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Old August 14th, 2016, 09:12 PM   #46
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

I wanted to chime in with (more) advice I give indy film makers.

I say "show me your phone". And they pull out their phone. Most folks carry an iPhone, the remainder carry an Android of some sort.

"Tell me about the camera on that phone."

The iPhone shoots 4K pixels. The Androids vary, of course, but somewhere between 2K and 4K and most people don't know anyway.

My Beta 300, which I still shot on WELL into the 2000s, shot 480p. If you are into the "2K" and "4K" scale, 480p is 0.35K. Not 1K. Not 2K. Certainly not 4K.

I produced Emmy Award winning TV that showed nationally and internationally on a $50,000 camera that produced an image size that is 90% worse than the device you keep in your pocket. Your iPhone shoots better in low light, your phone records clearer audio, your phone has more dynamic range. You are not shooting films because you don't have a camera good enough, and yet the camera that you travel with literally everwhere is 10x better than the cameras you watched every TV program on growing up.

The camera is not the problem.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 12:53 AM   #47
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

The problem is that Michael wants to avoid explaining his son why he doesn't have to go through a Iphone lcd screen to change a camera setting because now can do the same with a physical button on the side of his new real videocamera when he upgrades. He did explain in the beginning that it is much harder to unteach him something so the type of camera he gets now does matter.

My personal pick out of Michaels list of camera's would be the dvx200, it has all the features you would expect from a professional camera and it has button positions that will be very similar with other brands that share the same formfactor. The dvx200 is a productionready camera and still cheaper then a fs5 which was also on Michaels list and which quickly can become twice as expensive as a dvx200 once you start buying lenses so it actually is not that expensive if you consider it has a very good lens build right in.

You do have to factor in the cost of a external mike as that doesn't come with this camera and get a very good tripod as that is equally important as your camera choice and then you are ready to start.

For your NLE choice I would also pick a more professional and fully featured NLE and not something like imovie or moviemaker because for the same reasoning as mentioned before, if you ever want to switch to a better NLE you have to start all over again to learn how to deal with the program which will be a very difficult task for someone that is autistic.

Other then that I would not get any accessories from the start but build it up as you move along, once you start shooting you will find out what you miss, you can't know that now, just see to it that you get the basics right and like suggested by others, shoot, shoot and shoot again and learn for the mistakes you will be making.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 03:17 AM   #48
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

Interesting to see that there are others who spend a lot of time selecting equipment. Many cannot take the time to do this.

Reviews can help with your equipment acquisition process . . .

HD Warrior does a good job reviewing video equipment..

One of the gadgets Philip Johnston reviewed was the DJI Osmo. Hand-held walkabout cameras are not yet there but the DJI Osmo seems to be best in class.

https://www.engadget.com/2015/10/31/dji-osmo-review/

If you have been following Rio 2016, you have probably noticed the configurations that many of the videographers are using (huge cams, massive rigs).

I am almost convinced that when you do go in to a store to buy equipment, as you are walking out the front door with your purchases, a truck is rolling up at the back door with newer, higher functionality, less expensive equipment.

The thing is it's what you do with the equipment you have that is important

it has long been my view that the order of importance is a) storyline b) audio c) lighting d) camera. This in no way diminishes the value of good video recordings but if the storyline is boring or nonsensical and if you cannot hear what is going on, the rest does not matter,
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Old August 15th, 2016, 03:43 AM   #49
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

Quote:
It has long been my view that the order of importance is a) storyline b) audio c) lighting d) camera.
You need to think from a autistic persons perspective what many here don't do, this means you have to take another approach and your order of importance might not apply in exactly that order.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 04:07 AM   #50
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
You need to think from a autistic persons perspective what many here don't do, this means you have to take another approach and your order of importance might not apply in exactly that order.
Good point . . . .

It's my understanding the purpose of the initiative is to create a business. As with most businesses, multiple skills are needed and these rarely will be present in one individual. If one person does have all of the required skills, that person is likely to be too busy to perform all of them contemporaneously.

For me, the order needs to stay and the challenge becomes rationalizing which functions Mackenzie wants and is able to perform.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 07:26 AM   #51
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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You need to think from a autistic persons perspective what many here don't do, this means you have to take another approach and your order of importance might not apply in exactly that order.
Noa, I agree with you about thinking from the autistic point of view... change is usually hard for them because they tend to be "rules" based. If they have a rule, they will follow it. When they don't have a rule, they become confused. Best example, if you tell someone with Aspergers to go sit down in a room full of chairs and couches, they may just stand there and look around the room. If you are specific, "Go sit in the red chair", they know exactly what to do. So yes, changing equipment may be problematic.

I do agree with Karl on the order of importance. You are selling a story line, how you get there isn't necessarily dependent on the camera. You can do a lot with good a story and audio. The listeners imagination will supply the visuals.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 07:47 AM   #52
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

I do agree with Karl on the order of importance as well, but that is when I would apply to myself, only Michael knows his son best and how he reacts to change (I know from what my daugther tells me that some of her autistic children in her class can completely lock up and react very violently if they cannot deal with a change) but if I had to make a change on Karl's list I put the camera first and choose one that has a design and featureset that is common among these semi-professional camera's and then in the future stick with these type of camera's. If he would use an iphone to teach his son to film and after a year give him a professional camera it would probably take him more time to unteach why he cannot use the lcd screen anymore to change settings, I feel he will be best served with a good camera from the start so that after a while when his son masters the camera Michael can focus more on storytelling.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 09:58 AM   #53
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

We have a member on this board with Aspergers, Jack Zhang, you should PM him.

Edit: My 1,000th post! After merely 10 years! :-)
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Old August 15th, 2016, 10:46 AM   #54
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

Hey Gentleman,

Here is my take on the camera choice thing. First, in an ordinary situation my view is exactly like Mike Watson's. I tell the average beginner the same thing. Learn to shoot first, then worry about what camera to invest in. This is not an ordinary situation. I know little about Autism. So I am listening to Michael. It may seem crazy to us that a rookie would invest in something like an FS5 to start with. We might say "they are in over their head, why complicate things?” Michael has repeatedly said Mackenzie learns through different processes than we do and finds change difficult. So no matter what they choose I have to honor Michael’s judgement.

I am going to try and explain a little bit of what I do know about how our minds and bodies work. I am going to reference firearms. I am in no way making any kind of a political statement so please don’t go there. You can argue my point, but I will not off get off track and enter a firearms debate.

Shooting with a firearm has much in common with shooting with a video camera. A video guy might make the statement “The truck was rolling away from me and I was about to miss the shot but my finger instinctively found the iris wheel and cranked it down. That saved the shot.” That is an erroneous statement. There is nothing in your DNA or brain that makes shooting with a video camera “instinctual”.

When you meet a person for the first time, you look into their eyes and shake their hand you might instinctively decide if they are a good or bad person. That is instinct. A video camera is an inanimate object and there is nothing instinctual about it. In tactical/competitive firearms training what they know and pound into you is that your finger found the iris wheel because of something YOU developed called muscle memory. Muscle memory is something WE develop based on repetitive training, not instinct.

In the world of firearms training (and reality) they know that in a high stress situation the first thing to go is our fine motor skills. High stress situations are also often high speed situations. Our brains and hands do not handle these situations instinctively. The body and brain can revert to what it does know and has learned through repetitive training. We all know the more you train at something the better you are at it. The winner of a gunfight is often determined by the training level of each participant. The more training they have the better and faster they are able to handle their firearm through muscle memory, not instinct.

Shooting video can be stressful (don’t go crazy, I am not saying it is life or death). Let’s say “The truck was rolling away and I was about to miss the shot”. That is going to create some level of stress for all of us. Those of us that can find the iris wheel without looking for it might get the shot. Those that have to look for it will probably miss it. Muscle memory will make the difference.

Some of us like Noa, who buys a new camera every other week (satire, but almost true) can relearn and retrain his muscle memory very quickly. For others (ME) it might take longer. In both cases it takes repetitive training.

What I keep hearing Michael saying is Mackenzie has his own way of learning and training. He also says he does not modify his learned experiences easily. So therefore, I see why there is nothing wrong with starting with an FS5 (or whatever he chooses). He can put it on auto (where it will do a fine job) and introduce more complex features later. It is a financial risk not a training risk.

I did not surmise this, Michael has been saying it from the start. He knows his son ;-) All I did was write a lengthy post!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Last edited by Steven Digges; August 15th, 2016 at 11:17 AM. Reason: SP
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Old August 15th, 2016, 11:31 AM   #55
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

Michael, how far are you from NYC?

With B&H and Adorama there, you might consider a field trip with MacKenzie to allow him to tray different cameras.
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Old August 15th, 2016, 12:14 PM   #56
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

Michael,

Here is another suggestion about how this board works. You mentioned shotgun mics. You have common misconceptions about how they work. But I will get to that, first the board.

DVINFO.net is an amazing place. It may not have the huge number of participants other forums have but that is part of its magic. The level of talent, dedication, and cooperativeness here is incredible.

This single thread is not going to get you all of the help you need. This is what I would suggest:

Double posting the same info in more than one section is highly frowned upon. The audio forum however can be a fantastic resource for you. There are true audio specialists that hang out there that are always willing to help the sincere poster. A couple of them are a little crusty but don’t get discouraged ;-)

You can introduce yourself and your situation there and then post a link to this thread and say this is where you gave detailed information about your situation. Then ask your audio questions in that new thread you started. The response may blow you away. Don’t be afraid to reach out to different sections. Some guys just monitor their own specialty section.

I am NOT a wrangler. I think what I said follows protocol. If not someone please correct me.

Quick shotgun answer: Shotgun mics do not reach out and collect far away sound. That is the common misconception. Distance vs pick up ability is a function of sensitivity, regardless of pick up pattern. With all directional mics the area of rejection is a soft wall, not a hard one. That means even with a shotgun mic if you are speaking over Mackenzie's shoulder it is probably going to pick up your voice.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old August 15th, 2016, 07:25 PM   #57
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
You should consult a licensed tax advisor with your tax questions. In a legitimate business environment, business expenses can be written off. You can depreciate assets instead of writing them off.

You are really putting the cart ahead of the horse here. Start small. Grow.

The same advice I give to indy filmmakers applies to you. Take whatever you have - your cell phone, your point & shoot camera, your DSLR - and go out and make a film. Make 10. Make 100. When you cannot possibly move forward without a tool, buy it. Do not buy everything you need up front. First, you never get to the end of the list if things you "need", and second, you have no idea what you'll need until you make 1 or 10 or 100 films. I would gladly tell you what you need, except I need vastly different things than you. If you buy everything I need, you'll have all the wrong stuff.

Tomorrow, take your cell phone and your kid and go out and take video of a construction site. Take it home and edit it. Do not shoot for 8 hours or 12 hours, shoot for 15 or 30 minutes. Do this every day, or several times a week. In a month, show us what you've got and come back with a list of complaints about your footage. We'll help you move forward.
Mike,

Thank you for the reply. Just thought I would ask people who already do this for a living

Michael
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Old August 15th, 2016, 07:32 PM   #58
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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Originally Posted by Ed Roo View Post
I will echo a couple of the items Mike and Karl have posted.

I, too, took a year to research cameras, mics and lights before I made my purchases. I spent about $10,000 before I even shot a minute of tape. One year later, I realized I could do everything I was doing with less expensive equipment and spent less than $1,000 doing it. Lessons learned.

After ten years, I purchased a new flash memory based camera to replace my old tape based camera. That was $4,000. Why? because over the ten years, I have expanded the types of things I shoot, and I now need the camera with more bells and whistles.

Having said that, along the way, a couple years ago, I purchased a Canon HF R300 for $250. It is a small handheld, consumer camcorder, but most importantly, it has a microphone input and a headphone output as well as a 50x optical zoom. This is my "travel cam". Combined with small LED lights on monopods, a tripod for the camcorder and a small shotgun and battery powered lavelier mic, I have a setup that I can take on location and set up in a matter of minutes. I used it two weeks ago for two interviews. The first included shots lakeside and in a motor boat. The second was in a museum. The quality is excellent!

As has been said, the movie The Blair Witch Project proved that audio is more important than video. Spend you money on a good microphone! If you cannot hear the sounds you want to hear, all the high definition video is useless.

I still use the bigger camcorder, but it is better suited for studio use when I have multiple interviews.
Ed,

Thank you for the reply. You and Karl will not be alone. It will probably take meas long, maybe even longer to buy the camera(s). I am just that way. It took me 8 months to decide which television I was going to get (one of the last Panasonic Plasma screens, and took me over a year to decide on my car.

Through my reading and research, I am beginning to understand what you guys mean about the audio.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old August 15th, 2016, 08:02 PM   #59
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
Hey Gentleman,

Here is my take on the camera choice thing. First, in an ordinary situation my view is exactly like Mike Watson's. I tell the average beginner the same thing. Learn to shoot first, then worry about what camera to invest in. This is not an ordinary situation. I know little about Autism. So I am listening to Michael. It may seem crazy to us that a rookie would invest in something like an FS5 to start with. We might say "they are in over their head, why complicate things?” Michael has repeatedly said Mackenzie learns through different processes than we do and finds change difficult. So no matter what they choose I have to honor Michael’s judgement.

I am going to try and explain a little bit of what I do know about how our minds and bodies work. I am going to reference firearms. I am in no way making any kind of a political statement so please don’t go there. You can argue my point, but I will not off get off track and enter a firearms debate.

Shooting with a firearm has much in common with shooting with a video camera. A video guy might make the statement “The truck was rolling away from me and I was about to miss the shot but my finger instinctively found the iris wheel and cranked it down. That saved the shot.” That is an erroneous statement. There is nothing in your DNA or brain that makes shooting with a video camera “instinctual”.

When you meet a person for the first time, you look into their eyes and shake their hand you might instinctively decide if they are a good or bad person. That is instinct. A video camera is an inanimate object and there is nothing instinctual about it. In tactical/competitive firearms training what they know and pound into you is that your finger found the iris wheel because of something YOU developed called muscle memory. Muscle memory is something WE develop based on repetitive training, not instinct.

In the world of firearms training (and reality) they know that in a high stress situation the first thing to go is our fine motor skills. High stress situations are also often high speed situations. Our brains and hands do not handle these situations instinctively. The body and brain can revert to what it does know and has learned through repetitive training. We all know the more you train at something the better you are at it. The winner of a gunfight is often determined by the training level of each participant. The more training they have the better and faster they are able to handle their firearm through muscle memory, not instinct.

Shooting video can be stressful (don’t go crazy, I am not saying it is life or death). Let’s say “The truck was rolling away and I was about to miss the shot”. That is going to create some level of stress for all of us. Those of us that can find the iris wheel without looking for it might get the shot. Those that have to look for it will probably miss it. Muscle memory will make the difference.

Some of us like Noa, who buys a new camera every other week (satire, but almost true) can relearn and retrain his muscle memory very quickly. For others (ME) it might take longer. In both cases it takes repetitive training.

What I keep hearing Michael saying is Mackenzie has his own way of learning and training. He also says he does not modify his learned experiences easily. So therefore, I see why there is nothing wrong with starting with an FS5 (or whatever he chooses). He can put it on auto (where it will do a fine job) and introduce more complex features later. It is a financial risk not a training risk.

I did not surmise this, Michael has been saying it from the start. He knows his son ;-) All I did was write a lengthy post!

Kind Regards,

Steve
Steve,

You, Mike, Noa, Karl, and Ed made some good and valid points in the earlier posts on this page.

Noa, Ed, and Steve, You guys summed up things pretty well. Behavior wise, Mackenzie is and has been, ,for a number of years, in a very good place. My job is to keep it there, and I do that in many ways, one of which is the ordeal with this camera. Noa, I am sure your daughter uses behavior modification (even though she may not call it that) with her students. Most of these kids (probably 95%) my son included rely on predictability and things being the same. Changes in the routine have to be made slowly and in small steps (especially when they are younger).. I can only use Mackenzie as an example, but when he had behavior issues in the past, it almost always was a combination of a break in his routine and or frustration either because he could not make his needs/desires known (Knew what he wanted, just couldn't figure out out to express it), or did not understand what he was being asked or told to do.

Steve your use of the term muscle memory is I think, appropriate

Thank you, and really all of you, for the consideration you have been giving to me. It really means a lot

Michael
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Old August 15th, 2016, 08:11 PM   #60
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Re: New and need help for son with Autism

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Originally Posted by Ed Roo View Post
Michael, how far are you from NYC?

With B&H and Adorama there, you might consider a field trip with MacKenzie to allow him to tray different cameras.

Ed,

I live a little over an hour from the city. Chris had mentioned in an earlier post that I should try that, and I told someone here that I might go and "graze" for a while. I am hoping at some point to narrow my choices down to two or three, and decide from there. It would be a good field trip though. The last time Mackenzie and I were in the city, we saw Bob Seger at MSG- good show.

Thanks,

Michael
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