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Old December 31st, 2006, 10:51 AM   #1
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A little help for a beginner, please.

Need some help deciding what to do. Or, shall I say, what to get.

I used a Pany GS250 and some assorted equipment to document my race weekends last summer. I posted my race reports on-line, plus put together a DVD at the end of the season. They were well received and I have been asked, by the race series promoters, to shoot and put together next seasons ďofficialĒ DVD.
They offered to pay me the same as last seasonís professional.

So, where would my limited funds best be used to improve my set up?
Iím thinking $750 to $1250, maybe $1500. (Pending approval from Mrs. CFO)

Hereís what I have now, (I know most of you are pros, so be kind):
The GS250 with a Sony mic on top, an XLR-PRO audio adapter, headphones, decent wide-angle lens, extra batteries and I have an AT Pro 88W wireless lav system on order.
Also a good Manfrotto tripod with fluid head, a monopod and some halogen work lights.
So, am I missing something, (aside from talent)? Should I upgrade something?
Is it time for a decent used pro camera for two-camera work?

Iím good on the editing side; I have two, dual monitor set ups, one for editing and one for rendering/authoring. I own Sony Vegas.

This is a just hobby for me, I have a day job and at 50 years of age, Iím not looking to start a new career, but I would like to do a good, professional job for them. If it goes well, I would be willing to try some other event work or even a DVC, just for fun.

Sorry for the ridiculously long post.

Bob T.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 04:19 PM   #2
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To me, it would partly depend on the type of races - if it's drag racing, you might not need as long a lens as you would with a closed road-racing course (like Lime Rock Connecticut, or Briar Motorsport park in New Hampshire, for example)

If these are night races, I can't imagine trying to add enough extra light to even be noticeable without having your own megawatt generator truck, and if they're daytime you shouldn't need ANY extra light.

A second camera can help (with or without a second operator) if you set the second one up as a static, wide shot from a different angle (depends on security though, there are scumbags around who would just pick up your camera and tripod and walk/run away)

One possible way to help answer this is to ask yourself what you WISHED you could have done with the previous project, and then find out what gear it would have required to do that.

Congrats, BTW, on landing the gig... Steve
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Old December 31st, 2006, 04:23 PM   #3
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You know what, if they are happy and you aren't having any real problems, why up-grade at all. Go ahead with what you are doing and if you run across something you can't do without, then get that. You will save a lot of money in the long run.

Mike
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Old December 31st, 2006, 04:35 PM   #4
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I agree with Mike. I would probably wait until after the first year to look back and see what I thought could've been improved.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys...

Steve....its Motorcycle drag racing, always during the daylight.

Mike and Justin....your right. They did like my previous effort...so I should be OK.

I guess I'm nervous about this first job and wanting to make sure I've got my bases covered.
Plus I have to change my format from, "How did my weekend go" thing I was doing to interviews with the winners and such like that.

Or maybe I was just looking for an excuse to tell the wife I need to buy another camera...haha.

Here's a couple of the weekend reports I did last year.
Not as good as most of the stuff I see on this site, but OK I guess, considering I had zip experiance before I started this.

http://www.baatfam.com/2WS3_4completeB.wmv
http://www.baatfam.com/2WS5_6ComRev1.wmv

Thanks again,
Bob
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Old January 1st, 2007, 04:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thieda

Or maybe I was just looking for an excuse to tell the wife I need to buy another camera...haha.


Bob
Ya, we can relate to that, but like I said, just get the stuff you find you really need. Otherwise you'll get into the buy more and more that breaks us and gets us into trouble.

Mike
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:22 AM   #7
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Your footage looks fine, maybe a bit more color manipulation but I think the best thing is another camera as Steve suggested. It would make the races more dynamic having more than one angle to work with.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Ellifritt
Your footage looks fine, maybe a bit more color manipulation...
Could you tell me a little more?
When it comes to color correction, I'm a complete novice....so any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob T.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thieda
Could you tell me a little more?
When it comes to color correction, I'm a complete novice....so any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bob T.

On my monitor at least it looks as if you could do some adjustments to the brightness, contrast and gamma. This will give a richer look to your footage.
And I didn't refer to correction (correction is comepletely different) but manipulation in making the colors a bit more saturated.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Ellifritt
On my monitor at least it looks as if you could do some adjustments to the brightness, contrast and gamma. This will give a richer look to your footage.
OK....I'll trust you on that....

Quote:
And I didn't refer to correction (correction is comepletely different) but manipulation in making the colors a bit more saturated.
And that shows you just how much I don't know...

Thanks...I'll do some research, grab a clip and try some tweaking...

Bob T.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 09:08 PM   #11
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Deleted.

Post was duplicated below during edit when login timed out.

Last edited by Bob Hart; January 4th, 2007 at 10:26 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 09:38 PM   #12
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Being an ears sort of person, (short-sighted, which doesn't make me the best cameraman). ---

I would also endeavour to get the best sound I can, good stereo if possible or a second audio track to mix over in case your camera original gets mutilated or simply to add richness to the original.

Bounce doppler from another rearward facing mike is a nice effect if not over-used. This should always be recorded to a separate channel or another recorder because although you can add salt to the stew, you cannot get it back out.

You can replicate this a lttle by copying a duplicate track to the timeline, unlinking it and slipping this back a few frames on the timelne at lower level but it is not as nice and sounds a little fakey to the purists.

Some revheads are reputed sometimes to be variously moved to slobbering, drooling and juiceing up, merely at the sound of something mechanically wondrous being tortured to the very edge of its being. Others can be driven to tearfulness at a catastrophic mechanical failure

Others "Yaahaaa", "Loozah" and "Turkey" at the sound of destructive mismanagement. Where possible, you want to capture the human reaction as well as the minute aural detail of the flying pieces as the engine puts a leg out of bed in that signature death-rattle.

Even better if you can capture the subtle differences in note which prelude the event that only an enthusiast can discern.

All this of course is bordering on the obsessive. Your clients might well be easily pleased with simply having an enduring record.

For interviews and "featured machine of the week" type spots, your sound needs to be really crisp and mike very close to your interviewee to reduce the background ambience.

The hearing of your clients is likely to be impaired in the mid to high range and their money is more likely to have been spent on bright, shiny, suicidally fast machines than on good audio for their televisions.

A directional (shotgun) mike versus body mike might be best as it is difficult to record intelligable dialogue against engines being tuned up. I doubt it will be economically or practically viable for you to interview the owners in their own homes or workshops where the sound environment can be controlled.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 09:48 AM   #13
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I've allways been heavy on the audio side. it may be a bit bias but I would invest in some good used mics. you could use them for the shoot and later, if you didnt feel you had any more use for them, you could always turn around and resell.

buying used and reselling goes for for any equipment you might want to get. you get all your money back (not like throwing it away if you rent)

just my 2 cents. feel free to disreguard.. because I have been told I'm an idiot before haha
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Old January 4th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #14
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I didn't look at your footage, but you might want to pick up a polarizer to darken the sky a bit (depending on your orientation relative to the sun angle). I've found it can make it a little easier to maintain nice contrast in my outdoor shots.

-Terence
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Old January 4th, 2007, 01:25 PM   #15
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Hi Bob,

Checked your vids, seems you have a bit of trouble tracking and zooming those cycles down the track.

Do you use the Cam"s viewfinder or the side Monitor ??

Do you use the Tri-Pod's stock control handle ??

What do you use to control the Zooming ??

If you're using the OEM items, then I've got some suggestions. Let us know.

Harold
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