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I am a video noob - where should I start from?


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#1 simato73

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 22:19

So, I got this tiny cool Sony RX100 for its picture quality in a tiny body.
The excuse for getting it was to be able to take snapshots of my little daughter, but I wold not bow to a compact with a tiny sensor hence the RX100.
It turns out the camera is also pretty good at video.
It would be nice if I could take quality footage and turn it into something nice to send it to my mum who lives far away and also for future memory, however unfortunately I know bugger all about video.

I am starting from the assumption, based on initial mistakes I did in photography, that even if now I am a novice, I should record footage at the highest possible quality (just in case in the future...).
This seems to have huge implications not just on the power required from the computer, but also the space required to store the footage. I am truly astonished by the size of the files and by the the very liberal use of disk space made by Final Cut Pro X. Is there a way to go about recording/storing/editing video in a reasonable way in terms of storage and resources?

I guess even though people here are mostly into still photography, the capabilities of modern DSLR's (and m4/3 cameras too!) are such that many of us probably don't ignore video.

What was the process you went through to learn at least the basics?
Do you have any suggestions on where to get started?


Mods: If this is not the right place for this question, please feel free to more to somewhere more appropriate.
Simone

#2 Dallas

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 20:28

Good luck in this endeavour, Simone. I have quite literally given up on trying to learn video.

Every effort I have made in the past has been rendered useless by my lack of basic understanding when it comes to this kind of technology. I thought I would get some good video on the OMD or GF-1 on safari last month - alas video is not to be for me. Hopefully some of our readers can offer assistance. Larry?

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#3 crowecg

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:31

What aspects are you wanting help with?? Shooting, editing, processing??

As for your question on data formats - most formats in consumer electronics are compressed to some degree and have limited options for adjusting the compression settings beyond frame rate and resolution. The other aspect is that shooting and viewing formats are pretty much in sync - 1080p being the best you'll see at a consumer level for either capture or display.

And yes video is a storage hog, but HDD are relatively cheap these days. Otherwise, you'll need to be pretty thorough with your editing and dump unwanted footage pretty quickly.

#4 simato73

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 18:10

What aspects are you wanting help with?? Shooting, editing, processing??

As for your question on data formats - most formats in consumer electronics are compressed to some degree and have limited options for adjusting the compression settings beyond frame rate and resolution. The other aspect is that shooting and viewing formats are pretty much in sync - 1080p being the best you'll see at a consumer level for either capture or display.

And yes video is a storage hog, but HDD are relatively cheap these days. Otherwise, you'll need to be pretty thorough with your editing and dump unwanted footage pretty quickly.


I guess the best help I can get about shooting is go shoot and figure out the challenges.

My main problem here is with editing and processing.
I don't want to fumble around wasting time, picking up unnecessary software or organising my video files in a non-sustaineble way.
I have learned painfully the need to keep order in my photo database, ranking, keywording and building a rational folder structure.
I think doing so with video is even more important given the high potential for generating junk filling up my drives.
I am already experiencing it with the small amount of 1080p footage I recorded, probably around 30min or so.

So the phrase "you'll need to be pretty thorough with your editing and dump unwanted footage pretty quickly" resonates very strongly with me.
Any suggestions especially from personal experience very welcome.
In my lack of experience I may have not even thought about common problems or pitfalls you have had to deal with in the past.
Simone

#5 Dallas

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:51

Lightroom let's you do video filing and tagging, etc. you can also edit with Photoshop cs6 now.

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#6 Bart Willems

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:08

Get classes. Use lynda.com or something similar. Video is not just moving photography, it is an entirely different discipline.

Take a look at the education part of this site: http://cinestories.com/tour.html

These guys are really good, and emphasize that you have a storybook before shooting. Then you simply get the shots you need and editing becomes quite trivial at that point.

Photography allows you to go out for a day, shoot at your hearts desire and organize the shots afterwards. Video doesn't work that way. Time is very much a dimension and just like shooting without regard for composition “because I can crop in Photoshop later on” is a horrific idea for obvious reasons, so is making video shots without knowing what to do with the various cuts and piecing it all together (“cropping in time”) later on.

As per Dallas' example, you need to have an idea what shots you need. “People getting on the bus,” “people getting off the bus,” “having a drink around the campfire,” etc. That doesn’t mean that you need to plan each day right to the second, but it means that you do have a list in advance with the cuts that you want, and that you can check that list to make sure you got the lis (and usually multiple shots to get various angles).

For instance, with “people getting on the bus” you might want to get two shots of the same person, one from the outside, and on a different occasion (as you cannot be in two spots simultaniously) from the inside. You probably also want a wide angle shot with everyone lining up and getting in the bus to make the viewer aware what is happening. If you know in advance that you need these shots you make them, and editing is relative easy as you can identify the cuts that you need, give them a code, and put the whole thing together. It’s a lot harder to figure out your storyline at the editing table if you don’t have one in advance.
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#7 simato73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:13

Lightroom let's you do video filing and tagging, etc. you can also edit with Photoshop cs6 now.


I don't have either of them...
Simone

#8 simato73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:19

Get classes. Use lynda.com or something similar. Video is not just moving photography, it is an entirely different discipline.

Take a look at the education part of this site: http://cinestories.com/tour.html

These guys are really good, and emphasize that you have a storybook before shooting. Then you simply get the shots you need and editing becomes quite trivial at that point.

Photography allows you to go out for a day, shoot at your hearts desire and organize the shots afterwards. Video doesn't work that way. Time is very much a dimension and just like shooting without regard for composition “because I can crop in Photoshop later on” is a horrific idea for obvious reasons, so is making video shots without knowing what to do with the various cuts and piecing it all together (“cropping in time”) later on.

As per Dallas' example, you need to have an idea what shots you need. “People getting on the bus,” “people getting off the bus,” “having a drink around the campfire,” etc. That doesn’t mean that you need to plan each day right to the second, but it means that you do have a list in advance with the cuts that you want, and that you can check that list to make sure you got the lis (and usually multiple shots to get various angles).

For instance, with “people getting on the bus” you might want to get two shots of the same person, one from the outside, and on a different occasion (as you cannot be in two spots simultaniously) from the inside. You probably also want a wide angle shot with everyone lining up and getting in the bus to make the viewer aware what is happening. If you know in advance that you need these shots you make them, and editing is relative easy as you can identify the cuts that you need, give them a code, and put the whole thing together. It’s a lot harder to figure out your storyline at the editing table if you don’t have one in advance.


That shows how little experience I have about video. I had not thought about any of your comments, except composition (and I am helped by the fact that the vast majority of the time I get the composition I want when taking the shot).

I'll explore the link when I come back from work.

Just to put things in the right perspective, I don't have massive ambitions concerning video - I think it would be too much time, effort and money to get to really good levels.
I just want to take nice footage of my daughter doing everyday things, for me and my wife in the future, as well as for my mother, who lives far away and doesn't get to see the granddaughter.
Simone

#9 crowecg

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:15

LIttle vignettes of the kids is about as far as I have got with video. It is quite easy to edit together 3-4 minutes clips, I used to group together 6-8 such clips and a photo slide show, add a bit of music and burn to a dvd to mail to distant grandparents. Haven't done it so much recently as the kids are getting a bit more cautious about 'performing' in front of a camera.

My advice on this sort of things is that you will need a good bit more footage than your eventual final clip length - I guess on average, I would cull in excess of 50% of what I shot.

Another thing is don't be afraid to reuse the same footage within your clip (but once you've done that you'll suddenly find yourself spotting how often it is done in professional TV, particularly documentaries). For example, if you are setting stuff to a song with a chorus, using the same footage each time the chorus comes round works reasonably well.

#10 Bart Willems

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 13:43

I just want to take nice footage of my daughter doing everyday things, for me and my wife in the future, as well as for my mother, who lives far away and doesn't get to see the granddaughter.


Even when you intend to make little clips for later, it doesn't hurt to shoot the same scene from different angles so you get a more lively video. The more you do it, the better a feeling you get for what you'll need.

Imagine your daughter on a swing. What the viewer sees is a shot of the swing first (environmental shot). Then a closeup of your daughters face as she "sees" the swing. Then a shot of her walking towards the swing and finally a shot of her swinging. Notice that the first and second shot don't have be shot before your daughter runs to the swing, or even when she's near the swing.

If you're getting a bit more into it, Premiere Elements (on windows) or Final Cut (on mac) are good to play with. You can make "virtual cuts" out of a single video file and piece those together. Just as with Photoshop, you get better results while showing restraints. Not every transition needs to be an elaborate 3D animation :)
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#11 simato73

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 14:16

As for the formats, what would you recommend?

So far I have shot AVCHD on the basis that I can always get lower quality video out of it, but the opposite is not possible.
The downside is a lot more disk space is needed and it puts a much heavier load on the computer - so much that everything grinds to a halt on my current setup (hopefully to be replaced in a not too distant future).

How much worse off would I be if I recorded still 1080p , but in MP4 format?
Simone

#12 Dallas

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 14:26

As I understand it when you record in an already highly compressed format like MP4, you will have to convert that video and re-compress it again if you need to provide it in another format, which degrades the image quite a lot. Kind of like continually saving a JPG.

I am not sure what format is the best to shoot in, but I guess the one that is the most universally recognisable would be a good starting place.

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#13 Bart Willems

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 15:20

As I understand it when you record in an already highly compressed format like MP4, you will have to convert that video and re-compress it again if you need to provide it in another format, which degrades the image quite a lot. Kind of like continually saving a JPG.


Then again, if done propery you'd have compression done only twice; once in camera, and once in the final output. Assuming you start in a high resolution (pretty much any camera supports 1080p/25fps these days) it shouldn't be that much of a deal.

I am not sure what format is the best to shoot in, but I guess the one that is the most universally recognisable would be a good starting place.


A word of caution here. It's easy to refer to “.avi” or “.mp4” as a file format, and they are, but they’re container formats and not video formats. Your best bet, and this is what again most cameras do, is H264 video with AAC audio in an MP4 file. That is currently the web standard and I suspect it will remain to be so for a long time (case in point: PNG is superior to GIF in virtually every way yet even after 15 years it still has a very hard time replacing GIF in those cases where index-palette images are wanted/needed)
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