True Story-Am I an idiot for doing this? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 10th, 2006, 07:29 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11
True Story-Am I an idiot for doing this?

Ok, I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I have been filming wildlife with an XL1 for a few years and decided to try and earn a few coins doing this. I really don't want to say what I was filming because I don't want my idea stolen. So I sent out about 35 brochures about 2 months ago advertising my "new business". Weeks went by and nothing. Finally a high profile client left me a message saying that he was interested. My original intent was to merely test the waters to see what kind of response I got and simply tell the client that we were booked so that we would have time to prepare ourselves. Reason being-I am in no way a pro. I put the XL1 in auto mode and let it fly. I don't even know what most of the functions are on the thing. 90% of the stuff on this website is greek to me. Back to the story. The customer wanted 2 cameras for a 4 day shoot. And like an idiot, I agreed. I run a real business as my main source of income so I immediately borrowed some money from it and bought 2 XL2 packages. My business partner and I spent almost $8500 on this stuff. Well we practiced and practiced with the XL2's (damn fine camera by the way) in auto mode. So we traveled 4 hours and did the 4 day shoot. Not as bad as I had imagined. We also had over 280 digital stills with my sony camera. My wife is a very good editor (does it for a living) and so far I think the DVD we are producing is coming out way better than I could have imagined. Is it possible that 2 guys that know almost nothing about videography could produce a quality product that almost paid for the cost of the cameras? Is there a big difference between auto mode and someone who really knows how to handle this camera. Your comments welcome-good or bad.
Kevin M. Wolff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 08:14 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Waterloo Ontario
Posts: 721
I'll go easy on you ...

Your question is quite leading so if you are looking for congratulations on making the show by beating the rules, you will likely find few accolades here. Good on you for not knowing the difference between a rack-focus and an 8- ball rack. I suppose if your client got the deliverable they wanted on time and on budget, then you did your job.

Just be careful when you need to lock down and shoot a corporate peice ... you'd be surprised how savvy today's customer is.

Go ahead and learn how the XL2 really performs ... it does have a cinematic look with stunning colour space when you know how to light and use the camera ...

...just try to avoid horribly rhetorical questions in the future ... it might be construed to be an insult. Lots of pros here.

Bon chance!
Jimmy McKenzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11
ok after rereading my post i suppose it was rhetorical. Not looking for congrats. I guess everyone has to start somewhere. My real question was-Does the Xl2'S auto mode come even close to someone who is using the camera like a pro?
Kevin M. Wolff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 08:24 PM   #4
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 2,100
Sounds like you lucked out. Given the variability in this business, even the people who do it day in and day out for a living get bit in the ass from time to time.

Reading between the lines, you're quite proud of yourself, and maybe you should be. But don't get overconfident. A reasonably famous rock star once told me:

"Just because you've done it once don't mean you're doing it"

edit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin M. Wolff
Does the Xl2'S auto mode come even close to someone who is using the camera like a pro?
Heh. No.

To answer your topic question...you're not an idiot for doing it, but you'd be an idiot for for getting away with it and assuming it's an easy business just because the first time it worked out.
__________________
My Work: nateweaver.net
Nate Weaver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Jupiter, FL
Posts: 565
Kevin, 1st of all congrats for taking the risk on the dvd production. Obviously it worked. If you plan on doing more I suggest you take the time to learn as much as you can, (camera, shooting technique and so on.) IMHO you got lucky this time. You shot outdoors, any camera out of the box on "auto" can give satisfactory results. If you really want to do this from now on you're gonna have to get "educated" in this field. Believe me, there's more to it than buying a camera and turning it on. If you have questions you found the right place. We're all willing to help. Good luck
__________________
Mark
www.sharkvp.com
Mark Bournes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 09:00 PM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11
Ok. guys let me say that I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes. I have a huge respect for what you all do. HUGE. I am definitely going to find a school to learn as much as possible about the camera. I had a bunch of fun doing the shoot. That is something rare to me these days. And let me also say that it was my wife's editing that saved my a@#. Any suggestions on online classes on this? No I don't know what F-stop is or zebra stripes. But I sure would like to learn. As far as being proud, well maybe I am proud-proud of the idea alone and thats it. My original question still remains though. How good is the Auto on the XL2?
Kevin M. Wolff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 09:10 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 817
Kevin,

The short answer is that it all depends on what you are shooting. For some shots the auto will be fabulous, and for some it will be worthless. If the scene is very evenly lit, auto can be fine. If it is not, if it has a really bright background for instance, the auto can kill you and make your subject a silhouette.

The most important thing, really, is that your customer is happy with what you delivered. If they are, no one can complain.

What I'd suggest, since the hypothetical debate can't help much, is to post a few frame grabs from the shots you like and ask people what they they manual settings would do to make the shots better. You will get very specific feedback and learn from it.

Congrats on the gig.
__________________
Barry Gribble
Integral Arts, IMDB
Barry Gribble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 09:14 PM   #8
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Hi Kevin,

Auto mode is obviously good enough to allow you to do what you're doing. I have never agreed with what seems to be a majority consensus that there's something wrong with Auto. In my opinion there isn't. And I own this site, so I can say that and get away with it. The "A" mode stands for Program Autoexposure and it does a very good job. It lets you concentrate on the more important issues that the camera can't help you with, such as framing the shot and catching the action. You did the right thing by putting your cameras on autopilot. At your stage as a beginner, the worst thing you could have done would have been to shoot in manual mode. In fact I cringe every time a pro shooter advises a beginner to shoot in manual. Manual is fine for people who know their cameras. It isn't appropriate for beginners though, and a beginner can easily mess up an image by shooting in manual. Stick with program autoexposure until you're comfortable with the camera, with your composition and framing, and with following movement. Then in your spare time, not on a paying shoot, you can experiment with the semi-auto Av and Tv modes. Do a search on my name using the terms shutter priority and exposure lock for some tips on the semi-auto modes. Eventually you'll graduate to full manual control -- you had better, anyway, or else we'll torment you mercilessly -- but for now yes it was the right thing to shoot auto. Best wishes,
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11
Thanks so much Chris. Time for me to go to work. I won't be winging it again without some training.
Kevin M. Wolff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
this thread inspires a few thoughts:

1) videography is my third career. my second was trading stocks. my first trade ever converted $5,000 to $10,000 in the course of a few days. having made a successful first trade did not make me a trader. what made me know i was a trader was the ability to take a $70,000 loss and a $70,000 gain with nearly-equal detachment. good traders, who are loaded with ego, at least realize that the market is actually perfectly indifferent to ego.

2) good shooters are not necessarily good at (or experienced at) running a business. people who are good at running a business are not necessarily good at shooting video. it's more likely that you are better at running a business than shooting video, based on the story you're telling. and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! but it's a lot more fun to be good at both....

3) a good editor can put lipstick on a pig. but i guess you've already caught on to that....i have seen some of the nastiest footage reconfigured into something very nice. editing is pure alchemy.
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11
Well thank you Meryem for your comments-

In response to #1: Please backtrack a few steps on the thread and you'll notice that I have outwardly proclaimed myself as a novice to this trade.

In so far as your comment regarding business and its relation to videography, I must pose the question- What are you talking about? You might as well have said that a good trashman doesn't neccessarily make a good videographer.

In response to your last comment- Did I not say that the editing saved my a#$? No need to repeat it in some vain effort for personal gain.
Kevin M. Wolff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2006, 12:08 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838
Meryem:

I want to know what your first career was ?????
__________________
Chris J. Barcellos
Chris Barcellos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2006, 12:47 AM   #13
Obstreperous Rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
Posts: 26,900
Images: 513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin M. Wolff
In so far as your comment regarding business and its relation to videography, I must pose the question- What are you talking about?
She said that because, in your first post you stated "I run a real business as my main source of income." So she's pointing out that people who are good at running a business are not necessarily good at shooting video (and vice versa). But... you can certainly learn to become good at it, and the "A" Program Auto Exposure mode is a useful tool which helps you to do that.
__________________
CH

Search DV Info Net | DV Info Net Sponsors | A Decade (+5) of DVi | ...Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!
Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
Meryem: I want to know what your first career was ?
if i told you, then i'd have to kill you. har.

actually, i spent twelve years teaching. one day, i was in one of those petty university faculty squabbles about a new hire, and the dept. head suggested we take a break. we all went back to our offices to cool down. the colleague in the office next to me worked on her article on the Renaissance. the guy on the other side prepped for his Romantic poetry workshop, and i hopped on my computer and squeezed out a quick $500 trade before returning to the meeting. i figured i was heading down the wrong path. so i traded full time for a bunch of years but found the net result of making money ultimately unsatisfying from a creativity perspective. but trading has funded my expensive video addiction and bought the building for my video business, so the two skills are a nice blend.

anyway, kevin, it sounds as if my comments offended you a bit. you asked for feedback about whether what you did was "idiotic" or not. i don't think it was idiotic at all. i have huge respect for people who fearlessly take big plunges. my ruminations about my early trading experience was actually intended as a cautionary tale about how early success is frequently a gateway to hubris. or maybe that's just me...suddenly, i thought i was "good" at one of the hardest professions in the world. ha. the market makes idiots out of us all. and i find parallels in the world of video. no matter how much you think you know, there's always a ton more to learn, so it pays to approach with humility.

there's certainly nothing wrong with on the job training. there's no school like experience, and it sure beats dropping thousands of dollars on gear that doesn't pay for itself. congratulations and good luck!
Meryem Ersoz 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 > Special Interest Areas > Under Water, Over Land

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:08 AM.


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