Relearning so much video stuff

posted by Jeff | Thursday, December 24, 2020, 2:26 PM | comments: 0

If rediscovering video production has revealed anything, it's that I don't remember how to use the tools as well as I used to. It's funny how the composition skills stick with you, and don't need to change much over time, but tools, they change. And you know what's funny? Having learned to edit with tape, I was always so careful to make sure I shot coverage of everything I needed, and kind of edited in my head as I was shooting. Now, on the Internet, no one even cares if you have jump cuts, but it's easier than ever, because computers, to not have jump cuts.

Anyway, I'm still getting to know the C200 a bit, and the compromises with it aren't really as scary as I though they were since the release of the C70. For what I shoot, it would probably be better to have the 10-bit recording as the normal thing, but if I want to do serious shooting for a short film, being able to record raw and convert to 10-bit 4:2:2 after exposure correction. What I'm learning now is how to get good stuff without noise, and over exposing the highlights by as much as a stop seems to be a real win. If I did shoot raw, I could be totally sloppy.

The thing I'm really liking is that the face priority auto-focus is nothing short of amazing for this goofy standup work I've been doing. My only complaint, and it's really subtle, is that sometimes I can see a little bit of lens breathing, since my lenses are photography lenses. Most people don't know what that even is, fortunately. I imagine that if I do shoot a "film," I'll want to invest in some good manual cinema lenses that don't do that.

I've had to relearn lighting a bit too, now that everything is LED based. Relearn might be too strong a word, and instead I should call it discovery. It's so crazy easy to get a "look" with LED lights, because controlling their output is something you can dial in, instead of using physical means to control the output of the light. It's easier than ever to get that soft three-point lighting, and I have relatively inexpensive lights.

My audio game isn't great. I have some inexpensive Shure SM11 lavaliers that have been made for decades (pretty sure we had them in college). They're super durable, but they pick up too much ambient noise. I really need a fancy long shotgun mic, but need to experiment with the one I bought with my first pro camera, an Audio-Technica AT875. I know it sounds great for ambient sound or people in front of you, but I've never tried it in a standup arrangement.

The software is where I really feel like I'm restarting a bit. Adobe Premier Pro feels downright unfamiliar, and After Effects, which I loved when I first started working with it (in 1998!) fundamentally works the same, but can do way more. It's funny too how rendering simple motion graphics at 4K means that render times are still not much faster than they were with NTSC 20 years ago. The thing that has definitely improved is that there are plugins and features now that help compensate for crappy acquisition, like room echo.

I have to keep in mind that Hollywood professionals are posting stuff online that is suboptimal from a technical standpoint but often interesting (see John Krasisnki, Brie Larson and Josh Gad, for example), so content is what really matters. But I want to get the technical part right for the silly things that I make.


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