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Anime London
08-20-2006, 12:11 AM
Since I bought my miniDV camcorder (Samsung SC-D353), I've been taking video pretty well non-stop this summer. It's been a (re)learning curve for me since I had been volunteer for Cablecast (Community cable).

I wonder what has been other people experiences switching from digital camera (still photography) to video?

For me, it was a chore of sifting through the footage finding what worked and what was useable footage to post. Also (maybe better for another thread) trying to record something like a masquerade with a single camcorder. Tripod is a must unless you can hold a camcorder for two hours solid.

Ashurachan
08-20-2006, 02:03 AM
I in fact switched from video to photography ^^; I filmed masquerades and singing contests for a few years, but lost interest since (I did not have the courage to edit it after the con anyway). Now I only (rarely) hold a camera for movie projects with friends (I prefer to act anyway).

The first year I was in the Japan Expo staff (Japan Expo = biggest con in France), in 2002, I spent the con editing the "shinbun TV" - that is, a small report each day that showed what had happened the previous one, and that was showed in the main amphitheater. It was a great experience, but tiring (kinda spent the whole day on my computer, editing, then capturing, then editing again). If some of you are interested, the result is here (http://www.ashura.org/japanexpo.html) (the first link is a video showing how the costume of the mascot was made, by a cosplayer friend of mine, that was shown just before the masquerade ; then you have the report shown on friday, showing the installation - I also filmed this part - then the one shown on saturday, with footage from the first day of the con, and the last is the one shown on sunday, with the some of best moments of the masquerade and a few other things).

Anime London
08-20-2006, 06:13 PM
I must admit video was for the most part intimidating since it takes the most time, the most webspace and the most bandwidth. However with YouTube it has lead to a better exposure for the club's website.

It did take about a month on how best to process and encode the video for Anime North. I'm still learning shortcuts and new software. It has come with it's benifits both for cons and other events. The hardest part is each miniDV tape (60min) equates to 12-13 gigs of drive space but I am working better.

Some people complained that I cut MC's comments out but with only one camera I kept stage centre and relied on MC's comments for titling info later.

I do admit that shooting and posting in 24 hours period a killer way to spend a con. I would try it but only with a staff of videographers and editors. You shoud try posting these to YouTube and save your bandwidth. :)

My videos are found here.... http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=AnimeLondon
so you can see how I edited for web.

Ashurachan
08-21-2006, 02:25 AM
Wow, the whole masquerade in small bits. You do have patience :)

I know the problem with the space DV requires... I've had the rushes of a movie sleeping on a hard drive for years... The movie is about 20-25 minutes long, so there are something like 3 to 4 hours waiting for me to finish the damn thing. 60 gigs I could free if I were less lazy with my editing >_<

Actually bandwidth is not that much of a problem (I don't pay my hosting based on bandwidth) - it's more the space it all takes. There are a couple of masquerade videos I've been wanting to put online for ages but it's heavy, and I already have a big amount of cosplay photos to host.

chocoborancher
08-21-2006, 05:03 AM
I've done my fair share of video & editing of masquerade videos (and even have one hosted right now from my last convention, successfully drawing 15.88GB within the last 5 weeks)

As for my new camera (had to replace my old Digital 8, DCR-TRV120 with a new, flashy 3-chip model ) it runs about 4 hours on a battery so runtime is ok, I would reccommend using a longer running tape like the professional 63 minute tapes. Tripods and shotgun mics are almost required materials, they aid in the stability and audio clarity of the production.

For editing, I do notice that the data used by an entire cosplay in raw DV format will run about a 25-30GB chunk off the old hard disk, but with modern hard drives this isn't an issue. For web compression, I still swear by RealProducer Basic 11. (a 30 minute chunk only occupies about 100MB of disk space if done properly) Posting video within 24 hours is next to impossible (even with a pack of 3 servers doing nothing but rendering video)
Generally I get the stuff online within 2 weeks of event.

As for file hosting, there are a variety of free (or next to free) hosting services that will allow posting of individual files up to a certain size. The drawbacks with some of these is the lack of FTP uploads. Just make certain that the hyperlinks are absolutly correct...

Ashurachan
08-21-2006, 06:30 AM
The problem with free file sharing services is that they're generally not permanent, and for my website I want things to be. Free web hosting platforms either have tons of advertising, or just delete accounts with big video files (free.fr does this almost all the time when you use a lot of bandwidth).
It's pretty annoying for people who want to share movies they've made ; my production team has to pay for a professionnal webhosting service, just because we want to make our movies available for download with a decent quality.

Anime London
08-21-2006, 10:58 PM
I've encountered no problems yet with YouTube and if you want to avoid the hassle of people visiting their site you can embed the videos in your own page. Though I've yet to do this.

As for space, last con, Anime North put 27 gig of raw data on my drive. With over two hours of masquerade, it trimmed alot on the videos to bare cosplay skits themselves. Titling helped and I worked on a template for the most of it.
Finished compression worked to 122 megs compressed WMV 320x120 high quality. Forget about hosting that much bandwidth.

If I was cover the whole con with camcorder like Ashurachan, I still wouldn't have anything done.

I can see a con taking more than two weeks to plow through. It took me about 6. Most of that with trying to decide what to do about the DV. It did take me about a week and half to get through 715 pictures. Some I didn't post in favour of the better picture. Con report was easier since I just email notes from my cellphone then retrieved them after the con was done.

Still video is a killer and I have STILL 5 tapes full of video to go through of other stuff. :P

Hikaruchan
08-22-2006, 12:20 AM
I am mainly a photographer, but I have been taping for years. Recently I have finally started to capture and upload video to youtube once I found how easy it was with that site. http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=Olafsdotter is what I have uploaded so far. Since I am just one person, my camera comes first before the videocamera - so sometimes there is a lag of me getting action on tape as I am taking a shot with camera first. If I had more people with me it would be nice to run the videocamera more.

Anime London
08-22-2006, 10:56 AM
With only two batteries, I tend to save my camcorder for the masquerade than for regular con stuff. I've ordered a third. If I do take video during the rest of the con, it's usually with the digital camera in movie mode.

A large part of this post is to bring out the videographers and to share stuff they discovered. We're more than just vidiots. ;)

The question on wheither people are getting pass the usual footage and actually interviewing people.

TomodachiFriend
08-22-2006, 05:07 PM
I am currently thinking about bringing a video camera instead of a still camera to my next convention. I'm just not sure which is best for me to enjoy a convention. For those who have made the switch from photography to video for conventions, what was your experience like?

By the way, I will be using the Sony HVR-Z1U (http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/DisplayModel?m=0&p=2&sp=141&id=78439), which is bigger than the average consummer camera. This is somewhat of a concern if I'm going to be sitted during the masquerade.

Anime London
08-22-2006, 08:40 PM
One thing you'll need is a tripod. Holding a camcorder steady for 2 hours is no joy .. let alone 2 minutes. You might not think there is room for a tripod in seating... wrong. What people don't realize is you don't have to spread out the legs of tripod all the way to make it stable. Also having it wedge between the chair and your legs adds stability.

If you're in row seating, I suggest isle seat so you have room to move if someone wants out. Raise the camcorder as high as your hand can still control the camcorder comfortably. NOW check with those sitting few rows behind you if you're blocking anyone view. Have fresh tapes with 30 seconds blanked beforehand. Have FRESH batteries and make sure you have them and spare tapes in one spot... prefereably pocket to themselves. Changing tapes,DVDr and batteries totally different in the dark.

Now the camera. Most digital camcorders also have still features which can record onto tape or flash memory like Memory Stick or Secure Digital. Some are 4 or 5 megapixels. You think this would put them at par with digital cameras but I've been told different. The CCD might be 4 Mp but the hardware is geared to capturing video images.

Best way to 'try before you buy' is to get small size flash memory and card reader then go to a store and ask if you can take some pictures using your media. You should check before you go out and get a memory ... there is several types of the same memory. Mine will take MS and MS Pro but not MS Pro Duo. You should ask the clerk first if they're up to this. I also checked with a friend who had miniDV camcorder for his thoughts on the model which I ended up buying.

One thing you must ask yourself is 'what do you want to record' with this camcorder. Obviously the masquerade but the movie function of your digital camera might be good enough with enough memory to record around the con stuff you might want short clips. Keep in mind that the FIRST of something you haven't own before as your learner. I have been out since Anime North, trying new things ... learning from my mistakes before the next con. with camcorders using flash memory, I can shoot tons of stuff without wasting tape. Better alternative to toasting an entire miniDVDr in those that use them to find the lenscap was on. O_O

It's pointless to spend thousands of dollars on something you'll use once. Keep in mind that accessories like tapes, extra batteries, tripod (unless you already own one) will run anywhere from a third to half of the price of the unit overall. Sometimes even more.

( Please note part of this is my usual ramble on this subject but I'll let others fill in.)

Anime London
08-22-2006, 11:31 PM
Adding from my experience of only one con...

The real problem you will find is you can't capture everything. Particularly if you're sitting in a seat far back or too close. It limits your angles. If you can talk to masquerade staff and ask if you can scout the hall for location or if there is an event sometime prior then fine. At least you can get an idea of what to expect. Nothing like going in cold turkey.

What I found that you should just hit record and go with it. After you realize that you should be recording, there is another 2 seconds before the tape kicks in. I lost more footage by trying to stop and start.

A masquerade is for more than one camera. I gave up trying to zoom back to the MC and just kept stage centre. I still recorded his voice for details to be added to titling afterward. No one is quick on the zoom to pop out from MC to stage then onto cosplayers on stage. You have to decide before what type of footage you're after. I ended with alot of waste footage but that was MC introducing the acts which were edited into titling and later into to post in descriptions on YouTube.

Another thing that totally screwed up the video was autofocus. It kept 'autofocusing' throughout the skits. Stage lighting will wash out your subjects depending on how good the lighting crew is. Chances are not good.

White and Black balance. Of course, if you have ANY expereince with the camera you have, you'll know. If not, I suggest volunteering for community cablecast as a means to get experience.

A question you should ask yourself is 'Are you comfortable carrying all this equipment and keeping an eye on it 24/7 for every second?'

Camera thief should be a concern ... especially for a camera of that value. I got a strap for my tripod. The only thing is camcorder while using a digital camera. Of course, for the masquerade you won't be using the camera.

You can check my editted footage to see how well things worked for me.

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=AnimeLondon

No doubt you'll see more errors than the ones I mentioned.

TomodachiFriend
08-23-2006, 12:22 AM
Thanks for the tips. My next convention is in Toronto and the AMV competition is held in the same theater as the masquerade. I'm bored by AMV's but I'll use the occasion to scout for a good place.

The way I imagine it, videotaping a con should be easier than going to every cosplayer I see and asking them to pose for a picture. Anyway, can't wait to try, since it'll be the first time I cover an event for my own pleasure.

Ashurachan
08-23-2006, 01:00 AM
That's a very, very nice camera you have... I envy you :P

I suggest you also bring a still camera, provided you have a safe place to keep the HDV when you don't need to use it. The reason why I switched to photography is that I used the still features of my miniDV a lot more than planned... and well, a still camera is way easier to carry around.
One thing I've noticed in the past : when filming the masquerade, I was more comfortable not sitting. Very often I was in an alley, or behind the attendance - somewhere I did not disturb too much and had a good view ; but if you want to do that, ask the staff first...

Things you may want to film, apart from the masquerade : panels, concerts, masquerade backstage, cosplayer interviews (can be fun if you have a friend to ask the silly questions while you film), karaoke/singing contests...

Anime London
08-23-2006, 10:53 AM
Thanks for the tips. My next convention is in Toronto and the AMV competition ...

Chances are I will see you.. particularly with that camera. I will be attending CN Anime or Fan Expo Canada as the main event is called now.

The real problem is you have to get a sepreate ticket for masquerade. I got turned away last year and the line up is brutal for masquerade. The theatre is the best. It's the one used for Canadian Idol so lighting isn't a problem as other convention improv stage setups. You can get excellent shots even from the balcony. Keep in mind it's a wide stage.

You can check out my pictures and videos from that con from two years ago to get an idea. I was balcony front row to the left side. Yes there was a post there which got into one of my shots.

http://www.animelondon.ca/cosplay/CNA2004/masqV.html
http://www.animelondon.ca/cosplay/CNA2004/masqF.html
http://www.animelondon.ca/cosplay/CNA2004/masqD.html

Scenes from 2003
http://www.animelondon.ca/cosplay/cna2003/index2.html
http://www.animelondon.ca/cosplay/CNA2003/index.html with stage and crowd pictures

Hopefully these give you a better idea of the theatre.

EndlessFelicity
08-23-2006, 04:45 PM
I recently directed to video taping of a local Idaho convention, Fandemonium.

I rented several 3-CCD cameras and got 2 volunteers, each with their own 3-CCD camera, to video tape every event and panel. I'm still editing the over 60 hrs of events. With 90 minutes a tape, each one comes out to about 20gigs. I had to order a second HDD, a 500 gig drive, to finish.

So far I've got the Grand Cosplay up on Google Video (I prefer google video because you don't have to cut your videos up into 100 meg sections)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7618603620788736274&q=ichidan

I learned alot from this convention, and I'll be doing the same thing for Anime Oasis in March.

As for advice for filming while sitting in the audience. A unipod is a life saver. Its basically a straight stick that screws into the bottom of your camera, but it allows you to balance the camera on the floor for more stable shots.

I'm at work right now, but I can put up some more snippets of advice later on.

Anime London
08-23-2006, 08:46 PM
I've yet to plug stuff into Google Video. Splitting up the masquerade into seperate entries on YouTube did allow better spread so searches since it tailored each keyword search to what was happen in each entry.

I have used a unipod and I hated it. Yes, it's stable but you have to still hold it steady for 2 hours. I did this for shorter masquerades at other events with poor results. It does stop vertical movement but tilting is their one down fall.

You can get unipods or monopods with legs that stablize but they're expensive, legs will get caught in the chairs around. Downfall if theatre seating. Also they will NOT support the camera unaided.

Another downfall is no hot shoe. You can unclick your camcorder fairly quickly and get it in the camera bag before the crowd in the row you're seating will want to get out after the masquerade. When it's over, people who have less equipment want to leave now. Which is why you should consider an isle seating. You have room to move your tripod into the isle too allow others to leave quickly.

From a previous post, you don't need to extend the legs fully to use a tripod in isle seating. In fact, it gave me more height so I didn't have to extend the camera by too much.

Obviously you captured alot. maybe TOO much. I try to trim segements as I go to catogorize then back them onto DVDr then edit from DVDR to drive. Easy when it's something short as each entry of the masquerade.

EndlessFelicity
08-23-2006, 10:20 PM
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/steadycam/
I made one of those awhile back, but realized that my tripod could be used in a similar manner.

The benifit in your situation is the weight at the bottom. Make the extended bar version, then you can set it down, and it should minimize your shake. Its really only any good if you have some kind of optical camera shake compensator (digital isn't really any good imho).

As for sound, a simple battery powered shotgun condenser hooked up to your camera will give you vastly superior sound.

I had an advantage at Fandemonium in regaurds to camera location, I pretty much had my pick of locations, though the best angles turned out to be near the back doors on the far right and left of the auditorium, just set up on a tripod and stand with the camera.

Anime London
08-24-2006, 12:22 AM
As for sound, a simple battery powered shotgun condenser hooked up to your camera will give you vastly superior sound.
I was wondering about that... what are people's expereinces with external microphones with camcorders. How much and how good?

Of course, there are different situations like interviews as oppose to just picking up the audience. How narrow is this shotgun condenser worth in use and value?

EndlessFelicity
08-24-2006, 01:48 AM
Any external microphone of even minimal quality is usualy vastly superior to the camera internal mic. Search on Froogle (http://froogle.google.com/froogle?hl=en&sa=N&resnum=0&q=shotgun%20condenser&tab=wf)

Just make sure you have the correct port for it on your camera, usually you'll need an XLR adapter.

Ashurachan
08-24-2006, 03:57 AM
Internal mics are generally crappy, so adding one is a very good investment, especially if you plan on interviewing people.

EndlessFelicity
08-24-2006, 05:02 PM
Another rule of thumb is that an external mic sounds better when its not attached to the camera. I know its too much to ask in a situation where you don't have your pick of seats and you're in a crowded auditorium. In the Kingdom Hearts play, I had a camera off to the side in front of the stage with the powered shotgun condenser attached to it, but mounted on a stand a few feet to its side.

In interview situations, its good to have a hand held or lapel mic.

TomodachiFriend
08-24-2006, 09:30 PM
That really depends on how you attach the mic. With a shock mount, most vibrations are eliminated. Prices range from $30 to a few hundreds.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=225809&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

Anime London
09-09-2006, 03:44 AM
I survived Fan Expo. I think I spotted Tomodaichifriend with his high end camera during the masquerade. I didn't feel like leaving my gear to go up and talk. In the end, I didn't use my hemisphere wide angle lens I got for my camcorder . I got it used for $20 can. the adaptor ring cost another 12 bucks.

Disappointment as the theatre wasn't used. Room seating was okay. Got a good spot though I had to sit in line for over 2 hours.

I improved on switching batteries and tapes. The hall, not the theatre it was in last year, was lit during the show. I with three batteries, I didn't wait until the battery died to change them. I waited until after a skit finished then quickly switched stuff.

Isle seating is a MUST for those with tripods. You need to get your gear aside as people file through to leave .. immediately as the show ends. Having a quick release and a waiting shouldered camera bag was important. I practically didn't have time to quick release and stash before the crowd started moving.

Key folks, as MC starts giving his final remarks after the last entry (or even before), pack any unused gear and prepare to move. You can throw your pack on your seat. Quick release, lens caps, stash the camcorder in the bag then move the tripod quickly out of the isle. You don't want to be moving a tripod with an expensive camcorder in a mob of people moving every which way. Best spot for the tripod is right beside your seat in the isle with you standing there with it. Wait for the crowd to thin before breaking down the tripod.

One problem with that is everyone wants to walk straight through you and wonder why you won't move. Stick to you guns and they'll move around you.

TomodachiFriend
09-10-2006, 02:38 AM
Who you saw was someone else. I didn't bring any video camera with me because I knew in advance how it would be set up by visiting the CN Anime board here on Cosplay.com. I only took a few pictures before deciding that it wasn't worth it and tried to focus entirely on enjoying the show instead. Anyway, I'm happy with the few pictures I got from the rest of the con.

Anime London
09-26-2006, 12:59 AM
I did manage to get a seat right beside the camera man to the left.

It taking alot more time to prep the video this time. Largely due to I injured my wrist on a roofing job which just healed now.

Capturing live action, unscripted event requires paying attention to what is going on stage as well what is happening on your view screen. I had my camera alittle too high which made running the zoom tedious. Lighting sucked. Audio has echo form the room.

I could spend months fixing it all or just let it rip. One camcorder event hardly worth spending weeks on fixing. If I was going to put effort and money into really taping an event, I need minimum of two camcorders, two people, decent mics and headsets link wireless. Since I make no money at this, it just enough to record straight then post.

I would consider maybe teaming with a group of vidographers to organize events like Anime North or Fan Expo Canada next year. I can't be everywehre but if someone is covering the cosplay chess or interviewing a voice actor it be nice for the group to link it together online and reduce some reduncany. Everyone would remain independant and edit their segment.

Youtube has groups which make such colaboration possible.

I setup a single group http://www.youtube.com/group/cosplay4ever but I can see subgroups which YouTube doesn't have at this moment.