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Messages - Felek

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Video Discussion / Re: Gabriel Cushing versus the Zombie Vampires
« on: November 22, 2012, 05:56:15 pm »
The cameramans curse. Doing a pan shot. Early in the ep there is a pan of the green field to a cottage, on a full screen the movement of the pan shot appears juttery.

Not trying to use it as an excuse, but unfortunately its inherent to the frame rate of film/drama (24 or 25 fps). Pans are notoriously difficult to pull off well, and its an issue that both indie filmmakers, like ourselves, and hollywood productions share. As Rich says, YouTube's processing doesn't help either.

General Discussion / Re: About Zombie Vampires
« on: November 22, 2012, 05:44:29 pm »
Dates for the rest of the series have been published:

Episode 4: Myths & Legends - 1st December 2012
Episode 5: First Blood - 15th December 2012
Episode 6: Hunted - 5th January 2013
Episode 7: Satan's Grove - 19th January 2013
Episode 8: The Last Stand - 2nd February 2013

General Discussion / Re: About the Audio software package, Plural Eyes 3
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:59:06 pm »
Ive used a trial version of PluralEyes before, can't quite remember what it was for - possibly it was for a stage show TGE filmed earlier in the year (as a favour for a member's mum) with 2 cameras + mixer sound.

From what I remember it worked well, as expected. I have also tried to use it to sync distorted/peaking audio with a properly mixed track, that failed miserably.

It won't work miracles but is ideal for multicam shoots, providing the audio on each source is controlled and decent enough for it to work with. Equally, if you're only syncing 1 clip with 1 sound source (or similar), its probably easier & cheaper to sync manually.

In terms of the camera, I'd lean towards the bridge camera purely on specs, although I haven't used any of the ones listed so couldn't say for sure.

Personally I'd be wary of taking the 'more cameras, more material' mentality. It may produce more material, but how much will be usable? Multi-camera setups are more suited for live events, where each camera would have an operator. Generally I wouldn't associate a music video with multiple cameras, as they are often filmed narrative style. I guess you could say the stage performance could be filmed multi-cam style, and treat it more like a 'live' setup, but I'd still be wary of mixing cameras and not being able to monitor each one.

I know you mention time constraints & seeing multicam as the only way. Is there any way you'd be able to get some more time to shoot, or be selective with shots? I would worry about going into a shoot knowing you don't have enough time before you start...

Re the lighting, generally more cable is a better idea for flexibility in placement. Many extensions rate up to 2.5/3KW fully unwound - but of course check first.

Using traditional 3 point lighting rules can be useful, but I personally wouldn't get hung up on it, particularly when lighting such a big space.

Hope that helps a little!

Generally my advice would be if using a green screen, make sure
a) You know/are able to get the background you want the green to be replaced with (ie stock animations)
b) The extra work for this setup is worth it (for you) over using a real-life backdrop

Green screens are quite a pain and need to be lit evenly and well. Generally, daylight balanced fluorescents are recommended due to the softness of the tubes and ideal colour to pick up the green.

I'm not sure where you're getting your green screen from, but please remember any green/blue sheet will do... but try an ensure its as strong/vibrant green as possible to make it easier to key.

I'd suggest using some baking paper over your lights to diffuse them (please monitor for burning!). Remember to light the backdrop and the band separately as to avoid shadows.

Personally I like to avoid doing green screen stuff on lower budgets, unless its a small controlled piece. Sometimes I think a black theatre curtain with a bit of creative lighting can look just as good/more effective. It really depends what you're going for.

As for the whole 'diy thing':

This was done in my living room with some lights from B&Q and a theatre curtain. I used a mix of 250/500w outdoor halogen lights, added cable and plugs.
Ignore the uplighter, that was on when the studio lights were off.
On this shoot, I used 2x250w each side, with another behind diffused as a highlight.


I've never used the one you mentioned, but it looks like the DVX100 is a SD Mini DV Camcorder. These are nearing becoming obsolete now. We used a similar one, VX2100 to film Killer Coat a few years ago. Here's an idea of the image quality after being encoded for YouTube:

At the end of the day it comes down to budget, but shooting I'd personally like to keep as far away from Mini DV as possible. The main issue with it is that its both Standard Definition and highly compressed. So its not necessarily a HD vs SD thing. Uncompressed SD can often look better than some highly compressed HD formats. Unfortunately these cameras are both low resolution and highly compressed.

Generally there's two routes for indie production at the moment. DSLRs or prosumer camcorders like the Sony EX1/EX3.

Hope that helps!

Btw, when are you thinking of doing this? I'd be happy to help out, also have a bit of equipment.

General Discussion / Re: Audio receivers?
« on: May 27, 2012, 07:18:06 pm »
Are you sure you mean receiver and not a mixer?

The word 'receiver' in audio generally refers to the receiver in a wireless radio mic setup. Usually only available in single, sometimes 2 channels.

General Discussion / Re: What camera to use?
« on: April 14, 2012, 04:26:19 pm »
Of course, it introduces the requirement to synchronise audio and if you're doing simple stuff it might be a little OTT, but after having issues last week trying to record audio to two different DSLRs I would recommend considering it.

PluralEyes is a godsend for syncing audio!

Video Discussion / Re: Terror Of The Killer Carnivorous Coat
« on: December 31, 2011, 11:16:03 pm »
have you ever tried working with two camera's stuck together? Take that to mean taped together.
To get the view as a pair of eyes, as an animal walking/ stalking through a forest.
I have found the best results gained are by having the camera's at slightly offset angles, that way when one is turned off the resultant effect is similar to closing an eye. The end result can add a realism, dependant on the post production team.

Have to admit I've never heard of that, the only double camera system I've heard of is stereoscopic systems for 3D films.

Personally I'm keen on sticking with industry-standard single camera/2D systems for the near future, not just because of the money involved, but because I'd rather concentrate on areas of image creation that I personally think are more important.

Also, when trying to work out how to get a smooth level finish to shots that go from point A to point B, it has been suggested that instead of buying equipment which usually costs a fortune, getting rails from a miniature railway enthusiast can be beneficial to you and them.

We will be looking into into dolly systems for future productions. During pre-production (for Zombie Vampires), we took into account the equipment we had and worked with that. We generally use the Jib as our tool for high movement shots and its produced some good results.

There's a long list of things we're looking to sort, but yeah I agree that a dolly/rail system would be useful. I'm not sure that the cameras we'd be looking to work with (5-10kg, large size) would be suitable on a miniature railway... I guess it might do for someone shooting on a GoPro/similar.

Video Discussion / Re: Terror Of The Killer Carnivorous Coat
« on: December 31, 2011, 07:18:48 pm »
There should be a couple of shorts (with short turnaround) released before then hopefully.

Killer carnivorous shorts?

Not as far as I'm aware.

Video Discussion / Re: Terror Of The Killer Carnivorous Coat
« on: December 29, 2011, 11:59:03 pm »
How was the camera mounted, or was it hand held?
During the first few minutes I noticed several times that the camera seemed to go to far when panning an area, then it was corrected. Most of the scenes at the start had camera shake.
That extra movement of the camera can deter folk from watching the whole film, it can make the viewers subconscious concentrate on the filming and not the film.

During the film, we used tripod mounted, handheld and also jib-mounted shots.

Generally, the handheld shots are used to give a more unsettling and more dynamic view of a scene and suit this type of film. As with everything, things are used where appropriate...I'm sure if we were doing a period costume drama, things would be different! I understand the crane shots were pretty inaccurate.. it was one of my first times using it.

Its difficult for me to say anything about the film without it sounding like an excuse, but from my point of view, the film served more use as a training experience rather than for the finished product. I think everyone who worked on it agrees they'd do things so much differently now...its a little hard to explain decisions from nearly 3 years ago when we've moved on so much since.

Hopefully Gabriel Cushing Versus The Zombie Vampires will showcase the standard we were at this summer (due to be released mid 2012). Although again, it will be about a year between shooting and release, and I'm sure we would have progressed more by then.

There should be a couple of shorts (with short turnaround) released before then hopefully.

Video Discussion / Re: Terror Of The Killer Carnivorous Coat
« on: December 12, 2011, 08:15:23 pm »
To give some context, this particular film was shot over two years ago, over a four day Easter weekend.

Indeed, it really isn't an indication of the standard we're at now, despite it only just being released.

General Discussion / Re: What camera to use?
« on: November 24, 2011, 04:24:18 am »
Hi Maidenscome

When it comes to choosing a camera for a short, or anything else, you generally need to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Budget: This is quite a biggie and is likely the main deciding factor. Another sub-question is whether rent or buy. In my opinion, I like to avoid rental at all costs. I'd rather buy a camera knowing I'd be using it for a few months to re-sell than rent for the same period. If you treat your equipment well and purchase an item that holds its price, it could be a good option.
  • Destination for final film/video: For example if you had something commissioned by the BBC, they would have set standards that you'd need to follow. For personal projects, you have a fair amount of freedom, but the aim is still to get the most professional results possible. You've mentioned YouTube as your destination, which is a good starting point to work on. Youtube can support anything from mobile phone footage to 4K cinema resolution currently. This leaves a lot of cameras to choose from (I'll discuss a little more about features/specs later).
  • Shooting Environment:  Do you need to shoot underwater or need to be ultra-mobile? Are you planning to shoot away from a power source and unable to charge batteries as and when you need them?

(My Opinion of the) minimum specs for a camera to produce an indie short
  • Resolution/Frame Rate: A camera with the ability to shoot at either/both 1080p25/1080p24
  • Lens: The ability to be able to control the Focus & Iris (exposure/aperture) Manually
  • Audio: At least 1 external XLR audio input with manual control. Mini Jack can be ok, just less rugged.
  • Recording: Ideally recording to SDHC card (or similar) as they're relatively inexpensive. Ideally recording at a bit rate of 35mbps or higher. Broadcast minimum for HD is usually 50mbps as a comparison.
  • Monitoring: Depending on what your camera offers, you may also need an external monitor connected to the HDMI or SDI port

You'll also want to consider what accessories you'd need to add to your kit. It of course depends on the scale of what you're shooting/locations.

(My Opinion of the) minimum accessories for an average small scale short
  • Lighting: A set of 3 redhead lights (800w is ideal), diffuser sheets, stands and various grades of daylight filters is a great start-up lighting kit. Also, for outdoor shooting, handheld reflectors are essential.. and only about £15ea.
  • Camera Support:  A good solid tripod is usually a good place to start. The rest depends on what else you require, tracking dolly shots, jib shots, special mounts etc.
  • Audio:  You'd be amazed how decent the £20 shotgun mic we've been using has been! Generally you'd want a boom mic setup, comprising of a shotgun mic, mount, casing and boom pole with a long XLR cable. Radio mics are also great for actors far away or as a backup. Easily concealed under clothing.

A brief overview of the levels of camera available:

DSLR cameras £500-£2,000 approx: The Canon 550D, 5D & 7D are used heavily in indie-shorts.
Positives: Cinematic style shallow depth of field, low cost media, small file sizes, 1080p, lightweight, used in some TV productions, often HDMI output for monitoring
Negatives: Moire pattern issues on certain models. Also the form-factor is a bit of a compromise. Sometimes can be clunky to use without support equipment. The audio offerings can also often be poor. Monitoring may also not be ideal.

'Semi-Pro' Broadcast grade multi-purpose cameras £2,500-£6,000 approx: Cameras such as the Sony EX1 & EX3 and Canon XF series are used by broadcasters and 'self shooting' producers. They are usually used for additional footage, for example on The X Factor many of the researchers run around with cameras like these for use in VTs.
Positives: The EX1 in particular has an amazingly sharp image for the price, broadcast grade, used by indies, ability to add shallow dof adapters, professional inputs, professional resolutions/frame rates, low-mid priced recording media, good form factor
Negatives: Price, may not achieve extreme shallow DOF without an adapter

Large sensor video cameras £4,000-£12,000 approx Cameras such as the Panasonic AF100 and Sony F3. These cover both the prosumer and professional markets. The main attraction of these are the large sensor capabilities for mounting cinema, stills or prime lenses. The models vary, AF100 is lower end, F3 higher end. The Af100 is common in indie productions.
Positives: Cinema style look
Negatives: Varies per camera but usually price

Broadcast Cameras £7,000-£50,000 approx: Shares many of the same pros/cons as the semi-pro broadcast cameras

Digital Cinema Cameras £10,000-£200,000 approx: Such as the RED Scarlet, RED Epic, RED One MX, ARRI Alexa, SI-2K, Thomson Viper etc
Positives: The ultimate style of camera to shoot a film on
Negatives: Price, The time needed to learn the equipment

Super 16 / 35mm I have no clue! I think the Arri 435 is/was quite popular and of course various offerings from Panavision
Positives: Used for most large projects until recently
Negatives: High developing costs, starting to be phased out

The list isn't exhaustive, with many cameras above and below the list above... these are ones I have a decent knowledge of.

Cameras used at The Great Escape
Before 2009 - Mini DV Style Camera
2009 - Sony VX2100e
2009/2010 - JVC GY-HD111e & GY-HD100
2010/2011 - Sony PDW-F350
2011 - Sony PMW-EX1
2011 - Canon Rebel T2i 550D

These are all my options and my experiences.. but I hope its helpful to you!

Let me know if you need help with anything :)


Say Hi / Re: Hello, I'm new here!
« on: October 28, 2011, 04:53:00 pm »
Welcome!  :)

Say Hi / Re: This Man (That'll never get old!)
« on: July 16, 2011, 08:07:12 pm »

I'd say the most useful feature of it at the moment (for us) would be the dedicated HDMI output for viewing on an external monitor. Not sure how much the inputs would be used. I've put off getting a capture card myself for now. I'd probably look into it more seriously if/when we did a project that would required heavy green-screening as it would be useful to capture to high bitrate pro-res.

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