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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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First property video

I shot my first property video last week. I'd love some feedback from anyone used to filming this kind of material about what I could change to make the next ones better.

My initial feeling is that I've used too many pans and could do with a few more static shots, what do you think?.

http://www.propertytour.tv/demo

(Click the top property) I hope it works, I've only built the player today!

regards

Paul.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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Paul, I think it looks nice.

Good feel and the camera performed well.

I would suggest an on-camera light for some fill.

Anytime there are windows in a shot, fill light can help you lower the exposure and not blow the highlights out as much as well as illuminating your subject (the interior).

I have had good luck with a 3200k light due to most interior lighting being tungsten even though the sunlight is coming in at 5600k+.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #3
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Thanks Tim. I did use a super bright tota light in some of those shots, mainly because it started getting dark. In the end I had to return a second day so there was a big lesson to begin with - don't start after lunch :)

I don't own an on camera light yet, I'll have to look in to options. Any recommendations?

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Old February 11th, 2008, 09:16 PM   #4
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Very nice work. I agree that there are too many pans. Increasing the number of static shots will give the pans more impact. Not everything needs to move just because it can. You might also try real slow zooms rather than so many pans

As a potential home buyer, I would like to see wider shots and more rooms. The furniture details are pretty, but does the furniture come with the house? If not, then maybe don't put emphasis on it's details.

I like the rack focus shots, but again, do them with details of the house that one is buying.

Overall it is really good work for this type of piece. As an artist, we want the things we make to be beautiful, so it is all too easy to forget that we are commercial artists that must ultimately serve the commerce. The video must ultimatly be a house domenstration rather than an art piece. This one leans toward art maybe a bit more than it should in places.

But these are nits to pick. I think you are bringing nice elements to this area of work. Keep it up!
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Old February 11th, 2008, 09:54 PM   #5
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Paul look at the Zylight which can change color temp to match your sunlight if you are filming during the day. I have not seen the new one, but saw Steve Cahill's blog and plan to get one. That said I don't know how much throw and spread it would have for you, plus you'd need quite a bit of light to balance window light.

BE
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Old February 11th, 2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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Paul:

A few things:

1. There were a lot of pans, but that's OK! I'm not a big fan of hard-cutting between opposite screen direction pans...it's a little jarring without a nice long dissolve. If you want to keep up a lot of motion, try to vary all the lefty to righty pans with a healthy dose of ceiling & down tilts, too, or get low and come up from the floor.

2. In each room, get your moves, but also get a static from each corner. Then, look for architectural details, not spoons or pots and pans. Try to always get at least a half dozen close up, locked down beauty shots in each room. Listen to your music. In the first clip,(Field View, Colkirk) there was a great recurring, two beat music motif that would have been fun to cut to: slow pan stops...shot, shot. Using little interior 2 or 3 shot montages cut to the music really adds a lot...and can be a transitional element announcing a new room.

3. Really watch mixing too many handheld moves in with the tripod video. Your sticks stuff was so good, the handheld shots detracted from the over-all highly professional look, and veered it just a little towards amateur video. I know the bathrooms especially are a pain in the bum to use the tripod, but it's better. Save the handheld stuff for POV walkthroughs...which is a great way to transition from one room to another, and also show how the rooms flow from one into the other.

4. A good wideangle zoom-thru adaptor with minimal curvilinear distortion is really your friend in these kinds of shoots. Also, I really like the "blind reveal" shots where you pan from a darkened hallway or door edge to see the new wideshot. Great transitional tool.

5. Lights. If you're going to do a lot of these kinds of home interiors video, think seriously about getting a pair of HMIs, and put them in a softbox like a Chimera. I use a pair of 400-par Joker Buglites. You'll love the way it lights up a room without making it look "lit." There were several rooms in middle of the house that had way too much harsh-edged added light. Try to avoid those big, deep shadows. Put some more frost or other diffusion in front of the light head.

I'm also seeing a color balance issue with many of the lit areas, with the added lights running pretty orange. It's just so hard to get the incandescent light heads cooled up toward 5600 with blue gels, without losing all the illumination! This is where the HMIs make your life a lot easier.

6. On the exteriors, most of the shots looked pretty similar. This is one area where you just can't get too many detail shots. Also, don't be afraid to move around and work all the angles, including fairly close to the house front and shooting nearly straight up. It can look pretty dramatic.

All in all, very nice work! If I might ask, how long do they give you to document the house, and what kind of budget do they provide? PM me if that's classified information!
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Old February 11th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #7
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Paul, please forgive me as I only watched the first half of the video when I posted.

I must have stopped right before the shots with the tota light.

Sorry!

These videos are quite difficult due to time, budget, and each room having different lighting needs.

I noticed some shots with the tota that were really helped by the fill light.

The only shot that stood out was the upstairs bathroom. The light looked a little hard which created harsh shadows.

I almost think the tota light has too much power for this application, unless you can use a softbox for a lot of diffusion.

You might be better off with a smaller wattage bulb which would allow you to use a battery pack and be mobile as well.

I am thinking in terms of still flash photography here but, the less fill you have to add, IMHO, the more natural the scene looks.

You achieved this in some upstairs rooms with a good balance between window/room exposure.

Although, windows with direct sun coming in will always be a challenge and will call for a lot of fill light which can look very un-natural.

Overall, I will say again that you did a nice job.

As far as light recommendations, I might be inclined to use 2 Lowel Pro lights. They are each 250w and would allow you to light from a couple of different angles rather than just straight on. They are light and small and if you need to use a battery on a location, you could lug around a car battery that would give you enough juice to film a house or two.

But whichever light, I would make sure to have some form of diffusion to cut down on shadows.

I am leaving out flo's due to the distance some larger rooms might need the light to travel.

Good luck and thanks for posting!
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Old February 12th, 2008, 02:15 AM   #8
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Paul,

My major reaction to watching your video was if I was wanting to get a feel of the house, I couldn't follow where the rooms connected to each other.

Someone else suggested doing more of a major move down a passage and then concentrate on a particular room then back to a moving shot down to the next room etc., and I think the viewer (and potential buyer) would benefit from this approach as they would able to get a more realistic approach to the layout of the house.

If there were plans of the house available you could incorporate these to give the viewer a more logical sense of layout.

We watch a lot of those property shows from the UK on cable and they often achieve the layout perspective by using the host/hostess or potential buyer walking through the house to each room.

Good luck with it.

Cheers Vaughan
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Old February 12th, 2008, 03:17 AM   #9
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Thanks very much for all the advice guys, I really do appreciate it.

This house was really just an experiment, it's a friends home and was shot purely as a demo piece so there was no budget as such, although I plan to shoot, edit and setup the hosting of these videos in a single day so I don't plan on spending more than 3 hrs at any location.

This was shot in around 4hrs, I got way too many shots which is just down to inexperience more than anything.

I do have the Sony Wide Angle on order and plan to use that for this kind of work in the future.

I've never really been a fan of zoom shots, but I guess this is one application where it would add some dimension, I'll give that a go next time.

Regarding lights, I have a riffa light (softbox with crate), a couple of dedo lights and the tota. I was hoping to not have to set up too many lights due to the time restrictions. Is it a better idea to light the rooms using daylight gels and not turn on the incandescents?

Regarding the tripod vs handheld shots, I was experimenting a bit with that, the last rooms (the main bedroom an en-suite bathroom) were shot with the camera on a shoulder mount, the rest was done on the tripod. Wielding the tripod around was a bit of a nightmare and I wipped round with the shoulder rig in no time at all so I was quite pleased with that, it's interesting that you thought it looked less professional though, I'll have to think again on that one.

Thanks again for all the advice

regards

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Old February 12th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Eckstein View Post
Paul look at the Zylight which can change color temp to match your sunlight if you are filming during the day. I have not seen the new one, but saw Steve Cahill's blog and plan to get one. That said I don't know how much throw and spread it would have for you, plus you'd need quite a bit of light to balance window light.

BE
Just had a look and it looks good. I too would be really interested to see how much light it throws. To have one mounted to a light stand along with power pack would be really useful, no more hunting for the nearest power outlet!
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Old February 12th, 2008, 08:11 AM   #11
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very nice work again Paul!

I agree on most with other, that close ups of pots isn't really related. Also would have loved the video to start with the wide shots of the house and the yard and then go indoors. A wide-angle would give the rooms more...room :) Now they feel slightly cramped. Also more of a mix of pans and fixed shots would make the video more interesting.

What about a floor plan with a room highlighted with a color and then images of that room? Also I'm always interested in the surroundings of the house (you never see this). For example a shot of the street and then a pan to the house front would be cool. How about someone "presenting the house". There must be an agent with you to show the house so him walking in and inside the house would give it some life. The self opening bathroom door looked a bit ghoulish :) I liked it though, hehe!

The overall feeling is great and all the shots look really, really good. Id definately be interested in seeing the house personally after that :) Im currently looking for a house, but from Finland...

sami
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Old February 12th, 2008, 12:50 PM   #12
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thanks Sami, I would normally have shown more of the front but they are having a garage built out front and it's a typical building site, I struggled to get the shots I did without getting it in the frame.

Floor plans are a great idea, although given my 3hr edit limit that may have to be something for a more expensive package!

regards

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Old February 12th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #13
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Web delivery process

Hi Paul,

Well done.

But I just what to change track abit from previous comments.

From a technical point of view could out just outline the process of how you got to the end Flash Video?

Meaning you've shoot the Video on the EX1.

Edited on?
What did you use to create the Flash video? Settings etc...

Since I am wanting to go down the same path with trying to keep quality of image and delivery format in mind for the web.

Congratulations once again.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #14
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Hi Simon.

1. Shot on EX1 (720/50p)
2. Edited in Final Cut (25p timeline)
3. Exported in native XDCAM HQ 720/25p
4. Export as 640x360 h264 quicktime mov using Quickime
5. Export as 640x360 on2 vp6 (FLV) using Episode Pro

The Player I've built delivers either the quicktime file or the FLV depending on the version of flash plug in installed.

regards

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Old February 12th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Joy View Post
Regarding the tripod vs handheld shots, I was experimenting a bit with that, the last rooms (the main bedroom an en-suite bathroom) were shot with the camera on a shoulder mount, the rest was done on the tripod. Wielding the tripod around was a bit of a nightmare and I wipped round with the shoulder rig in no time at all so I was quite pleased with that, it's interesting that you thought it looked less professional though, I'll have to think again on that one.
Paul: it's not a huge issue. When I give up on the tripod in tight areas, the main thing I try to remember is to keep the camera moving. Don't try to do tight static shots handheld, it just never works, no matter how steady I am.

The two things my one of my favorite HGTV producers used to demand:

1. Wides, wides and more wides. ("I want to SEE the room!" she'd insist, while whacking me in the back of the head with a BetaSP box filled with rocks)

2. Transitions showing how one room flowed into the other. Somehow, someway, she wanted to be able to have a mental map of how the house was put together. Often, this took the form of a POV walking shot from the front door through the entire house
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