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Thread: Off to Normandy this June!!!

  1. #1
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    Default Off to Normandy this June!!!

    Morning & Hello All,

    This is my first post on this forum -- I have taken the liberty of spending some time searching and reading the various articles on better use of a camcorder.

    As the title informs -- I am off to Normandy this June to take a D-Day Veteran who has not been back to the country since June of 1944.

    I was quite happy to take digital pics of the occasion but Len has asked me if I could also film as much of the three day event as possible.

    I have been practicing and using some of the tips on the forum and have purchased a copy of Edit Studio 5 and Iím happy with my progress so far.

    I was just wondering for the more advanced persons out there if they had any more decent tips that they could impart in order to make my 4 day visit just that bit better with the use of some decent footage!!!

    Any and all help is gratefully appreciated.

    Regards,

    Pat.

  2. #2
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    Keep it Smooth & Simple (KISS).

    Make moving pictures not moving camera. Keep camcorder movements smooth and slow (sometimes through the viewfinder or on the tiny flip-out screen, when camera movements look painfully slow. They're not. On the normal sized television they look a lot faster.) When you're recording, if you think everything's far too slow, it'll be about right.

    Don't use the tight end of the zoom unless you're on a tripod or have stabilized the camera (resting on a wall, car etc.)

    If you've got enough money buy, or hire a radio mic and leave it permenantly on your protagonist. If this isn't an option, then don't rely too much on getting speech from the camera microphone, it won't cope.

    Don't try to make a "History Channel" documentary about a veteran's return to Normandy (I did that in 2004 with a seven man team, and two weeks working under a full time producer and director!) but just "observe" what's going on. Move in close and don't be afraid to keep the camera running during emotional moments.

    If you can, get old documentary footage of the places you're going to visit before you go there, so that you know what shots to take in a "then and now" situation
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 04-04-2007 at 02:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    It's hard to follow The Guru, but for what it's worth...here are my tips:
    1. Try to let the tape roll for a second or two at the start and end of a shot. Tape is cheap, and those extra handles will give you more options in the edit.
    2. Try to avoid always placing your subject slap bang in the centre of the frame. Following the rule of thirds will make for better viewing.
    3. Use the wide angle as much as you can. Focus on a distant object and then lock off the focus to manual. This will avoid unintended focus 'hunting' that can sometimes ruin a shot. Keep checking things are still in focus, obviously.
    4. Make a shopping list, if you can, of the shots you'd like to get.
    5. Shoot people from the hip, using the flip out screen for framing. It's less obtrusive. I usually have the neck strap around my, er, neck, with the camera pulled down in slight tension. I find this makes for steadier footage.
    6. Unless you are filming something scintillating, avoid rolling tape for longer than 20-30 seconds. This will force you to add interest to your footage by varying shots, angles and compositions.
    7. Include shots of signs and placenames etc to help add interest and meaning to your finished video. It will also remind you where you were when it comes to editing!
    8. Avoid tromboning and firehosing.
    Hope this helps

  4. #4
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    Guys,

    Many many thanks for all your help and advice -- much appreciated.

    I have to admit Bert that I did have to find out what the 2 tips in point 8 were!!! I thought it was some sort of fetish of yours that had spilled over into your hobby!!!

    Guru, after reading your comments ref documentary making in 2004, it brings me to another question -- I would dearly like to get some proper TV coverage for Len -- Lord knows he deserves it after what he did for his country! I'm sat here thinking about how to go about it, i.e. local news like Midlands today or my local newspaper perhaps?

    OK -- So he is a D-Day Veteran returning to Normandy for the first time after 63 years -- I dare say that there have been many Veterans who have done the same thing over the past couple of years.

    But there is an amazing angle here that I think ought to be picked up on in some way -- as I say, TV local news coverage or even for someone to write a book -- the angle is that Len was one of 10 Brothers who all served in the Second World War -- actually 2 of them also served in the First World War. Sadly there is only Len and his older Brother Joe left now!!!

    I just think it would be such a shame for the event to be remembered for some dodgy amateur camcorder footage from myself !!!

    Do you have any advice as to how I might accomplish this -- As I have said already -- This man really deserves it in my honest opinion!!!

    As ever, any and all help gratefully appreciated.

    Regards,

    Patrick.

  5. #5
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    Afternoon All,

    Well I'm back from Normandy and took on all the advice given - thanks for that.

    Now I just need to find a good editing package. I'm just searching through this forum for some reviews.

    However, one thing that has happened was when I transfered the footage from the camcorder to my PC.

    In total I got about 50 minutes worth of footage but either my PC or the software that came with the camera broke the footage into about 5 pieces of around 2gb each!!!

    The total 50 minutes comes in at a massive 11gb.

    Am I able to get the file sizes down to a more manageable level without loss of visual and audio? If so what is the best software to use for this?

    As ever, all help and assistance is gratefully appreciated. Also if you require any further info then please let me know.

    Regards,

    Pat.

  6. #6
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    The size of those files is what will make it easy to edit. They are compressed already (believe it or not!), but only a little, making it an easy job for your PC to handle during editing.

    My advice is to leave the files as they are. Is hard drive space a critical issue to you? Edit them as they are. You can save compression for the final output.

    What operating system do you have? The splitting is either a result of the 2GB filesize limit of windows 98, or may in fact be due to a setting in your capturing software.

    Either way, provided that you have all of the frames, I wouldn't worry too much. Several 2GB files are as good as one 11GB one. (And some would say, me included, that several chunks are better than one humongous one.)

    As to software recommendations, choose the one you enjoy using best. I would download the free trials of, say, Adobe Premiere Elements, Vegas Movie Studio, Pinnacle Studio. They will all do a good job in the right hands, and enjoy plenty of online support. I personally would go with Adobe, because that's what I'm used to.

    You already have Windows Movie Maker, I presume? This is more than sufficient for cuts-only editing (although it won't provide for DVD authoring).


    Witty signature text coming soon...

  7. #7
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    Evening All,

    I am proud to say that I have finally finished putting together the video footage from my amazing trip to Normandy.

    I have managed to convert it and upload it to a certain video sharing website in 8 parts.

    The black and white video footage is courtesy of 'Movietone Television' and the music is courtesy of their respective owners. I'll leave it to you lot to guess and let me know where you think the soundtracks are from.

    But other than that, the rest is all mine. It's not the best quality having to convert it for the internet but I think it conveys the essence of the trip and how emotional it was for all that were there.

    It's my first go at editing but I hope I've done it justice - here's the playlist link: YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

    I have to say though, that no matter how many times I watch it, it stills brings a tear my eye and a lump to my throat.

    I'm just proud to have been part of Len's return trip after his first visit 63 years before.

    It's a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.

    Kind Regards,

    Pat.

    P.S. - Honest opinions - but be kind!!!

  8. #8

    Default

    for the future check out elitevideo.com they have some great dvds on the subject. The dvds I have and recomend are, ABC techniques, Wedding vidographer companion, digital lighting magic and chroma key magic (overlaping info on digigital lighting)
    Wil

    Software Used:
    TGV Edius 6, TGV ProCoder 3, DVD Lab Pro. 2

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ChapmanProduction

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