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Old April 26th, 2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Critique my "love story" video =)

Hey, my sis and bro-in-law got married last year, and I filmed their wedding, but while they were down for the weekend I filmed this as one of those wedding "love story" videos. I only had so much footage to work with, so please give me your honest opinion about everything from color to editing to sound, etc. Thanks! Shot entirely on the GH2 with the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95.

YouTube - Linda & Kevin Johnson
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Old April 26th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Very nice Patrick. If I may suggest, you might also try using the rule of thirds for composing your interview shots. Less headroom, etc would be a nice thing. I'm not talking about how much of the subject you have in the frame, but how the shot is composed.

As rules are made to be broken, framing of subjects doesn't always require following conventional framing guidelines, but I personally really think it is best in most interview situations, just my opinion. For me it is absolutely the most important thing after sound and exposure.

check out this link:

Rule of Thirds
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; April 26th, 2011 at 05:20 PM.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Thanks for watching, Jeff. I'm well aware of the rule of 3rds. I actually keep the 3rds grid on all the time on my GH2. I didn't strictly adhere in this case for two reasons. The first was I didn't like the look of the pot from which the tree originates. I also wanted to keep the camera in the same exact spot since I would be filming both of them back to back so that the background wouldn't jump around the frame, and figured I'd have to keep it lower for my sister who isn't as tall. After I finished filming I did feel I had too much headroom, though. So, yeah, I agree, I botched that.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 11:23 PM   #4
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

The lighting and audio are very nice...maybe a little too much head room but not bad.
I liked the open scenes, what NLE software are you using and what effect is that...some sort of diffusion?
What sound system did you use? Audio is quite good.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

I use Adobe CS5 Production Premium. The diffused look is from Magic Bullet Looks, and it's called, "Green Pearl". I captured audio from a Sony UWP-V1 wireless lav and recorded onto a Zoom H4n. I then normalized the tracks to peak at 0. I used Adobe Soundbooth to fix a couple of audio blips, one of which was a sound from my cell phone indicating I had received a voicemail. I used spectral analysis in Soundbooth to marquee the section and reduce its output so that it was no longer audible.

The other reason why I framed it the way I did was because I wanted the top of the plant in the frame instead of just the stem. How did you like the bike riding part? That was a new technique I just learned about called photo motion. It's my favorite part. I set the GH2 to medium quality burst mode, where the pics are captured at 7MP, which is still way more resolute than the 2MP of HD video. At any higher res the cam won't keep snapping off shots as it stops to refresh. At this setting the thing is like a machine gun. I had each picture last 2 frames.

I used a Glidetrack SD for some of the shots, and the last two clips were shot with the 14-42mm lens on a Steadicam Merlin. All the interview zooms were done in post with key frames.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:58 AM   #6
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Sorry about the framing comment, Patrick. I assumed that you didn't know. It was such a simple shot to frame I couldn't imagine you knew the correct way, and I don't mean that in a snippy way. I am a fanatic about framing people so that is my problem, not yours. If you and your Sis are happy that is all that matters!

I agree the audio was very nice as was the bike thing. I imagine she will be quite thrilled with the video.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 10:41 AM   #7
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

I always ask folks to critique my work, so I'd be remiss not obliging another.


Intro sequence and cut scenes are excellent. Smooth moves, great framing, personal feel.

I really wanted the interview portions to be closer in, especially for so personal a topic... "two-button" or better

The camera axis is slightly above the subject's eyeline, so everybody's looking just a little bit down (directionally). Even or slightly lower sometimes helps personalize it a bit more.

When cutting direct between interviewees, I generally try to have them alternate which side of the camera their eyeline falls towards. Example, Kevin looking slightly left, Linda looking slightly right, etc, etc. Having different backgrounds is also typically desireable... keeping your background framing exactly the same for both causes a weird jump cut - "Linda suddenly teleports out and Kevin in," and so forth.

I also don't like seeing walls immediately behind somebody in any capacity - personal thing. Makes the setting look too antiseptic. Couches also tend to make people slouch... I don't like my interview subjects being "too" comfortable, and urge them to either sit+lean forward from the edge of their seat, or just plop them in a setting where they can't sit back. Pure body language thing, I think it makes the speaker look like they're more animated about their subject.

Nice video overall
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Old April 27th, 2011, 11:29 AM   #8
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

There are a lot of things I like about your production. The use of MBL as well as your slider and stabilizer was artfully done in a way that added to the mood of your story. I'm sure you have seen these overused which actually distracts from a production. Like you, I use cross fades sparingly but you might want to consider them for the interview cuts between the couple. The straight cuts feel a bit jarring.

There is another technique that is sometimes useful in some types of interviews. When people are looking off-camera when they speak, they appear more disconnected. I sometimes sit directly behind my camera with only part of my face visible to the person being interviewed. This allows the interviewee to feel as though they are speaking to someone instead of a camera lens. They speak more naturally when they are connected to a person rather than just a camera lens. I sit rather than stand because people subconsciously don't like being stood over because it makes them feel less relaxed. When you are seated, it creates a more conversational mood. This isn't a 'right or wrong' thing; it's just something you might find useful in some cases.

You did a great job of making you camera and editor sing - love it!
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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Hey guys, thanks for the critiques =) I feel I should explain the situation. I made this video for myself, not for my sister or her husband. In fact, he didn't want to do it, and she's very camera shy. Thankfully they were good sports about it. I plan to get into the wedding business, so I'm trying to build up a portfolio and get practice. I definitely should have sat down during the interview, that was a good tip. As far as the scene itself, it was shot at my parents house, where we all were for Easter, so I didn't have much to work with. I did pull the couch away from the wall a bit to add depth, and I shone an ARRI light on the tree to give that pattern on the wall. I could only use that one side of the couch without completely re-arranging everything, and I wanted to make the shoot quick and painless. I do agree with the jarring effect of the semi-jump cut, but I didn't want to overuse the crossfades/dip to blacks, so I only used them when the topic changed. Now that I think about it I should have filmed one of them in the piano room. That room has a nice look.

If this was a booked spot by an actual couple I'd have more time and a better location to work with, and I definitely would have produced a better product. For next time I definitely will frame it better with less headroom, use two different scenes for each subject, have them sit/lean forward, and I'll sit down during the interview. I'll also try to get B-roll to L-cut/J-cut over the interview, to make it look less, "boring" (my sister's words, not mine lol).
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Old April 27th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #10
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Opening is great. Excellent use of your lens. The interview is not that particular lens' strong suit. Here is where you might find the kit zoom lens helpful. When I shoot interviews and I know that there will be limited cut away shots, I try to alter the shot with the zoom between questions. That way the sort of cuts you did become less of a magic transformation of people on a couch to a lively interview with visual interest as we get to come in closer to the participants' faces at times and move away at other times.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #11
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Yes, your point is excellent William. Really need to reframe the shot periodically. And the kit lens would have been an excellent choice in this case, you are absolutely right.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 06:34 PM   #12
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

I totally get what you're saying, but I wouldn't say the lens couldn't perform this task. If anything it would outperform the zoom simply because the zoom doesn't have a constant aperture, and thus as I'd zoom my depth of field would change, not to mention I'd lose light and the optics on my Voigtlander are superior to the kit lens. I could have kept the prime lens on and just repositioned the camera.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #13
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Absolutely true but moving the camera isn't the best thing for the subjects' concentration during an interview unless they are seasoned on-camera pros. Changing the camera's position also changes the perspective on the subject which may or may not be appropriate for what you are shooting, I often shoot at a slight angle down to accentuate a person's chin and reduce issues with the neck area (wrinkles, fat). If I dollied closer my angle would become more acute. Sometimes I shoot up to give the subject "authority" but if I moved closer without adjusting the tripod height I would be making the nostrils the center of attention. On a movie set, this is possible. With documentary interviews time constraints reduces our options and the zoom becomes a vital tool.

Also a change of a stop can be easily compensated for in post especially with the quality of this camera.

Shallow DOF isn't always the point when shooting. People are not watching video for DOF. We apply DOF to assist in communicating our stories to people. Isolating people from the background is good to direct the audience to them but it can be done in many ways. Composition, lighting, focus all play a role. I just saw the new Herzog documentary about the paleolithic cave paintings in France. There is very little shallow DOF to speak of in this film during the important sequences in the cave with the art. There was no point for it, you needed everything at all distances to be in focus to appreciate the cave art. The Voigtlander is a great lens (and maybe one day I'll have one) but in it's way it creates a "super-reality", we do not see the way it does.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

As William says, moving the camera is not how you reframe your shot during interviews, unless it's amateur hour.

A prime cannot do what a zoom can do. It's like using a slotted screwdriver for a phillips screw. Yes you can make it work, but it is not the right tool.

You will get over the lens and the need to use it for everything in time. Yes it is fantastic, etc. but in the case of the interview, you would have been better off using it from the side to cut to, then you can reframe your primary camera shot at opportune moments.

For a love story or any kind of interview you would ideally, at least indoors, run say a couple of nice LEDs, two at least, and then set your aperture to compliment the primary camera's lens.

William's points are not simply opinions, but the result of years of studying the art and experience.

We are not making up ways that we imagine it might be better. For example, on the subject of framing your shot for an interview, framing is not an added consideration, it is everything.

You don't frame with two feet of overhead because you are trying to avoid a branch. Doesn't make sense. The zoom of a zoom lens would have allowed you to properly frame your subject. Start watching television and look at nothing but how subjects are framed, it is almost always the same, the eyes are almost always at the upper horizontal line in the tic tac toe grid, either centered in the frame or at the left or right point of intersection of the lines.

For run and gun stuff, a prime can work fine many times, but for a controlled interview, or love story thingy, run two or three LEDs, (or a softbox or two) two cameras if you can and your stuff will look amazing.!

I have three LEDs, but I'm shopping for softboxes now. They just can't be beat.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 10:05 PM   #15
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Re: Critique my "love story" video =)

Thanks for all the help guys.
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