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Thread: Very novice.

  1. #1

    Default Very novice.

    Hi, I'm new to this forum, and to the subject in general, so I'm likely to be asking some incredibly stupid questions. Please bear with me. I know I should do lots of research myself, but I need to sort out some equipment asap for work. I hope you won't mind me asking away.

    Iím looking for some advice. Ok, a lot of advice.

    I have no background in video work, Iím a publisher, but a number of my clients have asked if I can produce short videos (30 minute average) of presentations given by doctors. Iíve decided to have a go at doing this myself as itís something I find interesting. Below Iíve listed the probable scenarios in which Iíd be filming and I very much appreciate some input as to what equipment Iíd need, without breaking the bankÖthe lowest cost would be nice, very nice.

    Venues: Almost all in doctorsí offices and small conference rooms, where thereíll be either good natural light, or none at all. There might rarely be a need to film in a big conference hall, but if this means having to compromise too much on which camera then Iíll cross that bridge when I come to it.
    Camera: I really donít want to break the bank, but I want good enough quality for making DVDs and web based content. Good auto options would be preferable. A lens that can work in small rooms without distorting the image would be required and something that works well in low light.
    Sound equipment: As Iíll be filming in noisy hospitals Iím assuming a lapel mic would be best, am I right? But if not then what? If so, wireless or with cable? Is it better to record directly into the camera or otherwise?

    Tripod: Iíve got a pretty good Redsnapper tripod for use with my Nikon D90, itís fairly heavy and solid, but would I need something more sturdy?
    Lighting: Iíd prefer to avoid this altogether, but can I bearing in mind the possibility of zero natural light in some venues? I imagine not, so whatís the bare minimum I can get away with?

    Laptop: I do have one, yes, but its oldÖoh so very old. What would be good specs for a replacement without having to do post-production at a searing pace? Oh, Windows, not Apple. Do people work on 15.6Ē screens, is it much better to go larger? Intel, nVidia or ARM? Graphics cards?
    Sorry, I really am very new to all this, but I want to give it a crack.

    Just to add. I have a Nikon D90, what kind of quality am I likely to get filming presentations, what are the limitations?
    Last edited by Expat; 03-11-2014 at 09:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    I have no background in video work, I’m a publisher, but a number of my clients have asked if I can produce short videos (30 minute average) of presentations given by doctors.
    Who is the target audience? Are these to be simply "records" or are they meant to keep interest. If the former, a single camera and a single take is adequate and editing is simply a case of cutting out the stumbles and pauses and dropping in any additional information (charts, captions, images etc). If the latter you'll want either two or there cameras or to get different angles or you'll want most of the film to be cutaways or relevant images. A static shot of a talking head is sure to make any audience fall asleep.
    The doctors absolutely must be good presenters in front of a camera.
    A 30 minute video will take you a long time to produce (unless it's a simple record). Don't underestimate this. Assume you're producing a 30 min video from an hour of footage. It will take you an hour just to watch the footage. Each and every cut takes a few seconds to work out exactly where, then you play back either side of the ut - it rapidly adds up. I say again - don't underestimate the time it takes to edit. And then rendering the final version takes time (although you don't need to be present) as does creating the DVD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    I’ve decided to have a go at doing this myself as it’s something I find interesting.
    Good for you. Set your sights high and understand you will miss them by miles at first but will rapidly arrive at something approaching them by examing examples that work for you, asking questions about how, trying to mimic them and just basically practicing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Venues: Almost all in doctors’ offices and small conference rooms, where there’ll be either good natural light, or none at all.
    By "none at all", do you mean no light at all or artificial light only? Be aware that natural light and tungsten light (indeed all different lights) have different colours. Someone shot lit by a window on one side and by tungsten on the other will never look right. Where you have natural light, use reflectors on the other side to bounce light back onto the subject. Very cheap!

    For situations with no natural light, if there's enough light, the same reflectors will also help. Consider getting a camera mounted LED light or a couple of them on stands as additions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Camera: I really don’t want to break the bank, but I want good enough quality for making DVDs and web based content. Good auto options would be preferable. A lens that can work in small rooms without distorting the image would be required and something that works well in low light.
    Most cameras are capable of producing acceptable quality nowadays in the right hands. Not "arty" or "cinematic" you realise, but acceptable. You will probably want one with a mic input (reduces list somewhat) and a headphone output (rare in budget cameras)

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Sound equipment: As I’ll be filming in noisy hospitals I’m assuming a lapel mic would be best, am I right? But if not then what? If so, wireless or with cable? Is it better to record directly into the camera or otherwise?
    Definitely a lapel mic. Unless you need to be miles away from the subject or the subject needs complete freedom wired would be my preference. Less to set up, less to go wrong, less chance of interference, cheaper (buy a Audio Technica ATR3550 is dirt cheap - if it does not give good enough results for you then throw it away and buy something else - at least you'll know you really needed to spend 10 x that price. Recording onto the camera saves issues with syncing inn post. Recording to a separate device (I'd recommend a Zoom H1 for a great budget digital recorder - as a bonus it has its own built in mics) does have the benefit that you now have two sound sources - external and camera so if one has a blip .... Monitor the audio. Get it right. This and other forums are full of posts from people who want to know how to clean up their sound. Even when it's possible it can take a lot of time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Tripod: I’ve got a pretty good Redsnapper tripod for use with my Nikon D90, it’s fairly heavy and solid, but would I need something more sturdy?
    so idea about the Redsnaper. Normally for video you'd want one with a "Fluid head" for smooth pans and tilts (unnecessary with stills cameras). However, if you do not plan to move the camera during the shot, a photo head will suffice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Lighting: I’d prefer to avoid this altogether, but can I bearing in mind the possibility of zero natural light in some venues? I imagine not, so what’s the bare minimum I can get away with?
    See above.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Laptop: I do have one, yes, but its old…oh so very old. What would be good specs for a replacement without having to do post-production at a searing pace? Oh, Windows, not Apple. Do people work on 15.6” screens, is it much better to go larger? Intel, nVidia or ARM? Graphics cards?
    Look for something with a Core i5 minimum. I'd never consider a laptop for editing but many, many do very successfully - the site admin for one.
    Have you thought about what editing software you might use? You will probably need to allow a bit of time getting to grips with the basics of that.

    But it's a great experience. Enjoy.
    Tim

  3. #3
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    That's a mighty good reply TS, and worth lots of experience . . . . . but perhaps OP should be teaming-up with a local Film-making club and get into Video under supervision? ie before the audience realises he's short of what they first thought they wanted.
    If he's changing to a modern PC, then he could save some money using a large TV as Monitor (using HDMI), as this can be closer to a projected image which the Audience will see.

    If OP is filming in a Hospital then the audio may suffer - lighting and general activity quite apart from poor room-acoustics mean this is almost certain to produce a poor outcome.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 03-12-2014 at 02:37 AM.

  4. #4
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    It sounds like you will be filming "grand rounds" which will include what is captured on a projection screen when the doctor is explaining diagnostic images

    i believe you will need to be able to capture the projected image and flip back and forth between the image and the doctor who is speaking

    i have used an hdmi feed from the projector into a Capture card but I'm not sure what current practice would suggest

  5. #5

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    It may be obvious but never film against your brightest light source (daylight).

  6. #6

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    Who is the target audience? Are these to be simply "records" or are they meant to keep interest. If the former, a single camera and a single take is adequate and editing is simply a case of cutting out the stumbles and pauses and dropping in any additional information (charts, captions, images etc). If the latter you'll want either two or there cameras or to get different angles or you'll want most of the film to be cutaways or relevant images. A static shot of a talking head is sure to make any audience fall asleep.
    The doctors absolutely must be good presenters in front of a camera.
    A 30 minute video will take you a long time to produce (unless it's a simple record). Don't underestimate this. Assume you're producing a 30 min video from an hour of footage. It will take you an hour just to watch the footage. Each and every cut takes a few seconds to work out exactly where, then you play back either side of the ut - it rapidly adds up. I say again - don't underestimate the time it takes to edit. And then rendering the final version takes time (although you don't need to be present) as does creating the DVD.
    The idea is to produce content for my clients to distribute to doctors on either DVDs or to view on their website. Other than a few images and captions there won't be anything needing two cameras, other than if there's a Q&A at a conference presentation (which oddly enough I've been asked to quote for this morning). I'd like to keep it simple as my clients tend to become a little grandiose if given too many options. I have a tiny bit of knowledge of the editing process...setting up timelines, cutting footage, adding elements, mainly because I've spent the last year in between a client and an editor, trying to put together a DVD from an experience starting point of zero. I realise it could take me 2 full days to edit a simple 30 minute clip, and that's fine. I have young twin boys and 2 days editing in a dark room will be paradise.

    Good for you. Set your sights high and understand you will miss them by miles at first but will rapidly arrive at something approaching them by examing examples that work for you, asking questions about how, trying to mimic them and just basically practicing.

    By "none at all", do you mean no light at all or artificial light only? Be aware that natural light and tungsten light (indeed all different lights) have different colours. Someone shot lit by a window on one side and by tungsten on the other will never look right. Where you have natural light, use reflectors on the other side to bounce light back onto the subject. Very cheap!

    For situations with no natural light, if there's enough light, the same reflectors will also help. Consider getting a camera mounted LED light or a couple of them on stands as additions.
    Some rooms will have big windows and plenty of light, some will have no windows and only artificial lighting. This is where I'm most worried, as I understand the importance of good lighting. I think it's going to be a case of lots of reading and a bit of trial and error at each venue until I've got more experience.

    Most cameras are capable of producing acceptable quality nowadays in the right hands. Not "arty" or "cinematic" you realise, but acceptable. You will probably want one with a mic input (reduces list somewhat) and a headphone output (rare in budget cameras)
    When you say "most", does that include cameras around the £300-400 mark, or am I being wildly optimistic? I'll want a 1080p HD camera, but one that can record good quality content at say a conference, from up to 30ft from the stage, but also from 6-10ft in an office setting. I've a feeling that I might be able to get away with a consumer camera in smaller offices but need to rent a prosumer model for bigger events.

    Look for something with a Core i5 minimum. I'd never consider a laptop for editing but many, many do very successfully - the site admin for one.
    Have you thought about what editing software you might use? You will probably need to allow a bit of time getting to grips with the basics of that.
    I'm not going too deep into editing at this point, I might later just for myself but not for business. The most I'll need to do is add logos, images, charts, text and graphs, and maybe subtitles. I will need to create chapters for DVDs but nothing overly complicated. I've no idea yet what software I'll need, although I'm hoping it won't be the kind that cost $1000 or so. I intend to get an up to date laptop, i5+ / 8 or 16gb ram / good graphics card etc. I'm wondering if I need the highest resolution screen possible, or what the minimum I can get away with is?
    Last edited by Expat; 03-12-2014 at 01:45 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by vidmanners View Post
    That's a mighty good reply TS, and worth lots of experience . . . . . but perhaps OP should be teaming-up with a local Film-making club and get into Video under supervision? ie before the audience realises he's short of what they first thought they wanted.
    If he's changing to a modern PC, then he could save some money using a large TV as Monitor (using HDMI), as this can be closer to a projected image which the Audience will see.

    If OP is filming in a Hospital then the audio may suffer - lighting and general activity quite apart from poor room-acoustics mean this is almost certain to produce a poor outcome.
    I live in Istanbul (I'm British), and run a publishing business, so time to team up with anyone, even if I could find them, would be difficult. I'm pretty good at bluffing my way through things...I'd never published anything before I sold my first book project to a global business. I'll find someone to blame if I screw up

    I anticipate sound problems in hospital recordings, but I think that's about managing client expectations rather than being able to do much about it. I can tell them I added sound effects for realism.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Other than a few images and captions there won't be anything needing two cameras, other than if there's a Q&A at a conference presentation (which oddly enough I've been asked to quote for this morning).
    Using different camera angles can significantly increase audience attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    When you say "most", does that include cameras around the £300-400 mark, or am I being wildly optimistic? I'll want a 1080p HD camera, but one that can record good quality content at say a conference, from up to 30ft from the stage, but also from 6-10ft in an office setting
    What about taking some test shot with the camera you already have in your own office? I guess e.g my Nikon 1 J2 would be absolutely appropriate for that job and in the desired price range. After all it's hard to say without knowing the exact lighting conditions.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLRay View Post
    What about taking some test shot with the camera you already have in your own office? I guess e.g my Nikon 1 J2 would be absolutely appropriate for that job and in the desired price range. After all it's hard to say without knowing the exact lighting conditions.
    I thought about that, but my D90 will only shoot 5 minute vids, which will upset the flow of the presentation too much. It can only shoot 720p as well, which will be enough for most uses, but there'll be times when I'll need to go higher.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    I thought about that, but my D90 will only shoot 5 minute vids, which will upset the flow of the presentation too much. It can only shoot 720p as well, which will be enough for most uses, but there'll be times when I'll need to go higher.
    Yes but you can test lighting, sound, positions, aperture, shutter, zoom.
    Tim

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