October 22, 2014, 06:38:09 AM

Author Topic: Videography Techniques....  (Read 2923 times)

mkabi

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Videography Techniques....
« on: December 20, 2013, 12:09:02 PM »
I guess, I better start this off... although, I'm no professional, lets just say that I'm a beginner and/or student of video.

Hmmmm.... I guess its exactly like photography techniques....

Most of it is trial and error, with some exceptions.

I mean flash doesn't work with video, you're looking at continuous lighting.

Learn 3 point lighting, but that doesn't mean you have to use 3 point lighting 100% of the time, in fact... I'd be surprised if you're using it 50% of the time. Its the cinematographer's artistic point of view.

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Videography Techniques....
« on: December 20, 2013, 12:09:02 PM »

dgatwood

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 09:11:19 PM »
If we're talking in the context of making movies, the cynic in me would be surprised if you used 3-point lighting 5% of the time.  :D

I don't do this stuff much anymore, but I did a fair amount of it back in the day.  Unless I was in a really tightly controlled environment—that is to say, unless the subject was effectively stationary, like in a basic interview—I usually found myself lighting the scene, not the person, which usually involved bouncing lots of fill lights off of a lot of different white surfaces, did not involve backlights at all unless I was trying for a particular effect, and didn't necessarily even involve key lights.  Such even scene lighting maximized camera flexibility, allowing me to move around to get all the different shots I needed without having to relight the scene between angles.  (Of course, this occasionally led to too much freedom, which resulted in me swearing at editing time, when I had to rotoscope out a microphone stand a couple of times....)

The biggest pain in the backside, IMO, is when the background itself has to be separately lit.  For example, when doing blue/green-screen work, the background must be lit evenly and fairly brightly so that the actors don't cast too much of a shadow.  When the background lighting isn't even enough, therein lies the path to madness.  :D

mkabi

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 01:55:38 PM »
Okay, fine... but whether its photography or videography its good to learn 3-point lighting... not because you want to light the person or scene well, but to know where and how the lights flood a person or scene, and where the shadows fall or disappear in this case. I mean learn it and play around with it - for example, position the fill, key and back lights. Then start turning them on, one by one - separately, then two by two, and then all three. Sometimes you want shadows to be in a certain place... etc... etc.

Funny thing about lighting is... you always imagine something going into a scene... and then when you're there and you're trying it out... its totally different from what you imagined (this is only sometimes, because sometimes its exactly what you imagined). Even if its not what you imagined, sometimes its good (even better than just good) and sometimes its bad (real bad) and you're just getting angry.

Speaking of Green Screen, I've only worked with it once or twice, and I'm not a big fan... even if its evenly lit, it looks fake to me. I think the best way to work with green screen is if you have a monitor on the side that displays the actual background, because sometimes you need those shadows to differentiate between whats real and whats not.
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David_in_Seattle

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 02:06:00 PM »
Is there a specific question you're asking? Or are you just curious with how often people use 3-key lighting for photos and video?
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mkabi

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 03:33:26 PM »
Is there a specific question you're asking? Or are you just curious with how often people use 3-key lighting for photos and video?

No question(s).
Its a thread on video techniques, so share some.
I mean, you're into media production... anything you want to share?

For example, as I said earlier, video techniques are similar to photography. Rule of thirds works on video too. But cropping isn't always something you want to do with video, so you need to frame it that way before taking the video.

You may want to move the camera a certain way to add interest to the scene. Look into sliders, jibs/cranes and stabilizers.
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David_in_Seattle

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 03:06:10 PM »
Ah gotcha.

Most of my video projects are for promoting activities we sell in specific destination.  Such as a helicopter tour over the black sands of Hawaii or a guided tour through Paris.  Over the years I've learned that it's best to buy/rent equipment specific to a given project rather than try to work around a specific camera, stabilization, or lighting setup.  Of course it depends on budget, but for paid gigs I always off-load the cost to the client.

For example: The gear required to record video off the side of a helicopter will certainly be different compared to the gear required to record a guided walking tour.  Recording video in a helicopter will require some type of stabilizer such as a gyro to reduce random vibrations from the rotary engine and the wind coming through cockpit.  The camera you'll want to use should also have a good built-in stabilizer with the ability to record in 60p or 120p because a slower frame rate will make for more visible rolling shutter and jerkiness while the helicopter is moving horizontally.  In this case a DSLR wouldn't be favored over a dedicated camcorder like a Panasonic P2HD.  The shallow depth of field a DSLR provides really isn't necessary when all of your shots are of distant landscapes.

However, a video project to promote a guided walking tour will require a totally different set of equipment.  Since you'll always be on the move it would be nice to use a shoulder mounted camera OR a camera mounted to a steady cam and attached to a harness.  Unless you have a dedicated boom mic operator at your disposal, you're better off using a wireless mic setup for the guide to record their conversation.
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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 04:13:46 AM »
Is there a specific question you're asking? Or are you just curious with how often people use 3-key lighting for photos and video?

No question(s).
Its a thread on video techniques, so share some.
I mean, you're into media production... anything you want to share?

For example, as I said earlier, video techniques are similar to photography. Rule of thirds works on video too. But cropping isn't always something you want to do with video, so you need to frame it that way before taking the video.

You may want to move the camera a certain way to add interest to the scene. Look into sliders, jibs/cranes and stabilizers.

I agree with above, I'd be surprised if you were using 3-point lighting 5% of the time! Most of the time you have two options: use natural light, or use incredibly complex lighting setups to imitate natural light! Of course you'll want to use reflectors, diffusers and fill lights when necessary to stretch what natural light gives you, but most of the time "natural light" is fine. Quotes because I count amped natural light into natural light (brighter burning candles, higher output light bulbs that look like lower output lightbulbs, the usual). Remember, all light is available light, and all light follows the same rules! Different light sources give different initial light, but how your subject is lit depends on the interaction between your lightsource and the subject. In lighting there are three active parties: the light, the gobos, and the subject. Each will have their own effect on the light and the final light you see is a sum of those three factors.

Two biggest mistakes you can make in video: exposure all over the place and bad audio. Audio is 50% of video. No matter how amazing your video is, it will seem horrible if the audio is bad. Never change exposure during a scene. Over/underexposure is better than your camera changing exposure moving from window to your subject or anything like that. 100% of the time. No exceptions. Of course if you go INT -> EXT or vice versa you use different exposures for the INT and the EXT, but never change the exposure during a scene. If you film the subject opening a door, the exposure doesn't change within the scene! If it looks bad shot from INT->EXT, change to EXT and use EXT exposure, shooting the door from the outside! Just don't change the exposure during a scene, ever.

Framing "rules" are the same for paintings, photography and video. Aesthetically pleasing is just that regardless of media. If you have the eye for it, it's obvious, you will immediately know if your composition and framing works or not.

You got one point right: the end result won't be exactly what you thought in the beginning, but when you get to the end, you wouldn't want it to be! Unless talking about clockwork like video production where every position of every light and every object is dictated by the client to the last millimeter, your vision and the end result will evolve during production, it's a pretty organic progression.

After exposure, composition and audio, the biggest thing is stability. Unless you're doing a Sam Raimi type scene in the forest, you'll need stabilizers, and they should not be wooden planks either. Tripod for static scenes where the camera doesn't have to move other than pan or tilt, a crane for crane shots (though you can improvise a crane too! Here you can use wooden planks! Just remember to use a tripod head too.) A vehicle mount for side of the vehicle shots (also easy to DIY, really, if you make it stable and use the correct materials and it makes no difference. Paint it black if it offends your aesthetic sensibilities. Again, use a tripod head, and not a cheap one.) Some things you're better off just buying, DO NOT DIY: gliders, steadycam rigs, shoulder mounts, arm support, vests, matte boxes, and so on. Just buy them, and don't buy the cheap stuff either, otherwise you'll buy twice. Just save yourself the trouble. If you absolutely can't afford a steadicam and you absolutely need steady moving shots, get the "DSLR" dubbed version of flycam. It's usable, unlike most of the cheap copies.

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 04:13:46 AM »

dgatwood

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 11:47:26 PM »

On improvising hardware, probably the most insane thing I ever did involved a tripod taped to the side of a very tall A-frame ladder (maybe 15–20 feet) to get the side camera shot to roughly match the perspective of the back camera, which was atop a light booth.  Cost: About a buck worth of gaff tape, ostensibly, but in reality, about ten cents worth of duct tape.

I've also improvised mic booms by attaching a mic clip thread piece to a tent pole with a 90 degree bend at the end.  A tent pole just happens to slip perfectly over many oversized mic boom stands, making the boom stand tall enough to easily hold a lightweight mic up above most shots while indoors.  And because the tent pole is aluminum, it doesn't weigh anything, so for outdoor stuff, you can hand-hold it easily.  Cost: Free if you have an old tent.

On the subject of audio, my biggest tip is always rewire your XLR cables.  Most mic cables have the chassis ground lifted, which is intended to reduce hum when you're connecting it between two pieces of noisy powered equipment, one of whose chassis ground sucks.  But when you use them for microphones, particularly if you're outdoors near big power lines, or in theaters near light dimmers, those floating metal jackets at the connector turn into antennas, and you get hum from hell.  I've even tuned in nearby AM radio stations that way.  To fix it, on both ends of every XLR cable, solder an extra jumper wire from the ground lug to the ground pin.  Cost: A little bit of wire and a whole lot of time.

And if you're using a 1/4" plug or 1/8" mini plug anywhere with a microphone-level signal going through it, make sure the plug has a metal back.  If not, you're going to want to wrap it in aluminum foil, then use a jumper wire between that and part of your camera's metal frame to ground it.  Otherwise, you're almost guaranteed to pick up unacceptable levels of noise in some environments.  Wrap any stacks of impedance-matching transformers, too.  They're often incredibly sensitive to interference.  Cost: A bit of dignity when a member of the cast asks you if you also make hats.

Here are a few other helpful tips:

  • Always test your gear in the actual shooting environment a day or two ahead of the shoot.  That way, *when* you get a horrible 60 Hz hum, you have time to track down the source and fix it.
  • Wireless mic receivers—particularly the cheap variety—often cause harmful interference with one another in close proximity.  I ended up having to have folks hand a mic back and forth on one outdoor shoot because as soon as I stuck the two receivers in the same backpack, one of the receivers went nuts.
  • You can do amazing things with a car battery with its leads wired to a 12V lighter socket and a voltage inverter, but an emergency starter battery is a heck of a lot more portable if you don't need the extra capacity.
  • If you need cheap but usably bright portable lighting for night photography, mount a pair of halogen driving lights (the white kind, not the yellow kind) on each end of a three-foot stick, and attach the middle of the stick to your tripod.  Build a wooden frame around each light, and clip one or two layers of frosted diffusion paper in front of each one.  It gives you the most important two points of that three-point lighting setup for about thirty bucks.  :)

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 12:40:50 AM »
OP.....

If you are referring to fiction there are tons or other aspects that comes before your needs.

Story
Location and set design
Music / sound
Directing

And then we can talk cinematography..... If all of the above is not present your work means nothing.

There are certainly basics you can learn.but they are more like guidelines.
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mkabi

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 07:02:01 PM »
I agree with above, I'd be surprised if you were using 3-point lighting 5% of the time! Most of the time you have two options: use natural light, or use incredibly complex lighting setups to imitate natural light! Of course you'll want to use reflectors, diffusers and fill lights when necessary to stretch what natural light gives you, but most of the time "natural light" is fine. Quotes because I count amped natural light into natural light (brighter burning candles, higher output light bulbs that look like lower output lightbulbs, the usual). Remember, all light is available light, and all light follows the same rules! Different light sources give different initial light, but how your subject is lit depends on the interaction between your lightsource and the subject. In lighting there are three active parties: the light, the gobos, and the subject. Each will have their own effect on the light and the final light you see is a sum of those three factors.

No doubt that natural light is the best, but that makes everything the same, depending on the time of day. Playing with light is fun, makes for an interesting shoot. You can play with natural light too. May be I should either call this thread lighting techniques for video or create another thread about lighting techniques. I think the best examples are from surapon and his Macro pictures, or even the self-portraiture thread and how some people played around with low-key lighting. Sure you can probably do this in post, but thats just extra work that is boring and in front of the computer.

On the subject of audio, my biggest tip is always rewire your XLR cables.  Most mic cables have the chassis ground lifted, which is intended to reduce hum when you're connecting it between two pieces of noisy powered equipment, one of whose chassis ground sucks.  But when you use them for microphones, particularly if you're outdoors near big power lines, or in theaters near light dimmers, those floating metal jackets at the connector turn into antennas, and you get hum from hell.  I've even tuned in nearby AM radio stations that way.  To fix it, on both ends of every XLR cable, solder an extra jumper wire from the ground lug to the ground pin.  Cost: A little bit of wire and a whole lot of time.

Ummm... I'm trying to understand this through your words... but I don't think it will work without a diagram or schematic.

OP.....

If you are referring to fiction there are tons or other aspects that comes before your needs.

Story
Location and set design
Music / sound
Directing

And then we can talk cinematography..... If all of the above is not present your work means nothing.

There are certainly basics you can learn.but they are more like guidelines.


Yeah man... I know this... story to music to shoot or even music to story to shoot.
If anything, I can add auditioning actors to your above list.

But really, lets say that I've done all the above.... and I'm shooting... this is like "how to shoot" properly thread?
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dgatwood

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2014, 09:55:13 PM »
On the subject of audio, my biggest tip is always rewire your XLR cables.  Most mic cables have the chassis ground lifted, which is intended to reduce hum when you're connecting it between two pieces of noisy powered equipment, one of whose chassis ground sucks.  But when you use them for microphones, particularly if you're outdoors near big power lines, or in theaters near light dimmers, those floating metal jackets at the connector turn into antennas, and you get hum from hell.  I've even tuned in nearby AM radio stations that way.  To fix it, on both ends of every XLR cable, solder an extra jumper wire from the ground lug to the ground pin.  Cost: A little bit of wire and a whole lot of time.

Ummm... I'm trying to understand this through your words... but I don't think it will work without a diagram or schematic.

An XLR cable has three pins.  Pin 1 is a ground pin, and is soldered to the cable's shield.  Inside the plug, there's also a large ground lug at the top.  That is electrically connected to the outside of the barrel (assuming the set screw is properly tightened, that is).  On most cables, that lug isn't connected, but in an ideal world, it ought to be connected to pin 1.

Carry a ground lift for the rare instances where that causes problems.  It's a lot easier to float a ground than to un-float one.

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« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 10:00:38 PM by dgatwood »

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Re: Videography Techniques....
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2014, 09:55:13 PM »