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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old May 30th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #1
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My first 'professional' endeavor. Help?

Hello guys,

I have been scouring the forums for quite a while now and i wouldn't be posting this thread unless i thought it was absolutely necessary but, well, it is!

So I'm 20 years old and have wanted to be a Cameraman since i left school. Throughout last year I began saving for my first pro/consumer camera and in April i took the plunge and got a Sony V1 package deal. I have *so* much to learn, even basic things. Here's the problem. I have my first meaningful project coming up but barely any experience with the camera and its work flow. I've just not had the time, since I've been so busy with work trying to pay off the damn thing!

On Friday (under a week from now) I'll be filming a willow artist (who happens to be my mum) sculpting some of her latest work. This specific sculpture is going to be featured at the 2012 Olympics. According to the curator, it is *very* possible that some of the footage will be used by various professional media outlets and so the art curator has encouraged the project.

You can see similar sculptures here http://www.saraholmes.co.uk/gallery.html

To the point;
What kind of HD camera settings should i roll with to make the piece as accessible as possible in terms of distributing it across multiple media platforms? Progressive or Interlaced? What frame-rate? How would you do it? My fear is that ill have all this footage that just won't be usable by any media platform and i would have wasted a good opportunity. I intend to shoot in HD making the best of a 'warm' feel i can achieve with limited artificial lighting, i intend to shoot lots of close ups, slow pans and focus throws. The sculpture will be inside a farm barn, I'm told there is plenty of natural light.

Well, i think that's it for now! All comments and suggestions most welcome! I'll be editing in Sony Vegas 8 and I'm sure ill be back soon seeking your advice come post-production! Well, back to the manual. Many thanks guys!
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Old May 30th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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a. shoot normal 50i / 60i at normal frame rate.

b. do not play with presets, etc., (you can do a lot of cc'ing, fiddling in post)

c. don't even think about delivery formats yet.

d. check my course notes re camera @ leslie wand

e. relax, breath deeply, and be aware of framing, and exposure. if unsure, use zebra at 70% on your mothers face.

f. the v1's auto is pretty impressive.

leslie
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Old May 30th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #3
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Great tips from Leslie.

I'll only add: Beware of focus. If you're going fast or distracted, it's easy to lose track of focus on the small HD cams. Almost everything looks in-focus on the small screen. I've been shooting for decades - this alone has caught me out with the V1.

My general practices are:
Shoot in manual focus - too easy to have the auto focus on the background, not the subject.
Use the expanded focus just before rolling tape (this function doesn't work while rolling).
Focus peaking display - sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. I have it mapped to one of the assignable buttons.
I ALWAYS have a pair of reading glasses in the camera case - and use them quite a bit, they really help with focus on the lcd.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 11:45 PM   #4
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oops, seth was spot on, as you should be - focus!

forgot about that, but then again, if you stay wide all the time (if possible), it won't be a problem. if you need to get in, try doing it physically rather than zooming.

like seth i've assigned peaking (to no 3 button on the outside, 1 is bars, 2 is steady off - for use when on legs) - works very well....

btw, i forgot the most important point of all - DON'T PANIC - it's what usually throws a very large spanner in the works.....
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Old May 31st, 2009, 12:16 AM   #5
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It is a PITA to focus with the LCD unless you are at full wide. I bought a 22" LCD TV and hook it up to the V1 via HDMI. That is a great way to monitor and you can still use things like the expanded focus, and you can set it up to send all the display information to the TV as well. This means you can see the histogram on the TV!

Since it may be broadcast internationally, you definitely want that camera physically stabilized. A minimum would be a decent tripod. A DIY track dolly could help get good perspective between the artist and the sculpture. I think a small crane would do wonders for that subject matter. But again, I would suggest at least using a tripod and changing positions quite often to get interesting shots.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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Jordan, you have been given some excellent advice in this thread and I have not seen any I disagree with.

I didn't see you mention where you are filming. Is it outdoors or indoors? If it is indoors lighting will be a key factor in giving it a professional look. 3 point lighting with a reflector for the 3rd light or an actual third light is important to having a good looking picture regardless of the camera.

Last December I wanted to make a sidetrip while on a business trip to video my only suriviving uncle is in his 80's. I was in run & gun mode so only could take one of my two V1's and no lights.

I borrowed one and bought two round metal clamp light housings at Home Depot and then one 5500k 100 watt CLF bulb and two 60 watt ones. I used the 100 watt bulb as my key light and then the 60 watt ones as my fill light and back light.

I had these clampled on the top of doors, curtain rods, etc. I white balanced the camera to that lighting to where it looked good in the camera's LCD.

When I got home and viewed the footage on my 20" HD LCD and my 92" HD home theater I was amazed at how great it looked. You would have thought I would have had a full light kit with me.

I also agree with those who said that you need a good camera platform that is stable. If it is a tripod make sure it has a good fluid head that will allow you to tilt and pan smoothly.

If you are doing it hand held then with a small camera like the V1 that doesn't go on your shoulder you really need something like a spiderbrace. Many professional shoulder mounts like it sell for hundreds of dollars but the spiderbrace for the V1 is only about 50 pounds sterling. It was the best money I ever spent on a V1 accessory. We still use it for some shots rather than our Glidecam.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 05:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
a. shoot normal 50i / 60i at normal frame rate.

b. do not play with presets, etc., (you can do a lot of cc'ing, fiddling in post)

c. don't even think about delivery formats yet.

d. check my course notes re camera @ leslie wand

e. relax, breath deeply, and be aware of framing, and exposure. if unsure, use zebra at 70% on your mothers face.

f. the v1's auto is pretty impressive.

leslie
Thanks a lot Leslie! This may seem like a really stupid question, and i think i know the answer all ready, but by shooting in HDV1080i on my V1E i am automatically shooting in 50hz and 25 frames, right? Anything otherwise is done in post...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Campbell View Post
It is a PITA to focus with the LCD unless you are at full wide. I bought a 22" LCD TV and hook it up to the V1 via HDMI. That is a great way to monitor and you can still use things like the expanded focus, and you can set it up to send all the display information to the TV as well. This means you can see the histogram on the TV!

Since it may be broadcast internationally, you definitely want that camera physically stabilized. A minimum would be a decent tripod. A DIY track dolly could help get good perspective between the artist and the sculpture. I think a small crane would do wonders for that subject matter. But again, I would suggest at least using a tripod and changing positions quite often to get interesting shots.
Yes definitely, i bought a Manfrotto 503 with the Sony V1E package. It's an awesome tripod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.J. Ammons View Post
Jordan, you have been given some excellent advice in this thread and I have not seen any I disagree with.

I didn't see you mention where you are filming. Is it outdoors or indoors? If it is indoors lighting will be a key factor in giving it a professional look. 3 point lighting with a reflector for the 3rd light or an actual third light is important to having a good looking picture regardless of the camera.
Thank you Ammons! Well hopefully if the weather is good she will be dragging the sculpture outside into the field. If the weather isn't so great she'll be filming inside the barn where the sculpture is kept. I'm told it's 'a little dark' in there in which case I'll have to ring up a family friend who happens to be a BBC cameraman and ask nicely if i can borrow some of his redheads! I'm still paying off my camera-package and have no lights of my own just yet. I work in theatre as a stage techie so I'm quite good with general scene lighting.

Thank you so much to all of you, it's nice to be part of a forum where professionals care enough to share their knowledge and wisdom so freely!
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 05:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Brindle View Post
Thanks a lot Leslie! This may seem like a really stupid question, and i think i know the answer all ready, but by shooting in HDV1080i on my V1E i am automatically shooting in 50hz and 25 frames, right? Anything otherwise is done in post...?
pleasure - 50hz, but with shutter speed of 1/50 (2 fields to a frame). stick with that and you'll be ok. if it gets too bright, use nd filters, too dark, well, the v1 isn't the best of cameras for low light..... but the red heads will come in useful ;-)

good luck
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 05:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
pleasure - 50hz, but with shutter speed of 1/50 (2 fields to a frame). stick with that and you'll be ok. if it gets too bright, use nd filters, too dark, well, the v1 isn't the best of cameras for low light..... but the red heads will come in useful ;-)

good luck
Thanks a lot Leslie a big help! I'm starting to get more excited about the shoot now and a little less worried. I think i may contact that family friend and see if his lamps will be available come the 5th.

Again thank you to everyone who replied, I'll no doubt be talking to you all again soon! :)
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Old June 8th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #10
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Well the shoot went well, I've been working loads so haven't even had a chance to get the footage onto the computer yet and watch it all back! It all went quite well, i got plenty of shots of the sculpture and artist but made a fatal blunder - i barely shot any cutaways! So we'll see how it goes once i get the chance to get down to editing it all! I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks again.
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:27 PM   #11
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if you still have access to the sculptures, get ultra cu's (make sure there's no background showing).

also, interview your mom in a completely different setting - ask pertinent questions that will provide voice under, and cut back to her when necessary.....

leslie
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Old June 10th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
if you still have access to the sculptures, get ultra cu's (make sure there's no background showing).

also, interview your mom in a completely different setting - ask pertinent questions that will provide voice under, and cut back to her when necessary.....

leslie
That's a good idea, i suppose i could knock up an interview. Cheers Leslie.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #13
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When you get a chance, one minute or so of sample footage would be nice. I'm quite interested to see how it went.

Andrew
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:04 AM   #14
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When you get a chance, one minute or so of sample footage would be nice. I'm quite interested to see how it went.

Andrew
Certainly! I'm looking forward to it, but I'm so tied up with work I've barely had a chance to look at the footage properly yet and begin editing!

As a side note, where do you guys get your music to accompany your footage?
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Old June 17th, 2009, 07:21 AM   #15
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Jordan,

I've used Digital Juice's Stacktraxx. UK-based 2b-royaltyfree.com is pretty good too.

A quick search of the Audio forum will yield many other options.
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