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Old March 31st, 2017, 04:59 PM   #1
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Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Since purchasing the FZ2500 in late December, I've recorded and posted 179 short wildlife clips on Pond5. This is my first real attempt at wildlife videography. How'd I and the camera do? My earlier ones aren't the best in terms of exposure, but I posted them anyway. Coming from a photography background, I tried not to blow the highlights, especially when I was filming a white subject, so some are underexposed.
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Old March 31st, 2017, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Hi Larry

That looks pretty good ..nice and sharp too. I watched a couple and the FZ2500 is doing a good job with you behind it.

Just for interest how does Pond 5 work ..I see price ranges that pop up when you hover over a clip so do you sell clips from that collection?

Nice job!!
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Old March 31st, 2017, 08:19 PM   #3
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Thanks Chris. The FZ2500 focus tracks very well, but sometimes I struggle getting initial focus. It seems that the longer I hold the shutter button down half-way, the more out of focus it becomes. And don't even attempt to track a white bird against a bluegray sky. Still, overall, I'm pleased with it.

Pond5 is a stock footage site. They take 50%, which I understand is the best deal going for stock sites. The hope is to sell something. I really don't know what the demand is like for stock wildlife clips and I don't really care at this point. I'm having fun and learning.

It's a very user-friendly process, although it did take some time. Each video uploaded has to be approved by one of their curators. I waited about 7 weeks from the time I uploaded my initial set to get approval, but by that time I had uploaded all 179 and they approved all at once, so the turn-around time on the latter ones wasn't as long as the initial.
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Old March 31st, 2017, 10:12 PM   #4
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Hi Larry

On the menu go to the AE button (at the back of camera) and allocate it to AF only. That way you can also use it to grab focus without accidentally pushing the camera shutter too far and stopping the recording. You you have fast AF turned on in the menu ...if that's on the camera will prefocus for you. Also if you are doing things like birds in flight change the 49 point option to the custom square ...you can do this without going into the menu on the fly ...that allows you to have a centre square which will get focus more accurately because it will only focus on what's in the square and not be confused by lots of blue sky!!

Check out your menu options carefully ..you have lots of focus options including focus speed!!!
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Old April 1st, 2017, 01:27 AM   #5
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Are you using "intelligent zoom"? I find some loss of image quality if I use it. Perhaps more loss than with my old FZ1000.


Ron
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Old April 1st, 2017, 01:30 AM   #6
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Johnson View Post
...At any rate, feedback is appreciated..

I watched about 8 clips. I see some shots where the tracking was off, with the wildlife subject being partially cutoff in the framing. Also, when there was camera panning/tilting, it seemed a bit rough. What you're striving for is a smooth start/stop and very steady in between with a consistent speed. I've found that when shooting 4K, everything becomes more critical, particularly on highly zoomed shots and when making panning moves. I have a Sachtler FSB4 and FSB6 which do pretty good. I still pack along some rubber bands just in case my fingers aren't getting the results I want and in that case I put a rubber band around the pan rod and it helps dampen out any tremors/jerky hand movements. A tripod upgrade might be what you need for your 4K.

The image quality of the 4K was very nice, clean, with natural-looking colors. I think you just might want to be more selective of which clips to post, so potential customers aren't weeding through a bunch of footage that they would consider unusable due to camera movement, tracking issues, poor framing. One thing I've found somewhat helpful to my own efforts is to have a shot list in my mind. Some of the clips didn't seem to have a clear subject; it would start out looking like you're capturing the interaction of a group of ducks, then appeared to focus on a single bird, and back and forth a bit. With a shot list in mind, you would ignore whatever else is going on and just look for the shot of a single duck doing something. And after you've ticked that off the list, move on to getting some interaction shots, etc. I'm not a wildlife shooter but I've seen some really nice wildlife footage posted around here and that bar's been set pretty high.

I hope this has been helpful, as that was my intent.

Mark
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Old April 1st, 2017, 07:41 AM   #7
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Hey Larry,

Welcome to the difficult world of selling bird video! I think the quality of your shots is good. lighting, tracking, both OK (the fact that you are on moving water helps). My biggest issue with your shots, is that as I went down the screen, I found myself looking at other people's video, and didn't even realize it. In other words, they pretty much look all the same. Birds that are relatively easy to get close to, the same angle of view (meaning that no one takes their tripod out of full standing position), etc.

Of course I have the same issues, shooting what is either easiest, or what I like. The problem is that buyers usually don't want what I like, especially the artsy-fartsy stuff with lovely reflections. Among the requests I have had, and not had footage to fill them have been "a single duck flying from the rear against clear sky, a little brown bird looking around, a flock of chickadees coming out of the sky (yes, that was a real request!), a brown thrasher feeding on the ground, etc". The reason I didn't have them is that I didn't think them interesting enough to film (except the chickadees). I would agree with Mark, to widen the scope of what you have, regarding wide and segue shots, but also to take things you think are worthless, like the rear end of a flying duck you can't identify. You never know when Jack Warner needs a duck's ass.
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Old April 1st, 2017, 09:28 AM   #8
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Larry

On the menu go to the AE button (at the back of camera) and allocate it to AF only. That way you can also use it to grab focus without accidentally pushing the camera shutter too far and stopping the recording. You you have fast AF turned on in the menu ...if that's on the camera will prefocus for you. Also if you are doing things like birds in flight change the 49 point option to the custom square ...you can do this without going into the menu on the fly ...that allows you to have a centre square which will get focus more accurately because it will only focus on what's in the square and not be confused by lots of blue sky!!

Check out your menu options carefully ..you have lots of focus options including focus speed!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Jackson View Post
Are you using "intelligent zoom"? I find some loss of image quality if I use it. Perhaps more loss than with my old FZ1000.


Ron
Chris, thanks for the tip about using back-button focus. I'm not having issues with accidentally pushing the shutter too far, rather the camera sometimes has difficulty grabbing initial focus while I'm holding the shutter button down halfway. It seems the longer I hold it down, the more OOF it gets. My "solution" thus far has been to pan up or over and let the camera focus on something else, then move back to my subject. I use the center square box to focus exclusively. When the subject is close, I can touch the screen to get it to lock on and track with the subject, sometimes it won't. Don't know why. I try to do all my viewing using the screen, but for birds in flight (BIF) I have to use the viewfinder and get on them early. I probably could increase the focus speed in the camera.

Ronald, I initially had i-zoom and digital zoom turned on, but turned them both off after seeing the quality when I cropped in...and also because the zoom function sped up from my custom medium speed to a higher speed when the focal length reached those zones. A bit dissapointed with that. Keeping steady is also difficult at the longer focal lengths.
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Old April 1st, 2017, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Watson View Post
I watched about 8 clips. I see some shots where the tracking was off, with the wildlife subject being partially cutoff in the framing. Also, when there was camera panning/tilting, it seemed a bit rough. What you're striving for is a smooth start/stop and very steady in between with a consistent speed. I've found that when shooting 4K, everything becomes more critical, particularly on highly zoomed shots and when making panning moves. I have a Sachtler FSB4 and FSB6 which do pretty good. I still pack along some rubber bands just in case my fingers aren't getting the results I want and in that case I put a rubber band around the pan rod and it helps dampen out any tremors/jerky hand movements. A tripod upgrade might be what you need for your 4K.

The image quality of the 4K was very nice, clean, with natural-looking colors. I think you just might want to be more selective of which clips to post, so potential customers aren't weeding through a bunch of footage that they would consider unusable due to camera movement, tracking issues, poor framing. One thing I've found somewhat helpful to my own efforts is to have a shot list in my mind. Some of the clips didn't seem to have a clear subject; it would start out looking like you're capturing the interaction of a group of ducks, then appeared to focus on a single bird, and back and forth a bit. With a shot list in mind, you would ignore whatever else is going on and just look for the shot of a single duck doing something. And after you've ticked that off the list, move on to getting some interaction shots, etc. I'm not a wildlife shooter but I've seen some really nice wildlife footage posted around here and that bar's been set pretty high.

I hope this has been helpful, as that was my intent.

Mark
Mark, thanks for the feedback. I do understand that the goal is smooth panning and start/stop. I generally clip off the a few seconds of the beginning and end of each clip due to the camera shake when I press the record button. Panning I'll have to work on. I actually removed the panning handle from my video head because I would bump into it when I looked through the viewfinder. I tried multiple positions, but just couldn't find a good one. ( I try to use the screen for most of my viewing.) In fact, I actually use my video head in reverse so that the tilt lock is on my left rather on the right. Just wasn't user friendly. I'm using a manfrotto 502AH ( https://www.manfrotto.us/pro-video-head-with-flat-base ) with a leveling base under it, all on top of an old manfrotto tripod that I rarely used for photography.

I'm surprised that you commended on the 4K image quality because I was under the impression that Pond5 shows the HD version in their previews. If that's not the case, it's good to know. I was also surprised that you felt some of the clips didn't have a clear subject or one that moved from one to another, but that's good to know. I always begin with the subject in the center of the frame. I'll keep an eye on that.

I find that you can't really plan or anticipate shots with wildlife photography. While I have some idea of what species that I"ll encounter at the different places I visit, I can't begin to anticipate or plan any specific shots. All I can do is hope, and I do that. My second trip back to the spot with all the waterfowl I wanted to get more shots of wigeon, particularly of one rising up in the water and flapping its wings. Now I know when waterfowl are about to do this right after they preen, but sometimes they just don't cooperate. The coot running on the water is my favorite shot thus far. Now I did visit that location with the intent to film coot, there's no way I could have planned or anticipate a shot of one running towards the camera. I was fortunate that I was filming it when it decided to run. https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/...ter-slomo.html
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Old April 1st, 2017, 10:26 AM   #10
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
Hey Larry,

Welcome to the difficult world of selling bird video! I think the quality of your shots is good. lighting, tracking, both OK (the fact that you are on moving water helps). My biggest issue with your shots, is that as I went down the screen, I found myself looking at other people's video, and didn't even realize it. In other words, they pretty much look all the same. Birds that are relatively easy to get close to, the same angle of view (meaning that no one takes their tripod out of full standing position), etc.

Of course I have the same issues, shooting what is either easiest, or what I like. The problem is that buyers usually don't want what I like, especially the artsy-fartsy stuff with lovely reflections. Among the requests I have had, and not had footage to fill them have been "a single duck flying from the rear against clear sky, a little brown bird looking around, a flock of chickadees coming out of the sky (yes, that was a real request!), a brown thrasher feeding on the ground, etc". The reason I didn't have them is that I didn't think them interesting enough to film (except the chickadees). I would agree with Mark, to widen the scope of what you have, regarding wide and segue shots, but also to take things you think are worthless, like the rear end of a flying duck you can't identify. You never know when Jack Warner needs a duck's ass.
Steve, thanks for the feedback. Your comments make me wonder if you were actually looking at my videos because you state "....as I went down the screen, I found myself looking at other people's video, and didn't even realize it." The link should have taken you to my artist page where all 179 of my videos are spread out over 4 pages. No one elses videos are included. Also, the angle of view of my videos is not with the tripod fully extended. In fact, the legs were fully collapsed and spread wider while I sat on the ground filming the waterfowl. Some of the videos of other species, like the great blue heron, were from a standing position.

Thanks for the tip about the oddball video requests. It's contrary to what I learned in stills photography, but will keep that in mind when filming.
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Old April 1st, 2017, 08:09 PM   #11
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Hi Larry

Never keep the shutter button halfway pressed if you don't get a focus grab ..if it doesn't find focus almost instantly then release the button and repeat and you will find if it misses the first time it will most certainly grab the subject the second time.

Turn on Quick AF or Eye Sensor AF ...the latter tells the camera to grab focus as soon as your eye comes up to the the EVF so by the time you view the scene it's already to focus ...useful if you get a one chance only opportunity .... quick focus works all the time as long as the camera is being held still so maybe the Eye Sensor works for you better? I keep Quick AF on all the time and I find that subjects are already in focus when I'm ready to shoot ..it does use extra battery life but I still get a good 90 minutes from the battery!!
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Old April 1st, 2017, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Thanks for the tips, Chris. I had quick AF on. Won't hold down shutter button any longer if focus is difficult.
I'll keep the eye sensor AF in mind when I use the end.
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 12:41 PM   #13
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Re: Comment on my first wildlife clips.

Happy to report that two of my videos sold on Pond5. The first one was of scenery from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The second one was of cormorants in flight near that tunnel. It was a very choppy panning shot of fast flying birds. Both shots are from the same area where a long-term construction project is about to begin. The buyer bought the 4K version of the scenery shot and the HD version of the birds.
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