Getting Next Level

Getting Next Level, as my first movie, the learning curve was quite steep, from how to properly record sound, to image recording, which lenses to use, to video editing, sound editing and finally compression.

I will try to go through all this topics, one by one, so it can be of help to anyone that’s starting.

I will assume that, you are recording in MANUAL mode, and that the white balance is define, not in auto.

Movie format and frames per second

I would say, that’s the most important think to decide, since it will affect our final output.

If our object is to deliver a 1080p@24fps video , we have to make sure that we record it at that resolution or higher.

Other think to take into account is the fps, if we want to make some slow motions, we should at least capture it at 60fps, or we could try to simulate it using software, like the twixtor.

Settings

The most usual is to record at, at least, the double of the fps, I mean, if we are recording at 24fps we should be recording at 1/48.

Something that I have learned the worst way, when we are filming and the scene is lit by existing lights, because of the frequency of the lights can mess with our image, and you will get this unpleasant flickering, as you can see on this video.

Three ours of filming, right into trash. Had to record everything again, since I wasn’t aware of it. The solution was as simple as, lower the record speed until the effect was gone.

Recording

I think the most useful lens for video is the Nikkor 24-120 f/4 VR, although I don’t own this lens, it’s on my horizon, even for travel or lightweight situations.

Interviews
We should take advantage of having two plans, to have more options at editing and to te able to get a more dynamic video. So it will be ideal to have a more close composition, with something like an Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR and a wider one.

Random thoughts
For filming, it’s ideal to have lenses that have a constant aperture through out it’s focal range, or else, we if zoom in or zoom out our aperture will automatically change messing the exposure. This one I also learned the hard way 🙂 it makes sense, but at the time I didn’t thought about it.

Image stabilisation, it’s a must have in all the lenses, but if the don’t have it, isn’t a drama. Make use of a tripod, a monopod, or if hanging on a rope, push the sling of the camera against your neck and breath smoothly.

Something to have at hand are, Variable ND filters and a circular polarizer. The first one, allows you to obtain the desired image look, the polariser, allows us to have more control over highlights.

Sound

Once again, lesson learned the hard way.

We where, recording this interview, with an awesome light and composition, and I blew it. I had one camera with an 70-200, with the micro hooked up and another camera with a wider lens, that I was controlling and moving around with. I left the audio levels to high, and from time to time we had this slight breeze, that was enough to ruin the audio.

It’s essencial to have an external microphone, I used the Rode Video Mic Pro. For a better capture of sound, I would recommend an external recorder like the Tascam Dr-40 4-Track or the Zoom H1 for a cheaper solution.

For editing audio I can’t recommend enough Plural Eyes, it’s the way to go.

Equipment

There isn’t the need to use all of these lenses, but I took the chance to experiment, and see what would work best.

Sharing

Once more, I took ages to get some good results, between renders that where taking up to 5 hours to finish, messing with FCPX export settings, then with Compressor settings, finally I come to the following workflow:

Handbrake, output settings:

Handbrake Web Settings

If for some reason, the image isn’t fluid, increase the Average Bitrate to 5000, if isn’t enough, get that value higher until your are pleased with the results. The increase of this value, means an increase of the file size.

This video was possible, because of Tiago will to have his attempts, on the route, documented.

 

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