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Old October 9th, 2002, 01:57 PM   #1
doctorxex
 
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The Consumer (video project)

I have just completed a short, 2 minute video project entitled, "The Consumer." the soundtrack is not neccesarilly complete yet.
Everything was shot w/ a Canon GL2 in frame movie mode and edited in Final Cut Pro. i used flourescents for lighting. The whole thing was done by me, except the actor, of course, my good friend AJ who also helped w/ some of the compositing effects.
This will most likely be a piece in my video portfolio that i am sending to colleges, so i would really appreciate some input.
And here it is...
http://store.yahoo.com/lib/akteo/theconsumer.mov

Thanks!
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Old October 15th, 2002, 05:18 PM   #2
doctorxex
 
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37 people have viewed this thread, and yet no one has told me what they think of the damn movie.

Grrr.
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Old October 15th, 2002, 05:59 PM   #3
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The Consumer

I don't have the experience or schooling that most have on this site, but I don't mind throwing in an opinion (and that's all it is).

I liked the 'look' of the piece. I LOVE black and white and think you did a great job with the look. I didn't understand it (I'm just a 'meat and potatoes' guy!).

I just finished my first short (with a lot of help). I have a GL1 and I want to experiment with black and white and some stop-frame type animation.

What did you use to edit? Any particular settings to get that look?

Good luck.
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Old October 15th, 2002, 06:09 PM   #4
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Stop-frame you say? As in stop motion? I've been working on a claymation movie for a month or so now, using an XL1s. Does the GL1 have interval recording?

The method I used on my XL1s was to put in interval mode, and record each image for .5 seconds (the shortest duration interval mode will allow). I then take into post, speed it up exactly %750. This is done in Vegas Video 3 (if you care to know) by changing the playback speed to 4x (thanks to whoever gave me this tip) and then inserting a velocity envelope that I increase by 186%. I shot with with a 15 fps framerate in mind, meaning that there are fifteen separate images in each real second of video, even though you're viewing at NTSC 30 fps. Speeding it up this precise amount allowed me to make each .5 second image take up approximately 2 frames of actual video in real life, hence creating 15fps.

Some other tips: it's pain in the ass! I hate every second of the work and continue to do it only because I've seen some of the finished footage and it looks too damn cool to quit.
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Old October 15th, 2002, 07:14 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by doctorxex : 37 people have viewed this thread, and yet no one has told me what they think of the damn movie.

Grrr. -->>>

I have to agree with the comment regarding black and white. It is a very nice effect. How did you produce the black and white in FCP?
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Old October 15th, 2002, 07:34 PM   #6
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Nice creepy footage, and I think some pretty innovative editing...Is there no sound yet?...When I played it back I got none. If your soundtrack is a good as your footage...it looks like you have a nice portfolio piece. Good example of how far you can stretch a consumer camcorder like the gl2.

Also, I have no idea what it's about either...but thats ok...maybe the soundtrack will clear it up.

Barry
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Old October 15th, 2002, 08:05 PM   #7
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Stop Motion

No Josh, the GL1 doesn't have anything special to allow me to do this (at least I don't think it does!) - but I was going to shoot a 'sample' (using maybe an old GI Joe from childhood or a match box car, etc.) and shoot it in frame mode for a second or two. Then move it and shoot it, etc. You get the idea.

Then I'll take the footage into either Premiere 6.0 or (the cheaper, but easier) Pinnacle 7.0 and reduce the timeline from 1 second to either 1, 2 or 4 frames. Then drop the imported/captured footage in and 'mess around' with it by editing out big chunks, leaving only a few frames from each shot. Hopefully, by putting it together, I can make things move around AND look good.

If I can 'master' this so that it doesn't look too crappy, then I'm only limited to my own imagination (I'm actually a playwright with a play-toy that I'm still paying for!).

You said it was a PITA, and I know it must be tedious. But for the exact reason you give - it should look really good - is the reason I want to experiment with it. In my mind, this can be made to look really good.

If I can feel comfortable with this, then I know I make-up something to make people laugh, then I'm going to SHOOT IT!!!

As I said in an earlier post - I don't have the experience or film-school education that most have - but I have perserverance. But because I don't have that education, I have to do things by trial and error and usually end up finding ways that work for me!

Of course, this Board has been a tremendous resource!!
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Old October 15th, 2002, 08:46 PM   #8
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Dave -

Nice work. The texture and contrast of your black and white images are very interesting. (Some where either too dark or soft too make out, but I presume this was intentional.) For the most part the levels (image) looked very rich on my monitor (mac).

I don't know if it was intended but when played on this system (explorer 5.1, mac os 10.1.5, iMac DV 400) there were small 'glitch' like lines that would pop in and out, running partially across the screen both vertically and horizontally - the title at the head had the same type of flutter. Seemed to kind of fit, so maybe this is the product of countless tweaking very small lines over your video... ;)

The content was interesting (at first kind of reminded me of an AdBusters piece) - would like to see/hear how sound complements or contrasts it. (One can almost hear 'comfortably numb' playing in the background.) The b&w imagery also provided a nice context for the final sharp color images to work against.

Congrats.


Mark/Josh -

Just a thought on the stop motion stuff. Are there any frame grab utilities available for the PC? (I'd have to imagine there are as there are a few for the Mac which usually has slimmer pickings.) Premiere also used to be able to do this (frame grabs for stop motion), but someone informed me it was no longer a feature...might be worth double checking.

I would suggest tracking one down and trying the approach of hooking your camera directly to the computer (via firewire) with your set, characters, and props set up adjacently. (This is assuming that you are using smaller inanimate objects - which it sounds like you are.) Then use the computer to 'fire' the camera for each individual image.

Depending upon the utility you use, I imagine these will either be a series of individual images you will have to reimport into the timeline (at specified frame rate) or ideally, it will create a movie (again at desired frame rate) - adding each frame you grab in succession. (Some may even allow 'onion skinning' - comparing the previous frame to current.)

The advantage of course is more control, having the material come directly into the machine, skipping over a number of work around steps to compress the pieces of footage you are currently bringing in, and ideally having a feedback mechanism along the way.

As for the camera's 'Frame Mode', I would also consider not using it. Here's why: in order for these Canon cameras to achieve a progressive frame (frame mode) they sacrifice some of the vertical resolution (sharpness) of the image. If you were shooting motion this might be an acceptable tradeoff, but in this setup it is not necessary. Since each frame you grab is at rest - and you are in effect creating the apparent motion 'manually' - the normal or interlaced mode will also provide an in effect progressive image. (That is there will be no difference between the two fields.) Every little bit of res helps with DV...

Wow - this turned out a lot longer than I had originally intended. Hope it helps,

Clayton
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Old October 15th, 2002, 10:15 PM   #9
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Too bad! I started in frame mode and that's how I'll finish the bastard. Clayton's method is probably better than mine, but I'm shooting this thing using my girlfriend's living room as a studio, and I don't want to lug my computer over there.

I can offer my limited knowledge, and the things I've learned so far (animation techniques, tracking movements, building models, etc.) There are better ways to do it than mine, but I'm here to help.
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Old October 16th, 2002, 05:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments. I will try tests on both frame and normal modes. Like Josh, I'm not sure that my computer will be in the same place.

My inexperience showing: Tell me again why it would be better to to use the 'frame grab' rather than importing a small amount of footage and setting the in/out marks at the desired points and editing the frames that I want?

Using the frame grab would seem more 'bulky' to me - but not having done it either way - I don't really have an informed opinion!

Also, I assumed that if I shot in frame mode, that each edit would be 'clean' frames or full pictures. In 'normal' mode, I might not have full frames (for example, if I were to pause the playback and see partial frames - or field slippage as the book says!). The GL1 manual (nearly my only camera education!!!) says that in Frame mode, vertical resolution is improved by 1.5 x .

So I'm confused. I don't doubt what you say (in fact, I've read other posts that state that frame mode loses resolution). So If you could explain again (so that a dumb-ass could understand . . . me!), I would appreciate it!

It's just that nearly everything I shoot is in frame mode. I LOVE the frame grabs in that mode! Makes me look like a great photographer. People just don't see the bad shots!!!
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Old October 16th, 2002, 07:53 AM   #11
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Canons statement of 1.5 increase in resolution is somewhat misleading..It is true, but only when compared to a single interlaced field, rather than the whole frame which would include both interlaced fields. So, if my math is good, this translates into 75% of the resolution available in interlaced mode...but remember this is only vertical resolution, horizontal resolution stays the same in frame mode.

Interesting to note that Canons approach seems to be "the way it should be". I recently quoted a post from the Stuart English at panasonic, talking about their true progressive scan camera. Apparantly it is necessary for users of the ag-dvx100 to process the detail in a similar fashion (lowering the vertical resolution), to keep "twitter" and other artifacts from appearing when viewing on a standard NTSC monitor. True progressive scan imagery appears to need a progressive scan monitor (or film) to take advantage of any benefits of the format.

Regardless, Clayton's approach seems to make sense to me, both in the use of normal movie mode (as you are shooting still images, there is no field slippage), and the "frame grab" approach. One could import the frames into final cut pro directly from the camera. Those frames could be placed in a folder as an image sequence, and then converted automatically into a .mov file. Seems like a pretty slick way to animate.

Barry
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Old October 16th, 2002, 08:42 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info Barry. So the GL1 manual is basing frame mode on a single frame, as opposed to the 'half frame' of normal mode? That would make sense. Thanks for explaining it.

I'm going to try several stop-motion (not sure if that is the correct terminology) experiments:

1. Frame Grabs from camera in normal mode to computer.
2. Frame Grabs from camera in frame mode to computer.
3. Footage from camera in frame mode to editing program.
4. Footage from camera in normal mode to editing program.

Not that I don't believe the kind advice, but I'm just interested in the results. I want to see:

1. What is the best quality.
2. Which is the easier means (which probably will not equate to the best quality).
3. If there is a noticeable difference.

Thanks again for the info.
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Old October 16th, 2002, 10:17 AM   #13
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Easiest method, I'm sure, is mine. Unless, of course, there is a program out there that you can tell, "for every second of video, grab 2 frames" or something.

My movie should be about 5 to 8 minutes in length. I try to shoot exactly only what I'll use, plus some pad and reaction shots. Think of how excruciating it would be to take every single image and trim it down to two frames (or whatever your framerate demands) until you have 5-8 minutes worth of stuff!

By the way, it made sense in my head at the time I started to use frame mode. Since I'm not actually grabbing individual frames, and since the image doesn't actually move during recording, I could've gone with normal mode.
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Old October 16th, 2002, 03:21 PM   #14
doctorxex
 
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Hey guys,
thanks for the comments!
there should be a sound track... it is a very important part of the piece. none of you can hear it??? crap.
the black and white was a full desaturation in FCP. i also used a brightness/contrast filter for the added texture. the editing uses many layers of compositing, and yes, the lines are all on purpose (and took a hella long time to get the way i wanted)... there is a "blink" filter placed on all the lines.

the soundtrack was done w/ a Korg Prophecy, Sequential Pro One, Yamaha CS1x, and lots of VST fx, in BIAS Deck.

in regards to what it is about: this is actually one scene idea in a larger movie idea that i decided to shoot as an individual portfolio piece. the basic idea is that the character ("the consumer") ingests television static and images all day to perpetuate his horror fantasies.

it's loosely based on a short story by m. gira.
again, thanks for the comments!!
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Old October 16th, 2002, 07:27 PM   #15
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Hey Dave you sound like you have an obsession with unicorns. Is this true or is just that you where a cape?
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