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Old June 14th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #1
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Very basic question about Vegas

in Vegas, is it possible to in effect zoom in on a subset of the full frame and have it fill the frame?

I'm thinking of a situation where the camera will be in a fixed location with nobody behind it and was wanting to zoom in on smaller areas, and pan around within the full frame. Very little real movement in the scene, just five people playing brass instruments, so about the quickest movements would be fingers on the valves and some slight upper body movement.

I understand that resolution would suffer but I'm not thinking of extreme zooms, just something to break up the monotony of a fixed camera a bit by adding a little bit of "apparent" motion. I also want to do a few quick cuts and was wondering if I could extract some regions from the total frame and place them on different tracks and cut to and from them, again realizing that the resolution would be worse.

Camera is a Canon GL-2, and I was wondering if Frame mode would be an advantage or not in this situation.

As you can probably tell, I'm really new to all this. I'm wanting to make a video of a brass quintet, and I'm one of the players so I can't be behind the camera except to get it set up at the beginning. Nobody else around is up to the job of being cameraman! Or if they are, they're keeping it a secret - probably because they don't want to do it!!!

By the way, intended delivery medium would be either from web site, or as an AVI//QT file etc on a CD - maybe at 320 X 240 or at most 640 X 480

Last edited by Jim Andrada; June 14th, 2007 at 12:43 AM. Reason: Additional comment
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Old June 14th, 2007, 01:10 AM   #2
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Vegas will easily do what you want. Download the full functioning demo.
I forget the limitations but it will allow you to see the power in that application.

http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/...egasfamily.asp
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:37 AM   #3
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Hi Jim,

Certainly Vegas is up to the job using a combination of pan/crop and track motion, but in my experience even small zooms in on sd video can spoil the image, even if movement within the picture is slight.

Is this a live performance? If not, how about shooting it twice or three times from different angles? If it is a live performance, maybe you could shoot a rehearsal? Perhaps close-ups of the hands or faces.

If none of that will work in your situation then a more extreme way to break the image up might be to have five copies of the video on different tracks, then use a cookie cutter on each track to leave just a rectangle with that player in it. Using keyframed track motion you could then move the players around, perhaps giving more focus to the player who has the lead at any time. With some effort you could make the movement dance in time with the music.

An additional background track, perhaps with a moving image, would add more interest (in the UK, many of the digital video mags come with DVDs containing a taster of backgrounds from Digital Juice or the like).

Few things to chew over. Good luck!

Ian . . .
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Thanks much for the comments.

I was thinking that because I would be downsampling in any event to get a smaller image for the web, that zooming wouldn't degrade the final image much. But the comment about even slight zooms messing up the image make me think that perhaps the inherent compression of the original might cause the kind of problems you're mentioning.

The idea of getting the close-ups at a rehearsal is a good one, although in this case I'd probably make them quite tight and perhaps use an out of focus still of the performance venue as a background layer. It isn't out of the question to hang a green screen background during rehearsals.

With a remote zoom and focus controller and a monitor in front of me I think I could even tape myself for my close-ups.

Not sure whether Vegas could do the compositing or not, but, if not, I'm pretty sure I can do it in After Effects.

Thanks again!
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
With a remote zoom and focus controller and a monitor in front of me I think I could even tape myself for my close-ups.

Not sure whether Vegas could do the compositing or not, but, if not, I'm pretty sure I can do it in After Effects.

Thanks again!
Vegas can do some great compositing - I've been having fun over the last day or so with various random shots, including videos of me composited over stills.

But for your brass quintet if you can get a couple of other cameras so you have a choice of several close-ups, you then have a hugely easier job. Having done quite a bit of videoing music performances (including those I've been in!), I'd say go for close-ups during a real rehearsal / performance, as any distant shots won't show lack of sync especially at the small final size you mention. You can do those group shots at any time.

If you can have a second camera locked-off to give you a group shot and persuade a friend / colleague / hanger-on to do close-ups and leave both cameras running the whole time then you can sync up the clips (clap at the beginning and the end of the performance as brass instruments don't have the transients that allow you do do really accurate sync), then you'll have at least some choice of shots. You could do odd shots of twos / threes as well if you're feeling adventurous, perhaps afterwards.

While you can composite things afterwards in Vegas or whatever, it's a real pain compared with getting what you want in the first place (in my experience!!).

Mark
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Old June 14th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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Good suggestions - thanks much!

The reason behind only using one camera is that I own a GL-2 and that's it! Also a second camera needs a second tripod etc etc etc.

However, the more I think about it, the close ups and moving shots would probably in the end be the most visually important so I would think to use the GL-2 on my good tripod as the moving camera - particularly as I have a reasonable pan head and a remote zoom control, so no need to touch the camera and shake it all around during the zooms and pans.

Then use a second relatively inexpensive consumer camera locked off on my still camera tripod for the full group shots as these would probably become secondary to the moving shots. And, as long as whoever was working the GL-2 didn't bump into the locked off setup, we'd probably be OK.

Or, it might be better to do all the close ups at a dress rehearsal before the performance and then just lock the camera off and let it run and concentrate primarily on the audio during the live performance, as the ambience would be quite different with the audience in place. There might hopefully even be some small spatterings of applause from time to time! This might help with any issues of differing color balance etc etc between the two cameras, particularly if one is an inexpensive unit without any ability to set the balance.

Thanks again for the responses. This will all be a new experience for me so I'm grateful for comments from those who've been there!

By the way, apologies if this is getting too far off the original topic of whether I can do this in Vegas. I think I now know that I can, so it isn't really so much a Vegas discussion any more. I'd be happy for any additional comments, of course, but if I have anything to add I'll start a new thread elsewhere.

Last edited by Jim Andrada; June 14th, 2007 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Additional comment
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Old June 14th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #7
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Then use a second relatively inexpensive consumer camera locked off on my still camera tripod for the full group shots as these would probably become secondary to the moving shots.
Jim, this is what I did when I had a couple of Sony camcorders.

I made the following video using a 3-ccd TRV900 with anamorphic adaptor as my "main" camera, and a very cheap, 1-chip "ebay" bargain sony camcorder locked off for the other shot. The video is at http://stage6.divx.com/user/Mark_the...Pipes-and-Lyre (you will need firefox browser (I think) and you will be prompted to download the divx player). I think it's worth your seeing it because it was made with really cheap equipment but I think looks pretty good considering.

You are right in that there are colour-balance issues particularly moving between 3-chip and 1-chip camcorders, but it works...

We did this in the corner of a church - the instruments were a replica of a 4500 year old lyre and pipes from a mesopotamian grave - and it was a one-off improvisation (well, actually they did it in three sections). No precedents there for the sound balance!!

PS on the subject of sound, my other tip is to do a really close-miked recording if you can. You need a "sound" that works with the closest shot - way closer that you'd accept in an audio-only recording. The sound in my example above was recorded using a really high-quality pair of mikes (which cost more than both camcorders put together!!).
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #8
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Mark, just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed that clip.

I'm an ex-punk; an Iggy Pop fan; a purveyor of noisy tunes. That kind of music is not my kind of music. However, I was absolutely taken by it. I thought the music and the pictures were superb.

Just thought I'd say so!

Now, back to Iggy . . .
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:21 PM   #9
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Oh, and you don't need Firefox. Works OK in IE7
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:59 PM   #10
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Hi Ian,

Thank you! - and thanks for the tip that it works in IE7.

I guess improvised mesopotamian music isn't everyone's cup of tea so great to have your thumbs-up!! The pipes were truly amazing little things. I was just worried about that stressed-eric looking vein on his forehead from all that blowing...
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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:05 PM   #11
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And it works in Opera as well. It didn't work in the Widows beta of the Apple Safari browser though.

Great job! Really quite impressive.

Did you record to the locked off camera or the moving camera, or to a separate recorder?

Re the mics, your point about a close in recording is excellent. Only problem I have with it is that we're planning a short video, but also want to capture the whole concert to do a CD as well, so unless I want to mic from two locations (ie two sets of expensive mics!) I may have to give priority to the CD recording - or record for the CD during rehearsal.

By the way, what mics were you using? Sound was excellent. I wonder if these pipes were the inspiration for the Scottish pipes? Funny, the Campbells don't look Mesopotamian!

Any chance you'll be in Tucson to help out in person? We're just getting into our balmy early summer with daytime temperatures around 105 F - but it may get hot any week now. Usually we have a week or two of 110 - 115F. The humidity is of course close to zero!

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Again, my compliments on a great job with good sound and a lot of visual interest.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:05 AM   #12
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Did you record to the locked off camera or the moving camera, or to a separate recorder?
Jim, thanks for your very kind comments! My only slight regret (apart from I think the framing for the group shot could have been better, with the camera further round - but it was a very confined space at the "camera" end of things) was that I didn't actually edit this piece for three months, during which time I'd forgotten that there were three partial takes of a piece with no written notation! Thank goodness for the rough notes I'd done at the time, because you can never remember exactly what tapes / takes you used for what piece.

A bit more on how I did this particular video, as it might prompt further thoughts:

1) To answer your specific question above, I recorded each instrument on one mic (a Neumann KM100 - similar to KM84/184 etc), going through a mixer (although this was just to provide phantom power) and then into an HHB CD-Recorder. This allowed me to mix the sound afterwards between the two mics - they were effectively spot mics rather than a stereo pair. I just panned them slightly inwards for the final mix in Premiere pro.

2) At the start of each take I got them to announce each take and clap before starting to play. That helped enormously to sync up the two cameras - the on-camera mics were fine as I only needed them for syncing - I used the CD (resampled from 44.1kHz to 48kHz) for the audio you hear. I've done a lot like this and cameras seem to stay perfectly in sync for ages. You can always resync using some suitable transient (applause or whatever) if the sync drifts. It also helped me to identify each take and split up the takes into separate clips when imported (I used Premiere Pro - I hadn't discovered Vegas at that point. Also premiere has a good multicamera facility, making the initial rough-cut quite easy). I got them to say things like "middle section take 3".

3) Because they were partly making it up as they went along, we agreed what they thought were the best takes of each section, and I played those back the CD over a pair of speakers (these need to be loud!) and got them to play along with it while I got other shots.

4) I did some additional cutaways which were just "freeform" (no sync) of the shadow on the wall. I also did a non-sync shot of the pipes in close-up - I figured that there aren't many players of mesopotamian small pipes so no-one would spot the fingering issues (1'26" - 1'29" in)

In theory I could have used the sound from one of the locked-off cameras - given a reasonable mic it might have been useful for additional spot-miking. However, because of recording it in sections over the course of a couple of hours, the cameras were all over the place and the only consistent one was the (cheapo) locked-off camera which was on the pipe-player. It was a sony 1-chip camcorder (DCR-HC39) and I locked the exposure and focus and just left it sitting on top of a pile of books (no second tripod!). So given that, the shots aren't bad!!

For your project, there's no reason why you couldn't use your Canon as an audio recorder, perhaps being fed with the "close-miked" mix, while the more distant CD mix is recorded on another machine. Neither of my cameras had decent audio inputs so that wasn't an option, hence the separate CD (plus of course, I needed to be able to play back the recording while shooting further bits).

I love the tongue-in-cheek weather report - I think I'd melt in those temperatures. Oh - and thanks for the further browser info, as I really like DivX - I think it looks good on the web.

I'd love to help out but I'm in England and it would be a bit far - but I'm really intrigued to know how you get on. As you're playing as well as creating a video the only other tip I can offer is to hassle for some help if you possibly can, so you can focus more on your performance. It sounds like a really fun project!!

Mark

Last edited by Mark Harmer; June 15th, 2007 at 09:07 AM.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:48 AM   #13
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Mark,

With the humidity in England I think 115F would indeed be hard to bear. I lived in Tokyo quite a few years and summers are really terrible, even though the temperature rarely hits 90F. I've been here about a year and it's really quite pleasant as long as you stay out of the direct sun after 10AM or so. Between the low (almost zero) humidity and the 3000 foot altitude the air is quite light and overall not quite as bad as you might think. I do notice that brass instruments seem to play a bit differently due to the thinner air - we'll be at the opera in Santa Fe in August and they're at 7000 feet so might be worth asking one of the players how it affects them. I know jets sometimes have trouble taking off from Denver (5000 feet) on hot summer days

Thanks much for the description - it's really helpful. I've been thinking of a pair of the Neumann 184s for all this and your comments are reinforcing the thought that they'd work well.

It may be a while before we have our act together well enough to make the video, but I'll let you know how it turns out.

This has gotten rather far afield from a Vegas discussion, so I'll e-mail you through the forum with any follow up if that's OK with you.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #14
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Hi Jim - it's so great to have had this conversation - thank you! Do keep me posted on how it goes - and I'd be really grateful to hear the interesting and challenging things you encounter as I'm still learning too and it's all useful stuff. I think to know about music (as you obviously do) is a great asset. When I worked at the BBC I was constantly amazed how many producers hadn't a clue about music - for example, the concept of musical phrases and where it is / isn't acceptable to do an audio fade - so for me it's liberating to be able to do my own work with music and video. For me also (perhaps because I've been shooting some fairly unconventional stuff) there isn't really a reliable "formula" - especially where any form of musical improvisation is involved. That's the bit that makes it so much fun!

Mark
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