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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:42 PM   #121
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Most of my pans and zooms are to better frame the next performance after one ends and I'm pretty sure they are far from professional. However, I want to use the fewest number of cuts to the CX160 as possible just because I don't care for the quality of the picture. I don't think my audience is going to care so much about the professionalism of my product as they will the quality of the picture.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #122
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

As has already been said, synch first, then cut. usually look for a song with a nice heavy beat that is very well defined. I find, hip-hop or rap songs to be easy to sync. You can expand the sound track wave form for each cam and get pretty precise. A couple of things. Make sure you have quantize to frames set to on. It's found in the options menu and should be on by default. You can also lower the level of the video using the Timeline Track List. If you do that with the video that is on top you can see an opaque image of the one that 's on top and see both tracks play on top of each other. It makes it really easy to see that everything is synch'd up.

The way that Vegas does mulitcam is a little strange. It creates a single track with all the cameras in them. so I usually keep a copy of my project once I get the cams synched up and then create the mulitcam project. I'm still on Vegas 9 so maybe 10 does a better job but you can't go back to separate the tracks once you multicam them.

About when to cut, I would say it's a matter of choice. What I would suggest is going through and identifying where you absolutely have to cut first. Then if you want go through and find additional cuts that make it better. I tend to set up the multicam and use my key pad to switch between cameras. I almost do a live switching exercise so that I'm switching in real time as I'm watching. If you're machine is fast enough that works and is a great place to start. Then I go back and fine tune the cuts.

Again this is my own personal take on it, but the most natural cuts you'll be able to use just a cut (no transition). If it's really natural and fits it will be almost unnoticeable. Then if you need to somewhat hide a cut, a cross dissolve works. Slower, more melodic numbers will work better with cross dissolves but a short overlap of say 1 or 2 frames can make what was an awkward cut work.

Use good basic editing theory for when to cut. In general , cut on movement. Begin the move from one cam and have it finish on the other. Make sure your cuts move in the right direction. If the action is going camera left to camera right, cutting from your right camera to left angle camera will feel strange. It feels jarring if you cut it so that it moves against the flow of action. Avoid cutting right before you start a pan or zoom. It's usually better to cut to the camera after it's started to zoom or pan.

Those are some basic ideas and as with anything they are not set in stone. Those are the conventions and are what people are use to. If you go against them have a pretty good reason for a particular effect you want to achieve.

-Garrett
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #123
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

If you're pans and zooms are "between" performances they will end up in the bit bucket anyway?

Make the full length track the first on your track list, drop the other two in underneath, sync via audio peak, then tweak for time distortions (a camera further away will have a slight time lag). One trick is to pan hard left on one track, and hard right on the other so you can hear any dissonance.

SOMETIMES you may want to use the secondary audio to "sweeten" the mix, but you may well find the on cam mic of the 500 does just fine. Typically I mute rather than delete (same as Adam), that way I have the track if needed - you can squeeze the tracks down to minimum size if you're needing space - expanding and squeezing tracks is a handy way to maximize your workspace.

I'd say the "cuttin' rules" are pretty simple - as much as possible choose the "best" track, switching as needed to the "wide" view for variety, and to cover any 'unforgettable errors" <wink>! Again, you'll sort of have to "feel" the performances - sometimes you want that "big" view for a number that covers the stage, and as some have mentioned here, the STUDIO may want a locked down wide view just for "critique". Of course a wide view with a bunch of tiny dancers isn't where the "money shot" is... and a little imperfection in shooting technique won't matter THAT much if a particular parent's "star" is reasonably close to in focus and proper exposure.

Again, it's sort of a "feel" thing, and this is where for me at least, having multicam helps scrub through the footage and see what is there to work with, maybe cut the dead time on that pass, THEN start the actual cutting of the individual numbers, then go through the edited mix, and tweak if needed before rendering and reviewing one last time in case something went goofy on a cut or something, then compose the DVD and burn a bazillion copies (hopefully you got lots of up front orders!)
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Old May 24th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #124
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Great trick on making one track semi-opaque! The strange multicam approach in Vegas is why I use the Infiticam product I mentioned...

AND, good catch Garrett - SAVE SAVE SAVE at each logical stage in your editing, you may find yourself very glad you did... save after sync, save with multicam cuts but before mixing the tracks together, save as you go along on individual numbers if you feel the need to. Vegas does do an auto backup, but having your own series of .veg files logically named as the project progresses is a very calming way to work! Anything "goes wrong", you can just back up a bit!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:08 PM   #125
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Following up on questions left hanging above.

1. Plural Eyes does indeed come in a Vegas version. At $149, though, it is probably too much for the budget at this time.

2. I have only a passing familiarity with Vegas, so Garret's and Dave's advice will be more informative. (I work mainly in PPro CS5 with occasional ventures into Avid MC5.)

3. On the time space between dance numbers, I usually go with 10 frames simply because it makes it is easier for me to find the gaps when altering projects. I've worked with as few as 5 frames. Doing a direct export of PPro CS5 timelines for making DVDs with Adobe Encore, you theoretically will not get the pause while DVD player switches to a new chapter. I say "theoretically" because I've found that some players will still pause where most others will not.

4. Brad's plan on having chapters and titles is usually a big selling point. Multi-page menus are helpful here. Main menu for playing the whole thing in sequence, subsidiary page for each "scene" with buttons for each of the 12 or so dances for that scene. Links back to the main menu. (Other links if you like.)

5. I also favor "lower thirds" titles for naming the dance, the class and class members. If you have a scanner and an OCR program, you can avoid a lot onerous typing by taking names from the performance's printed handout/program.

6. Saving and saving copies is something I do regularly with PPro. Multi-cam works a bit differently in PPro than in Vegas, so I usually do not separately save stages of assembly. What I do regularly, however, is use both "save" and "save a copy" to I always have two copies of the most current stage of work. With Vegas, I think you would have to "save as" over both the main and the copy. I also have a back-up system running, too. The philosophy here is: "just because I'm clinically paranoid does not mean I do not have real enemies after me."
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Old May 24th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #126
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

I've spent a couple hours working on this now and here are some comments...

Plural Eyes can be used free for 30 days and IT WORKED PERFECTLY for syncing the two smaller tracks from the CX160 to the one main track of the XR500! I tried to sync manually but I was having difficulty so I tried Plural Eyes and it was so simple. I know they're perfectly synced because I am using the semi-opaque suggestion and I can easily see that all movements are perfectly aligned. The sound is also being played from both tracks and it sounds better with both tracks on than with having one or the other muted.

After syncing the entire show, I saved the project and then broke it down into 5 separate projects for editing. I'm just about ready to get started.

As far as adding titles, I've seen "lower thirds" mentioned a couple of times. Most of my framing has the dancers in the lower third of the frame. I'm not sure if that is how I should have done it, but I was trying to keep the audience out of the picture as much as possible and if I would have centered the dancers, I would have also been getting the first several rows of the audience. I think I have a lot of good space for titles in the upper third.

You guys are helping me so much here! I wish I knew all the tricks of Vegas because it took me quite a while just to figure out how to cut a section out of the timeline! :-) I'm learning the software as I go!

I know I can search, but any quick tips on applying transitions or fades?
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Old May 24th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #127
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Great Brad,

Lower thirds is just a term used for putting a banner with some titles in the lower part of the frame. It isn't actually the lower third. They only come on for a few seconds then they should fade out. I usually put them on in the beginning of the number and make them fade before the dancers really start to move.

For fades it's as simple as moving the cursor to the upper corner of the track, you'll notice that the cursor changes it's look (not at my editing computer now so I can't get a screen grab), left click the mouse and drag back across the track. You'll see a line showing the fade type and notice some of the end of the track fades out. Those are for fades in and out depending on which side of the track you're on.

For transitions, overlap the two videos by the length of time you want the transitions to occur over. Then click on Transitions in the Window Dock area. That you'll see a bunch of transitions come up. Drag the transition you want to use over the overlapped area of the two videos. A dialogue box will then come up where you can set the properties of the transitions.

Download the manual if you haven't already done that and also use the help menus. Sorry if that's not too clear. I know it's hard to visualize this stuff but it's a pretty intuitive program.

-Garett
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Old May 24th, 2011, 10:00 PM   #128
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

You can use upper thirds, too. Might be easier and better with your framing.

Garret mentioned one of the advantages of Vegas: automating transitions. Especially useful when working with slow dances.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 07:10 AM   #129
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Ok guys... let me know if I should be posting some of my newer questions regarding editing in other areas of this forum.

I finally sat down last night to review the video that I captured with the CX160 cam. This cam was unmanned in the balcony so I didn't get a chance to immediately make adjustments once the curtains opened and the lights came on (another lesson learned). I manually set the exposure to a level I thought was going to be good but after reviewing last night I found it was too high (during playback the data code on the screen showed 12dB). About 2 hours into the show, I finally got a chance to go check this cam and noticed the exposure was too high so I took it down a few notches. The picture quality during playback improved drastically (now 3dB in data code). About an hour later, I went back to this cam again to swap media and felt that the exposure could still be adjusted down a litltle more, so made one more small adjustment. At this final exposure setting the picture was PERFECT (now 0dB in data code).

So in summary, the first 2 hours of footage from the CX160 is not useable in its current state. The next hour is good and can be used as is. The last 2 hours are perfect from my perspective.

Is there an easy way to have Vegas correct the exposure for those first two hours of video with the exposure set too high? I've done some searches in the forum on this topic and I can't find anything that an inexperienced user like me can easily understand.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #130
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

If the camera was rolling, separate out (split the clip) the footage at the points where you made your adjustments. Tnen there will be a little icon at the far right of the clip for "EFX" (going from memory, never really noted the text, just click the icon!), bring that up and you'll have a window of things to play with.

I'd suggest start with the color corrector, brightness and contrast, and maybe try a few other filters - then you can adjust parameters in real time, turn individual effects on and off (check box) and view your results. If you're not too blown out, you should be able to pull the footage down into something usable - the CMOS/AVCHD cameras have a lot more "headroom", so there's a chance there's usable data there you can adjust into.

You won't know until you start playing with it just how "salvageable" the clips are, but Vegas has a fairly powerful set of tools to fiddle with on both a clip and track level. If you post a clip in the Vegas forum here on DVi, I'm sure you'll have half a dozen people propose adjustments if you run into trouble (it's safe and fun to play with on your own though!).

The slightly overexposed won't be a problem IMO, the +12db may be more problematic, but I wouldn't panic yet, without seeing a clip I suspect your odds are still good!
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Old May 25th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #131
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

I'll try to post a clip tonight and look for advice. I wish I had the time and experience to play with this on my own, but I'm in a little over my head with sort of issue. Another problem I have is that the picture quality doesn't look all that bad in the small Vegas preview window on my PC monitor but it's really noticeable when played in HD from the cam to my plasma TV. That inhibits my editing potentional too.

To post a clip on this forum, do I simply load a video to youtube or something similar and then link to it?
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Old May 25th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #132
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Some people would consider playing with the contrast and brightness in post as the Devils work...

Actually, it can create some really strange effects so I tend to stay away from touching those. Instead use the Levels FX (same procedure to get there as Dave outlined). Here's a link to a tutorial on using it:

Correcting Exposure in Sony Vegas Part One

you'll get better results overall. For color adjustments or controlling selective ranges of luma, color or hue you could use the secondary color correction tool.

you should probably move this discussion over to the Vegas forum as there's a lot of good info over there and a lot of very knowledgeable people who have done a lot of work in Vegas.

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Old May 25th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #133
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

He he he - contrast and brightness is not always an effective hammer, but it's easier to understand... it's worked for me , but there are far finer tools if you care to take the time to learn them well enough to use them.

Brad - you could post to Vimeo or YouTube, or I think you can attach a small file directly. I'm sure you'll get lots of help if needed, but it's fun playing with the tools too, and that's how most of us learned...

I will bring up one potential issue - opening another can of worms here, but are your monitors and TV reasonably close to calibrated, at least to the degree that things look close to right, without any tint/color problems? I run calibrated monitors and my TV's are "close" so they look good with store bought DVD's, but I find I still have to tweak sometimes after the final version looks great on the monitor, but will be a little light or dark on a TV... one of these days I'll figure out where the kink is in the workflow, but I've always just done minor tweaking as needed!
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Old June 29th, 2011, 01:03 PM   #134
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

I just wanted to check back in here to thank my team (all of you) for the support and advice that you provided for this recital video production. If I hadn't come to this forum seeking advice, I would have failed miserably as I wouldn't have had adequate equipment from the start.

My DVD set is complete - captured, edited, resized, authored, packaged, and ready for delivery! I sold a total of 65 copies. In the beginning of this thread I mentioned that (as an amateur with NO experience) I wanted to be able to produce a video that was at least as good as those of prior years' recitals. After finishing my product and reviewing it along side the last 5 years of DVDs, I feel very confident that I have met (and exceded) my goal! You all helped make it happen!

I now have a wedding that I am doing this Friday! Some friends are having a simple outdoor wedding ceremony and reception and weren't planning to hire a videographer, so I volunteered to do a video for them. I had so much fun with the recital video, I just couldn't wait for another project!

Thanks again for all the support and confidence that you have given me! I'll look forward to more on future projects!
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Old June 29th, 2011, 11:29 PM   #135
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Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Welcome to the business, do not back up severe tire damage...

Enjoy! Shortly you can repeat with the rest of us, "Hi, I'm <insert name here> and I have an addiction to making videos and buying camera equipment..."
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