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Thread: Artistic Inspiration, Location Filming and Editing with multiple audio-visual sources

  1. #1

    Default Artistic Inspiration, Location Filming and Editing with multiple audio-visual sources

    Artistic Inspiration, Location Filming and Editing with multiple audio-visual sources:-

    The following maybe of some small motivation to independent filmmakers. This is because it shows you how smooth cuts can be in LINUX free open-source Sound and Video editing software.

    The two minute 'location advice' is followed by director's comments on shooting a scene from multiple audio-visual sources (i.e. cameras, mics and sound recorders)



    I am convinced independent filmmakers can make almost zero-budget quality movies & documentaries with the open source software available today. Add a cheap standard definition camcorder like the Canon FS200 or a Kodak Zi8 for High definition, a tripod or two (or three) for 11-25....sorry going off the point.

    Please go check out the vid above and see what i mean by smooth angle transitions and seamless cuts.

  2. #2
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    Hi Zayd and welcome to the forum.

    What you're not going to get here is lots of sycophantic praise or mindless insults. What you will get - if you are lucky - are a few, or possibly many, constructive comments. These are not personal, but pointers as to how to improve your work. I hope you take them in that manner.

    I thought it was brave of you to post this. After the build up of how you believe indies can make films for almost zero budget with great quality, I was expecting at least something which hinted at this. Unfortunately we had a film which even you admitted was lousy quality. You've already learned some of the lessons so, as I said, all cerdit to you for posting warts n all.

    Content: You spent so long settimg up that you forgot what you were going to say! So you've posted a film without content. This is rather insulting to your audience - you expect them to spend their time watching something which you haven't bothered to plan?

    Picture quality. Well, it's obvious how bad that is and you explained why. But again, really, if it's that bad, bin it or do it again. It certainly doesn't show off the capabilities of the FS200.

    Sound. You simply cannot hope to use on-camera mics outside (unless right up against your subject).

    You need to get the mic close to the source.

    Your el cheapo shotgun would have been a million times better if placed where it should be - within three feet of your bouth. This can be by boom held above or below you, or hand held just out of shot.
    Your tie-clip mic was by far the best in terms of getting a differential between the sound you wanted to record (your voice) and the background. The reason it sounded so bad was that it was "clipping" - it's output was too high for the device you'd plugged it into. Possibly you have no control on that on the devoce (Sanyo?) - that's one of the reasons you can't always get away with the cheapest. You'd probably have had better results plugging it into the mic input on the FS200.
    Tim

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the witty and subtle attack Mr Stannard. It's nice to see someone could be bothered to watch most of it or all of it.

    I don't agree it was zero content, I'm sure you could think of many benefits of it if you put your positive thinking cap on. e.g. One advantage is that you have been inspired to give some sound-capture advice for anyone who pays attention.

    The lapel mic had a very short cable so couldn't connect to the FS200. I haven't modified my alternative boom pole yet. However, I personally still think the sound was okay, everything can be clearly heard along with the atmospheric sound....although the location sounds do announce themselves loudly at the beginning. It all depends what the aim of the shoot was. I was not concerned with picture and sound perfection. I mean, you can tell I'm a human being standing there can't you...

    My filming philosophy is a little like my art philosophy...realism, accuracy and clarity does not have to be the standard you gauge yourself by. In art we don't just have photographic realism, but impressionism, expressionism etc. In film you can artistically choose degraded sound degraded picture before or after the shoot on discovering it (and subsequently being happy with some of its consequences). That choice does not have to be an artificial manipulation to achieve a cinematic effect, it can be instead an acceptance of the circumstances for what they are.

    Look at another example, you can call yourself a director, photographer, cinematographer...if you want to and if that's your intention, regardless of what anyone thinks, then you are. I have painted many paintings, I call myself an artist, even if the people think I my art is bad or they don't like it, they can not say truthfully "You are not an artist" In their opinion they could more truthfully say, "You are an artist but a bad one, or one whose art I don't like"

    Similarly, if you see yourself as a photographer, even if you have the cheapest camera and the least technical knowledge of your field, can I truthfully say "You are not a photographer, cinematographer...?" I can't of course. Maybe you like everything you do, there is no law, rule or rational proof that removes you from the field of photography because the majority of 'photographers' don't like your work. Maybe you like it and you are happy with it. Or maybe you don't like it and are are still happy with it. There are levels in these things and ways of viewing them. I see that the world of film and photography are totally dominated by the technological-scientific-perfectionist thought.

    I am deliberately going against that tide, not by deliberately being sloppy, and not by artificial degradation of footage. But by a more individualistic, artistic and 'imperfection-accepting' philosophy on output.

    Of course I will still have standards on what I am willing to publish/release. e.g. This video I put up was rendered three times, the first one in MPEG4 at a level of 1000k....the result was like looking at a good picture through a square pattern shower curtain. I rendered it again at 6000k, as the Kodak footage was High Def 720p (but I also didn't want to do a full Hi-Def render as it takes too long and takes too much space). However the second render had a sound problem on one of the cuts making like a static noise....I had to render it again after cutting out audio slice (which fortunately fell on a non-speaking couple of seconds).

    This was not the only problem, during the cutting of the video I accidentally cut the word 'Linux' out so I said "Which you can get for free on....[BLANK]..."

    So I first recorded the word 'linux' and inserted it, but it sounded blatantly inserted...wrong speed, tone, volume etc. So I reread the whole sentence and inserted it, the result was better, but if you listen carefully (if you can be bothered, or anyone can)...you will see it also sounds artificial. One benefit of this is that it shows how complex and recognizable the human voice is...not only are voices of individuals unique but sound profiles of an individual at different times are unique, every sentence in time has its own fingerprint.

    I appreciate that people who are of a photography/film school/technological-accuracy driven background or mode of thought, will criticize according to the imperfections from the audio-visual clarity point of view. That criticism is valuable though.

    The film was not meant to be an example of independent, low budget high quality...that was rather a general comment on my thought about filmmaking. The quality for me was that the camera transitions and audio is synchronized....here through a free opensource video editor. Many people are convinced editing, filmmaking can only be done effectively and efficiently with proprietary Audio-Visual software packages (from Adobe, Sony etc).

    In terms of the content, I originally intended it to be richer, but it was not useless...it depends on the viewer and I would add even depends on a particular viewer's expectation frame of mind and objectives. Sorry this is turning into an overly lengthy reply on what was 2 minute video.

    One thing though, I do intend to make many such videos, rather than keeping the failures, imperfections to myself....why not share them? Why not show people that things go wrong etc. Maybe many people are intimidated to try filmmaking because they feel inadequate, ignorant, too poor etc. Perhaps such people will be encouraged. e.g. "My video was better than that Canon/Kodak guys dodgy one..."

    Lets look from another angle, I could say all the things you are unhappy about, I am happy with (I'm not saying that though). I might find lower quality video more interesting than high quality.

    On some of my video's I apologise to the manufacturer's for misrepresenting their products. And on most videos I thank the manufacturers for their engineering and programming achievements. Most people take these things for granted. I could only post things, which protect my 'competency image' but what's the point of that? By putting up something inferior some people are motivated to criticize and this opens the way for discussion. Maybe you've mentioned some issues I had not thought about, and maybe I have replied to you with some perspectives that you have not thought about.

    Sometimes when people spend a lot, and study a lot then see someone get acceptable results from little spent and relatively little study, they can get annoyed and their judgements and pronouncements can become distorted (that's not aimed at you, but it is common in such forums).

    The sound on the lapel also could have been bettered by simply placing it further away from my mouth (or softening/lowering in the sound/video editor)....so no need to abandon cheap. The Sanyo digital recorder itself has good sound from its own internal mic as well.

    Anyway, sorry for drawn out reply and I am not arguing with you. Just letting you know some of my perspective on it. Criticism was and is welcome.
    Last edited by Zayd_Depaor; 04-15-2011 at 06:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    I don't agree it was zero content,
    I was basing this on your own statement "... i ended up not really saying very much". Iwas, as you were, when you made that staement referring to the first pat of the film.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    I was not concerned with picture and sound perfection.
    But you should be concerened with getting it as good as you can with the equipment you have at your disposal, wouldn't you agree? Amything that detracts from getting your message across clearly, detracts from the message you are trying to get across. I meen, u cn undrstnd this butt yr having 2 wrk hrdr to do it so ur attn snot s'mucsh on ma mesg, innit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    I am deliberately going against that tide, not by deliberately being sloppy, and not by artificial degradation of footage. But by a more individualistic, artistic and 'imperfection-accepting' philosophy on output.
    OK... we might accept that, even thugh it's stretching a point to accept this without some sort of evidence that you do understand how to make something which is acceptable in the normal sense of the word, but it still needs some content
    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    The film was not meant to be an example of independent, low budget high quality...that was rather a general comment on my thought about filmmaking.
    This did not come across at all in the film. All I heard was some talk about how it's good to get outside for inspiration (whic I have no problem agreeing with)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    The quality for me was that the camera transitions and audio is synchronized....here through a free opensource video editor.
    Sorry, that's like saying the quality for me in the story was that every sentence bega with a capital letter. Why wouldn't it be synchronised?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    Many people are convinced editing, filmmaking can only be done effectively and efficiently with proprietary Audio-Visual software packages (from Adobe, Sony etc).
    Fortunately you won't find that view on this forums. However, most would probably accept that it is probably easier and quicker with proprietary packages, and if it is quicker and easier, then this has to be a good thing as it means the editor can get on with creative stuff rather than worry about the technicalities.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    Lets look from another angle, I could say all the things you are unhappy about, I am happy with (I'm not saying that though). I might find lower quality video more interesting than high quality.
    I wasn't unhappy about any of it. I was suggesting how it might be improved. You clearly disagree that things which help to get your message across would be an improvement. So be it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    The sound on the lapel also could have been bettered by simply placing it further away from my mouth (or softening/lowering in the sound/video editor)....
    Yes, to the former (though this would result in an increase in background sound), absolutely no to the latter. The recorded sound is clipping. You cannot get rid of clipping in an editor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    Anyway, sorry for drawn out reply and I am not arguing with you. Just letting you know some of my perspective on it. Criticism was and is welcome.
    Not at all. I'm enjoying the discussion. You just might have something interesting to say about video as art which is while I'll keep watching and listening, but as yet, based on what you've produced rather than what you've written, I see nothing to distingush your "artistic" video from those produced by someone who simply can't be arsed or don't have the skills. I do wonder whether you would deliberately have chosen to produce the same standard of video if you had access to much better equipment and the skills to operate it.

    Oh, and for what it's worth, I am entirely a self taught amateur and not a particularly good one at that, with a second hand standard def camera which cost me 281.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 04-16-2011 at 07:51 PM.
    Tim

  5. #5

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    The point about matching the audio and video, remember was that I had two video sources and four audio sources. I showed different angles (camera viewpoints) in the small piece which showed that both video were synchronized to one audio and in the director comments...that both video's were synchronized to all audio sources. Also both original video tracks were split from the audio in editing (this is a necessity [unless you just mute an audio] when tying different camera footage of one subject to a single audio track. So clearly they can present problems with synchronization. If you run a brief search on google or other video forums (i expect this one included) you will see alot of people have trouble synchronizing video with audio (due to all sorts of reasons, dropped frames etc). There were many cuts here and there in this video that are unknown to the viewer, and with each manipulation of the timeline, there is the possibility of misaligning audio-video. So my point was about the synchronization along with the camera transitions, which were also smooth.

    I agree about with you about getting best out of what you can afford or have at hand. I have a friend who has bought an expensive 3,000 DSLR camera clearly has greater clarity, definition and capabilities than my cams. But I went the alternative route of may things for cheap....5 cameras with varying capabilities, tripods, mics, reflectors, lighting....all for a lot less than 3,000. many will think I am dumb and should have just got one expensive camera or a couple at a mid range price (of course this is all relative when a camera can cost $150,000+).

    I get the feeling you have not tried open source software much, but as seeing as you are in IT, I would have expected you to have some awareness of Linux. If you have not tried it, have a go and check out some of the video editing progs. You don't need to go Linux for opensource of course, but Linux has many other advantages that make it worthwhile at least running a dual boot alongside Windows.

    Don't disagree at all about things being bettered in order to help get the message across, make the movie etc.

    About the sound clipping, there is a feature in Audacity (opensource sound editor, also available for Windows) that can have some success in less severe clipping, but I haven't tried it. Also there are some dedicated plug-ins for other progs which can be effective in more severe clipping. However, I agree with you, this is un-necessary hassle and hit and miss, when you can prepare better in the first place and get the audio arrangements better at shooting time. Maybe I need to try a few different mics and see how much control I can have on the sound settings on digital voice recorder.

    About the standard of video I am producing at the moment, yes it is rushed. Secondly, I actually have better equipment, I could have used the chinese shotgun (has a long lead) plugged into the cam, and I know it has good sound. However, I am experimenting with different configurations at the moment as I have only just started. And on the video, I have two other cameras which can shoot high definition video, one of them maximum high def with many other good cinematic capabilities. But I am at stage of testing these various devices as well as learning their features. So its not a case of 'I would do much better if I had the equipment.' Rather its the case of testing out all the equipment I have and not just simply jumping to all my best equipment. I have a Panasonic SDR-S50, it has a good 78x enhanced zoom and a 33mm widescreen lense, has some other good features...but the picture quality isn't that great at all....The Canon FS200 has better quality, but I still want to try and use the Panasonic in short docs and maybe movies, once I bought something, I want to try and see a way of using it.

    In terms of photographic, video knowledge etc. A couple of months ago I knew nothing (despite having a Sony Mini DV camera for the last 6yrs which I have only ever used on the memory card [which is far inferior in quality to the tape] rather than the tape), but now I am gradually learning about various things lighting, white balance, aperture, shutter speed, F stops, depth of field etc.... Your statement about 'Would have made better if you had the knowledge' can perhaps be applied to everyone all the time, as our knowledge gives us more choices, we are all ignorant and have much to learn and can learn and improve all the time. Ask may top cinematographers and directors if they would do things differently with knowledge and experience gained, ten years on from their project's completion and they would probably say yes.

    Like I earlier implied, you are looking at it mainly from a process, equipment and technological enthusiast point of view...and that's why the errors stand out so clearly to you. Most of these errors or deficiencies are even obvious to a casual viewer. However, for the casual viewer these errors are not so pronounced and they are likely to see more of the positive aspects. So far I have had some positive feedback on it, and also similar criticisms to which you have made.

    Imagine you had never made a video before, and never used a camera, never touched a sound editor...then imagine you had done the video I did, think how different your perspective would be. Similarly, look from another angle....compare it to alot of the junk video on youtube etc. You also have to view from another angle, being in the field....filming alone, recording alone, checking the framing alone, speaking off your head in a rush alone, then coming back and editing alone (after discovering Linux and Linux software alone), then putting it up here and there alone. Does anyone in the professional media world do all these things alone? The answer is for the most part they don't, they get alot of assistance, training, PAYMENT, top equipment, top editors, top engineers etc. The independent filmmaker perhaps has to do everything alone for most of the time, unless he has some backing. They are given the means, motivation and time....whereas I am also working on all sorts of other things (art, writing etc). I expect you are now playing a violin reading this...My point is, I am progressing and I accept that many features of the video I am doing at the moment are sloppy and I can film and edit better and make the content better. I am now spending so much time discussing this with you that I am not editing my latest little vids for you to take apart!

  6. #6

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    I watched your video but did not comment on it because it was not posted in the user video section, the part of the forum where videos are posted for critiques. One thing I am wondering is, who is the intended audience for the video above. The title and content would imply video enthusiasts, but for that to be the case a much higher level of competence should be exhibited to be worth while. I would suspect, and please correct me if I am wrong, the video is more of a practice for your self to see what you can do with what you have and at your current skill level.
    We have people of many different skill levels on the forum from seasoned professionals to absolute beginners, somewhere in the middle people like my self and Tim who are keen armatures who have reached a fairly competent skill level, we have not lost our artistic appreciation for the art of film making and are not here just to take apart peoples work. We like to help people achieve a better understanding of and improved skill in the art of film making.

    We are not experts but we have reached a certain level of competence, I can only speak for myself but I'm sure this applies to Tim also, we like to see people, who want to improve there ability in this field, do better. This is why we offer comments about the videos that are posted. None of the comments are in any way a personal remark about the poster, unless stated directly but about how we feel improvement could be made on a technical level and viewer enjoyment of a piece. These of course are just our opinions, take them or leave them as you wish. We have no axe to grind or motive other than a genuine desire to help others.

    I have one other question, why didn't you adjust the volume levels between the mics ?


  7. #7

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    Adjust the volume levels in the video editor you mean? Yes, I could have done that (again though, I had had enough by then, and only decided to add the mic comparison late on). Also, the original aim was to see how each mic performed without after-adjusting (i appreciate I didn't include info about the distances etc...but my main aim was not a mic test).

    If you mean on the devices themselves, then the Kodak Zi8 has variable mic sensitivity but I don't think the Canon FS200 does. But I have no headphones yet to check recording level at the time. Headphones can be plugged into all the cameras and mics can be plugged into the Canon FS200 and the Kodak Zi8 (one of the contributing factors in me choosing those particular cameras in the first place).

    Yes its true, it was a practise. But as I'm getting older and time seems to be speeding up (a month seems like a week), I'm getting more stingy with my time. This means that even though I did something as a practice, I will still use it and publish it, if I see any benefit. To give you an example, I went out to do a similar thing a while back, and was systematically interrupted by dog walkers, aircraft noise and other things...I didn't get to do what I wanted. But even putting up the video which I did record, which is me checking my size in frame (as I was shooting alone) I still might put up, with a few filmmakers comments about framing, sunlight etc. I had another one where I talked about zoom capabilities which was ruined by wind noise, but I still might put it up, and another one where I talked about context creating locations, again ruined by wind noise but I still might put it up, as most of it can be heard. You would probably regard them as junk videos as the sound is so messed on them, but they still might have some benefit. However, I don't intend to make a habit of putting up sub-standard videos. These are my first few videos, as I gradually learn about shooting in the field and my specific equipment I expect the quality to improve considerably along with the content. The intended audience is anyone interested in any of the subject matter of the title.

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    [QUOTE=Zayd_Depaor;160163]The point about matching the audio and video, remember was that I had two video sources and four audio sources.[/quuote]

    With regard to your comments about syncing video and audio from different siurces, Indeed many people have trouble doing this - but the fact that you can do it with open source software is neither here nor there. It is to be assumed that any editing software will allow one to edit down to frame level and produce a wave form of the audio peaks. The skill is yours not the software. And, so long as each video has a sound track, it's not really that difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zayd_Depaor View Post
    Imagine you had never made a video before, and never used a camera, never touched a sound editor...then imagine you had done the video I did, think how different your perspective would be.
    Absolutely. From a technical viewpoint, I'd see the colour looked "odd" and hear the sound was "not as good as it is on TV" but I would not have a clue as to why and wouldn't feel I could try to provide advice which might help you produce better videos (better in my eyes, that is). From a more creative perspective, I'd think, "here's a guy who wants to say something but hasn't really thought about getting his message across".

    Please rest assured I am not trying to pooh-pooh your videos' qualities or ideas. I am simply trying to point out simple things you could do to make them "better" in a traditional sense. There is no obligation on your part to pay any attention to what I say. But are others venturing into video editing who may benefit from paying attention to these simple suggestions.
    Tim

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