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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old July 21st, 2009, 11:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
Micheal,

To somewhat address your "one light" question. Three point lighting is a basic lighting setup, key, fill and back light. Those are the general locations of the light source. That doesn't mean there are there lights. You could create three point lighting with only one light if you could bounce it all around. Also, there are three point lighting situations where you would use more than three lights too.

-Garrett
Hi Garrett, The main purpose of this video is to just display the guitar in all it's glory. I am planing to do a kind of documentary of guitar making etc. but that's another project entirely. I do have on my YouTube channel videos on how to make a guitar. It is difficult to film yourself, and make it interesting. Thanks for the link I'll read through it.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 11:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
If you use only one light, a portable reflector is a very hand item. It can be used to bounce light back into dark corners and give the impression of multiple lights without worrying too much about exact placement/strength to avoid extra shadows.
Thanks Annie, I bought a reflector today!
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Old July 21st, 2009, 11:51 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
A photography class advocating using just one light source is rather scary!

One light will give illumination. It also creates hard shadows and lots of contrast. Something video cameras are not that good at recording. Shadows are good actually. they provide the brain with indications of depth. Imagine looking at the camera and the one and only light source is 45 degrees off to one side and 45 degrees above the horizontal. This gives good modelling light. You really can see that noses come out of the face and eye sockets go in. You can tell how big somebodies nose is, and all the clues the brain needs are there. trouble is it looks horrible, from the aesthetic point of view. You need to fill in these hard shadows to reduce the contrast to something the camera can cope with. So a softlight on the other side is the usual trick. This can be a hard source - as in a luminaire (we Brits have been Europeanised, so instrument is a term firmly on the US side of the water) with diffuser between lamp/reflector and the subject - I'm a firm believer in open face lights for video, and the barn doors have handy clips where I attach sheets of plastic diffuser (Rosco or Lee). I have some large Fresnel lensed theatre style TV lights too, and these are softish, but not quite enough. I'd imagine the local college would have this kind of kit plus photographic style softboxes to hand.

Once you've filled in some of these shadows, then the next step would be to add a bit of back of the head lighting, to make the subject stand out from the background and give a lift to hair and shoulders. Because of my theatre background, I often experiment with coloured back light, and really like gold light on blonde hair. Only after I've done all this would I then consider lighting the background.

There is no reason you cannot use just one light source - but when you see the pictures, you won't want to!
Thanks Paul, I got the instructional DVD, "DV Enlightenment" from DV Creators, and it's is very good. So I understand the basics of three point lighting. That's why when two people mention their technique using just one light I was puzzled, but thought maybe this is something I should look into. Both of the people who recommended one light are photographers not video guys.

That being said I went out today to my local camera store and bought a soft box, I can't wait to start playing around with it.

All of you guys have been very helpful thanks.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 04:41 PM   #19
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Here is my latest video I shot a couple of days ago. What do you guys think. I'm going to do another shoot with the turntable effect this weekend.
YouTube - Guitar for sale as of july 23, 2009
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Old July 24th, 2009, 03:59 AM   #20
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Your pans seemed to fast to me - I wanted a longer look at some of the fancy working on the guitar. You took as much time going down the frets (nearly identical and hence boring) as on the much more interesting working around the pegs.

The lighting seemed very flat, and lacking in any highlights.

I would shoot this like I would jewelry.

I might make a 'ring light' around the lense using a string of incandescent Christmas tree lights, to make highlights and colored sparkles on the strings and other polished metal work, and to bring out depth in the wood grain.

-Mike
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Old July 24th, 2009, 04:23 AM   #21
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I also thought many of the pans were too fast, and also a bit jerky, though some of that might be due to the compression. I have a mechanical pan and tilt head - the kind that are used for surveillance cameras - which does quite smooth pans, both side to side and vertically.

Some of the zooms were also not quite smooth, again it may be the effect of compression. I use a beebob lanc control on which you can set the zoom speed - I think you can also do it through the camera menu, but the lanc is easier.

That leaves the problem of zooming and panning and keeping in focus at the same time - and you're doing a much better job of it than I can.

Lighting on the detail of the silver-work was a bit flat and dull. Some of the transitions were a bit abrupt for the subject and music.

Apologies for sounding negative, I'm sure your next attempt with the turntable will show further improvements. It's probably not possible as the music is recorded, but it would have livened up the video if you could have included some close-ups of the guitar being played - eg fingers on the fretboard, fingers on the strings, even a finger caressing the curves of the soundbox.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #22
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Annie and Mike thanks for your suggestions. I like the Christmas tree light idea. I just bought a soft box light as well as another light a few days ago, which I'm looking forward to trying out.

As far as the pans go I'll work on slowing them down. Annie could you post a link to the auto pan set up you have? This sounds very interesting.

I didn't include myself playing the guitar because the sound track is different. I took that from a CD by Michael Chapdelaine called 'Mexico" and it didn't feel right to cut to me playing something in the middle of it. None the less I'll shoot myself playing it and see what I can do. It is difficult when one is both the subject and the guy behind the camera.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #23
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The pan and tilt head came from Hague - it's a UK firm, which is why I didn't put the link on before. The only disadvantage of this head is that it has a 1/4 thread for attaching to the tripod, and all my tripods have 3/8 thread. However, I've just bought a Manfrotto 120 adaptor which is broader and more secure than the adapter I had before. You can also vary the speed of the pans with it. It just about copes with the XH-A1 - I had a Canon XM2 when I bought it a few years ago, and it's fine with my Sony A1.

Hague Remote Pan & Tilt Power Head

Yes, I thought it would be difficult to include yourself, or someone else playing. One way of doing it would be to set the camera up to do a shot of your fingers on the fretboard (turn the LCD so you can see that you are lined up properly). Leave the camera running, turn yourself so that the fingers on the strings are being recorded (use a swivel stool). Record the whole piece, perhaps turning several times. It may take several attempts as you are concentrating not only on playing, but also checking what is on the LCD. Obviously you will have a lot of 'rubbish' in the video, but those are the bits that you cover with your clips showing off the guitar on its stand (use the 2nd video track in your NLE). This way, you get a continuous sound track, with the fingers working in the right places in between the straight guitar shots. I hate shots where the musician clearly isn't playing the soundtrack!
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Old July 24th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #24
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I don't think I explained what I meant properly, so when I finished a session today, there was a guitar, a black swivel chair, and some microphone stands - so I attached a camera to it and recorded some examples.

No zooming whatsoever - just camera movement and the guitar moving on the swivel chair.

Warnings - no care whatsoever was taken, so there are fast and slow movement, and some are even in focus! I totally ignored the background.

So you can see how camera and subject movement can work. Many of the shots are pretty rubbish really, but should hopefully show how in a more controlled shoot, with more than 10 minutes to set up, and better kit than a swivel chair and an audio microphone stand you can get some interesting stuff.

Note that some shots are actually upside down - with the camera hanging underneath the boom arm - a couple I flipped, the others I didn't. Some shots are just rotation of the chair, others are the boom arm swinging, some a lurchy version of the two at the same time. All clips simply have a disolve slapped over the join - nothing more - I did slow one down to see what would happen.

Paul

Guitar Test on Vimeo
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Old July 24th, 2009, 01:26 PM   #25
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Michael -
A couple observations right off (as a fellow lutier, nice work BTW!).

First, looks to me like you are leaving the camera on auto exposure - leaving the dark woods, well... DARK, so you're losing much of the detail and richness of the grain. After so much effort goes into finding the right wood, this shortchanges your work immensely. It also could mean you're going to have to really bump your studio lighting - think how bright pro photo shoots look when you see them - to "pop" the detail and depth of the image. Good wood has lots of DEPTH, you need to bring that out, and light is needed!

Second, I think you need to think through your shots - story board it - how does a player approach a guitar... they start "wide" and go in from there - I'm sure you've seen it many times, you just have to capture it on video <wink>!

SO, establish a full view of the instrument, then avoid unmotivated pans/zooms (don't move for the sake of "movement"). THEN, start going in to how a player would lustfully begin to take in the full richness and beauty of the instrument, sans the drooling <wink>. If they drool on their keyboard, that's OK...

A handbuilt guitar is a sexy thing of beauty - it's like a beuatiful woman - take a bit of time to watch cosmetics advertisements, or Victoria's Secret commercials (this is strictly MARKET RESEARCH, mind you! OR if your significant other objects, you can watch some Billy Mays, he's pretty cool too with "visual selling"...), note how they cut/pan/zoom to establish the "big picture", then cut in to the "good stuff" - the pacing would obviously be different, but note the TECHNIQUE. You want to showcase those things that make your instrument(s) special, so you're spending time on binding, rosettes, bridge, frets, headstock, etc... but you want to do it in a way that moves the viewer logically around the instrument, almost as if they were walking in, having their eye "caught", picking up the instrument, holding it in their hands, realizing they can't live without this thing of beauty... inspecting it's every detail, realizing the intense love that went into it's crafting... Think "priceless" as another clever commercial example of how you want the player to realize what the true value of this guitar is!

It is work to get everything set, but since you are apparently planning to use this to sell as you finish guitars, so having a "script" and technique that works will save you a LOT of time with subsequent instruments.

Building videos are a whole other thing, been fiddling with those myself (more solidbody electric type stuff), and lighting a live shop shoot to look good is a bugger! I'm noticing that even the shows on the "big" cable channels sometimes have some really poor shop shots...

Hope that will jump start you - don't normally hit this thread, but saw it and thought I could give you some tricks that might help a lot! PM me if you want.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
The pan and tilt head came from Hague - it's a UK firm, which is why I didn't put the link on before. The only disadvantage of this head is that it has a 1/4 thread for attaching to the tripod, and all my tripods have 3/8 thread. However, I've just bought a Manfrotto 120 adaptor which is broader and more secure than the adapter I had before. You can also vary the speed of the pans with it. It just about copes with the XH-A1 - I had a Canon XM2 when I bought it a few years ago, and it's fine with my Sony A1.

Hague Remote Pan & Tilt Power Head

Yes, I thought it would be difficult to include yourself, or someone else playing. One way of doing it would be to set the camera up to do a shot of your fingers on the fretboard (turn the LCD so you can see that you are lined up properly). Leave the camera running, turn yourself so that the fingers on the strings are being recorded (use a swivel stool). Record the whole piece, perhaps turning several times. It may take several attempts as you are concentrating not only on playing, but also checking what is on the LCD. Obviously you will have a lot of 'rubbish' in the video, but those are the bits that you cover with your clips showing off the guitar on its stand (use the 2nd video track in your NLE). This way, you get a continuous sound track, with the fingers working in the right places in between the straight guitar shots. I hate shots where the musician clearly isn't playing the soundtrack!
Thanks for the link Annie, this is just what I need, I'm going to get one.
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Old July 24th, 2009, 11:43 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I don't think I explained what I meant properly, so when I finished a session today, there was a guitar, a black swivel chair, and some microphone stands - so I attached a camera to it and recorded some examples.

No zooming whatsoever - just camera movement and the guitar moving on the swivel chair.

Warnings - no care whatsoever was taken, so there are fast and slow movement, and some are even in focus! I totally ignored the background.

So you can see how camera and subject movement can work. Many of the shots are pretty rubbish really, but should hopefully show how in a more controlled shoot, with more than 10 minutes to set up, and better kit than a swivel chair and an audio microphone stand you can get some interesting stuff.

Note that some shots are actually upside down - with the camera hanging underneath the boom arm - a couple I flipped, the others I didn't. Some shots are just rotation of the chair, others are the boom arm swinging, some a lurchy version of the two at the same time. All clips simply have a disolve slapped over the join - nothing more - I did slow one down to see what would happen.

Paul

Guitar Test on Vimeo
Paul, Oh my God, that is gorgeous. I now see what you mean about moving the guitar around. It's seems like I could easily do something like that. BTW, thanks for taking the time to post this for me!

I'll try this technique this weekend, and post my next effort.
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Old July 25th, 2009, 12:07 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by dave blackhurst View Post
michael -
a couple observations right off (as a fellow lutier, nice work btw!).

Thanks dave!

First, looks to me like you are leaving the camera on auto exposure - leaving the dark woods, well... Dark, so you're losing much of the detail and richness of the grain. After so much effort goes into finding the right wood, this shortchanges your work immensely. It also could mean you're going to have to really bump your studio lighting - think how bright pro photo shoots look when you see them - to "pop" the detail and depth of the image. Good wood has lots of depth, you need to bring that out, and light is needed!

I just bought a soft box light a couple of days ago, i'm very anxious to try it out. I shot that with just some overhead lights. I'll do another shoot this weekend!

Second, i think you need to think through your shots - story board it - how does a player approach a guitar... They start "wide" and go in from there - i'm sure you've seen it many times, you just have to capture it on video <wink>!

Ok, i'll try. I think a storyboard is the hardest thing.

So, establish a full view of the instrument, then avoid unmotivated pans/zooms (don't move for the sake of "movement").

Excellent idea! I'll try that.


Then, start going in to how a player would lustfully begin to take in the full richness and beauty of the instrument, sans the drooling <wink>. If they drool on their keyboard, that's ok...

A handbuilt guitar is a sexy thing of beauty - it's like a beuatiful woman - take a bit of time to watch cosmetics advertisements, or victoria's secret commercials (this is strictly market research, mind you!

I have thought of a very subtle back ground of black and white silhouettes of the female form intermixing with the shape of the guitar. That's something for a future project.

Or if your significant other objects, you can watch some billy mays, he's pretty cool too with "visual selling"...), note how they cut/pan/zoom to establish the "big picture", then cut in to the "good stuff" - the pacing would obviously be different, but note the technique. You want to showcase those things that make your instrument(s) special, so you're spending time on binding, rosettes, bridge, frets, headstock, etc... But you want to do it in a way that moves the viewer logically around the instrument, almost as if they were walking in, having their eye "caught", picking up the instrument, holding it in their hands, realizing they can't live without this thing of beauty... Inspecting it's every detail, realizing the intense love that went into it's crafting... Think "priceless" as another clever commercial example of how you want the player to realize what the true value of this guitar is!

Now you have me lusting for it!

It is work to get everything set, but since you are apparently planning to use this to sell as you finish guitars, so having a "script" and technique that works will save you a lot of time with subsequent instruments.

This is true.

Building videos are a whole other thing, been fiddling with those myself (more solidbody electric type stuff), and lighting a live shop shoot to look good is a bugger! I'm noticing that even the shows on the "big" cable channels sometimes have some really poor shop shots...

My son plays alot of electric guitar, i used to play the drums! Yes i have some instructional vides on my youtube channel. It's really hard for me to do everything.

I have noticed in some product videos that professional videographers that are demonstrating some equipment and such, they do a bad job of filming themselves.

Hope that will jump start you - don't normally hit this thread, but saw it and thought i could give you some tricks that might help a lot! Pm me if you want.
thanks dave, that really helps! And i appreciate the eye of a fellow luthier!
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Old July 25th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #29
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Forgot to mention about the lighting in that test. No video lighting - just 2 GU50 halogens overhead and a GU50 LED from one side. Dave mentions the craftsmanship and the actual wood - it does strike me that showing this off is pretty important. Curves are great because light reflects, and as the object moves the reflections show the gentle or radical curves. Flat lighting messes this up. You could also experiment a little with coloured light - not saturated stuff, but a subtle shift from open white - so maybe very pale golds, that will sparkle nicely on things like frets, and the tuning heads.
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Old August 4th, 2009, 01:31 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
Aim for the neck - otherwise you'd just piss the guitar off.
Haha, I lol'd at this. Anyway, don't ever shoot anything in automatic mode. It looks awful. And I don't want to be rude, but the quality of the video you linked is pretty poor. And that's not necessarily your fault, because you shot in automatic mode. Well, I guess its your fault for choosing to shoot in automatic mode but that's besides the point. When it comes to shooting with the XH-A1, the most stunning images are produced when you're using manual mode with all the auto settings turned off. Make sure you turn off auto-white balance (AWB) and auto-gain control (AGC) because both of them will throw off your image quality, especially auto-gain control. It has a huge tendency to make images from the XH-A1 extremely grainy even if you have sufficient light.
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