Archive for the 'Rebel Filmmaking' Category

Tips For Fast Internet Video Editing

Two weeks ago I’ve started a show in Hebrew called “Mac Anonymous” – targeted at Mac addicts in Israel. We are a two men team, myself and Guy Nehser, and we do everything in this show – shoot, light, sound, and post production (including editing).

I am no editing expert, and everything I am writing here is coming from my own experience. However, I’d like to share with you some of the techniques and tools I am using to increase my productivity in the editing process. Some of them are concepts, and some are hands-on tricks. I’d love to hear your feedback, thoughts and advice.

The Importance Of Rhythm

My sister is a very talented musician. Unlike me, she knows how to play the guitar, piano and bunch of other instruments. That’s why she managed to edit some amazing video clips with nothing but Windows Movie maker (god forbid, but she is moving to a Mac soon). Walter Murch, who edited amazing pieces such as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, said in one interview that editing is all about rhythm – finding your piece rhythm would lead you to a better understanding of the shots and cuts you need to preform. For me this is the basis of my whole editing experience.

Watch While Capturing

I used to look at capturing as the most annoying part of the editing process. It is probably due to the use of Non Linear Editing system like Final Cut, that allowed me to capture without going through the whole material (unlike linear editing). While editing the second episode of my show, I reviewed the material as I captured it. This process saved me a lot of time. While capturing I’ve already identified the best takes that fit the final product. It also helped me to easily find interesting parts or great bloopers. It was a major time saver – capture your own material.

Listen When Cutting

When I watch an unedited piece, I tend to lose focus as the visuals take all my attention. Though visuals are crucial in video editing, sound is much more important in many cases (people would tolerate bad lit video, but not bad sound). Taking that into account, I started editing new pieces in the following way: after identifying a good shot, i close my eyes and listen to the audio (in this show, it is mostly an anchor reading something). Every time I feel that there is a need to change an image to fit the audio track I add an editing point (in Final Cut Pro it is done with CTRL V). Sound strange right? Try it and see what you get after one pass of the shot – you have all the edit points that require to change the zoom of the shot, add graphics or another audio layer. By doing this procedure I’ve reduced more than 30% of my editing time – because after my first pass I already had a roughly edited piece.

Let Your Camera Roll

I no longer stop my camera between shots. In the case of our show, we had a static set. Therefore we just let the camera roll and stop it only when we take a long break. Yes, it does increase capturing time, but it is very efficient when coming to organizing the material as a whole. This tip is relevant mainly for short pieces such as internet shows.

Change Shots In Post Production

Another useful trick we are using is to shot in wide angle and leave the zooms for post production. This way, we have a steady shot, and we then create in post production close ups, extreme close ups and american shots. Remember the editing points we made while listening? By pasting attributes from one edit point to the other, we created a dynamic piece, even though the camera didn’t move at all. The combination of creating an edit point, specific shots, and then pasting these attributes between clips, made my editing way faster than changing camera position.

This is the result – is it is far from perfect, and the next piece is better, but it will give you a sense of the result that can be achieved using these methods:

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1098198&dest=-1]

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The Perfect Online HD Video Production Kit For Less Than a $1000

As a media geek I am very excited with my new gear and setup. So excited that I’ve decided to share with you my enthusiasm with my latest purchase – the Canon HV30.

When I started building my little video production facility, camera and editing computer were my first concerns. I made two decisions – one was to buy a strong PC for video editing, and the other was to buy the Panasonic NV-MD10000, a great SD PAL camera with a lot of manual control of key parameters.

MD10000_big_c.jpg
Panasonic NV-MD10000

When I moved to Mac, I’ve experimented with Final Cut Express, which quickly led me to buy Final Cut Studio and make it my only editing solution.

However, on the camera side I wasn’t happy with my choice. The main reason was size. Going to shoot an event became a hustle, I had no way to take the cam with me just for fun, and the whole process became too much work and not enough fun.

So, I went back to my imaginary drawing board and decided to so a short requirement list for my next camera. I came up with this:

1. Small enough to fit into my laptop bag

2. Expandable with a standard shoe

3. HD

4. Light weight

5. Under $1000

6. External mike jack

In my last visit to NYC, I met with my good friend Bill Cammack, who has a tendency to take pictures of himself with social media divas, and asked for his guidance.

Bill is using Canon HV20, which is a great camera, that has it all. It fits the palm of your hand, supports HDV format on Mini DV cassettes and has many additional features (24p, external mike jack to name two of the more important ones) that make it a great buy.

After a lot of research I bought this little piece of equipment – Canon HV30:

canon-hv30.jpg

It is based on the same body and sensor of the HV20, but with two significant upgrades:

1. Support for 30p- meaning, the camera can shot HDV in 30 frames per second in progressive mode. This is the reason that it is so great for web video – many video distribution reduce video frame rate to 15 frames. Video shot in 24, or 50 frames per second looks choppy a bit when down-sampled to 15 frames. 30 frames works like a charm.

2. It has a black body – which is way cooler than the silver one 🙂

Audio is THE most important part of video productions, especially for the web. The external mike jack is not XLR, which means that it is not a professional interface. However, there is an amazing and affordable mike from Rode called VideoMic (not the most original name in the world….). This is shotgun directional microphone, that does not require phantom power, and has a standard shoe. One of the biggest issues with the Canon HV20/30 is that the motor noise is picked up by the onboard mike. If you are aiming at a decent production, on board mike is a complete no no. I bought my VideoMic a while ago, and it is a great supplement to the HV30. It costs less then $150. And if you are into interviews, take a look at Shure SM58 – a great handheld mike, with great audio results, and costs only $100.

31TQDbWLlLL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I had a chance to check out my new setup at TWS2008. I brought the nifty little camera with the VideoMic, and had a blast. I shot several videos with ease, and even brought the cam with me on stage. That’s exactly what I was looking for. I also recorded some indoors videos with it, using a tripod, and a small lavaliere. So basically, this camera provides the full range of use cases – interviews, studio shots, outdoors shots and everything you need from a small camera.

Talkiing about expandability of this camera, check out this setup of a great guys in the HV20/HV30 forum:

1001618jn4

It is in no way a professional camera. It doesn’t have an XLR input, and even the MD10000 has more manual control on key parameters. Also the menus can drive you crazy sometimes. But it works great in 99% of cases, and with some effort and expansion you can cover almost all your needs with this small but smart piece of equipment.

So, here it is, your HD production kit for the following:

1 Canon HV30 – $785

1 Rode VideoMic – $139

———————————–

Total $924

And you still have some change for additional accessories (tripod is a must, so spend your money wisely….).

You can see some video footage taken by this little piece of equipment in this Vimeo group. Here’s one to note:

I will upload some of my videos soon.


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