Critique at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 29th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Critique

Okay, what's right or wrong with these shots? I've posted them up a few times and no one has ever said anything good or bad about them. (maybe that's a good thing! hehehe)

Shot with an EX3, Letus Ultimate rig. I used some Magic Bullet presets but they seemed more effective on the 3rd and 4th photos than they did on the 1st and 2nd.

http://www.ssscc.org/ftp/examples/culligan-01.jpg
http://www.ssscc.org/ftp/examples/culligan-02.jpg
http://www.ssscc.org/ftp/examples/tcl-01.jpg
http://www.ssscc.org/ftp/examples/tcl-02.jpg
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 29th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,100
Well, they certainly have shallow DOF. Beyond that, I can tell you what I think. Not that it will mean much...

1. People tend to look their worst in profile. It's such an unflattering angle. The eyes tell the tale of a person, and generally an audience wants to be able to see both.

2. Look at these shots in black and white. You'll notice that when the color is removed, the tonality is VERY even. That tends to make for very flat and boring shots. Find ways to add some contrast to the shots. In thinking of the first shot, with the computer, that background should fall down into about 10-15 ire, which would let the computer pop right off the screen, and really give a nice feeling of depth. As it is, the computer falls away into a pile of muddy brown tones.

A woman's hands.... I was always taught to shoot a woman's hands on the edge if possible, and if you can't do that, then shoot the back of them. Shooting the palm side is never, ever, flattering and draws attention to the wrong thing.


Just my view after giving these a quick glance.
__________________
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
Perrone Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2009, 01:32 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Worcester. United Kingdom
Posts: 197
I agree with Perrone mostly.

Are we talking about these as video clips, or stills for advertising or something?

I think they were all shot with available light and it looks very flat - apart from the first shot where a strong side light highlight's the woman's fingers on the glass (not flattering). Also it's not ideal to have a CU of someone's ear. The glass is also quite large and in my opinion, unflattering for a woman. The background's very nicely out of focus though - she really stands out.

2 is quite nice - better lighting would have improved it. The shallow DOF highlights the Culligan logo nicely but the Blue label is a distraction as is the orange / white label or sign in the background.

In 3, nothing looks sharp at all and it's quite muddy. The orange / yellow (sign?) on the left competes with the overall blue theme and the bright whitish light in the background is a distraction, too.

4 is OK. I don't like the PC monitor being so blue. It competes with the woman for attention but she has a nice smile - and although I would have moved the junk from behind her head, you've got it nicely out of focus and I think you've got away with that.
I'm wondering whether she's a doctor - is that a stethoscope around her neck? As a viewer, I'd like to know that but if these are video clips, that may become apparent.

If you wanted a critique on the Letus thingummyjig, then I guess it works very well - apart from shot three, where nothing looks sharp to me.

These are just my opinions though. As a retired commercial product photographer, I'm probably being too piccy. Many years ago, I thought I was a hot-shot with a camera and I joined a local photographic society. I soon found out I wasn't so hot after all!

I learned quite early on to listen to what my critics were saying (sometimes it really hurt). Usually they were right and they taught me an awful lot but if I thought they were wrong, I just went my own way.

Video is more forgiving than stills photography. It moves on to something new all the time. With stills, they have to be so much better because as you look, you notice more and more in them.
__________________
I taught you all I know and still you know nothing.
Andy Nickless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 30th, 2009, 08:28 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Thanks a lot guys! Exactly what I was looking for! So overall they look okay, but not awesome.

In answer to your questions, let me explain a few things:

1) This is a frame grab from a television commercial for Culligan water softeners and water purifiers. So the "water" is actually the star in this spot. But I agree that her hand and ear don't add much to the shot. I was looking for an early morning style shot with sun streaming in the window and making the water look really "fresh". I didn't achieve that look at all.

2) This is a control head for a water purifier in the garage of a customers house.

3) This is a frame grab from a television commercial for a laboratory that processes blood samples and provides local physicians easy access to the test results. This is a shot of the sample sorting machine. The high tech equipment is the star in this shot.

4) This is a shot of a doctor referring to the "easily accessible lab results" on her computer.


I'm trying to learn more about lighting and the overall look of a shot. I normally light too much and all my shots look too "lit" (if that makes sense). They don't look natural. But I'm also learning that backgrounds are VERY important, but in most cases I don't have much control over that. We don't have a studio where we can build fake sets to film in, we shoot on location. In shot's 1 & 2 I borrowed a real estate friends model home to shoot inside. Shots 3 & 4 were shot on location at the laboratory so I didn't have much control over what was in the background (short of moving a plant or something in/out of the shot). But I could have adjusted the lighting for a darker background by turning off the overhead fluorescent lighting.

This is very helpful, thanks! :)
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 05:13 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
In a sentence, your shots lack simplicity, there are too many distractions.


Take an evening off and watch TV, especially the commercial breaks and work out what works and why it works. TV is a great learning resource. As a stills photographer I used to cut my photographs up and paste them into a glossy magazine and then look at the pictures in context of the magazine, it brings you down to earth very quickly and you learn a lot in the process. Now try the same with your video, record a commercial break and insert your footage in between a couple of ads and see if it matches in quality and delivery of message. It will be a good lesson.

Let us know how you get on.
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 08:20 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Thanks Vincent. I think one issue is that in my small market, I've become a "big fish in a small pond". The other local producers in my area already think many of my commercials look like they have been nationally produced. But I know differently. :)

When you say the shots lack simplicity, do you mean that they are too busy? In other words there is too much going on in the background, etc...?

I'm thinking it would be more beneficial if I posted the actual commercials (video) for everyone to view. I'd be interested to see the comments if things were more in context.

Thanks again Vincent, going to try your suggestion. Actually I have been watching national commercials much more closely lately which is what brought me to start this thread.
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 09:25 AM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Worcester. United Kingdom
Posts: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis View Post
I'm thinking it would be more beneficial if I posted the actual commercials (video) for everyone to view. I'd be interested to see the comments if things were more in context.
I fully agree with this. If you post stills, they can only really be judged as stills and sometimes that's misleading.

I agree with Vincent about direct comparison with the competition - I used to do this before quoting for work and sometimes I had rather a shock!
__________________
I taught you all I know and still you know nothing.
Andy Nickless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 09:50 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Here's the Culligan spot (you have the option of downloading it in HD):
Culligan Water Softener - Local TV Commercial on Vimeo

Here's the laboratory spot: (I like the narrator on this spot)
TCL - Local TV Commercial on Vimeo
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor

Last edited by Mitchell Lewis; January 31st, 2009 at 10:30 AM.
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 09:55 AM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Posts: 1,675
Tomorrow's the big day for watching television commercials :) Set the DVR!
__________________
Web Youtube Facebook
Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 10:32 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Cole: Good point! Superbowl! (setting my DVR now)

Watching the TCL spot reminded me of something. The shots in the doctors office - this was a brand new office and there was nothing on the walls. I asked to put up that poster, but in hindsight, I should have pushed for more background texture (plants, paintings, etc...) Right?
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 10:37 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis View Post
Thanks Vincent.

When you say the shots lack simplicity, do you mean that they are too busy? In other words there is too much going on in the background, etc...?
Yes, far roo much. The lines need to be very simple so the viewers focus is on the "Hero" object.

Have fun watching the commercials, but keep your credit cards out of reach, some ads can be too persuasive.
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 11:00 AM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chislehurst, London
Posts: 1,724
Just had a look at your videos on Vimeo. They work much better than the stills, but I stand by what I have said.

The water ad logo with water swishing about is a clean simple shot - not sure if this is yours or a designers. The taps and shower sequences almost work, but you have a very dark and heavy colour as a backdrop. Think of clear, fresh water - a light blue background would imply this better, just as the water in the logo does. The glass used by the girl is like a beer mug, it needs to be smaller, again imply a quick refreshment, not a bucket.

The shower head and wall bracket are heavy duty, imply a spring rainfall rather than football teams shower room. The guy in the shower looks in pain rather than enjoying the fresh Culligan experience.

The TCL ad works better, but also has its falts. I didn't like the patient doctor sequence, it looked too set up and contrived . You have some nice footage which is shown as picture in picture. As a final note, the TCL full name is lost as black text on a moving background, my eyes are looking at the scene rather than the text, you caould have ended on a still image just for clarity of wording.

Great effort all the same, and of course you have done it. A good stylist is worth every penny on a commercial shoot.

Good luck

A great effort
__________________
Eyes are a deaf manís ears. Ears are a blind manís eyes
Vincent Oliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 12:09 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Worcester. United Kingdom
Posts: 197
I agree - the videos work so much better than the stills.

For some reason, the Culligan one won't play past 11 seconds in HD but works OK in SD.
I agree the guy in the shower should be more enthusiastic - and doesn't the narrator get the company name back to front at the end??
(Opposite way around to the URL).

Same things grate a little though - glass too large, girl's ear etc but at least her fingers don't stand out so much in the moving shot.

TCL ad works well I think - very upbeat and lively.
I think the doctor / patient scene is spoiled not because it's obviously "set up" but because the patient has her back to the camera - and dwarfs the doctor.

It's incredibly difficult to arrange people correctly if they are supposed to be looking at a monitor - I don't really know what to advise but it's not good the way the patient has to twist her neck so much to look at the monitor.

When those phials come along on the machine, it would be great if just one was pin-sharp (and everything else soft) but sadly, they all look a little soft. In the moving sequence, that doesn't really matter, but I feel it would have been much snappier if the focal point was sharper.

Overall . . . pretty good, I'd say and you're very brave to post them!

You asked whether there should be more ornaments etc - definitely NO.
For me, less is more.
__________________
I taught you all I know and still you know nothing.
Andy Nickless is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2009, 02:25 PM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sauk Rapids, MN, USA
Posts: 1,675
Don't forget to pick up your 3d glasses for the monsters vs. aliens spot! New kind of anaglyph apparently.
__________________
Web Youtube Facebook
Cole McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2009, 07:48 PM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kennewick, WA
Posts: 1,124
Great advice guys! But pulling off your advice within the confines of what I have to work with (small market). Funny story, I was getting desprate on lining up an attractive shower and kitchen for the Culligan shoot. Two days before the shoot, I remembered that I had a friend in real estate. I asked him if I could shoot inside one of his model homes. The one he chose was beautiful, but yes, the kitchen was very dark (I was wanting light/bright). But the worst part was, because it was a model home, the hot water heater hadn't been turned on yet! It has been in the 30's and 40's around here and I'm sure that's about what the water temperature was on the poor actors head. So yes, he was in pain taking that shower! Congratulations, you're the first one that noticed! :)

Hiring a stylist to design the background, props, etc...would be FANTASTIC! But I doubt there's anyone available in our area. But maybe I could get advice from a local interior decorator....cost permitting. We don't charge much for our 30 second commercials compared to what you would pay in a large market. I spent about 2 hours shooting the Culligan spot and 3-4 hours posting it. That's about average.

But with the beautiful look of our new camera, I want to continue to try and improve the overall quality of our commercials. Thanks for the great advice! :)
__________________
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
Mitchell Lewis is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:55 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network