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Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE

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Old January 27th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Maybe we just both have disagreements on what real users want to do verses what they need to do.
I would agree to disagree but I'd have no idea what I'm agreeing to disagree about 'cause you are all over the place in this discussion.

Why do you want to waste time learing how to MAX OUT a tool that you're gonna want to DUMP at your first opportunity???
What does enabling one to edit w/an external monitor have to do w/shooting HDV? If someone purchases, say an MXO, the MXO doesn't care if you are using HDV or HDCAM it'll still work the same.

All I'm saying in this thread is that the things that will make someone's RESUME FILM succeed have NOTHING to do with color grading or color space or the amount or kind of signal compression between the shoot and mastering. Nothing. Nada. Bupkis. Period.

I know this is true because a cavalcade of genius filmmakers from DW Griffin to Charlie Chaplin worked with gear and a workflow that was CRAP compared to any camcorder or NLE you can name today.
Agreed, but what does this have to do w/the cost of tea in china? The thread was started w/a specific technical Q. The OP didn't ask if a capture card would make him a better filmmaker (to which the answer would obviously be "no"), the OP asked what's the difference between capturing w/a card and capturing via FW.

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Old January 28th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #32
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I didn't think I was "all over the place" - but acknowledging that I might have been confusing let me be a little more clear.

If you're shooting in HDV - good.

Don't let someone tell you you can't create content without a card in your computer, because you can.

You can shoot in HDV, digitize via firewire. Edit on your computer. And output to DVD without anything special.

For MOST of the world, downrezzing and outputting your timeline to SD-DVD is actually pretty smart. That's because it's the MOST compatible format and most people will be able to use it to see what you've done. And showing your work to the MOST people increases your chances for success.

If this is all that happens - AND if your script and the performances you elicited and your directing and your production values are note-worthy EVERYONE will see that perfectly well! Really!

Actually, that's ALL you need to do to show someone how GREAT your work is. Essentially, if it's not STUNNING in SD, it will NOT be stunning in HD. Period.

Now if you truly believe that your work will reach the level of excellence that ONLY HD will showcase, you can also happily output to Blu-ray (or HD-DVD if that format lasts more than a few more months) right off your timeline - with nothing but your computer!

ALL without EVER doing a "card required" transcode, color grading or futzing. Who knows, maybe you actually white balanced properly and your stuff will look GREAT.

Would it be NICE to have a powerful card and a $7k HD monitor and the ability to see your timeline in accurate color? You bet. And when you start making enough money making video to support that - I highly recommend you go out and make the investments.

But to suggest that you can't participate if you can't spend that kind of coin is WRONG. You can. And you should.

Soapbox time:

I'm firmly convinced that there's a generation of digital "filmmakers" who think about filmmaking WAY TOO MUCH in the TECHNICAL realm. They feel that those with superior technical skills will necessarily make superior movies. Generally speaking, I believe that's WRONG.

Superior movies happen in the ARTISTIC realm. Learning to make fine movies is not learning the technical stuff, it's learning the ARTISTIC stuff. The more powerful understanding is that ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT typically draws people to you who can handle all the tech stuff you need.

So my advice stands firm.

Don't waste your time trying to make HDV look like film.

Use what you have. And if you don't have a fancy card in your computer - DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU from taking an incredible idea and making a GREAT piece of content.

Reminds me of the kid in Balboa Park in San Diego who used to make cool space art with spray paint cans.

He didn't have brushes. Didn't have canvas. Didn't have crap for tools. Used paper plates and chips of wood and a crappy old sponge.

But made some really cool art.

And I watched people PAY him for it all day long.

Your post sounds like you're arguing that the kids out there can only play the modern HD video game if they can afforrd extra GIZMOs to stick in their computers?

Yes, the gizmos have their place.

But it's NOT at the HDV resume film level of work. Which is where I think most of the people working in HDV on long-form projects are firmly situated.

That's what I was trying to say.

(Unless, of course, I messed it up and got too confusing again!) ; )
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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:14 PM   #33
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Ok, here's my take:

I was one of those kids shooting a 'resume' film, the difference being I was a producer and I got good people on board to help out.

Their advice was to go for as professional a workflow as possible - interestingly at the time, despite HD cameras being out there, the best workflow was SD, because I could get a better ENG camera with decent lenses and a proper mattebox, which at the time I couldn't get the equivalent for in HD.

Now, also, I wasn't the sole creative - I was the producer, so it was my responsibility to ensure the film came out looking as good as possible so that it would be both technically suitable and eligible for more outlets, this includes things like sales to satellite TV/Cable providers, film festivals etc.

In the world of digital have been involved in Mini DV, HDV, DVCPRO HD, and Red ONE shoots - all of which are compressed formats which have advantages but also cause compromises in workflow and your decisions around that workflow at the end of the day.

I have watched many, many 'resume' films - and universally two things let them down more than anything in terms of pulling the viewer out of the experience, even if the film is otherwise good - those two things bad sound and that they are lacking a decent grade.

I bet you wouldn't say to someone "Don't worry, you won't need to sound mix your short film properly - people will get the idea."

I feel the same about properly graded films.

If you have the OPTION of going a non purely HDV route then it makes a difference - absolutely.

It's not always necessary, but if you are looking at doing effects work, extensive colour grading, or just eking out every last drop from whatever footage you are shooting, being able to ingest in a superior finishing codec than HDV really will make a difference.

The real film making skill, or at least producing skill is to me the ability to discern what you will need in terms of your work flow ahead of time and being properly educated on the matter.

Sure, you have multiple choices in your methodology - what you really want to be able to say to someone who is asking what your post workflow is that you decided to shoot and ingest and cut in HDV because it was less costly and more efficient for the end product, and you didn't feel you needed the extra colour space and latitude that ingesting and cutting in an intermediate format would give you in post.

You don't want to be the one saying "I didn't know there was an alternative" or "There is no difference." because if you are looking at delivering high end commercial products somewhere in the future, then that's the attitude of the under informed.

There is an alternative answer of course, and that is "Because my DOP/Producer/Editor said that's how we are going to do it. I just tell them what I want to be shot". This is the correct response for a director a lot of the time, but in HDV resume world the director is often enough the Producer and Editor as well, and even sometimes the DOP, so it really depends which hat they are wearing.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:50 PM   #34
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Your last post is the real point.

I know for sure that if the string of images has meaning to the viewer,
they will watch it. Period.
I have sat slack-jawed through grainy badly focused film and video
that had meaningful and lucid content
and came away impressed.

I have also watched a gargantuan amount of technically fantastic footage
that did not have a moment of interest...unless you turned off the sound
and watched the colors.

If you have your ideas set out clearly and it transmits meaning to
the viewer, you have been successful.

An interesting thread, but as a few have said, it is vitally important
not to get too hung up on the tools,
get hung up instead on what you are saying with them.

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Old January 29th, 2008, 12:34 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
I didn't think I was "all over the place" - but acknowledging that I might have been confusing let me be a little more clear.

If you're shooting in HDV - good.

Don't let someone tell you you can't create content without a card in your computer, because you can.
That's what I was trying to say.

(Unless, of course, I messed it up and got too confusing again!) ; )
I completely agree.

I feel like, though, you are taking my words and running w/them to places I never intended to go. I never said, "If you can't afford gear X, Y, Z you just need to pack up your dream now and go sell insurance" (no offense to an insurance sales people that might visit the board). Content is king. I'd rather watch a 20yr old VHS copy of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on a 15" TV than sit through "Transformers" on a $30k home theater setup, but if people ask technical questions I'm going to give them technical answers to the best of my ability.

I never said anyone had to have a card or a b'cast monitor to make a movie. I said viewing your footage inside FCP on a computer monitor is not a true representation of what your image looks like. And if you want to view HDV on an external monitor you need a card because you can't send an HDV signal out via FW like you can DV. If the person can afford, and take advantage of, a better technical solution there's no reason they shouldn't do it, IMO. But if they can't then they'll just forge on w/what they got, understand the limitations they are working with and do their best to work around them. I just try and present people w/options and solutions. I'm not mandating for anyone to stop what they are doing if they don't have the "proper gear."

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Old May 12th, 2009, 02:29 PM   #36
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Nice thread!
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