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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:50 AM   #1
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Please critique my project (HD YouTube vids)

This is a project I did, and I want to see if anyone has any suggestions for improvements for the next one. It's an educational program that my company will be selling. It was shot with 2 NX5U's and edited on FCP.

YouTube - Law School Videos - Introduction to Law School
YouTube - Law School Videos - How to look up legal citations
YouTube - Law School Videos - Time Management during Law School Exams
YouTube - Law School Videos - Briefing Cases
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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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I watched "Looking up legal citations...".

This starts out with two cameras that have matching shots. There is no motivation to cut between them. Each camera should have a defined shot that is different than the other. If there is a director on headset to the cam ops, these can be varied during the take, otherwise, each cam op needs some guidelines as to what you expect, and should behave as if their camera is always live.

The talent looks at either camera, seemingly at random. I'd much prefer it if he were always looking at the live camera. I'm not saying go back and edit to show whichever cam he's looking at, it would be too many unmotivated cuts.

For me, I'd prefer to see a shoot switched to tape in the studio, with a floor director steering him to the live camera. This would provide the best result, IMO. Short of that, I'm not sure there's sufficient motivation for a second camera. He does well in front of the cam when he's looking at it, but, when looking away, not so good.

Multicam live to tape may require a director experienced with this type of production. A single camera production might be more within budget.

This piece is crying for some cutaways! Show the lookups in ECU, have him underline and emphasize with a pointer - *illustrate* what he's talking about. IMO, this is more important and will better provide relief than a second camera.

Storyboard it. This will allow you to shoot with a single cam, but then come back from the cutaway to a different shot. Have him look down to the book to telegraph "there's a cutaway coming". Coming out of a cutaway, have him look up from the book.

Lighting appears to be of the "surround and flood" variety, which is probably adequate. Moving the lights *slightly* away from the sides towards the front will help tame those pesky and unnatural looking shadows at the bridge of his nose in his eye sockets. You also have the option of treating your existing light set up as "base" lighting, to which you add a hard key.

A conventional lighting approach would also provide a backlight, but I'm not sure that's necessary in this case - he's pretty well distinguished from the background. However, a backlight would help to provide more dimensionality (depth) to the scene.

Were it me, I'd dial down the background a little bit, it seems pretty hot.

Having said all that, he sounds good, looks good, presents well, my biggest concerns are not looking at the hot camera and the lack of cutaways.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thank you for your suggestions, I'll address a few of them.

You must understand that these are professors with no TV experience, and I didn't want to detract from their performance by giving them a script or telling them to look in a certain place, let alone a storyboard. Some were better than others, some mostly looked at A or B camera. I chose to use softboxes instead of a point source light to avoid annoying them. Also, a hard light would probably require makeup to keep the shine down.

I appreciate your suggestion to move the lights closer together. I need practice in light placement. I'll probably put some ND gels over the background lights, and maybe a piece of tungsten gel over the key light (with maybe a bit more brightness to compensate) to make the faces a little warmer (but keep the cameras white-balanced on the daylight color).

I'm surprised you didn't mention the color, that's one thing that bothers me, they all look kind of bluish. I left the house lights on by mistake one of the times, and I actually like the warmth from the tungsten. I'm wondering if tungsten-filtered daylight fleuro will look the same as the real thing, color-wise.

I suppose I could do some color correction in post, but that requires re-rendering the whole thing, which would take weeks.

I may add cutaways at some point, but I want to get this project shipped. I'll consider them for the next one.

There is a backlight, you just happened to watch the guy with really matte hair, where you can't really tell. You can see it a little on his shoulders.

I have 2 cameras so that I will have at least something if there's an equipment failure, one live and one locked off. I've gotten much better at operating the live camera after the 40 hours of experience in filming this program. I do consider the A-camera always "live" since it'll be the backup if the B-camera blows up or something. I always mentally smack myself when I flub the shot, but at least I can edit to B later. I already have the 2 cameras, so it wouldn't save anything to use just 1. I save money by not having a director or a studio. xD

I don't understand the point of doing the edit during filming, I have enough to worry about already, with operating the A-camera and monitoring the audio. I do a live edit later in FCP (and it gives me an opportunity to fix any edits I don't like). I suppose I could be more perfect with the editing and eyeline, but it's a lot of work to produce 30 hours of finished video, so there's a lot of things that I just let go.

You happened to pick the one with very matte hair, where you can't see the backlight, but there is a backlight.

Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
and I didn't want to detract from their performance by giving them a script or telling them to look in a certain place
certainly understandable but they need to understand that in order for it to come out right they must have some directions.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 04:28 PM   #5
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I was just thinking: Another reason I need 2 cameras is so I can cut out mistakes by cutting to the other camera. Can't do that if you're editing while shooting, either.

I put some regular old 60w light bulbs in 3 of the 4 sockets in my key softbox, and it really softened up the color nicely, I'll have to set up the stuff and test it on my dad or something, to see how much better it looks. I'll probly put some ND gels over the background lights, or swap in smaller bulbs if I can find them.

Maybe I'll make up some slides and edit them in as cut-aways for the second pressing.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 05:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Martin Wiosna View Post
certainly understandable but they need to understand that in order for it to come out right they must have some directions.
I'm not really sure what to say to them, what instructions would you recommend I give them? They already mostly look back and forth at the cameras. I guess I could tell my dad not to sit to the right of me, 'cause they look at him sometimes.

I guess what I'm looking for is what instructions they give to, for example, guests on talk shows who are inexperienced with TV, about how to know which camera to look at, or whatever. Something that they won't forget after a couple of minutes, but is simple and will probably be followed.
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