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Thread: Some help creating simple videos please

  1. Default Some help creating simple videos please

    Hi all,
    Iím after some advice please. Iíd like to be able to create relatively simple videos kind of similar to this but with a different subject:
    https://youtu.be/KXNIx4sfzns?t=18

    Static shots in usually relatively well lit spaces
    Interviews in the space with audio mostly overlayed with the above footage
    The endgoal is simply to upload the videos to YouTube.

    But I know nothing about video! None of the shots are complicated and my main criteria is to have a simple and small setup because Iím going to be travelling around the world with just a backpack. For the time being Iíd be happy with static shots, so unless anyone suggests otherwise would plan to just have a small tripod with me rather slides, gimbals etc.

    My main questions are:
    Camera
    Microphone
    Software

    Camera Ė Iím looking for a small and portable setup. Currently I own a Sony RX100 Mk2, Iíd be happy to upgrade to any of the newer generations no problem: would it be silly to try and attempt filming something like this on such a camera? Iím not massively opposed to buying something slightly bigger if it would make a big difference, like one of the A7 series but only if using something smaller would be difficult: remember I only have very limited space.

    Microphones - I know nothing about them! Any microphone suggestions please for shooting this type of thing? Only one person as a time needs to be recorded, would a clip-on type be best? Am I best having one connected to the camera? Or do people often record audio entirely separately?

    Finally, software:
    Most of these cameras can record in 4k, which would seem prudent to use if possible. The problem though is that I have a 2012 MBP with 16GB RAM and SSD (and secondary HDD), I canít even view 4k on it: would the idea of rendering roughly 5 minute long 4k videos on it be possible?

    Most of what I want to be able do is very simple cuts, not making a featurelength film. The only thing at all complicated that ideally Iíd like to do is add text and some arrows: for time being only to static shots rather than tracking during motion. In terms of software what would this be a good starting point? I have iMovie already but from what Iíve seen you canít easily add overlayed objects like arrows. Iíve seen some posts on here and elsewhere mentioning things like Resolve, what would you recommend for a simple project like this?

    So many questions! I donít wish to overcomplicate things to the point that I never start but a push in the right direction to get it going would be great. Thank you for any help

  2. Default

    If the talker is going to be shown then you need a clip on mic. At a given price point a wired mic is generally going to be better quality than a wireless. I'd recommend using a dedicated audio recorder, something that has XLR mic inputs. If on a very tight budget you could probably make do with one with a 1/8" TRS input work, though it would be best to get a mic designed for that connector.

    Still cameras can be quite good for that kind of interview style. You may have to contend with duration limitations, restarting the recording every 8(?) minutes or so. I have no idea how your camera would perform. Actual video cameras do have some advantages, though I'm not sure those would come into play for this.

    I don't know if you'll want to dedicate any space to this, but some kind of lighting may come in handy. There are fairly compact LED video lights available.

    I use Magix Vegas Pro. There are lots of other editors out there. A newish one which seems to be popular is DaVinci Resolve.

  3. Default

    Thanks so much for your help!

    I'll look into the mic options you've suggested.

    I think the duration limits for stills cameras should be fine, most of the shots are going to be under 20 seconds long, and I don't need video footage for most of the interview, it'll largely just be audio for this. Plus the plan is for the whole videos to be 5 minutes long at most.

    Thanks for the lighting suggestion, I'll look at the options. The main subject, and purpose of the videos, is to shoot high-end home aquariums for which they should already be well lit, but for the interviews it may be useful.

    Thanks also for the software suggestions. Do you have any comments about the scope of me being able to edit 4k footage on such an old laptop? Or conversely whether it would even be worth bothering with for playback on YouTube? I don't own any devices which play 4k footage yet feel I live behind the normal adoption curve!

  4. Default

    An old laptop will probably choke on 4k video. My beefy desktop starts to reduce preview frame rate when I start doing color correction or other heavy image processing in HD (2k). Since you're doing something where visuals are central, it might be worth going for 4k.

  5. Default

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your help. I've done some tests this afternoon with an embarrassingly simply setup to get to grips with the whole process, certainly I have a long way to go but am pleased to make a start. Lots more research and practice required. Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Default

    Whist I think bouldersoundguy is probably correct for your application, you might prefer the more natural sound of a boom mic just out of shot - clip on mics (lavaliers) can sound a bit too dry. Fine for a shot in a room with lots of soft furnishings and curtains, but might
    sound too dead in a room like we see here. Of course you could also mix in some audio from a secondary source to give a bit of environment ambience. However a boom mic requires an operator or another stand (if the subject is static) and it's more in your kit....
    as are lights! But the first think I thought when i saw the example was how well lit it is and I totally agree with boldersoundguy. (He does a lot of filming gigs in far from ideal lighting environments and so knows the problems only too well).

    All cameras love light. If you wnat to make your shots look professional, use plenty of light and be very careful of different colour temperatures. Indoor light does not usually work well with natural light. Look at 18s in the example. The light on the floor and around the window has a very definate blue/violet tint whereas the other light in the room here has a a warmer, creamy tint. In real life your eye/brain compensates for this and you don't notice, buta camera's sensors don't do this for you.

    In the example it is perfectly fine - the shot is designed to show plenty of natural light and the blue temperature actually works to illustrate this. However, if you were shooting an interview subject in a window and filled the shadows with an icandescent light, you'd find a weird mix of orange/blue. Of course you can buy bulbs in "daylight" colours, put gels on the lights or (preferred and cheapest, if there is enough light) use a big reflector to reflect the daylight back. My point is not to make you think how complex this all is, but to help you understand some of the problems we're all faced from time to time and make you think of them beforehand so you can have a productive shoot.

    The RX100 II is a great camera. You can even get some shallow depth of field with it. The sensible option is to invest in lights and audio kit - but that's not as much fun as buying a new camera
    Tim

  7. Default

    Tim, thank you so much!

    Perhaps I should add some more context for the actual subject: they'll be high-end aquariums within homes, sorry for not elaborating earlier. This is a pretty representative video of the subject, though I do want to emulate the style of the architecture video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToSzDI9PPWQ

    I have a decent understanding of photography principles so what you're saying about mixing colour temperatures and light makes sense to me.

    I have three visuals in mind:
    1. Wide shots of the aquarium in the room, like in that video. Shooting this with as much light as is available would make sense to me, ideally using what's there to capture it representatively though I take on board your concerns. Reflections, though a concern shouldn't be too bad since for these shots the details of the aquarium aren't critical.
    2. Closeups of the aquarium itself, ideally at night with only the aquarium lights on to avoid reflections for example:
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/cf/eb...9133963678.jpg
    Digital noise may be an issue if it's too dark, I've not pushed the RX100 II to the limits with video in less than ideal situations. I'm pleased to hear you rate it. I sadly can't add more light to these shots and no longer have an aquarium myself so the only way to find out is to try it!
    3. The interview with the owner. I should add that this isn't the focus of the video though I'd like at least 15 seconds of footage introducing them. This is the shot I think where the lighting issues you discuss would be most pressing. I'd hope in most homes I could find an angle which would work with the lighting which is there but it may require more thought.

    For audio thanks for your suggestions. Being in peoples' front rooms I'd hope most have enough soft furnishings for a lavalier to work, since from my research so far this would seem to be the most compact solution with small and simple being pivotal to this project being feasible. Recording some background environmental audio is a good shout. When I started looking at microphones yesterday I saw that it's possible to buy lavaliers which plug directly in to a phone for recording, seemingly reducing the kit I'd need to carry (big plus): is this is a big no-no? I don't know much about A/V but I do know that decent audio recordings are imperative and want to invest in whatever will help me reach my goal, it's just that literally only have a 40l backpack with me travelling around the world: any weight I can shed is a big bonus!

    Thank you both again, I feel much more comfortable with it all than I did a few days ago
    Last edited by jeff127; 01-04-2020 at 11:06 PM.

  8. Default

    A phone is not a good tool for professional audio recording. Neither is a camera. Get a dedicated audio recorder.

  9. Default

    That's what I needed to know, thank you!

  10. #10
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    On the subject of recording audio, it's very easy, when recording in homes to miss background noise. The brain filters it out. Good close-fitting headphones can help here. I'm frequently surprised by the level of noise when I put headphones on. Once I've heard it on them it becomes obvious when I take them off, but, as I say, the brain fiters it out. I'd recommend donning and removing headphones frequently (not while recording, obviously) to check for odd sounds.
    Another thing to watch for is electrical stuff in the house inducing hum or other interference in the cable from the mic to the recorder. Here a balanced cable (XLR connectors) should help - but add to the cost (cheaper lav mics do not come with balanced cables). I look at those tanks and think "lights", "transformers" "pumps". Of course one way to mitigate is to avoid using any of the audio from the shots of the tanks but dub something suitable that you've recorded in a more controlled fashion. Record the interview sections away from the potential problem areas. There is a reason vitually none of the audio you hear in feature films is recorded on set at the time of filming!

    As with all these things I'm not suggesting you don't record audio around the tanks at the same time as filming, It's just useful to be aware of potential pitfalls so you are able to mitigate if they do appear. Far better than discioering the problem when you're back home editing.

    I'm sure bouldersoundguy has many more pointers.
    Tim

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