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Old December 5th, 2005, 01:54 PM   #1
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Suggestions to improve video quality?

I am currently shooting an amateur movie on a Canon camera. Does anyone have any suggestions as to ways to get the highest quality image?
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Old December 5th, 2005, 02:04 PM   #2
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Hi, good light makes greta video quality.
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Old December 5th, 2005, 02:32 PM   #3
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So lighting is the prime factor?
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Old December 5th, 2005, 02:37 PM   #4
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Joshua,

Lighting is right up there, but there are too many factors to list. A few: good writing, good acting, good locations, good wardrobe.

What type of film is this? Maybe we can offer some more targeted advice depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Amatuer movie is pretty vague. For starters, calling it an "independent film" might just inspire people to greater achievement than "amatuer movie." :)

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Old December 5th, 2005, 04:35 PM   #5
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As mentioned, lighting is important, combined with good exposure. Burned-out highlights -- especially on the skin -- is a common problem.

Also add:

-- Good composition. A major part of the "feel" of a shot.
-- Clean audio. Selecting the right mics and placing them properly.
-- Good camera technique. Nothing loses an audience faster than a shaky camera.
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Old December 5th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #6
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Put the camera on a tripod. Rock-steady pictures will give your film an authority that hand-held material just can't provide.

Robin
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Old December 5th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #7
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Here's some info to go a little more in depth.

I am 16, and I want to go to college for filmmaking. The project I am currently working on is called "Undercurrent". It is a drama based on my English teacher's currently unfinished novel . I am currently putting finishing touches on the screen play. Because of it's length (likely to finish at 45-60 minutes), I assume that it's not something schools will take a look at, but I want to do this especially for the experience.

Here's a place that's near me that has equiptment to rent very cheap. Do you have any suggestions?

http://www.squeaky.org/equipment.html
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Old December 6th, 2005, 06:04 PM   #8
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bumppppppp
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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:37 AM   #9
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My suggestion is to not rent anything until you know what you need.

I like computers a great deal. The faster the better. Regardless, I wouldn't rent a Cray supercomputer for the weekend and blow a bunch of money using something that I don't need and don't really know how to use. You should visit cinematography.com for lighting suggestions and read the posts that interest you on this forum's "photon management" section. Do a lot of lighting and shooting tests before you involve many other people in your production. If it turns out to be a bad experience for them because it wasn't planned well, they may not work for you again.

When you KNOW what you need, rent what you need. Figure out how to light things the way you want, and you will know the equipment required.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #10
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And AUDIO. People will forgive a bad image faster than they will forgive bad audio.

What you are trying to do is learn something with a couple of tips that can take YEARS of intensive study. Just start somewhere and learn as you go. My advise is to start with a 3-5 minute short before attempting your mini-feature. By the time you are thru your first project you will be 1000 times as smart as you are now.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 11:16 AM   #11
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Listen very good to Bob, what he says is very, very true.
Don't immediately begin with a mini feature, if it's your first time. Intentions may be good, but you learn trough short films.

And indeed, Audio is very, VERY important. And Lightening. Bad lightening can make 35mm look like a home video, and good lightening can make dv look like film.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 12:56 PM   #12
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You ask how to get the highest quality image Joshua.
It's easy really - use a good solid tripod. I've just done some tests using the VX2000 hand held with Steadyshot both on and off, on top of the Manfrotto and hand held.

With the hand held shots I do what I always do - I brace myself, take a breath, let out half of it, pull my elbows into my sides, use the side-screen with the camera at waist height and concentrate hard.

Firstly the Steadyshot off scenes. The results on screen are pretty good I think, and I'm pleased with what I see. As soon as I turn Steadyshot on the tiny irregular 'blips' are effectively smoothed out and the footage looks better. But once on the tripod the picture is rock-solid. All camera movement has been eliminated and you find you're watching the subject with much more single-minded concentration - the distraction of even tiny camera
movement having been eliminated.

Now to telephoto. The footage is almost unwatchable at 72 mm with Steadyshot turned off. However hard I concentrate, my pulse is visible on screen, there's no getting away from it. With the OIS turned on the tiny amounts of camera shake takes on a sine wave fluidity - and it is much more watchable. But I can only keep this sort of steadyness up for as long as I
can hold my breath, so that's somewhat limiting. So I put the VX on the Manfrotto and it's laughably easy to get exactly what you've paid for - and you get to see that you've bought yourself a most excellent lens of quite incredible sharpness. You can play with the depth of field because with the shakes removed all the apertures are at your disposal.

I'm using a tripod more and more for my event filming. The extra hassle is more than offset by the fact that I have a real and very useable 12x zoom at my disposal, and the solidity of the 'picture frame' view of the world lets you see what I want you to see, and you don't suddenly start noticing that the edges of the frame move gently left, right, up and down. I'm telling you all what you've known for years, of course. But I thought it worth dredging up again.

Next thing is: avoid small apertures, and especially so with cancorders with tiny 1/4" chips. Stay well clear of f/8 anf f/11 and you'll be fine. Wide apertures (the two widest at any focal length you care to choose) will give you vignetting, more flare and less contrast.

And get the exposure spot on. Post production colour correction and exposure correction are very damaging to image quality.

tom.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #13
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Josh,

I have to echo the advice to get started making something much shorter. Perhaps pull a scene or two out of the screenplay and focus on getting experience with all the aspects of filmmaking that have been talked about. A little lighting, a little sound, composition, directing. Just focus on the one scene as a test for all of these things.

Otherwise, if you jump in to a 45 minute project right off the bat, you might be able to master just one of those aspects since you'll be pushing, pushing, pushing to shoot everything.

After my first short, I got 100 times better. After my next short, 100 times better. After my tenth short, 100 times better. On and on, and I barely have any skill, just a lot more than when I started.

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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:59 PM   #14
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You might consider joining us for a DVChallenge. DVC4 is going on right now. I have seen a major improvement in everyones skills that has been involved in more than one DVChallenge. The second DVC was interesting but the 3rd DVC was amazing in the quality leap on the entries.

Learn by doing but do shorts first.

Thinking about it, reading about it, chatting about it are all great ways to learn but, and I hate to sound like a real nerd here but, "Do or do not. There is no try." - some little green/grey critter said that.

Lighting and pixel count.

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Old December 8th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #15
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OK, I'm going to heed your advice and do a few shorts before taking on my bigger project. I'd like to do at LEAST two, but I'd also like to start my mini-feature by mid-January at the latest. It takes place exclusively in the winter, I don't want to wait till next winter.

I will start to do some serious experimenting with lighting and sound! I'm also gonna start checking out the DV Challenges.
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