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Old February 20th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #46
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TECHNICALLY, if the cameras could co-occupy the same space and one was a medium shot and one was a close up, cutting between them would constitute a "jump cut". TECHNICALLY you "need" to vary the angle slightly as well.

Do you see the above every day? Yes. Is it wrong? Classically? Probably. In modern practice? See how it looks...
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Old February 20th, 2009, 09:28 PM   #47
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So, maybe I'll try a little of each and see what I like best. I love the interviews at the end of Band of Brothers, (posted on YouTube) but don't want to copy too closely and don't know if I could ever come close to that wonderful effect.

Thanks!
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:49 AM   #48
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Regarding cutting 30 degrees: This is silly because I've been watching To Catch A Predator lately, but I noticed that they use the 30 degree rule in interviewing Hansen particularly when joining two takes (like if he made a mistake in one, or paused too long trying to think). I think it's good for both you and the interviewee to know that there's no pressure to do one perfect take (though it's obviously preferable).

However, no change in angle but wide change in zoom should look natural, though jarring. If the difference is big enough, it won't constitute a noticeable jump, it'll just be sudden. Perhaps preferred for the really intense or emotional parts (jumping into an extreme close shot).
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Old February 25th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #49
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Well folks, here is my first unedited clip. The key light is high and left of the axis, fill light is lower and right at about 1/3 the wattage of the key. Background/Back light is the same wattage as the fill light and is set on the floor shooting up. The clip was taken with an HV30 at HDV30pf from the close-shot camera and resolved down to 15pf in IMovie. My first impression is that it needs a bit more contrast and brightening. I'm curious how it looks on monitors other than my own. For some reason that I haven't discovered yet, the editing contrast/brightness controls in Imovie HD were not active (grayed out). This audio was fed by an ATR25 shotgun mike at about five feet from the subject. The other camera (which I haven't captured video from yet) was a bit to the left of this camera with a wider shot and connected to a lav mike. My main reason for posting the link here is to solicit comments on the lighting and any other critical thoughts. Keep in mind that I'm not trying to be creative here, I just want to capture good video and sound.

http://wgs.cc/doris/Xmascatclip.mov
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Old February 25th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #50
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Wayne: the mic has GOT to get in closer. Far too much "room noise". Get a lavaliere mic if you can or find a way to get the shotgun in closer. I'm hearing noise floor as well, which leads me to believe you are boosting audio somewhere meaning it didn't go to tape loud enough.

Eye lines: your subject should be looking JUST to the side of the camera. This subject is entirely in profile. The "rule" here is "if you can't see both eyes, it's unusable". You can see both of her eyes, but JUST barely.

Lighting. Subject should be either the brightest thing in frame or close. Work your lights in closer. She just isn't bright enough. As well, that should have the effect of "warming" her up slightly as well. Right now, she has very little colour and has taken on almost a grey pallor.

Composition in terms of frame weighting isn't bad.

Keep it up and thanks for "putting it out there" for comment and critique. Remember, anything you can learn from ISN'T criticism, it's constructive!
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Last edited by Shaun Roemich; February 25th, 2009 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Changed silhouette to profile.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 04:43 PM   #51
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It is 'technically' a jump cut, to go from wide to CU/ECU with the cameras in the same space. (Or almost no difference in angle between them). Yes, it is classically an 'error' - but like the prevalance of 'shaky cam' it has come to represent an new stylistic choice. It adds a kind of verite look. Still not 'classically' correct, but being used more and more - and so coming into acceptance.

By eyeline matching - I meant they needed to be looking in the same direction.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:03 PM   #52
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What Shaun said. Also, maybe more key and less fill. Have you taken a short clip with just the key to see how much fill, if any, is really needed?

Not facing the camera while talking was distracting, voice was hard to hear. Shotgun is probaby much less than ideal for indoor interview as you hear a lot of the room, so would be interesting to hear the lav. Would be nice to hear it with a hypercardioid if you can get your hands on one.

What lights were you using?

And as Shaun said, get the mic closer!
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #53
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Thanks Shaun and Richard;

I understand about the light intensity on the subject and actually sensed that myself. I'm using umbrellas on both the key and fill lights with 6500K flourescent lights I think I'll try putting a solid parabolic reflector on the Key light to concentrate the light more. But, I don't want to blind the subject either since the interviews will run well more than an hour in many cases. That's one reason that I opted for the fluorescents with virtually no heat. I'll try the close shot camera in tighter to the axis so it's more frontal. The shotgun Mic is problematic. I can't get it close enough without it coming into the frame. I think what I need is a boom to put it overhead. I'll have to order a longer cable and find some way to make an easily transportable boom. All of my gear has to fit into an airline carry-on bag. So far, everything fits except my socks and underwear - bad choice there (bad joke too) <g>. I do have a lav mike on the other camera and it seems very quiet to my ear, but I'd like both to be as good as possible and not rely on only one audio track. There won't be any second chance. As for eyeline (thanks for clarifying) I've learned that I have to be the focus and create the axis. I can't be moving around much as it distracts the subject, also, my non-verbal reactions are a big help in guiding the narrative. So, once the cameras are set they are going to stay in position for the shoot. I can zoom with a remote if needed, but don't see that there will be much need for that in the interviews I'll be doing. My first road trip is in two weeks, so I'll be working hard to refine the process between now and then. I really appreciate the fact that you all are giving me a personal tutorial. Maybe the thread here will apply to others like myself who know practically nothing about the subject but are committed to a project nonetheless. One thing that I have already learned is how little I know. That's typically a good start. I WILL do it, how well remains to be seen.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #54
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Will you deliver this on standard (ie non HD) DVD?

If so, you may be abe to do the zooming in post rather than trying to get it right while juggling a dozen other activities. As long as the zoom/pan isn't extreme, it looks pretty good. I've done it in Vegas and it works just fine
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Old February 25th, 2009, 06:49 PM   #55
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Collapsable booms can be had, that will fit in a carry-on. Doesn't have to be real long for a static interview situation - six feet is plenty. Then you have to have something to attach it to. There are collapsable 'mic stand' and light stands that will collapse down as well, you'll just need a grip head to hold the boom - or one of those 'fishing pole' type rigs. Get the mic as close as possible - ideally just out of frame line. Make sure you wear headphones to monitor at least ONE camera - probably the one with the lav attached.

Personal feedback from the interviewer is EXTREMELY important to the quality of the interview. It's one thing to ask an experienced subject who has done interviews to 'ignore the boom' or 'keep your eye's fixed HERE...' - its another thing to interview older folks, who might be intimidated by the gear - you really have to maintain eye contact, pull the story out of them. Use small nods, smiles - sympathetic frowns to let them know you are listening and engaged - that what they are saying is IMPORTANT and APPRECIATED. This is hard to do if you're monitoring audio levels, checking framelines, watching for boom intrusions - etc.


As we said WAAAY back at the beginning. There's a reason this is typically done with a crew. Yes, it CAN be done as a one man band - but ultimately it WILL cost you something in quality, somewhere - at somepoint. Just be prepared to accept that.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #56
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Jim; The interviews are with WWII veterans and the product will be archival as well as being used for DVD or TV documentary type clips. I want to be sure that the format will be useful in a variety of media now, and also have a reasonable technological shelf life, so I plan to shoot them in HD PF24 cine mode. I realize that impacts my own editing capabilities, but the raw data should be useful in a wider environment.

Richard;
Thanks for the suggestions. As I said earlier, there isn't any budget for this. ALL expenses are borne out of pocket (my pocket). If I don't do this, these people will die without anyone preserving their stories--and believe me, they have some GREAT stories. Four people that I know and would have interviewed have died in the past eight months. So, recognizing that I will not do as well as any of you professionals, I am committed to learning as much as I can and doing as well as humanly possible in the shortest time span with the least cost. Even a bad session is better than no session, but I'm striving for something worth watching. So far, I'm quite content with the progress. I have capable equipment and am quickly learning how to use it. There is some fine tuning yet to do, but I've already learned quite a bit and I continue to learn more each day. I'm keeping the process as simple as I can to avoid the sorts of issues that you warn about. I've already recognized some of the pitfalls from doing the practice shoots with my wife Doris. I'll shoot in the evening to reduce lighting problems, will use static camera positions and will have built-in redundancy of video and audio to cover any slips. I'll use automatic focus and exposure settings and the cameras basically take care of themselves. I expect to be doing about a dozen of these interviews in 2009 and have four scheduled already, one in LA, one in Virginia and two in Missouri. I can teach myself some basic editing skills after all the raw data has been acquired. Step one is to get it on tape.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #57
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Wayne,

Best of luck! I really admire what you're doing.

Re: zooming/panning in post it really does work quite well particuarly if you're starting with HD and not going to extremes. It's a good way to add some interest to otherwise static shots. I just worry about you having your hands full with trying to get the best stories out of these folks and zooming with a remote. One nice thing about zooming in post is that you have the luxury of tailoring the speed of the zoom to fit the flow of the dialogue etc. without the pressure you'll inevitably be under during the shoot. Yes, there is a reduction in resolution, but for moderate zooms I don't think it will be a show stopper, given the high resolution of the camera, and it has the advantage of not having the zoom speed set in concrete.

Just something to think about.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #58
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Wayne- I wish I came across this earlier. Towards the beginning of your thread you mentioned you are going from coast to coast, do any of your stops bring you close to Lexington, Ky? I would love to help you out with an extra hand and my gear if you are in the area and since it is for vets and posterity, if it doesn't interfere with something we have scheduled then I will donate my time with appropriate credit and an option for % if you do sell it later on. Let me know if you are interested...
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Old February 26th, 2009, 01:28 AM   #59
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Good thought Bryan

Wayne- if you're going to be anywhere close to Tucson let me know. You're welcome to use any of my gear for this.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 04:17 AM   #60
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I'll join my name with Bryan and Jim in volunteering to assist if your travels bring you across the border into the vicinity of Toronto.
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