An exciting sound seminar by David Missall of Sennheiser at Santa Monica College May 3, 2011 in association with my class Photo29 Video Production for Still Photographers. As they say, sound is 50% of a production until it is bad sound and then it is 85% and the audience is very unforgiving. It is quite a shock to most of us photographers that picture is not always the most important part of the story. David Missall will explain the techniques and tools needed to capture good sound. He will also share some of the tips and tricks he has learned over the years.
Take a look at Magic Bullets Grinder by Red Giant Software if you need a very fast transcoding of your HDLSR video. It uses all of your processors to transcode the H.264 from your HDSLR into a variety of Apple PRO RES and Photo-Jpg formats so it is fast. If you need even faster editing Magic Bullet Grinder can create Proxy files in PRO RES and Photo-Jpg codecsl. If you were planning to do major color grading (correction) or adding effects in Motion you can transcode into PRO RES 4444. Any 720p video will be automatically upgraded to 1080p so it can be used in Full HD editing.
It is a simple three step process: drag your files on to Grinder, Set the transcode to format you want and save which allows you to set the destination for the transcoded files. You’ll end up with transcoded files with time code which is helpful. Note: I suggest when making proxy files that you set the main format to original + timecode and burn in file name and time code. You can download a trial version of Magic Bullet Grinder at http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/downloads/trial-versions.
Coming soon is the 1.5 update that adds more format codecs, timecode options, conforming controls, Growl support, separate output options for main and proxy outputs and better clip naming.
The indiSLIDERpro is a great video solution when you are on location and need a short dolly or truck move to tell the story in an more interested way. In the pictures below you see the IndiSLIDERpro mounted on the sturdy set of Manfrotto Pro 536 sticks.
The indiSLIDERpro matched up with a Manfrotto 501, 503 or 504 fluid head make a versatile unit adding tremulous production value you your shoot. Even short dolly shots make for a more active viewing experience for the audience. Rather than be limited to pivots shots like panning and tilting, you can smoothly move the camera around in the scene. If you watch closely many dolly shots are short so the two or three foot slider is perfect. You don’t need the extra time and crew needed to set up and level a full size dolly with track. I can set up and level the indiSLIDERpro in just minutes so I’m ready to shoot. Here is a short move I made over the tons of dead fish along the Salton Sea. Go to www.indisystem.com for more information.
The Salton Sea is 200+ feet below actual sea level so is the drainage for the surrounding area. Unfortunately this means all the pollution from the neighboring towns, golf courses and farm fields flow into the Salton Sea killing thousand of fish that cover the sea’s shore certain times of the year. What looks like white sand along the shore is the bleached vertebrae of fish.
While the indiSLIDERpro is strong enough to hold full size video camera, it is still light and compact so one person can easily use it on location. The rails are mounted to a solid metal base that prevents the rails from bowing even with heavy camera gear so you will not out grow the system as you add more professional equipment like follow focus and an external monitor.
Lee White Photography used Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Grinder to transcode the original DSLR files into edit friendly PRO RES files for editing.
The Manfrotto 536 MPro is the tripod (sticks) I use along with the 504HD fluid head when I want a solid base. I’m reminded all the time the lighter the camera, the heavier and sturdier the base needs to be. Driving to the Salton Sea for a photo trip, I stopped to shoot in the very windy San Gorgonio Wind Farm Pass. This is where there are wind farms with the large propeller-driven turbines and for good reason. When I stopped to shoot the clouds passing the mountain top you see in the clip below, I was almost knocked off my feet by the windy gusts.
There would have been no way a light tripod with the very lightweight Panasonic HMC-40 would have ever been stable. Yes, I could sand bag a lighter tripod but dragging along sand bags to weigh down a light tripod seems counter productive. Why not start out with a sturdy tripod and eliminate the hassle of sand bags. In video, you’ll often be applying forces on the tripod as you pivot the fluid head that you do not encounter in still photography. To pivot the fluid head successfully, you will want a fluid head that you can adjust the drag to just the right amount so you can more easily smoothly pivot the camera. The New Manfrotto 504HD head has tension adjustments for both pan and tilt plus an adjustable counter balance to deal with different weight cameras.
A great thing about matching the 504HD head with the 536 MPRO tripod is the heights that they can be set at. The 536 MPRO can go from just inches off the ground to 80 inches which means I can get the angle no matter what. Plus you have either a 75 or 100mm bowl for the head to set into. In the picture below, I’m using the 536 MPRO at the wide leg setting, to support the indiSLIDERpro, a professional duty slider with camera using a Zeiss 28mm/f2 DLSR lens and Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone to capture a CU along the shore of the Salton Sea.
A quick word about fluid heads. The Manfrotto 501, 503HDV and 504HD are great fluid heads that have all the adjustments you need for silky smooth moves. There are very few times that you will not want the option of at least pivoting the camera and a fluid head is the answer. Being able to finely tune the tension of the head helps you adjust for the weight of the camera gear and speed of the pivot.
The Panasonic HMC-40 was the perfect companion to shoot at the Salton Sea. I recently enjoyed four days on a Salton Sea photo trip with 50+ photographers where I gave a video seminar and spent hours talking about video with photographers. The questions asked were as varied as the type of photographers represented. We discussed video equipment, software, revenue streams and how video is fitting into the photographer’s workflow.
Back to the Panasonic HMC-40 which has, among other things, two capabilities that I find very useful: waveform and simultaneous viewfinder and LCD viewing. As I have talked about before, the waveform represents the exposure values much like a histogram set on its side. Near the top of the scale is 100 percent which is white with no detail in the highlights. Near the bottom is 0 percent which is black with no detail in the shadow areas. The waveform is produced real-time in the LCD so it makes it easy to judge exposure.
Couple the waveform showing in the LCD while I use the viewfinder to see my framing even in the bright sun around the Salton Sea and you have the perfect combination. I could easily switch back and forth from viewfinder to LCD checking both exposure and framing as I made a camera move through a shot.
Check out the shadow detail recorded in this shot that starts out backlit directly into the sun. Using the waveform I can easily place the exposure values right where I want.