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Old September 23rd, 2002, 10:49 PM   #1
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Techniques for shooting/editing?

I am a newbie to the world of being a videographer. Does anyone know where I can find a good site or forum that is geared more towards techniques in shooting and editing video? I have a couple of books that I am currently reading but I also need some immediate feedback from those who are in the fields.

I have shot a few events but my stuff looks too amateurish and boring...I have an XL1s but I make it seem as if it is a $300 Hi8. I am not doing the camera justice.

I did a few church services with my XL1s and my SonyTRV340 (1CCD). When I am editing, I have problems because of excessive movement in my shots (ie., moving the camera to catch different subjects)...but the reason I did this is because I didn't want to have a stationary frame that bores people to death.

I need to find info on stuff like this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old September 24th, 2002, 12:34 AM   #2
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All the reading in the world won't help you as much as actually going out and shooting, then coming home and editing. Your eye is your best teacher so make the most of it.
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Old September 24th, 2002, 03:51 AM   #3
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Another thing I have personally seen/experienced is that you
often think/do too fast. You zoom too fast. You pan or follow
something too fast. Static frames usually are not as boring as
you would think! Especially good composed ones! Sometimes
a still frame or a very very slow moving shot is much more
interesting than a (fast) moving one. I think this is due to the
fact that most people like to soak up an environment. Have
their eyes hunt around a picture to see what is there. Give people
time to adjust to what is going on. Ofcourse, a car chase for
example would never be such a thrilling experience from a fixed
point far away than it is when the cameras are on the cars and
you can see the people and the speed.

Rob Lohman,
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Old September 24th, 2002, 04:10 AM   #4
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Don't get me wrong with this one, but there is a book called "DV for Dummies," by IDG. It's actually a very good book. I should buy it for myself one of these days. It's got a lot of angles covered, and it's easy to understand.

That book is a very good start, after you've studied your cam's user manual, and you get familar with the cam.

Okay, now for the tip: use a tripod, pan and tilt and zoom slowly, and don't over do it (in a church service anyways). A wild wedding reception? That's another matter. Oops, I see this tip is already covered. Sorry. How about this one: keep the brighter light, like sunlight and window light, behind you, or better, at a 45 degree angle behind you. Watch out so that your shadow doesn't project in the line that you are shooting. Another one: use a polarizer outdoors when it's sunny. Experiment with a softening filter, or even a "pop" filter.
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Old September 24th, 2002, 06:15 AM   #5
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Hi Chris,

You may enjoy Videomaker magazine, which offers all kinds of tips like the ones you're seeking, and caters to users of exactly your level of expertise.

Two tips I can offer off the top of my head, but they work better for narratives and interviews, respectively, than for weddings:

Always try to cut on action. This may seem counterintuitive, but motion has a habit of fooling the visual system. So, for example, say you have footage of the same subject from two different angles. Let's say the subject reaches out to grasp an object. You have three options for cutting from one angle to another: before the subject begins reaching, while the subject begins reaching, and after the subject begins reaching. Cutting on action (i.e., right in the middle of the reaching motion) helps maintain visual continuity and dynamicism. Try it, and you'll be surprised how much better your footage cuts together.

When filming people for interviews, assess their level of on-camera comfortability before framing your shot. If your subject is nervous and shifty, pull in tight on the head/shoulders area. It can be painful to watch people playing with their hands on camera. If your subject is a regular Barbara Walters, then greater impact will be achieved by keeping your framing somewhat wide.
All the best,
Robert K S

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Old September 24th, 2002, 04:31 PM   #6
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I don't know any websites/forums that deal with what you are asking. Try pestering Chris Hurd until he sets one up here, worked for me and the Business section. :)

Here are a few tips to help you out for shooting things like church sermons, lectures, speeches, etc...
1) Learn the "Rule of thirds" (tic-tac-toe grid), use it. ie. always try to keep the speakers eyes along an imaginary line across the top 1/3rd of your frame.
2) When shooting footage you'll be editing, remember to tape lots of pickup footage, crowd reactions, etc... Cut this into the boring footage and it will spruce it up a lot.
3) Forget panning and zooming while recording. Stop recording, do all your panning/zooming, reframe your picture, start recording again. This will make a big difference in your footage. It's difficult to pan/zoom from one well framed shot into another.
If you are always moving your camera, it will create confusion (or nausea). Give yourself at least 4 full seconds of a single shot before moving.
If you HAVE to tape constantly all the way through, then do it, zoom and pan re-frame as fast as you can when things are calm, then when you are editing, you can use audience footage to cover up where you moved your camera.
4) Change your camera angle from time to time. When there is a little break, grab your gear and move to a different location.
5) get a wireless mic, so you can pick up better, closer sound, and fiddle with your camera without hte on camera mic picking it up.
6) Watch professional footage similar to what you want to do. Figure out how they are doing it and copy it.

Hope these helped you somewhat. The art of video/film is difficult to convey through words over the internet. Maybe look into a course at a local college or film school?
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Old September 24th, 2002, 04:51 PM   #7
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Sorry, double post...

Robert has a good point about magazines. They are FILLED with basic to intermediate videography tips and info. (Computer) Videomaker and Camcorder & Computer Video are both great for this type of thing, although you may find you outgrow them in a few months in terms of skill.

I haven't read DV for Dummies, but I have read other Dummies books (ok, ok, Golf for Dummies if you MUST know...) Anyway, if it's anything like the others, it will be extrememly helpful and easy to read. You can always go to a bookstore and skim it over until they kick you out. ;)
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Old September 24th, 2002, 06:29 PM   #8
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Like chrissimmons I would love to see more info geared to shooting and even preproduction. I'll second the motion to have Chris Hurd open a forum dedicated to such.
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Old September 24th, 2002, 09:36 PM   #9
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I think for now any production question you can ask here. I'll answer any question, no matter how simple or mundane. Believe me, you won't be the only one wondering about what your going to ask. So fire away.

The editing (post production) doesn't have a forum for the creative aspect. The technical part of it is divided up into Mac and PC users. Those forums may be the best place to start asking post production questions. For example the way I edit sound or effects is different between Avid and FCP. So a question on editing would start like. . . I'm using Premiere and I would like to know how to edit this scene, cut on the action or maybe before? How do you pro's . . . You get the idea. I'm a big proponent of reading, but if you don't understand the terms it can be confusing. So that leads me back to here and I can't think of a friendlier, nicer, more informed group of people to ask. Did I mention were polite (we won't laugh at newbie questions) ?

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Old September 24th, 2002, 09:50 PM   #10
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i have to agree with adrian on the getting out there and just doing it.

Nag, pester and be pushy (but never rude) to get who you want to work with u, when u want to work and then get out there and do it.

Always shoot that 1 more shot, even if the take is perfect, just that one more, than maybe just quickly shoot from another angle, and a couple cut aways.

With enough dead footage you can fix about anything in post if you try hard enough.

One thing that i can not stress enough, get a log book with you at all times. You don't want to sift through 6 tapes of footage and not remember what is on which, and which were the takes you wanted to use. You will save yourselfs hours, if not days of re-cuts.

This joins with another though, if you are the editor, think of that as you shoot, a little bit of simple planning while shooting, with editing on your mind will make a world of difference when you get home and start your work.

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Old September 25th, 2002, 12:13 PM   #11
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One of the best books for the THEORY and PRACTICE of editing out today, is "Transitions - Voices on the Craft of Digital Editing".
A dozen professional editors of everything from anime to documentary to music to features, give their opinions and tips.

Buy it

Read it


Read it some more

Watch a movie that one of them cut

Read it again

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Old September 25th, 2002, 03:52 PM   #12
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One of the best things to do is to get a full battery in the cam and forget the tape. Spend a couple of hours pulling back and panning focusing & panning on subjects that are different distances. Play with the different setting on the cam and see what happens. Try & get used to changing those settings without taking your eye from the viewfinder.

When we're learning with a camera we tend to think too much about "getting good shots" instead of feeling comfortable with the cam. Practicing with no tape allows you to relax, be more adventurous and confident. You won't even be able to think about your shots if your not comfortable with the cam.

Hope this helps, Good luck.
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Old September 25th, 2002, 06:12 PM   #13
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I don't think a new forum is justifiable until we have plenty of threads to move into it. Posting here will suffice in the meantime, so don't hold back. If and when there's enough actual discussion, then we'll open a new forum.

My own advice is to devote as much time as you can spare to rolling tape with the camera. Explore all the different program modes, from full auto to full manual. Concentrate on how you're composing the image... rule of thirds, etc. Sometimes the best book for learning this stuff is a still photography textbook. All video has its roots in this. The principles are exactly the same.

Graduate from composition to camera movement. This is where it's really video... motion within the frame and of the frame. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a wired remote lens controller. I'm the VariZoom poster boy.

Practice editing with straight cuts... forget the funky transitions until later. Knowing *when* to cut is the main thing.

Above all, review your own video. When you not only can stand it, but begin to really like it, you know you're on the right track.

Watch classic movies with the sound turned all the down... no better way to learn than from the pro's. Hope this helps,

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