Camera and workflow for stock footage at

Go Back   DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
Topics about HD production.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 21st, 2006, 05:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Chamonix France
Posts: 3
Camera and workflow for stock footage

Hi All,

I am a stills photographer, but I am being asked more and more by my clients if I have any stock film (hight quality video) footage "Do you have any film clips?" or "Do you shoot video too?". So I have made the decision to jump in and double up on my shoots by producing HD video too. I know I have a lot to learn and will be visiting this forum for valuable info often.

I know there are other camera comparisons in this forum, but I specifically am interesting in producing stock clips of a few seconds, so it has to be in a format and of a quality that clients want in the future... and it could be for their web site, their promo DVD or their TV ad.

I have doubled up filming 16-mm on shoots before when requested specifically by clients, but hired and left the shooting to a capable film cameraman with his own camera, then sent the rolls for conversion to Beta and supplied the client's production company the tapes to do any post production. I thought of doing stock 16-mm footage a few years back, but it seemed too much hassle.

What I intend to do now is more speculative work off the back of shooting stills. We have models, locations, production crew, etc so we can get a few movie shots too of the same subjects at relatively little extra cost. Basically, now that I know there is a demand, I will shoot it and see what we have later, so when a client asks if I have any footage I can say yes...

This however means choosing the right equipment that will produce footage that will be usable for a few years to come, and having a work flow that allows us to shoot it, cut up the clips and present them as necessary without it all becoming too much hassle that we don't bring the video kit with us at all or never bother to look at it back in the office. For example I have a Canon XL1 that has hardly been used, and should have been on eBay years ago. If equipment doesn't fit our workflow it gets left behind. I am not sure why I got it in the first place as footage requests at the time were for 16 or 35mm film or BetaSP, so producing footage on the XL1 didn't seem worthwhile.

I have called a few retailers and am getting good but somewhat contradicting advice about cameras, tripods and post production workflow. We run Apple Macs, Linux servers for Raid storage and PC's so we can use a variety of software. I use Canon stills equipment. For clips, I can see slow motion being important so is it better to shoot in the camera, or can software easily produce great slow-motion later? Interior lighting will be a problem for clips, video camera lights being too directional and we use flash for stills so are the cameras capable of shooting quality footage indoors without extra lighting? (we might swap to lights rather than flash anyways)

As its speculative, I want to keep my costs as low as possible for the camera and essential bits (bag, tripod,, spare batteries, lenses... editing software etc.), but photo-shoot production costs me $5K minimum a day anyways, so I guess price is relative - its more what kit will do the job for the least fuss. I was hoping to get input about all aspects of equipment choice form camera, tripod etc as the brand names (other than the camera) don't mean too much to me for things like tripods, and shooting workflow as well as post production work flow... (tidying up images, color correction, slow motion, etc...), but we won't be doing much editing other than separating the clips - that will left to whoever takes the clips and edits into their own production (Just like I do with photos, I take the shots , the graphic designers put it into the layout for publication. I actually don't even do any retouching or work on the images even though I am shooting digital. In most cases I supply Raw or jpeg images to the client from the camera).

I will be making the kit purchase this week, as we are shooting everyday and seem to be missing great opportunities... which would keep clients happy and from going elsewhere.

Thanks for any input, and apologies if it is repeated elsewhere in the forum. Feel free to talk to me as if I am a complete naive newbie amateur...
Tim Barnett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:37 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Chamonix France
Posts: 3
Got a Canon...

Received today the Canon XL-H1 and an XL-3X wide angle. Plus Libec LS-60 (2A), a tripod adaptor quick release, KATA CC10 case, 2 x Canon BP-945 batteries, and a lot of tapes... The choice was between the H1 and the Sony Z1, with local shooters preferring the Z1 - but thats because they do almost all their work hand held, often close to the subjects in difficult locations half way up a mountain (in the French Alps shooting extreme sports such as skiing and climbing). On analyzing stock footage available commercially, I know a lot of it has to be completely steady which means tripod work.

As the tripod is heavy anyways it didn't really matter that the Canon was heavier or bigger than the Sony. Actually, I was worried that if I got the Z1 I would be, as my colleagues are, tempted to leave the tripod at home and only do handheld shots which I know I would then regret when I would see the shake or any jerky movements.

Trying to get advice, I called around a lot and I was recommended the H1 more times than not, and particularly by contacts doing broadcast material and who buy in a lot of stock footage.

As for workflow, I guess I am about to find out. we start shooting stock orders tomorrow. I don't see it being too different from shooting my stock stills photography, but I know it has to be of high standard so I will spend time shooting it. I will obviously shoot HDV... And I will spend particular care on getting white balance and exposure right as I do not want to spend too much time trying to color correct anything afterwards, in the same way I do with photography, even if RAW work-flows allow a lot more exposure flexibility. I try to get the shots right in the camera, so there is nothing for me or anyone else to really touch afterwards. I will also pay particular attention to styling of models and props in the shots, as logo retouching for stock stills might be fast now with the new features in Photoshop CS2, but retouching all the frames for a 10 second clip is too much time wasted in post either for me or anyone looking to buy clips.

In post I will be ruthless in what I keep otherwise it will be easy to get snowed under with material (as I am with stills - snowed under even though I am ruthless with edits!). I won't bother shooting or doing slow motion in post and will grade sparingly, as I believe that is for the person who is adding the stock clips to their production to do. Logging by tape number and time-code will be crucial to keep track of everything. We'll upload the compiled clips as SD to the servers, then put the master HDV away somewhere nice and safe for future needs or until we need to dub material from it. Digital footage - no excuse to ever lose or damage it.

Software I got is for the Mac - Final Cut Pro Studio. I am hoping that I hardly use any of the features offered (as that would mean a lot of time at my desk and not shooting). I have since heard that Adobe Premiere 2.0 has simple color correction tools... Might need to do a comparison if I run into problems to see which is quicker. I hope I will be hiring someone soon for shooting and post anyways, but I'd prefer to get knowledge of all stages of the workflow and can only benefit and will enjoy initial hands on experience myself. Ideally, I 'd like to get the post workflow so that the biggest problem is selecting clips, just viewing the tape and slicing it up... But we will see.
Tim Barnett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:41 PM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Posts: 475
Congrats! It's a nice camera you got there! One word of advice; Dive in to the preset settings. My XL H1 came out of the box a bit grey/soft coloured. Playing with the settings helped a lot and gave the image the richness what the camera has in it.
Vincent Rozenberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:56 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Chamonix France
Posts: 3
Any particular preset to try?

Thanks... for the repy. Been trying with tests on the Custom Presets this afternoon, although the initial out of the box set up seems to give amazing image quality. Any particular tweaks you recommend checking out? Did you adjust the sharpness levels? We are shooting in the snow at the moment, so I would like images to be as white as possible... without greyness. I appreciate that the cameras could be different out of the box too (theres discussion about same model still cameras varying quite a bit), but it might be worth me experimenting with some other "tried and tested" settings from other users.

Tim Barnett is offline   Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

Omega Broadcast
(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

(800) 238-8480
Glendale, CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:53 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2015 The Digital Video Information Network