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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 October 23rd, 2010, 04:18 AM   #1
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How to get this quality video?

CMT : Videos : Miranda Lambert : The House That Built Me

I recently purchased a A1...and would like to get the "look" of the video above.
Do you feel the A1 is capable of this quality?

Was this shot with film cam or video cam.

Any advice on how to shoot this quality is appreciated..

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 02:07 PM   #2
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The secret to that video is Depth of field and larger CCD's.

The XH A1s is a great camera but a true Pro camera will have much larger CCD's and depth of field capabilities (However you can aquire DOF adapters for the A1).

CCD's do make a huge difference! Just shooting on a $30.000 camera as opposed to a $4000 one makes a difference. This is what can get frustrating when trying to match a true Pro quality look. There's really nothing very special going on in that video as far as effects or CC work. Although there are several different CC treatments througout the video, mainly de saturation and cooling filter looks as far as I can tell. (Not including the old style 8mm film effect cutaways of course)

The A1s would however be able to get very close to everything you see in the video with the right tools and cc knowledge;)
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:03 PM   #3
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Thanks Danny...for taking time to watch the video and comment.

I expected the comment you gave. Nope, I wont be buying a $30k cam, but I will be trying to copy each scene using some talent and my A1. I agree I should be able to get very close to the quality, and the challenge to do it will be fun.

The color is very close to B&W...which gives it an appealing look in my opinion. I will post my effort sometime this winter.

Thanks so much for you time and comments,
Jeff
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Old October 24th, 2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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I agree 100% with Danny. Also, look very closely at how the video is lit. To mimic the video of her in the bedroom you would have to be very thoughtful in your light placement. I just wanted to add that. When you get the right camera setup, if your video isn't looking right try moving your lights around.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 12:53 AM   #5
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I enjoyed that video very much.

But I will say this... the cinematographer was excellent. Can you get that look on the A1... ? Honestly, I am going to say no. Can you do a pleasing similar look? Maybe. But it's going to take time.

While this video looks "simple", there's a TON going on. Everything from selecting time of year / time of day, to steadicam work, to indoor and outdoor dolly work, to the MASSIVE lighting, to shooting on film with some very, very good lenses.

You'd spend a great deal of money and time trying to replicate this look. Some of it can be "faked", some of it just can't. Blowing out real light that organically is just not somehting that can be faked. And it screams pro and expensive. The smooth dolly shots scream pro, though now you might be able to do a few similar crabbing shots on a glidetrack or something similar. Just the light required for that indoor/outdoor combo shot would put it beyond the budget of many.

But I wish you all the best in trying. I thought it was a remarkably beautiful video, and a remarkably beautiful song.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 03:39 AM   #6
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Joe and Perrone,

Thanks for your comments....

I expected this video would be admired by most that took time to take a "close" look at it. So clean, without distracting special effects. Each clip was designed to explain the song...verse by verse.

I couldnt find who actually shot the video but they certainly knew what they were doing. I'd love to find a "behind the scenes" video of the shoot. If any members know who produced the video, see if they would share some info as to equip used and editing techniques....especially CC.

My background of music production has me yearning to produce music videos. So Ive purchased a used XH-A1 to experiment with. Ive logged each clip of this video and will try to see just "how close" I can get to it. If I can come close, it may be worth investing in some better equipment. Im sure I will learn a lot along the way.

Jeff
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Old October 26th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #7
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Jeff,

Just to inject a slightly different opinion here, I really don't see anything in that video that you can't do with an A1. The vast majority of the "look" that you are talking about is created by the lighting and camera moves. It is very well shot, and a lot of time and effort went into getting those shots. Would a $30,000 camera help? Sure, but that's a pretty small part of the equation in my opinion.

In school, one of my instructors told me something about cameras (or any equipment for that matter) that I will never forget. He said "It's like a hammer. The greatest hammer in the world won't help you if you don't know how to build a house. Likewise, a true carpenter can build a great house with a cheap hammer and still do a great job."

Sorry for getting preachy, but I really don't buy into the arguments that the size of your CCDs or the price of your lens is the deciding factor in the look you end up with. To me, cinematography is, first and foremost, about shaping light. Good lighting will look good no matter what camera you're using. Learn to light your subjects well and I think you can get some pretty amazing results from the camera that you already have.

Hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here. Just wanted to show a little different perspective.

Best of luck to you!
Josh
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Old October 26th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Keffer View Post
In school, one of my instructors told me something about cameras (or any equipment for that matter) that I will never forget. He said "It's like a hammer. The greatest hammer in the world won't help you if you don't know how to build a house. Likewise, a true carpenter can build a great house with a cheap hammer and still do a great job."
Unfortunately, you can't build a house with just a hammer. Nor just one KIND of hammer. And while anecdotes are easy to remember, and sometimes helpful, oversimplifying something as tricky as this really doesn't do anyone any favors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Keffer View Post
Sorry for getting preachy, but I really don't buy into the arguments that the size of your CCDs or the price of your lens is the deciding factor in the look you end up with. To me, cinematography is, first and foremost, about shaping light. Good lighting will look good no matter what camera you're using. Learn to light your subjects well and I think you can get some pretty amazing results from the camera that you already have.
Well Josh, you have a point. It's not the "price of the lens" or the "size of the CCD" that matter, per se. However, each of those elements are part of a whole that impart a look. There are reasons that professional cinemtographers will spend months waiting for a rental set of Arri Master Primes, or why they spend significant amounts of money re-housing older glass into modern lenses. It's because that glass imparts a look that they want. I have 5 lenses that can give me a ~50mm focal length. And you know what? Each of them look different. They render colors differently. They render strong light differently. They flare differently. They have different contrast characteristics. And I make decisions on which to use based on what I want my footage to look like.

I shoot my DSLR next to my EX1 sometimes. And you know what? Any amateur could look at them and tell the difference. Especially when I put vintage glass on the DSLR.

None of us have said that the OP couldn't get good footage with his current camera. But that wasn't the question at hand. He asked if he could get that quality he saw in the video. And in truth, the answer is probably not. If the original video could have been shot with a handycam, I doubt very seriously, they would have chosen the camera (hammer) they did. But they chose very carefully. As does any cinematographer when approaching a job. The people who shoot at this level are not bound by the camera they own, unlike many people in the small indie world. They have resources at their disposal. And they select a RED, or Alexa, or F35, or D21, or Viper, or even 35mm/16mm film based on the job at hand.

Many DPs who loved the look of Anamorphic gravitated to the Arri D20/D21 because it shoots in an anamorphic format. The subtle hints are all there. The bokeh is oblong, not circular. Something you can't fake when shooting spherical. CCD cameras tend to flare on things like car headlights, where CMOS cameras don't. Another glaring difference in how different sensors respond to the same light.

So while I agree that the shaping of light is a foremost concern to the cinematographer, the choice of camera and lens is just as vital to achieving the look, even if it might not appear so at first glance.
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Old October 26th, 2010, 06:43 PM   #9
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I agree 100% with Perrone!

Light is important, camera movment is important, but the camera (for proper DOF), clarity, and CC work is a huge part of this video.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 04:17 AM   #10
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Great comments from ALL of you.....

Josh's comments and the replies to them, are making this thread very interesting and informative. I hope many others join in the discussion.

Yes, I agree, with Josh in that "experience" with a cheap hammer builds a better house than no experience with a more expensive one. Im certain, I could loan any of you "my" A1 to shoot the scenes and I would be impressed. My goal is to "come close" to the quality of the video using the tools that I have.....your comments are helping me do that.....thanks.

If you folks have time, specific suggestions on "the look" would help a lot. The video is basically divided into outside shots(note they selected an overcast day),the "song" clips in the bedroom, and walking around the house. The 8mm clips of the young girl and family should be no problem.

Using the right lighting and A1 preset is what will take time to get right. Any suggestions on A1 presets and lighting of the inside/outside shots are appreciated.

Thanks to all,
Jeff
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #11
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The camera (IMO) is the least important technical aspect of this video. Take the entire ball of wax (crew, lights, directors, talent, etc.) and replace that very expensive film camera and lenses with an XH-A1. I guarantee you'd still see stunning results. It's not only the equipment, but also the knowledge of the people using it.

On the other hand, give me that very expensive film camera and lenses, and I'd still shoot amateur-looking "video-ish" footage.

I'm not trying to discourage you, however. It is possible to make excellent video with the A1 and a small budget. The key is to not fight the limitations of the camera. Work within the limits, and have a compelling story, and the look becomes less important.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:39 AM   #12
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Ken, I've not shot with the A1. Would you mind explaining how you would go about getting the organic "light blow-out" that is a recurring theme in the video? Using the A1.

I've seen that effect tried in many video cameras with miserable failure. I'm curious how you'd go about replicating it.

I agree that the overcast, desat, stabilized outdoor stuff should be reasonably simple. As should the dolly shots both indoors and out.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 11:45 AM   #13
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Ken...
Thanks for the advice.......you are not discouraging me in the least. I have no choice but to use the A1 and limited equipment. Ive completed the sound track in my studio, overdubbing the vocal next week...then on to the video. The only cost to me is time.....nice. :>)

All advice appreciated,
Jeff
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #14
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It's an interesting discussion, but unfortunately the clip is blocked here (Belgium). Any other link?

OK, I found it on Youtube. Nice song.

For the look of this clip, the camera is not important at all. Here is what stood out to me:

Steadicam - nice movements

The blown-out light from the windows matches the interior light, so they either gelled the windows or are using daylight balanced lights inside. This is really key.

Color grading - They went for a look - coolish and desaturated - and applied it in post.

Focus - OK, here the camera and lens are crucial. For the closeups of the singer, the DOF is shallow, and the assistant cameraman did a nice job keeping focus. Could you get this with an A1? Not without an adapter, but it's only one part of the whole.

Last edited by Bill Engeler; October 27th, 2010 at 02:24 PM. Reason: actually bothered to find the link
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:11 PM   #15
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Well, after some poking around, it appears it was shot on video.. trying to find out which camera now..

[Edit]

Shot on RED.
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