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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.

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Old January 9th, 2008, 12:05 AM   #1
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Location: Colorado USA
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Just a dumb jock-ette

Hey folks, I'm looking for a bit of advice. I'm a ski instructor who has decided to produce a series of instructional DVD's. I used to have a video business way back when (early 80's), but I quickly went on to other things and haven't done much with it since. Digital is a whole new game, and I'm busy trying to educate myself.

My plan is to get the footage I need over the winter, spend the summer editing, and get finished products ready for the start of next season. I've purchased a GL 2, and am about to place an order for the updated mac pro that was just released today, and final cut software. It will be my first mac, and my first experience with digital editing. Should be a fun summer.

Anyway, my question relates to making sure I get good footage this winter for working with over the summer. I bought a decent tripod, and an assortment of filters to experiment with. I'm assuming, as I'm going to be filming on snow, that the internal neutral density filter will/should get heavy use. A few things I'm unsure about are:

1) What aspect ratio should I film in?

2) Should I set the audio at 16 or 32 bits?

3) Should I film in frame mode?

Please keep in mind in addressing these questions that my final product will be DVD's for sale to the public, and they will include numerous frame captures and slow-mo clips. Also, if you can think of any issues I should be considering, but may escape the attention of a currently very green videographer, I'd much appreciate any and all tips/heads-ups you could provide. Thanks.
Janis Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
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First, audio is either 2-channel 16-bit/48 kHz sample rate, or 2-channel (with the ability to add a second two channels later) at 12-bit/32-kHz sample rate. Since you will be doing NLE rather than in-camera sound editing, you probably should use 16-bit audio.

You probably want shotgun and wireless mics for outdoor sound. Lots of discussions of that in other threads and forums.

Be sure you have polarizing filters. And you might want an additional ND just in case.

Be sure to sort out your lighting issues, snow backgrounds can be tough, especiallyif you want to see face details.

What is you planned delivery format and customer viewing environment? If NTSC for use on TVs, frame mode is probably not what you want. Interlaced gives smoother motion, and an image every 1/60 rather than every 1/30 for smoother slow-mo when you need it.

Is 16x9 important? Nice if your focus is on sweeping vistas of the slopes (in which case you probably should use HD), but might or might not be important for basic instruction. (The HV30 (and new HV30) provide nice HD on a budget if you have decent light.)

Spend a couple evenings watching other ski instruction video, pay attention to what you like and don't like, and build on it.
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 9th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
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Hi Janis: I put up a checklist for clients which may answer some of your questions and get you thinking about a few new ones.

(www.redpinestudios.com -- click the "blog" link and it will take you right to the checklist.)

Regarding the 4:3 versus 16:9 issue--you need to make that call since you are both the producer and the seller of this product, and right now it is a bit of a toss-up. If you're marketing ski videos, you likely have a client base with enough discretionary income to have already purchased widescreen TVs. Also, you will probably like the wider angle of 16:9 for the landscape cut-aways and ski vistas. The GL2, however, is a native 4:3 camera--it has a 16:9 mode--but it squeezes pixels to obtain that, which is fine for a DVD, but, in my personal experience, is not so great for broadcast, so if you have any intentions of putting any of this on, say, your local ski resort TV, you're better off with the 4:3 mode.

I agree with Don that you should probably film in the standard interlaced mode rather than frame mode, because of the motion, especially if you are going to slow down frames in post-production, it should handle better in the editor. Plus, I think the "instructional" genre is well-supported by the video-ish look. But you should really shoot a little of both, output it to DVD (this is important, to apply a little compression to it, to get an honest view), and then decide for yourself which you like better. If you shoot interlaced, you always have more flexibility about fixing it in the editor, but if you like the frame mode significantly better, you can certainly save time.

Depending on where you are in Colorado, I'd put in a volunteer day helping you out, if you like, if it is Front Range-ish.
Meryem Ersoz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11th, 2008, 12:41 AM   #4
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Thank you, Meryem and Don, that was very helpful. I wasn't clear on the way the camera captures 16:9, so I obviously do need to do some test shooting, and transferring to DVD to see if shooting in that mode produces acceptable results. Same with the frame vs interlaced mode. Was originally thinking I could start gathering video footage before the computer arrived, but that was obviously wrong. The order for the new Mac Pro will be placed in a couple days.

Don, thanks for the tip on the extra ND filter. I'll pick one up. Already have the polarized. I do have a wireless mic outfit, but much of the audio will be dubbed on during the editing process And Meryem, what a kind offer to help us out for a day. Wow, really above and beyond. I'll PM you in a bit to about that.
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