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Old 01-01-2017, 12:42 PM   #1
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The Videographers Corner

An offshoot of the great Photography thread here.

I'm probably not the best person to launch this, but I have gotten interested in producing videos, all on YouTube and Vimeo so far. Where YouTube was once mostly low quality amateur gag stuff, there are tons of pros there now! Some if it is incredible, inspired!

I was a mediocre stills shooter, hope to grow doing videos. I've done about 25 videos so far. Quality and content has improved, but I have a LONG, LONG way to go!

My equipment is modest, GoPro Hero 3+, iPhone 6+ and a Nikon D90 (now sold), though I am considering a new camera. And I've only used free editing software so far, GoPro Studio mostly, but iMovie some and MovieMaker once.

Maybe we can learn from one another. Not only equipment and shooting technique, but developing video - subject-concept-ideas, script, storyboard, shooting, editing, publishing, social media, etc.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:17 PM   #2
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Thanks for the thread start, Midpack.

I've also done about 25 videos, improved somewhat, but have a long way to go. Almost all have been with a GoPro Hero 3+, and a little with a Sony RX100 point and shoot. I'm looking into doing some videos with my Nikon Dslr. I use GoPro Studio and iMovie for editing. Most of my videos are vacation videos, with a few woodworking, kayaking, and some drone video from a DJI Phantom 2.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:39 PM   #3
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I'm not doing anything "artistic"...just DIY stuff. I posted in the 'what did you do today' thread, but this might be better here:



I used Windows Movie Maker originally, but switched to Pinnacle VideoSpin, which, at the time I got it, thought that it was free. Well, it was free, but if you wanted to save a movie to MP4, you needed to buy something for $10 or so. Whatever, it works for me. Nothing fancy.

I now have a 4K video camera on a quad copter, and it works amazingly as a "steady cam"...I just carry the quad copter around without the props attached. The gimbal mounted camera keeps the picture rock solid. It's amazing! I need to get a clip.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:45 PM   #4
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I now have a 4K video camera on a quad copter, and it works amazingly as a "steady cam"...I just carry the quad copter around without the props attached. The gimbal mounted camera keeps the picture rock solid. It's amazing! I need to get a clip.


Great idea!
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:53 PM   #5
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Cool topic. I love the copter idea. Thanks!

My wife got me a Hero5 Black for Christmas so that I can record my musical performances. My best friend, who has a nice camera, has been doing it for me so far, but he's not always around. He shoots and I edit. So far, I'm just using iMovie, but the Adobe editing tools and Final Cut Pro are likely to be in my future.

After I got my new GoPro, I went into heavy research mode on video techniques and tools. There are lots of Youtube videos that show in detail how to enhance your videos, but it's also interesting that videography and photography are starting to overlap a lot more. The video guys focus a lot on the use of camera techniques, while the photography-focused shooters seem to prefer to enhance the look of their videos in post to make them look great. I'm still trying to figure out how these two worlds come together, and whether GoPro video files can be edited as RAW image files.

The other night I ordered a Syrp Genie Mini that has really given me GAS for more camera movement and motion control. The Syrp tools add a ton of production value and enables novices like me [and one-person crews] to easily capture some very cool and contemporary tracking and time-lapse shots at a reasonable cost with no other assistance. I'll post a video file after I get the Syrp and take my first decent shots.
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:25 AM   #6
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Any of you have good ideas for making stills more interesting in videos? I'm about to put together a video that combines stills and video, but it seems to me just having plain stills sticks out like a sore thumb. I've used PPT to mildly "animate" stills in the past, then saved as MPEGs - but there must be other tips.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:23 AM   #7
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I've used PPT...
What is PPT?
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:04 PM   #8
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Any of you have good ideas for making stills more interesting in videos? I'm about to put together a video that combines stills and video, but it seems to me just having plain stills sticks out like a sore thumb. I've used PPT to mildly "animate" stills in the past, then saved as MPEGs - but there must be other tips.
I use iMovie, combining stills and video clips. I use the Ken Burns effect to pan/zoom through a still. And sometimes a dissolve between stills and videos.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for starting this thread, it might motivate/remind me to finish up some of the tasks I've started.

Back in 2005, I converted/imported all my old VHS and VHS-C home movies into digital format and stored on a hard drive and backed up. At the time, I also saved to DVDs w/o editing, but that's a pain getting into ~ 4.7GB chunks, and I'm not confident of the lifespan of home-burnt DVDs. Fortunately, hard drives are cheaper now, and I can copy unattended to move them to new drives if/when I am concerned about the life on a hard drive. I have about 120GB in this format, unedited, so much of it is boring in retrospect, but you never know - you catch a candid glimpse of someone and it brings back memories.

Then about 2 years ago, I imported all my home movie mini-DV tapes to a hard drive. Ended up with ~ 210GB, plus the previous 120 GB, about 25 hours worth. These were all imported using iMovie, just to get the files, no editing at that point. And every start/stop/pause of the camera created a separate clip - useful for editing, but also a pain in lots of small files to ID.

While hard drives are pretty cheap, backing up 330 GB takes hours, and uses more than half of the common 500 GB drives at the time. I looked into compressing these, and found I could get a LOT of compression, ~ 12:1, w/o any degradation that I could see. After some tests, I settled on 2200kbps video H264 format, with mp3 (MPEG) 192kbps 44.1KHZ sample rate audio, in a 'MKV' 'container' (*.mkv filename). This got over 300 GB of 'raw video' down to ~ 28 GB. I could not detect any loss in quality, even when I tested with lower rates down ~ 1000kbps. I used an open soure Linux program called SELENE as it would batch process a list (other programs required a file-by-file entry, and I had hundreds of files! The conversion took about 2x the play time, so it ran overnight several times to complete.

I think the reason I could compress so much, is that the Mini-DV format was developed in the 90's, so the computing power they could put in a consumer unit that had to run on batteries just couldn't do much calculation in real time, so it was a rather 'raw' format on the tape. Even with a middle-line, multi-core laptop in 2015, running on AC power, the compression ran at about half speed (2 hours to compress 1 hour of video), so way beyond the capabilities of a portable unit of the 90's.

Also, these files will play with most video players, and I know they play with VLC player ( a cross-platform open source media player) on both Mac and Linux, and I assume Windows.

The only downside I can see to this compression is when it comes to editing. The algorithms create a 'key frame', a 'snapshot' of the entire picture, and the flowing frames are encoded with just the differences. When it detects a major scene change, it creates a new 'key frame'. I think there is away to force it to create a key frame every X.X seconds or frames, but I learned of that too late. The editing software I've tried is limited in many ways to only working at the start of a key frame. I think there is a way around this, either better software, or I think I could re-construct the sections I want to edit with more key frames, and then edit it. TBD.

There were also a lot of steps to organize, ID, and relabel, and sort these files into meaningful directories. This would be less of an issue if you did a tape at a time, but I wanted to get them imported before the tapes started giving me read errors.

NEXT STEPS: So I've got 25 hours of video. Now what? I keep procrastinating doing anything, editing sounds like a pain. But maybe this thread will motivate me.

I've toyed with the thought of rather than actual editing these into individual movie clips, I might be able to use a 'play list' for each subject, which would just be a pointer to play excerpts from the files in that order. No messing with the original files then. Need to try this. When I was happy with that, I could delete any unused clips.

The advantage to that process is, I could reuse certain clips in multiple subject 'movies'. For example, I might have a compilation of one child through the years, and another compilation of Birthday Parties. There will be overlap, but I wouldn't need multiple copies of the video file. Make sense?

Probably more than you wanted, but by getting it out there it helps crystallize my thoughts on what I should tackle next. Feedback more than welcome!


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What is PPT?
PowerPoint?

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Old 01-06-2017, 12:32 PM   #10
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I use iMovie, combining stills and video clips. I use the Ken Burns effect to pan/zoom through a still. And sometimes a dissolve between stills and videos.
+1

That's what I've done on some DVD's I created for friends. It's an amazing effect, a simple still of a baby picture with this sort of gentle motion, with some soft music playing will bring just about any Mother near tears. It's hard to explain, but that slow pan zoom is more effective than a still alone (just makes it more interesting), yet I think actual video distracts us too much. It just really makes you focus on the subject.

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Old 01-06-2017, 12:50 PM   #11
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When I saw this thread, it didn't occur to me to include the topic of curating old home movies. I thought more about making new productions with new equipment. I haven't participated in the photographer's corner thread, so I suppose scanning old photos is a topic there.

But the role of curator of home movies is kind of a nightmare for me. I spent a bunch of time clipping and naming clips. Most of it is in short clips, well named, but some of it, like a tape one of my sisters sent me, just got digitized en mass. We "never" watch any of it, but if called-upon, if you give me a rough date and what you want to see, I can find it.

As to compression, it was analog, and of pretty low quality, so I had to select a format when I digitized it. I can't recall which format, at the movement, but it's no worse than VHS quality, and plays with VLC.
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:55 PM   #12
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What was used to convert tape (Super 8/35mm?) to digital?
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Old 01-06-2017, 01:59 PM   #13
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When I saw this thread, it didn't occur to me to include the topic of curating old home movies. I thought more about making new productions with new equipment. ... .
Well, hopefully it isn't too far off-topic. Even with current video, you have to do something with it when you are done shooting, many of the same techniques would apply? Compress or not, how to edit, what final format to make it easy to play? When I'm gone, will anyone else who might want to watch these be able to figure it out? I guess that's an advantage for now with a burnt DVD in standard DVD-movie format - stick it in a player and 'it just works'. No instruction needed.

But it also seemed to me that making a DVD involved re-compression to that format, and I did lose quality. But you can also create an image file to store on a hard drive that 'looks' and plays just like a DVD to most video players on a computer.

So when I do get some form of editing done, I plan to keep at least one set on a separate hard drive (or thumb drive, I see 256 GB thumb drives now for cheap), with printed instructions and a chapter list with it. ..... someday ....

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Old 01-06-2017, 02:02 PM   #14
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What was used to convert tape (Super 8/35mm?) to digital?
I know people who simply used a projector and took a video with a camcorder (or other video capture device these days). It works, you will lose some quality of course.

There are places that will convert it for you. That is probably your best bet. I'd want to specify the digital format rather than (or in addition to) only getting a DVD-playable disc.

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Old 01-06-2017, 02:33 PM   #15
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I shoot a few videos with my DSLR and iPhone to supplement the photos I take on travels.

I never edit them or try to do any fancy cinematography, usually just panning scenery to get a sense of the grandeur of the place that a single photo may not convey.

Or if there's music playing somewhere, I will capture some of that, though the microphones are not the best, as there's wind noise.

Stabilization is so important though. My iPhone takes very watchable videos whereas the handheld videos I make with my DSLR are often not that smooth. I know there are stabilization rigs I can get but not something I'd be willing to pack, when space and weight are at a premium.

I like the idea of using drones but they're hard to transport (especially if you're carrying on your DSLR and laptop onto an international flight) and more and more places are banning drones or limiting their use.

Plus they use these tiny camera modules with tiny sensors unless you spend a lot more on a bigger and heavier drone.

I may still get something like the Mavica Pro since it's much easier to transport but it's so much.

Now, I'm really getting into time-lapse videos. iPhone does a reasonable job with them (again stabilized) as well as slow-mo videos. My DSLR will also do time-lapse out of the box but you have to leave it on a tripod for hours.

For inspiration, next time you're at a Costco or stores selling 4K TVs, take a look at the demos they put up there. They're paying pros to put together time-lapses or videos of beautiful places, with great image quality.
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Old 01-06-2017, 03:31 PM   #16
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Well, hopefully it isn't too far off-topic. Even with current video, you have to do something with it when you are done shooting, many of the same techniques would apply?
Actually, I like the direction the topic has taken.

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What was used to convert tape (Super 8/35mm?) to digital?
To me, "Super 8" is celluloid film and was an upgrade to 8mm. This was shot in an era before video tapes (maybe < 1975). But they came along with a "Super 8" video cartridge too. 35mm is still-camera stuff to me, so also celluloid film.

For celluloid home movies, and this was done a long time back and by my dad, was to get one of those boxes where you shine a projector into one side and point a video camera at the output screen. It was very crummy quality, but it at least it was then on video tape. Then in order to get that video digitized, I used a dedicated adapter board inside a PC. The board had s-video and component inputs, and the on-board hardware digitized in real time. The board came with it's own software. I can't find the board right now, but I recall doing a bunch of digging before deciding on which one to buy. For celluloid stills (slides), I digitized them using a Canon 8400F scanner. There's a back-light and slide holder. But stills would be off-topic here.

What we (as in, we siblings) might do is take the 8mm celluloid and have it digitized directly. I asked my brother to get one reel done and we could compare it to what we have. If it's a whole lot better, then we'd pass the hat and get the whole bunch done.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:02 AM   #17
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I just converted all of our VHS home movies to digital. I also bought a couple 240Gb SSD drives to copy and give to our 2 sons. It's amazing how much better a smartphone is than the old giant camcorders we used.
Now if I can just find an 8mm camcorder I can convert the 40 or so tapes.
While you have the time and inclination you should record your parents or aunts/uncles talking about their lives.
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Old 01-07-2017, 08:45 AM   #18
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I've always enjoyed tech & gadgets, so I'm coveting a new camera and/or DJI Mavic Pro. I also know better editing software could give me more tools to enhance production value or video quality.

However, if you want to make videos to appeal to an audience beyond yourself (I do), I've learned that content and a "story" are far more important than cameras/accessories and editing prowess. Some of the most successful videos are shot with smartphones or GoPros, edited with iMovie, GoPro Studio or some other free editor. OTOH, the latest greatest camera and clearest footage will do little to improve a boring, disjointed story. And within reason, less is more - newbies tend to let segments run longer than necessary, audiences lose interest if the story doesn't move along for most subjects.

And if you're going to include talking in your videos, spending a few bucks on improving audio will probably improve results more than cameras, other accessories or editing. Mics are relatively inexpensive, and 'dead cats' for wind noise are even less.

While I always had to have the newest gadget when I was younger, I've grown out of that for the most part. Hopefully I can stay focused on content over equipment.
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Old 01-07-2017, 09:27 AM   #19
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...

However, if you want to make videos to appeal to an audience beyond yourself (I do), I've learned that content and a "story" are far more important than cameras/accessories and editing prowess. Some of the most successful videos are shot with smartphones or GoPros, edited with iMovie, GoPro Studio or some other free editor. OTOH, the latest greatest camera and clearest footage will do little to improve a boring, disjointed story. And within reason, less is more - newbies tend to let segments run longer than necessary, audiences lose interest if the story doesn't move along for most subjects.

And if you're going to include talking in your videos, spending a few bucks on improving audio will probably improve results more than cameras, other accessories or editing. Mics are relatively inexpensive, and 'dead cats' for wind noise are even less. ...
Good points, and I agree with all of it. The video quality of the cheap stuff these days is pretty good, and the best quality won't improve a poor/boring story (though editing can help that, to a point). That leads to a question:

I haven't even researched this yet, some you may know off the top of your heads, but what are my options for external microphones on lower than 'pro-sumer' level recorders (smart phones, pocket digital cameras, etc). On a vacation, I took a fair amount of video with my good quality pocket camera. Happy enough with the video (not great, but as Midpack mentions, more about 'capturing the moment'), some of the ausio is good enough, but mono, and some distortion in loud scenes.

I recall my first mini-DV camcorder had external mic inputs, but that died a few months out of warranty, and the second one I bought, they removed that input jack from all but the higher end models.

Some cheap microphones are really very good (not all cheap ones though). The key is getting them off the device, getting a mic better than the marginal ones they can fit in the device, and having a real level control, skipping the artificial auto-leveling. Auto leveling is fine for many cases, but I generally want control so I actually hear the volume differences that were in the scene.

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Old 01-07-2017, 10:44 AM   #20
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I used DJI Osmo mobile to record kids skiing. Pretty amazing.
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