In Vegas 8.0 I crushed the blacks, added some saturation and used the LEVELS filter to tweak exposure in a couple of the shots. Exported at Best quality 1440x1080 AVI Uncompressed.

Converted to H.264 with Quicktime Pro. Size reduced to 1280x720. 2 pass VBR limited to 7000 kbps. Optimized for quick streaming.


HERE IT IS!
http://www.vimeo.com/632291 Make sure to have your speakers ON as the music makes this piece much more pleasant.

Any advice and critique is welcome and appreciated!
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Old January 24th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #2
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Nice job and thanks for the mention.

Here are some comments:

1. I felt the music was way too big for the shots. I imagined people engaging in battle in slow motion with lots of special effects and action. What you were shooting here had a much more delicate feel and I think you should chose music that speaks to that.

2. In general, I find man-made things next to natural elements to be somewhat distracting. There are exceptions, of course, where you might be showing the way two worlds co-exist but I didn't get the impression you were trying to convey that. Zoom in a little so that you block out these kinds of distractions or simply find another angle where the sole focus is on the subject of your frame.

3. You have a good sense of editing so I don't doubt you'll do a good job with another soundtrack.

4. Don't be afraid to move the camera. There are all kinds of clever tricks you can employ to move the camera. One of my favorites is to tilt the camera down close to my subject on the ground with one tripod leg off the ground and then slowly pull the tripod back up to it's resting position. It gives the feeling that a crane was used. Tilting and panning will help with the movement also.

Of course all of this is just my opinion and what I personally like. Perhaps your inclusion of man-made things was intentional and you may have been very deliberate in how and what you framed your shots. I am only speaking to what appeals to me personally.

Anyway, keep it up, you've got talent.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 06:39 PM   #3
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Hey Russ,

I liked it.. keep up the good work!

May I ask you how much that music track was from killertracks.com? I've visited their website and have found many good tracks but they never list a price? Thanks for any help!
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Old January 31st, 2008, 06:15 AM   #4
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Thanks

Thanks Russ--really enjoyed the footage, and the detailed stats on what/how you shot it. Very informative. Look forward to seeing more.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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Hi Russ, good job, enjoyed the video! Had a couple of question about your encoding for Vimeo:

- What was the reason you went with Quicktime Pro vs. the MainConcept AVC/ACC or Sony AVC directly from Vegas?
- Have you encountered any problems at 7000 kbps? It runs fine on my computer, just wondering if it's been a safe bit rate to use for your viewers.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 04:42 PM   #6
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Michael,

- For some reason I didn't notice that I could output Sony AVC files straight out of Vegas. Thanks for pointing that out!

- One of the problems I'm not sure how to deal with is knowing whether everyone can see my video. Just about everything runs well on my computer but I have a Core 2 Duo processor clocked at 2.6 GHz. How do I go about making sure that everyone can view the footage?

I didn't really worry about this particular upload because I sort of figured that the only people who would see the video would be those that visit this website and that they shouldn't have a problem.

Don't DVD's run at something like 8.5 mbps?



Steven,

1. You are probably right about the music but I decided to go with this track because it moved along at a nice pace and had a distinct rhythm which made the editing easier. One day when I have more time and experience I will probably redo it.

2. I agree with you that nature clashing with man was somewhat distracting. But since I'm finishing up senior year of high school I don't have very much time to spend filming in exotic locations. On this shoot I was limited to a 30 minute walk around my neighborhood. So though I tried to limit the amount of man-made objects in the frames, I had a difficult time since I live in the suburbs of Portland. Pristine wildlife wasn't one of the reasons my parents bought the house. :) Will pick a different location next time.

4. Smooth pans and tilts are difficult when the tripod was never intended to be used by any self-respecting professional. The fact that it weighs less than the camera doesn't help either. :)
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Old February 1st, 2008, 05:34 PM   #7
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Hey Russ,

May I ask you how much that music track was from killertracks.com? I've visited their website and have found many good tracks but they never list a price? Thanks for any help!
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Old February 1st, 2008, 05:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ Motyko View Post
How do I go about making sure that everyone can view the footage?
The old fashioned way, they have to tell you. I'm on an old P4 2.4Ghz, and it runs fine.
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