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Old October 20th, 2008, 09:23 PM   #1
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Documentary settings for the xl2

I am currently in the process of making a documentary. Most of the interviews will be inside but I will have lots of scenes outdoors. My questions are what settings on my xl2 would be best for both conditions. Also should I film the documentary in 24p? What is the standard? I will need lighting for the indoor shots. What would you all recommend? I am using a Sennheiser laverlier mic for the interviews would I need anything else? All comments and examples will greatfully be appreciated.
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Old November 12th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #2
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Hi david,

I just recently finished shooting my first documentary with my XL2. Everything was shot in 16:9 in 30P. Most of the time I used 2 to 3 tungsten lights 500 and 1000 watts inside. All the outdoor shooting was done without any artificial lighting. In my case there was no night shots which save me some trouble in regards to lighting.

Most of the footage came out just perfect as is. A bit of color corrections in post was needed for e few scenes only.

In regards to sound I used mainly a Azden SGM-1X (XLR) on a pole (outside) and on a stand (inside). The results were perfect needing little to no treatments in post. I also used a cheap Azden lavalier in one occasion and it worked well but the shotgun microphone gave me better results. Most of the time I used the manual audio setting using headphones and looking at the level meters for accurate audio.

The Sennheiser lavalier is a very good system and should give you great results from what i hear. In my case we shot a lot of scenes during winter on beaches during storms which is quite a puzzle to solve in regards to sound.

Before the official shooting started we did a lot of practice to find the right setup. My best advise is, keep it simple, try before shooting and once you have the right setup stick with it.

I hope this can help you and I wish you the best of luck on your project.


Best regards


Luc Fontaine

P.S.: The reason i shot in 30P was because i use Final Cut Express and it doesn't handle 24P. I would preferably go with 24P as it gives a more filmlike look. For the film look you can also use ''Natress filters''. As soon as I buy Final Cut Pro I'll start shooting in 24P.

Last edited by Luc Fontaine; November 12th, 2008 at 07:10 PM.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 08:54 AM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by David Griffey View Post
Also should I film the documentary in 24p? What is the standard?
The following is just one person's opinion.

Primarily, 24p is for when you plan to transfer to film. If you're not going to film, why shoot 24p? It will not "improve" your image in the least. In fact, it will have the opposite effect.

How?

Consider this:

Video is viewed at 30 frames per second. If you shoot at 24 fps somewhere along the way an extra six frame every second have to be generated. Where are they going to come from? That's 25% of the original imagine! What do you think pulling an extra six frames (another 25%) out of thin air will do the "look" of your project?

Luc's got it right, your best image (in the final piece) will be achieved at 30p. You can always remove if necessary, but it's very difficult to add what's not there.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 09:46 AM   #4
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I do apologize Jay, but I have to completely disagree with you on this matter. There are far more reasons to use it than just to go to film. 24 fps gives you more motion blur and gives the appearance of film in that respect. Sure achieving the look of film goes far beyond just frames per second, but it is a good starting point.

I shoot 24fps when I am working on work for the web as well as DVD. The web is an obvious one, but not everyone knows that you can actually author 23.98 progressive footage onto a DVD. If the DVD player is then hooked up properly, component video, the DVD will actually play back 23.98 progressive footage. In this case there are no frames added. Video is not always played at 30 frames per second.

I have also shot 24fps for broadcast. The final step only requires me to add the pulldown back to the project so that it can be played at 29.97. This does not impose any lack of quality, and I am able to still keep my motion blur. Sure motion blur isn't a desired effect on all footage, sports, but on 99% of the projects that I shoot it adds a feel that is more cinematic and less like the all too-smooth video.

Another huge advantage of working with 24fps footage is file size.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 11:04 AM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Ryan Mueller View Post
24 fps gives you more motion blur and gives the appearance of film in that respect.
Ryan, the motion blur comes from shooting in the progressive mode, not 24 frames per second.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mueller View Post
Video is not always played at 30 frames per second.
Would you, please, provide a reference source to support that statement (excluding web video)? I presumed we were talking about NTSC standards.

EDIT: With DVDs, the video is stored at the playback framerate (29.97 frame/s for NTSC) using the telecined frames using 2:3 pulldown. This is known as "hard-telecine." With soft-telecined, the video is stored on the DVD at the film rate of 23.976 fps in the original progressive format. However, there are special flags inserted into video stream that instruct the DVD player to repeat certain fields so as to accomplish the required pulldown during playback, which requires 30 frames, being NTSC.

This is not the case with with HD monitors capable of displaying 24p.

Ryan, you and both know this is all subjective. There are no hard, fast rules. It's merely opinion, which is what I said at the beginning of my post above.

Last edited by Jay Gladwell; November 13th, 2008 at 11:31 AM. Reason: Addition of material
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Old November 13th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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The amount of motion blur from video shot at progressive 24fps is greater than the motion blur found in 30fps progressive footage. Motion blur is accentuated with the lower frame rate.

You're completely right about NTSC footage though. All NTSC video is 29.97. I stand corrected. I forgot that DVD uses a 3:2 pulldown to display the 23.976 footage as 29.97.

My main point here was regarding your statement about only shooting 24p if your project will be going to film. That is by no means the only time that 24p looks good. Again, I guess a matter of opinion.

I apologize for a second time Jay, I wasn't trying to step on any toes.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 01:23 PM   #7
 
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Not a problem, Ryan, so long as we can disagree agreeably. ;o)
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Old November 13th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #8
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Absolutely! I agree.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc Fontaine View Post
The reason i shot in 30P was because i use Final Cut Express and it doesn't handle 24P.
Is that really so...?

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Old November 15th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post
Is that really so...?

-- peer
Yes, Final Cut Express doesn't handle 24P. Only Final Cut Pro does. I didn't have the budget to get Final Cut studio so.......I had to settle for 30P. I don't really mind since the result with 30P was great. Maybe the next project will come with a heftier budget so I can dish out 1500.00$ CDN to buy it.

Besides that I think Final Cut Express is a great software and it does the job for me.

Best regards


Luc Fontaine
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Old November 16th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Luc Fontaine View Post
Yes, Final Cut Express doesn't handle 24P. Only Final Cut Pro does.
Hum, is this FCE 4.0.1.? In response to the very same question, below is a snippet from another video forum: "I can help you with the first part of your question: Yes, Final Cut Express works with both 720p and 24p video."

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Old November 16th, 2008, 09:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Peer Landa View Post
Hum, is this FCE 4.0.1.? In response to the very same question, below is a snippet from another video forum: "I can help you with the first part of your question: Yes, Final Cut Express works with both 720p and 24p video."

-- peer
From what I understand you can capture in 24P but it will do a pulldown so it can be edited at 29.97fps. The version i use is Final Cut Express 3.5. You can't edit in 24P. That's the info i got on discussion forums on Apple website and many others.

I only tried the demo but ''Nattress'' has a very good serie of filters that reproduce the ''filmgrain'' look. The end result is quite impressing. Since I have an old G5 the rendering time is killing me.

Best regards

Luc Fontaine
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Old December 1st, 2008, 10:44 PM   #13
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What did you decide to get for sound system?
I have XL2 and need sound gears for indoor/outdoor interviews.
Any help is much appreciated. TIA.
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 09:34 AM   #14
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Man, put me in the camp that 24p is just plain silly unless you really are going to output to film, which you almost surely aren't. 30p just makes more sense when dealing with DVDs and especially the Web, which is typically 30 frames per second. Trying to go from 24fps to 30fps is messy.

And to address the original questions, what type of Sennheiser lav mic is that? The stock mic that comes with the G2 system is well worth replacing.

As far as camera settings, I usually use the cinema settings and when in doubt, black stretch. It's safer, although your blacks can get milky if you abuse it. Unless there is more than ample light I also use the noise reduction filter on high and then you can gain up to 6 if you have to with no fear. Even at 12 the picture can be pretty good.
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