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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 April 13th, 2008, 10:29 AM   #1
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Product video using A1 and PANALOOK

Still working on my craft as a videographer for a truck accessory retailer...

Here is my first "real" product video with the new camera. We went down to the local park and shot this video over a 2 hour period. It felt like a long time and I hope to improve my workflow. Again, I'm just a newb, but I'm learning a lot and having fun.

The product video is for a tailgate ramp and I think I did pretty well. Please check it out and leave some feedback so I can improve.

A1 w/ PANALOOK preset.

http://www.stylintrucks.com/parts.as..._prod_ids=1606

Thanks!

Last edited by Will Mahoney; April 13th, 2008 at 10:30 AM. Reason: grammar, again grammar
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Old April 13th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #2
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Pretty good for your first "real" product video.

First, I think the video accomplished it's goal showing how easy it is to set up the ramps. It was easy to follow and definately made installation seem simple.

A couple of points to help you on your next one:

1) The video looks like it was shot on an overcast day. Try using reflectors to help direct some of that available sunlight onto your actor. Reflectors don't need to be expensive - white card stock works (although feeding the people holding those reflectors can get expensive ;) ). It will help remove some of that gloomy look...which can affect the potential buyer subconciously.

2) Make sure that your sound levels are equal throughout. When you go to that wide shot (when he's up on the truckbed) the sound level drops off significantly. I doubt you were using the camera's mic for this shoot but that scene makes it look like you are. Flucuating sound levels can make an otherwise professional looking video seem less than professional. One thing I think most A1 users will agree on is that the onboard mic is mediocre at best. Shotgun or lavs are the way to go.

All-in-all, a good job...especially for your first one.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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I agree with Marcel on the sound and the need for a little kick of light on the actor. Also, as a personal preference I would have staged a few more of the shots from a tripod as opposed to the ones where you were following hand held. In a few spots I noticed where you were searching for the correct framing. Overall though, good job on your first real promo.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #4
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Gents,
I appreciate the feedback. Here are some notes:

I used a wireless lav on the talent so that all of the audio would be level. Well, for that one long shot I used audio from a different time in the day and he sure did speak quieter. My fault for not fixing the level in post.

As for the overall brightness of the video. Yes, it was an overcast day. But when I initially looked on my LCD the image was way blown out (and I don't understand how to use the Zebra stripes effectively yet) so I flipped both in-cam ND filters on. Next time I'll try just using one ND. Or adjusting the iris to accomodate for the brightness. Still learning.

I really appreciate the feedback. Keep it coming!

Last edited by Will Mahoney; April 14th, 2008 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Somehow hit "Submit" while I was typing...
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Old April 14th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #5
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I'm suprised no one has come up with this comment:
The editting, in combination with the enthousiasm of your 'host' is quite painfull sometimes.
From 37 to 39 seconds, a full 2 secondes (!) I was watching this man watching me, with a very, very sad look on his face. Cut that out! There's also a small silence at 2:20 that made me unconfortable.
There are some better cuts though, but they would be extra great if the audio would, for example, overlap the previous shot, so you get a good, nicely flowing montage.

Two more tips:
-The whole time the man is showing me how to use this thing, only at the final few seconds he explains to me where I can get it. And again, he's doesn't seem too happy about it. I want to know that from the start. I, as a potential customer, don't have a lot of time to browse the site, so I want the video to tell me such things.
-The 'friend', that helps in the middel of the video, was only a set of hands. Why not introduce him for a few seconds? For example: man: "If you have a friend to assist you..." Then the friend walk in the shot: "Shall I assist you?". Everything with a big wink of course. You put a smile on the viewers face. ;-)


Overall, the video is not bad! I hope these tips will help you.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 04:55 PM   #6
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a little royalty free music, a few b-stock shots could have gone a long way in that video.

I think overall the more enthusiastic the guy could have been the better.

While it is very informational, it is not eye catching.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Ok.

1. Bump!

2. Fixed the low audio issue part, all of the audio should be relatively uniform now.

3. Cut out the dead-stare look from 00:37-00:39

4. The "friend" didn't actually want to be on camera, so we just see his hands.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old April 20th, 2008, 06:13 AM   #8
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Transition at 37 seconds is a lot better now :)
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Old April 20th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #9
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Will, I just saw this so I didn't notice all that the others said, but here are a few things I notice (although I realize this is your first one.)

1- Too long. This whole instructional clip could be cut in half easilly.
2- Lighting... already brought up and you mentioned you didn't know how to use Zebras/ND/etc... Caucasian skin exposes/clips at 75 IRE. Set your Zebras to that when exposing for people. For example, say a light was on the face, where the brightest part of the light is, that should be maxed on zebras for 75 IRE without blowing the face out. All other subjects should be exposed around 95-100 IRE (but depends on what you're shooting, the mood, etc.) Adjust shutter speed and ND filters to the desired aperture (fstop, iris ring). Lower fstop = shallow Depth of Field = blurred background to focused subjects. Higher fstop = most everything is in focus. There's tons of threads and info on the net about this.
3- The guy doing the installation is BORING. Consider having someone else do this, if not able to do so, then have him do an introduction of "Buy these Lund ramps here and here's how to install them etc..." then just cut to closeups of the things he's talking about and show him doing them... close up.
4- Shakiness... this can go along with #3. You don't have to show the walking around the thing when you're getting into position to shoot the next thing he's rambling on about. Go straight to it in the edit.
5- B-Roll. I agree with the other poster. I saw a 4wheeler sitting on the ramps. That's cool, but how about someone actually driving one up the ramps into the truck bed?
6- Music... needed in a bad way.
7- Last but one of my pet peeves... you are shooting wide screen. Why on Earth put that in a 4:3 player and show the black bars? Encode it 16:9 and show it 16:9.

Its not a bad piece, but could be made much better. You wanted feedback and hope this helps some.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 09:28 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to set my Zebras at 75 as a test for the next product video.

I'll keep working on the rest of the suggestions...

And where exactly would I be sticking music in this video?

I thought that if I just showed the installation and had someone do a voiceover for all of the information that I would need a music bed to tie it all together.

But I opted to have an on-screen personality do the installation and I thought that I wouldn't need any music.

So you folks are suggesting some background music?
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Old April 21st, 2008, 10:38 AM   #11
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Yeah, i agree with the other comments about the music...i always use it whether there is a VO, live presenter or just footage. It's something that if isn't there, is quite obvious...it will make your video seem a lot fuller and more professional. Obviously you need music to suit the mood of your video...then you just need to make sure you cut your footage to the structure of the music. Et voila!
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