Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Rolling Video"

If you've ever shot video at multiple locations like at a convention, then you know lugging heavy video gear around can be tiresome. When I have to shoot multiple vendors at a boatshow for instance, I pile everything on a tripod dolly. Camera fully rigged with camera light, audio receiver, additional wide angle lens and shotgun can be wheeled around with ease. I even have a Bogen bracket that hangs off the tripod for my camera light battery pack. This saves time by not having to break down the gear, and saves your back too. Tripod dolly's are also great for shooting dance segments and slow rolling shots at weddings and other events.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Images in FCP (1440 x 1080 HDV)

If you ever had trouble finding the correct size and aspect ratio for images to be used in your HDV projects in Final Cut Pro, I'm going to try and help you clear up the mystery.

I generally edit in 1440 x 1080, but I like to start with an image size of 1920 X 1080, so I have the file at HDV's highest screen size if I ever need it that size in the future. I will then import the image into my 1440 sequence in FCP and open it up in the Viewer. Here, it will conform to the screen size by shrinking it 25%, so go ahead and bump up the size to 100%. Then enter a value of 33.33 in the Aspect Ratio field under Distort. Your image will now be the correct size and aspect for you project.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Collapsible Reflectors

Collapsible reflectors can turn a mundane shot into something very dynamic if used correctly. Several companies offer these reflectors in a variety of sizes, like Lastolite, Impact & Flexfill to name a few. It's almost vital you have one in your gear bag if you're shooting outdoors. A slight manipulation of sunlight with a reflector can make your subject or on-camera talent pop with minimal effort. A gold reflector disc was used on the shot you see here, to light up an otherwise flat looking lighting scenario. I like using gold colored reflectors, because they "warm" up the shot a bit. They're also work great as scrims or diffusion. If you have an assistant standing around, then this could be their job!

Protect Your Camera Lens

I can't express how valuable a UV lens can be for your camera. It's an inexpensive way to protect your lens from scratches, or any other variety of projectiles or damage causing agents. Even cleaning the camera lens by wiping it can scratch the lens if it's not done correctly. Don't take any chances with expensive repairs to your lens. Some ads claim it fixes haze caused by UV light...I can't confirm this. Hazy days still look hazy from my experience, but that's not why I use a UV filter. If the UV filter gets damaged, I can simply replace it and not worry about the camera lens.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Equipment Bag Part 1 - The Sony V1u

As a professional cameraman and video editor, my focus in this blog will be to share my experiences with all aspects of video production in the digital video realm. Today, let's start with the camera. Depending on the type of work you do, I recommend 2 matched cameras. It's good to have a back-up, and, in addition, you can have the option to shoot multi-cam. My camera choice....the sony v1u. This is an excellent 3-chip camera that shoots in HDV. This camera has worked terrifically for me since I acquired it a little over a year ago. Beautiful color representation and picture clarity, some of the best images I've seen in this range of camera. It's very versatile, and rugged. I travel a lot for my productions, so the camera also travels a lot. It has even taken on some salt water from a recent Sea-Doo shoot, where I caught some spray from another vehicle. I really love the compactness of the camera, as I am usually shooting in tight spaces. With the "bracket 1" to hold my sennheiser audio pack, I have room for an on-camera light and I'm ready for running and gunning. Controls are logically placed and easy to get to with all the professional settings you need. I'm not going to go into the camera and it's settings in-depth, but I wanted to start out with this vital piece of equipment for any video maker.