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Old August 5th, 2013, 03:24 AM   #16
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

If it were me, I would offer a downloadable copy, a la Bill Davis, although I would probably DIY in lieu of hiring a tent full of gear and assistants.

Handing out disks would not be on my radar. At all.

If I somehow got forced into handing out disks at this event (an example of this is if there were a wormhole at this event, and I was magically teleported back to 1995 where people exclusively used disk based media), I would get myself a DVD recorder, feed my camera outputs to it, press "Record" when the event started, and "stop" when the event finished, and hand them the disk that came out of the machine.
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Old August 5th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #17
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

I agree with you Mike. And delivering a number of downloadable videos the same day has a lot of the same problems. Wish I could help the OP more, but same day isn't easy to pull off. Rather, it's very difficult if you're aiming for really high quality.

There are quick ways to give uploads, (direct upload of a highly compressed format from camera, or capture directly to H264 with an encoder device--BMD makes one, other companies probably do too). However, really high quality usually means capture in a good codec, color grade, tweak audio, render and encode with high quality settings, and these all take quite a bit of time. That's something requiring a higher price if you want to stay in business.

For really quick, just use the phone's camera and post to FB. But people won't pay much, if anything, for that. (And I see the new ad on TV for the 41 mega pixel phone as if that's the answer to the quality problem consumers have noticed. What a joke!)
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; August 5th, 2013 at 07:10 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old August 5th, 2013, 04:35 PM   #18
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Hi Bob, and a belated Welcome Aboard!

This has been a really interesting thread you started and the responses have been awesome. I've got a lot in common with you - years of amateur photography going back to the Nikon FTN days (but also did 8mm film), and a couple years in the military (Viet Nam era). A lot has changed over the years, hasn't it? Punched cards, Commodore 64, PC 286 with Multimate, etc..... Video cameras with VHS tapes so large you needed huge battery packs strapped to your waist, black & white viewfinders,...

Today we have it easy, color and flash memory, or do we? The bar keeps getting raised higher.

Some oldtimers (my daughter doesn't call me that .... yet) have learned a few things over the years and here are a few things I've learned:

"If you want it bad, you get it bad." (construction & design and other fields)
"Trouble comes in bunches" (especially true in flying)
"Stuff happens" (umm... that's life) Others may use a different first word.

Unfortunately for me, my significant other has a very optimistic outlook and I'm the one always thinking about "things that COULD happen". "You always worry" she says.

Well, as we were ready to take off on a much needed and overdue vacation "stuff happened". The prospective renter for a business property was supposed to sign the contract and the next morning we would take off. Everything was settled. Or was it?

I told her not to cease advertising until "it is signed" - not to worry, she says.
Two irons in the fire are better than one. Not to worry, she says.
Well, guess what? Well, you don't have to guess, you probably know what happened. Yup, and we went on vacation anyway.

If you read this far you probably know what side of the fence I'm on. Call it redundancy, call it have a back-up plan, Plan B, whatever.

On the plus side, picking up a new camera seems good but there is a learning curve. The past week I've been changing my workflow, computers, delivery media, and I've been going through "learning hell". Heck, maybe spell that HELL !

Oh, and there is another saying: 1,000 ata-boys = one "Aw *shi*"

This gig sounds really scary and I hope everything goes well.

One thought: What about testing how the monitor looks in sunlight? Or shaded?

Oh, and I liked the "I had a dream" post. That was a good one.

Good luck!
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Old August 5th, 2013, 06:15 PM   #19
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Thanks to everyone who has offered their advice in this thread. I definitely feel like I jumped in way over my head with this but, it was just one of those situations where turning it down would probably mean not getting asked again. Saying yes could lead to more work. Actually, it already has led to more work. One thing about me is I am a fanatic about being prepared so, I've been putting in 5-8 hours a day for the last week or so just to make sure I don't let these people down. I've shot and edited all my b-roll stuff for the disc intros, made my menu in Photoshop and animated it in After Effects, and put it all together in Encore and pre-transcoded everything. Almost everything I've done so far, I had to learn as I went. Even the Photoshop work was completely different than what I normally us PS for.

This gig starts this Thursday morning and runs through Sunday. I'm going to go out tomorrow and setup for a couple hours just to test everything. I am pretty excited about it and more than a little nervous! I feel pretty confident that I can provide everyone with something that they will be quite happy with. How quickly I can produce it, remains to be seen.

So, one more thing I've been contemplating is audio. I've got the Spanish riding instructor mic'ed with the Sennheiser EW100 G3 lav. It is run through a small yamaha mixer to provide a little compression and eq and to split the signal off to the PA and the camera. I am thinking I would like to try to capture a little ambient such as the horses hooves and breathing and maybe get some of the dialog from the riders. The only mic I have that might be remotely useful for the task is a pair of Samson C02 pencil mics (tight super-cardoid condenser). I'm thinking I can set the levels on them at the mixer and just monitor the mix at the camera. What do you guys think? Worth a shot or just asking for trouble?

Bob
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Old August 5th, 2013, 07:26 PM   #20
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

That new XA-20 of yours will probably let you use the onboard microphone that's built into the camera on just channel 2 when you plug the Sennheiser receiver into channel 1 similar to the way my XH-A1S does.

If Canon wrote the manual as well as they did for the XH-A1S, there will be a section called RECORDING AUDIO. There you should find the MENU >AUDIO SETUP>CHANNEL 1...INT/EXT MIC.

Set Channel 1 to EXT. Your Sennheiser Receiver plugs into the Channel1 XLR Port.
Set Channel 2 to INT. That should use the camera's internal microphone as channel 2.
This would be the simpler approach. The internal microphone should be good enough for ambient of the horse's hooves. The really important audio is the instructor.

Another, more involved approach, is to plug the Sennheiser receiver into one XLR port on the mixer and one of your Condenser mics into another port of the mixer, then run a line out signal from the mixer. I read the XA-20 can accept line in signals. In theory line in gives a better signal. In practice, sometimes you run into trouble doing it with certain cameras. My older XH-A1 won't do this as well as my newer XH-A1S, even though it should.

You'd need to use LINE IN setting for at least one channel in the menu. Don't know how used to the mixer you are. Plus using a new camera too. So my first suggestion would probably be easier and safer until you are really used to using the camera and mixer together. It took me a while to get used to using my mixer and camera when I first got them.

Thursday is coming up quick so my advice would be to stick to the first approach I mentioned. Be sure and monitor through headphones. Good luck. You've got a hard job there.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #21
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Thanks Roger. Of course, I'm not going to go with the easiest option; at least not initially. I am pretty good at running audio. I've been a drummer most of my life and played in and recorded bands. Still have my own small studio though, it's been pretty much packed away for the last five years. Running a mixer is no big deal for me.

The challenge is that I have to lay it all into two channels mixed live to the final product while providing a live feed to the PA. I don't want the ambient going to the PA and I don't want the clinician's audio all sitting in one channel. Two solutions occur to me at the moment; neither a possibility. Canon should add the ability to pan the mic1 and mic2 signals across the mix in camera or I could bring a significantly larger studio mixing board with multiple assigns and busses. Of course there is the third option of mixing the sound at a later date but, I'm still not ready to concede on the same day turn-around.

I'll be testing on site today so we'll see what will work.

Bob
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Old August 11th, 2013, 11:22 PM   #22
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Well the shoot is over and the dust has cleared (most of it is in my equipment now), and I'm back to report on how it went.

Setup- I mounted the XA20 to a Manfrotto 701 head on a 555 50mm bowl leveling column in my old 3221 sticks. On a folding table I had a Samsung 21" HDMI monitor, my laptop with a external backup drive and a 10 channel Yamaha mixer. I connected the XA20 to the monitor via HDMI cable so I didn't have to look at the tiny display for eight hours straight each day. I ran the Sennheiser receiver into the mixer, added signifigant compression, low frequency cut, some modest eq, and panned equally to left and right channels. I then sent the signal to the XA20 XLR inputs as a line level signal and monitored via cans from the camera. I gave up on the additional mic for ambient sound due to wind and people talking. The feed to the PA ended up being a moot point because the clinician refused to wear the mic if the signal was being pumped out through speakers.

Workflow- the clinician was brutal! He took no breaks which made it tricky to swap SD cards between rides. I just decided that the first thirty seconds of each ride wasn't that critical and went ahead with swapping cards after each rider finished. I setup my laptop to open bridge upon inserting an SD card and the data was saved to the laptops internal disc as well as the external. I rotated four class 10 cards which gave me enough time to verify all data before a card went back to the camera and got erased prior to hitting the record button. I used the handheld IR remote that came with the XA20 for all zooming and it actually did a decent job.

Settings- I tried various white balance and exposure settings during the first two days. In the end, full auto was the best option for recording 45 minutes of continuous footage of a horse moving around a covered but not enclosed 100'x200' arena. Conditions changed too frequently and quickly.

Authoring- Didn't happen on site. Absolutely impossible for me to do while filming a ride. I got a couple burned in the evenings but after getting up at 4:00 each morning and sitting out in 100+ degrees for eight hours, I wasn't real motivated when I got home. I will get the discs out during the week.

Lessons learned- Overall things went pretty well. Exhaustion from the heat was the biggest problem. I will buy a LANC remote since I need a more reliable solution than the IR unit. I need to figure out a good file renaming protocol to use in Bridge. The XA20 seems to start a new numbering sequence for each card which made things confusing when rotating cards. Right now, I have Bridge renaming the files with date and a sequential number. That's fine but, Bridge doesn't rename the backup copy it sends to a second drive.

One thing I found strange with the XA20 was that it seemed to lose track of what proper exposure was after being on for several hours continuously. At one point, during a ride, I was in Av mode and had +1.5 stops of exposure comp dialed in and it was still underexposing though the light conditions has not really changed. It should have been overexposing with that much compensation. I turned the camera off at the end of the ride, left it off for about a minute and then turned it beck on in auto. Worked fine after that.

Bob
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Old August 12th, 2013, 07:45 AM   #23
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Glad to see nobody was hurt and you learned some valuable lessons.

Professional video is not a multi-tasking event. Any "extra" stuff to do just takes away from your filming performance, which in the end is the only reason you are there.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 09:27 AM   #24
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Hey Bob.

I'm glad things went well for you after all. You were very wise to concentrate on the audio from the teacher.

Having to work with tape and cards, I name cards just like tapes. For instance: 20130812A1, 20130812A2, 20130812A3 would all be shot today, from camera A.

20130812B1, 20130812B2... would all be shot today from the B camera, whether from tape or card.

It's often important to keep the media structure from the card intact for the NLE software, so I just drag the entire card into the proper folder, naming the folder the same as the card.

By consistently naming media the same way, it minimizes the hassles of media management, especially during busy spells.
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; August 12th, 2013 at 09:31 AM. Reason: typos
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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:14 PM   #25
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

I have done a lot of live events that needed instant DVDs. (Choir festivals and the like). I have a Philips DVD Recorder. They're not expensive. It is standard def, but at an event where I had less than 10 minutes between each group to get the DVD burned and finalized I didn't have any problems at all.

The only real drawback is there aren't many options on DVD menus, but being able to hand them a DVD almost instantly is nice.

In your case it sounded like you didn't even have 5 minutes between so maybe the DVD recorder wouldn't have worked.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 10:08 PM   #26
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Bob - thanks for reporting back and that was a good report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Glad to see nobody was hurt ....
I second that.

After my post above, before the event, there is another quote I thought of: "If you want it done right, do it yourself."

Anyway, it was good that you found a way to alter your procedure based on the changed conditions and survive the event. The heat, at least for me, would really deteriorate my capability to think clearly and make adjustments.

The naming syntax is basically the same one I use. Lately I've been adding a space after the sequence and adding a few words (keeping within the file name size) about the video to make it easier to find because there can be a huge time lapse between when it was recorded and when I actually get around to editing or archiving it.

Quote from Roger: "By consistently naming media the same way, it minimizes the hassles of media management, especially during busy spells."
My reply: Ditto and Amen!

The 21" monitor was a great idea. I can certainly see how that would help.

Settings - It's all about compromise. When the workflow is as busy as you had it, going with Auto if it would handle it is a good way to go. The newer cameras tend to have really good Auto exposure control. Given more available time you could have done better but the incremental improvement probably wasn't time-effective.

Glad to hear you survived and hopefully the gig will bring some more business your way.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 11:14 AM   #27
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Sorry for armchair quarterbacking this, but a suggestion would be to talk to the dressage instructor prior to shooting so you can set their expectations to what you can accomplish accordingly.

Although most dressage queens are prima donnas the fact that they video taped previous clinics means that they do see the benefit of recording the event. It's really in everyone's best interest that you have enough time to do your job correctly.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 09:28 AM   #28
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Hey guys! I haven't been around here much lately. Been incredibly busy. Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to follow up on this thread because I just finished another one of these dressage clinics. It was a three-day clinic and I had an intern to help for one of the days. I made some changes to things that made my life much easier. First, I changed my recording format to MP4 1280x720p30 @ 4mbps. This allowed me to do tandem recording on the XA20 to two cards and not worry about changing them out after each ride. I purchased a Vari-Zoom controller which made zoom operation much more responsive and accurate. I also did not offer Blu-ray as an option. Instead, I offered DVD with the stipulation that they would not ship until three days after the clinic or daily download to a USB flash drive.

About half of the participants chose the USB transfer and I think going forward, it will be the only option. The MP4 files played without issue for all the participants on various devices. The quality was higher than anything they have received before and they could review the ride in the evening and apply those lessons the following day.

Another nice thing about this clinic was that the clinician wanted the PA system. This meant that she wasn't yelling to a rider who was on the other side of the arena which allowed me to capture much cleaner audio. Unfortunately, I'll be shooting the yelling Spaniard again next month.

Bob
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Old April 9th, 2014, 08:52 AM   #29
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Good to hear you are making it work Bob. Constant refinement until you get to a comfort level is what it takes... And starting your gear collection!
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Old April 10th, 2014, 07:53 AM   #30
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Re: Need lots of help...maybe a sanity check?

Great thread.

I used to offer DVD's the few times I'd do private event work, but have completely switched over to flash drives instead.

No authoring. Less time. Fewer headaches.

The people have something they can take home and view...or share on facebook...or any other way they want.

More and more DVD's are becoming the LP's of technology.

It's easier for me to copy a finished video to a flashdrive and hand it off instead of messing around trying to quickly produce a DVD.

And, let's be honest, sometimes no matter what you do, a person will take a DVD home and for whatever reason it will not play in their DVD player.

I don't have that issue of an unhappy frustrated person coming back saying what I gave them didn't work when I give them small flashdrives.

Just my thoughts...and figure DVD's are like floppy disks. A technology soon coming to an end.
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