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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old April 17th, 2013, 07:43 PM   #1
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New Guy with Many Questions.

Hey Everyone, this is going to be a very strong first post, and if I am not in the right sub forum, I'd appreciation some guidance.

I am planning to start a video project. It will be indoor work, much like a news station. However, I have many questions to make sure I get it right the first time.

-I plan on renting an HD camera, currently looking at the Canon XA10.
I will be getting it online, they have options to "set auto focus, set internal mic, set man. focus, and set external mic.
What are your opinions on this for camera choice and setup?

-I will be using Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Air for my post production.

-Camera will be set up on a tripod, what is the suggested distance for mainly a waist-up frame?

-No green screen.

-What do you suggest for lighting? My plan is to do 2-3 light boxes.

I appreciate any help and tips. I can slowly learn the post-production, I simply want to make sure I don't how to do many reshoots.

Thanks, Kyle.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Read the manual of whatever camera you get. Then you can change the settings yourself. I always go manual focus, mainly because many of the cameras I use don't have auto focus.

Camera-subject distance affects your depth of field, as well as your background size. Assuming you zoom in or out to maintain subject size, a closer camera will give you more view of your background. A farther away camera will give you less background. Zooming in also decreases your depth of field, thus blurring our your background.

Read up about 3 point lighting. You could do a softbox for the key, bounce for the fill, and a small fresnel (150-300 w) for the backlight.

Keep in mind you will need a lot more storage space than the MacBook Air can give you. You're looking at about 1.5 GB per minute of transcoded ProRes 422 HQ footage. I also can't vouch for how well FCP runs on an Air.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 08:07 AM   #3
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Don't forget about audio. An internal mic alone will not sound like they way you want it to. You need to get a mic as close as possible to the person speaking. Bescor sells or used to sell $20 lavalier mics that are pretty decent. I would suggest something of the sort or a boom mic over the talent's head.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Blackwood View Post
...
-I plan on renting an HD camera, currently looking at the Canon XA10.
I will be getting it online, they have options to "set auto focus, set internal mic, set man. focus, and set external mic.
What are your opinions on this for camera choice and setup?
Fully manual, no internal mic. You need external audio. At the very least you'll need a good shotgun microphone. Wired lavs are okay, too.

Quote:
-I will be using Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Air for my post production.
Get a Macbook pro, and if you can't afford it get a Windows-based laptop with more power.

Quote:
-Camera will be set up on a tripod, what is the suggested distance for mainly a waist-up frame?
This might help for starters: What Lens to Get? Part One: Subjects and Spaces

Quote:
-What do you suggest for lighting? My plan is to do 2-3 light boxes.
This might help: How to put together a Lighting Kit for Video (Part One): Quantity of Light

For more options check out the link in my signature. The biggest issue in your list is the macbook air - there are many videos and articles online on why it is too slow for professional work.

Before you buy anything, why don't you rent the XA10 for a whole day and plan your workflow?
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Old April 18th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Thanks everyone. Gives me some points to work with.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 01:50 PM   #6
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Kyle...you've gotten very good recommendations from the others. If, you have time, I'd recommend getting Doug Jensen's (VORTEX Media) "How to Set-up, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews (using a light kit that costs under $1,500.00)". He also has an updated version, "How to Set-up, Light, & Shoot Great Looking Interviews With LED Lights". Both are excellent training DVDs.

You have set yourself quite a challenge. You've done the best thing you can by becoming a DVInfo member. Scrolling through the various 'Forums' is like a Graduate Course in video capture.

Good luck!

J.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

About the computer situation... I also have an HP probook 4530s with Adobe Premiere Pro C5. This have the juice needed?
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Old April 24th, 2013, 02:49 PM   #8
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Re: New Guy with Many Questions.

Few things I'd consider.. the MB air I don't think will have the juice you need to really edit the footage, especially if you start working on longer length.

Like someone else mentioned, if you're comfortable with Windows, you can get a really powerful desktop box for about $2K, or less, with plenty of memory, SSD drive, and a workstation graphics card. If you're dead set on a laptop, then a macbook pro or a higher end windows 8 laptop would be good with 8GB ram and 1TB HD.

Something I bought that I love.. (not sure if it will work with macbook either) is an external e-sata dock. The one I got is the only one I could find that supports 6gbps and oddly enough, when I put my SSD and/or my 7200rpm drive into it (there are 2 dock bays so I can plug 2 drives in at once) they perform slightly faster than my internal boot SSD and 2 sata 3 drives do. It's that fast! It is especially fantastic for hot-swap (no need to reboot machine.. just plug in and work), and if you step up to renting a BlackMagic camera or one that uses SSD drives, this is a great way to work on the footage directly from the recording medium, or to quickly copy it off to a large HD.

I guess it depends if you plan on doing more work like this after if it makes sense to spend on a better workstation for editing/rendering or not. If this is a one time thing, then perhaps you're good to go with what you have.

I'd also recommend, for the money, the black magic pocket cinema camera. I can't say it will fit the bill for sure, but for not much more than what you'll probably end up spending on renting an HD cam, you can own a pretty powerful cinema camera. Of course it's not ready until August..so that may be an issue too.

Lastly, Adobe has done an amazing thing by allowing you to license their suite of products for $50 a month. Not sure you need CS 6 (supposedly 6.5 is coming soon with some much needed video improvements like DNxHD direct support), but it's something to think about.. you can buy in to use it for a month or two, then stop when you're done with your project I think as well.

Last edited by Kevin Duffey; April 24th, 2013 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Added adobe info
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