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-   -   Animating Nikon D3 files in Premiere Pro CS3 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/adobe-creative-suite/235287-animating-nikon-d3-files-premiere-pro-cs3.html)

Matt Bigwood May 13th, 2009 12:37 PM

Animating Nikon D3 files in Premiere Pro CS3
 
I'm thinking of doing a stop motion animation using a Nikon D3 DSLR which produces a frame 4256x2832 pixels. I plan on importing medium or high quality jpegs into the project.

A couple of questions:

I'll set up a custom project to handle the frame sizes, but I want to produce a 16x9 aspect ratio - what is the best way of doing this? Is it to crop the frame when exporting, and try to compose in the viewfinder, remembering that some of the top and bottom of the frame will be cropped off?

Has anyone any similar experience.

Thanks

Matt

Graham Hickling May 13th, 2009 09:59 PM

Check out Virtualdub to see if it will handle that frame size as input.

If so, it will load image sequences, and has (in my opinion) better resizing, cropping and letterboxing options than Premiere ... and its free!

Use it to generate your raw footage, then pull that into Premiere for editing, color correction, etc.

Matt Bigwood May 14th, 2009 01:50 PM

Thanks Graham, I will have a look at Virtualdub.

Graham Hickling May 14th, 2009 02:04 PM

Matt I just checked and VDub handled some 3872x2592 sequences I had handy without a problem (go File/Open video file, then set file type to "Image sequence").

To get to all the options I mentioned, use Video/Filter/Add/Resize and you will see the resize and letterbox options. Once the resize filter is added, the cropping option appears.

Douglas Thigpen May 15th, 2009 07:56 AM

I actually have a different focus screen (inside camera, be careful when replacing) for my D3 that has 16x9 guides on it for when shooting full res that I'll use when shooting for video production. Well worth it if you're doing it a lot, especially if you're doing stop motion animation. Focus screens aren't too expensive and it's not too difficult to put the crop guides on it yourself with a good ruler and a steady hand.

I actually need to get one or modify the one in my D90 now that I actually lug around with me (so small and light and great quality, though for pro still photography jobs, since I specialize in event photography, I'll always be using my D3) out on video shoots so I have a DSLR at the ready for production stills for either the DVD or for mixing with footage.

Matt Bigwood May 15th, 2009 11:57 AM

Thanks for all the advice - much appreciated.

Jon Shohet May 15th, 2009 03:12 PM

I don't know how much time and effort you plan on investing in stop motion, so the following advice may be overkill, but here goes anyway:

Shooting stop motion directly with the camera is ok, but it really helps connecting it to a computer and using a "frame grabbing" software. There two really great ones for PC, "AnimatorHD" and "Stop Motion Pro", although they are a bit pricey. "Dragon" is a great one for Mac, and - maybe because it's new(?) - is a lot cheaper. There also other cheaper and freeware options both for PC and Mac, but they are more suitable for animating with webcam or DV cameras.

One of the many advantages of using a good frame grabber, is that you can compose a 16:9 frame (or whatever aspect ratio) through the software. You can even do some basic editing, and export resized avi/mov all ready for final editing in Premiere.

Another thing to consider, is even the slightest movement of the camera will show up in the animation. so even if you don't want to invest in a frame grabber, shoot tethered with a remote capture software, or at least with a remote control. The point is - don't touch the camera while animating, and use the sturdiest tripod you can find.

The same goes for exposure - DSLR's were not designed for stop-mo. Even if you put everything in Manual (which you should), every time you take a shot, the lens' aperture blades open and close. So you get very very very slight differences in exposure, which are irrelevant for regular photography, but do show up as flicker in animation. What animators do, is use old AI manual lenses, and after setting aperture partly unscrew the lens, disabling the electronic contacts, so the aperture stays stuck in place for the remainder of the shot. This really helps eliminate flicker.

In any case, i highly recommend you check out this great forum for all things stop motion related :
StopMotionAnimation.com

In regards to using VirtualDub - it's certainly a great tool and up to the job of croping, resizing and creating clips for Premiere. Personally, I use After Effects instead, it's more versatile, and I do all the color corrections and compositing there as well. I would use premiere only for final cuts and adding sound/music.
The great thing about working with AE is that you can do all the grading and compositing on the original high res frames, and only then resize and crop. Lets say you are working now in 1080p or even SD... you render from AE resized avi's for premiere. If you ever want a 2K master, you can always go back to AE and re-render, easy.

good luck :)

Matt Bigwood May 21st, 2009 04:49 AM

Thanks Jon, I've signed up for the stopmotionanimation forum and it looks like everything I need to know will be covered there.


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