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Old August 2nd, 2008, 10:16 AM   #1
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Hi my name is Ken and the main reason I'm here is because of my job. I am responsible for training people to service our machines. The powers that be have decided that I should make training videos that could be posted on a locked internet site for our distributors to access. Sounds easy? They don't mean hire someone to film and put it together they mean I will do it all. I'm an expert at servicing the machines, I know very little about video production except the slide show I put together for my parents 50th. That was a huge project. I believe that may be dwarfed by this project.

So I need to submit a proposal as to what equipment I will need to do the job. I suppose I need a video camera, tripod, editing software and a tutor! I think they are picturing me using a home use camcorder not the beauty's I've seen used here. (BTW, I scanned some videos here and you people are amazing) What I visualize are short videos that explain various steps. They don't need to be masterpieces but they do need to be usable and I wouldn't mind surpassing expectations for a reasonable price. This will never end either, there will always be more that I can add as we come out with new products. Also, this is only a project, I have to set it up so it is not extremely time consuming.

Am I over my head?
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 08:57 PM   #2
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Hi Ken,

You’re not in over your head because you’re shooting machinery and mainly want a crisp image. The big things you left off your list: Light and sound. Gotta have good light for that crisp image, and if you’re including narrative you’ll need good audio.

Practice as much as you can with light, the camera and audio before shooting the real thing and see what you think. Experimentation is a great teacher.

Plan your shot list, then find the best camera angles/distances, put light at angles that will show the procedures clearly without glare.

Is this the kind of input you’re seeking?
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 08:15 AM   #3
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Actually it's a good start. I'm a bit overwhelmed at this point as there are so many things to consider.

After I posted this I thought that perhaps it wasn't a good introduction post and this will morph into something that belongs under a different thread. If the Mods prefer I could start this somewhere else. I am the new guy!

For now I'll continue my questions here. Would you narrate while you shoot or shoot and the dub it in later? So a regular Digicam would do me fine?
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 08:38 AM   #4
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Dear Ken,

I agree with Lorinda. The keys are light and sound.

We do not know what type of machines you service, but it is usually true that you need to provide adequate light so that the intricate parts you are discussing are very clear.

While the human eye can see just fine under home lighting, this is completely inadequate for most video cameras, especially High Definition (HD) video cameras.

If we assume that you do have intricate parts or fine detail, it would be best to buy/rent/borrow a HD camera.

Second, you need good sound. You can do this with a wired lavaliere microphone (omni, not a cardioid). A wireless microphone, such as the Sennheiser G2 could also work well, if you need to move around freely.

Good sound can not be overlooked. People will consider your DVD's torture if they have to listen to poor sound.

Do not plan on using the on-camera microphone, especially with many of today's consumer-type cameras. (We frequently use the term camera to mean camcorder.) The microphone may be the best in the world, but on-camera is not the best place. The best place is close to the source of the sound.

If you need to show intricate parts, you need:

A camera which has a microphone input and a headphone output
A lighting kit (which can be pretty basic)
A microphone, probably a lavalier microphone.
Headphones.
A computer to edit the videos.
Non-Linear Editing (NLE) Software which includes the ability to burn a DVD (if you want a DVD, which I assume that you will).

I recommend that you ask around to see if someone with some or all of the above equipment will help you.

Also, you may want to see if someone local will do this for hire.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Also, you may want to see if someone local will do this for hire.
He can do this, Dan! :)

Ken, you can do the narration either way. If you want it live, better take a really good look at what Dan told you. I prefer voiceovers. Number one, depending upon what kind of machinery you’re talking about there might be background noise that would be irritating, and two, you can compose the narrative so it’s more concise. You can control the recording better (plus do-overs are a wonderful thing). IF you have the time. The trouble with live audio is there are so many things to monitor; for instance, if the person wearing the lav moves a lot or turns his/her head a lot it can cause brushes against the mic or an uneven recording. It all depends on what will work best for your viewers and how much time you have.

As for a camera, you might as well go with HD, as Dan suggested. For close-ups, which, I assume, is what you’ll be shooting, if the shots have enough light on them I think just about any camera is going to deliver a nice-looking image. I’m sure you’ve checked out the “Compact HD Camcorders” section on this site. Good camera choices there.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 01:29 PM   #6
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Dear Lorinda,

Yes, I agree completely. Ken can do this!

The key thing is that it will take a minor committment to learning the camera, practicing, and learning the NLE. Yes, he can do this. In fact, it may be fun.

I also agree that doing the audio via voiceover will most likely be the best choice. If the sound of the equipment is important, then he will need to record this also.

Ken, if you let us know a budget figure or ballpark, we can suggest specifc equipment.
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Old August 3rd, 2008, 06:20 PM   #7
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I would think an HD camera in the $1000 ish range would get you really nice pictures to edit together. You can make stick figure sketches with the training steps written next to them to figure out what shots you need.

Watch videos that have been done already ("industrial video" or "training video" would be your google search for samples). These are great models for success.

Make sure to get nice tight shots to show detail for the work. These will be cut into wider shots so the trainee can see the way it fits in with the overall process (and doesn't get bored watching the whole thing in closeup).

After you've gotten the shots from your list (and anything else that occurs to you to get while on the "set"), take it back to your editor (have them budget for this as well: both software and hardware) and import the footage.

Cut together a rough cut of it and start recording the Voice over of the script you've written describing the process and techniques.

From here, adjust the Visual edit to match the final edit of the VO work. It'll take a bit of time, but once you know the software, you can crank out a rough cut of a 10 minute film in about 3 hours (beginning with footage that has already been captured).

Have fun with it, it'll show on the screen.
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Old August 4th, 2008, 04:11 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Great input.

I can tell you right now my bosses vision is me doing the whole thing on a home camera and possibly buying software. He has no idea. That is why I was reluctant to do this. My job is already crazy and demanding so I have to be practical here.

The cool thing I'll admit is that when I was in high School I was determined to become a photographer. It never happened. But thia past Christmas I bought a Nikon D80 with the intent of getting back into it. I have forgotten everything! AND I have said many times that if I could have started over I would have pursued Movie Special effects as a carreer. I just never thought it was a practical carreer choice. I think I was wrong about that.

Now I work on Medical Lasers. The lasers we build are for Dermatology and dental use. Need that hideous old tattoo off? I'm your guy!

The lasers do make noise but you can talk over it. The vision I have is to make very short 2-5 minute films that cover steps and procedures. That way a technician can enter our "library" and watch only the procedures he needs at that time. There will also be some theory lectures so animation would be cool(I may be pushing it now).

There is one more factor. I live in Chicago and the factory is in California. Some of the filming is expected to happen on site as I travel through Asia and other parts of the world. I don't think that can happen because I cannot carry everything. I can however film in California and my home. My boss isn't asking too much is he?

I think at first I should start by looking at cameras so lets see what I find.
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Old August 4th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #9
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A camera case, tripod strapped on to the case and a light kit shouldn't be too bad for carrying.

I'm sure your boss is expecting professional grandiose results for no money on time. Have him shop around some industrial video makers and get their prices and time frames before he sets his budget for you.

You'll be shocked at how bad machinery will interrupt speech. I definitely recommend capturing your audio afterward in a nice quiet place where you have more control over the ambient noise. Bad picture will be excused, but bad sound will have people turning the thing off and asking the other people in the shop to explain the procedures and winging it.
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Old August 4th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Hi Ken -
I agree that "the boss" needs to price comparable video services. It's a lot to ask of someone to come up to speed on all the aspects of videography and shoot a presentable product... not that it can't be done, but you should be looking for a BIG Christmas bonus <wink!>

You've got the resources here to learn, so you've got that on your side, but there's this thing called a learning curve...

I do weddings because I wanted to do some instructional stuff pretty much exactly like you describe... so I got a camera, hated the results, began the quest for higher quality... this was a few YEARS back... Only lately have I been satisfied with my cameras, editing is getting easier, I'm getting the hang of storyboarding (you'll need to get that nailed down...), still scratching my head on lighting! Slowly beginning to get actual usable footage "in the can" for MY projects, while busy shooting weddings and events for "practice" and a bit of fun money!

I will say this, you can probably buy a "consumer grade" HD camera and get something that looks VERY VERY good, that's a recent development, but it's helpful. For well under 1K you can get something that should knock the socks off of all but the most critical viewer. Even better, get 2-3 cameras and shoot live multi-camera... still fairly cheap, even with a couple decent tripods and all accessories. I'd capture ambient audio, but plan on a voice-over except for the "lecture" style stuff - that should be live and the big thing there is creating and lighting a "set" so your lecturer looks good. I'm still working on that lighting thing myself, not sure if it's the lighting or if the subject (me) just looks bad on video!

Depending on where you are needing to shoot, there are a lot of good video guys here who could probably help you (I'm in CA for instance). Perhaps if you post in the help needed section of the forum you'd relieve yourself of the "problem", and get some "pro" help, if nothing else as consultants to help you over the learning curve?

If you go with small cameras, you can put together a pretty compact travel kit - I just reworked my setup for portability, and a camera backpack contains most of what I'd need for the sort of shoot you're asking for (don't ask me to impress you with my "big" camera though... it stays at home most of the time now). Tripods need to be lugged around, but other than that, my rig is quite small and portable - I don't mess with lights for live event shoots though... on camera diffused light has to suffice, but would be effective for something like you describe.

The advantage to "instructional" type stuff is you're really trying to clearly capture an event, and many of the normal "cinematic" sorts of considerations aren't so big a deal. You've creating an "electronic owners manual", and it doesn't NEED to be pretty, just accurate so instructions are clear and can be followed by a viewer. Bonus points if it looks good too!

Hope that helps a bit!
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 12:55 PM   #11
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I'm back. This has been a long drawn out process because I'm very busy and am a stellar procrastinator. There has been a new development. It turns out one of the departments has a camera that I can use. I will have access to a Canon GL2. I will also have access to what they are calling a "Movie studio" complete with everything I need except they don't think they have an external microphone. The problem is the studio is in Las Vegas! Is that really a problem? The expense being flights hotels and shipping equipment. Would that be worth it? (It would be fun, that is certain!)

So it looks like this is something that I will be getting serious about. Should I start a new thread? If so where at? I am sure I will have a lot of questions.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 01:21 PM   #12
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Is it a studio in Las Vegas? or Sony's Vegas Studio (software package).

The GL2 is a nice camera (not HD, but good pix nonetheless).

Make sure they invest in lighting if they haven't already, that really is the big thing... and get an external audio option. The specific types of microphones you'll want to use will depend on your shoots. Lavs are good for speaking talent with quieter surroundings, Shotguns good if you can get someone to hold a boom pole and handhelds will be fine for doing VO work after the fact.
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 01:49 PM   #13
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My company has a customer training center for Doctors in Las Vegas. Apparently they have a studio set up in the school. Here is a video they shot there. I think they hired someone to put the video together but they filmed it in the studio with the GL2. It's clinical dentistry so if your grossed out easily this is your warning. My videos will not be clinical at all.
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Old September 15th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #14
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I am not sure where to post this so I will continue here.

It has been a year...a very busy one, but finally I have started the project. My company already has a Canon GL2 so I am using it. They sent it to me with the Camera, power cable, one tape, and nothing more. We started filming yesterday (not in Vegas) and it has gone well.

Now the novice question. How can I get the video from the tape to my computer and what programs I use to edit it? I think I'll have to keep it simple (read inexpensive) but I will consider any advice. I cannot be sure this will be an ongoing project but if the powers that be like it, it may very well become that. Also consider ease of use please.

Can I take it somewhere and have it ripped to DVD and edit it from there? What do you recommend?
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Old September 15th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #15
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You should be able to plug the camera in using a firewire cable to your computer, then import directly into an editing app (there are free ones like windows movie maker - it works, but it's a bit kludgy)... unless you have access to a mac, then you can use iMovie, which has an easier interface to get around.
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