Video Foundations: Cameras and Shooting by Anthony Q. Artis (cont.)
The peaking feature for focusing highlights what objects you are focused on in the preview window by outlining them. (Also does not work well in low light). Can be built into cameras or preview monitors.
Autofocus is unreliable, so try not to use it in most situations. However, it can be helpful for complicated shots where you and the subject are moving and trying to keep focus manually would be tricky.
Shallow depth of field is where the subject is in focus, but background and foreground are out of focus. It offers a more cinematic look.
Can be used to direct the viewer’s attention, can be used to reveal new info
Depth of Field factors — size of imaging chip, focal length, aperture, distance between camera, subject, and background.
Telephoto lenses (or zooming in all the way with a zoom lens) gives you a shallower depth of field; leave it at the max telephoto setting and move your camera to focus on the object
Aperture — the lower the f-stop/more open aperature, the shallow the depth of field
Imaging chip — larger chips give you more shallow depth, CCDs (the imaging chip), DSLRs are great for this because of their large chips
Generally, the more light you have, the better the image you can capture. More light gives you more control of focus, exposure, and depth of field than shooting in low light.
You loose details when your exposure gets too high or too low
The longer the telephoto lens, typically the more light that you need to get good exposure (alternatively, the wider the lens, the less light you need). Zoom lenses light needs often depend on the zoom.
Slow lenses — require more light, are less expensive
Fast lenses — require less light, are more expensive
Larger imaging chips also capture more light, so you need less than compared to a consumer level camera
ND (neutral density) Filter — gray or colorless filters that reduce the intensity of the light, but don’t change the color of the image. Use when it is too bright (like when shooting outside on a sunny day). Feature often built into cameras, but can also come as a separate filters that attach to your camera.
ND filters allow you to shoot at a wider F stop without over exposing your shot.
Graduated filters are similar to ND filters, but typically only apply to half of the shot, which prevents your sky from becoming blown out.
Zebra Stripes are a feature that add animated, diagonal striping to the parts of your shot that are over exposed, which can help you better determine exposure on small screen
Access settings, and set Zebra Stripes to %100
You don’t typically want to adjust your exposure so that you remove all Zebra Stripes
If you’re only getting stripes on the sky portion of your shoot, that’s a good time to use a graduated filter (or recompose the shot)
You can use gain to brighten an underexposed shot, but it will introduce noise (since it’s trying to add detail where there is none)
The longer the shutter stays open (1/48), the blurrier the moving objects and brighter the shot will be
The inverse is true for a shorter shutter speed (1/1000)
For a natural look, your shutter speed should typically be about twice of your frame rate (24fps, 1/48 shutter speed)
You can also brighten your shots by slightly lowering the shutter speed a few ticks below where it should be for a natural look, since more light will be let into the lens
Is not as destructive as increasing gain, and only adds slightly more blur to the shot
All light has a color temperature. Your white balance function tries to accommodate the color temperature of the light to get it to more closely match your eyes.
Try to white balance any time the lighting changes (you change location, you turn lights on or off, the ambient lighting has shifted)
You get what you pay for with tripods, so don’t be afraid to invest the money up front.
Keep in mind weight capacity (and the potential weight of your camera and auxiliary equipment)
Quick release plate
When shooting handheld, try to keep the zoom as wide as possible and physically move to change the shot. Also, brace your arm against your side both to keep the camera steady, but to increase how long you can maintain that position
Five Rules to Avoid Bad Audio
- Get the mic as close as possible
- Always use headphones
- Monitor the levels on the camera
- Scout locations for sound
- Always record room tone (background noise)\
Types of Mic Pickup Patterns
Omnidirectional — mics that pick up sounds in all directions equally
Cardioid — mics that pick up sound in a heart shaped pattern (wide base, point), have 1-5 ft range
Hyper-Cardioid — (aka shotgun mics), sim to cardioid mics, but highly directional, great for isolation
Types of Microphones
Boom Mics — mics mounted on a long pole, typically use shotgun mics, good for multiple or moving subjects
Handheld Mics — held in hand, easy to use, typically cardioid but sometimes shotgun
Lavalier Mics — (aka lapel mics) crucial to business or entertainment interviews, often omnidirectional (because they are so close to the chest, throat, and mouth)
Condenser Mics — require power, often through a XLR connected to a camera (phantom power)
Dynamic Mics — do not require power, (ensure phantom power is turned off)
For a DSLR camera, you will need to either use a dynamic mic, a condenser mic with an adaptive power source, or a cheaper condenser mix that uses a standard audio jack
Remember, always set up and test your audio, as many issues can’t be fixed in post.
For a boom mic, know where your frame line is, set a corresponding reference point in the room, and then keep the mic’s axis correct. (If you have multiple speakers, tilt the mic to focus on the current speaker, or split the difference if there is too much overlap)
Frenel (sp) lights — a lens that softens the light, has a “hood” to help direct the light, and often includes controls that help to narrow or widen the focus of the light
Open-Faced Light — lack a lens, but have reflectors to bounce the light, often can adjust the bulb inside to get more control over the light
China Ball/Chinese Lanterns — a typically paper lantern, collapsable, soften standard lights and can be combined with a dimmer to increase the level of control
Fluorescent light — lightweight, bright, and energy efficient
LED Light — bright, energy efficient, lower heat output, last longer, easily dimmable, but expensive.
Practical Light — any location light fixture that is used to actually light the scene (lamps, overhead lights, etc.) can also add dimmers, filters, gels, etc like with any other light
Reflectors — used to reflect lights, also come in umbrella forms (which are typically softer)
Consider brightness, color temperature, intensity (hardness/softness) when lighting your scenes; remember that if you are not in control of your lighting, then you are not truly lighting your scene
Four Point Lighting Setup
Set up your camera first, cause then you will actually be able to understand what your shot will look like while you are setting up. Ideally have your subject there while you set up to light, though another person will do if not possible
Try to use heavy duty extension cords and heavy leather gloves; keep the lights away from anything flammable. Never cover the top or heat vents of a light.
Start with keylight (primary light) typically above and slightly to the side of the subject. The more central the light, the more you flatten the face; the more from the side, the harsher the shadows.
Use a reflector to the side to brighten the shadows (fill light, can also be actual light)
Cut off keylight, then turn on backlight/hair light, which is typically set mostly behind and slightly above the subject (helps separate the subject from the background)
Turn the backlight off, turn on background light (which lights the background behind the subject)
Corrective gels — can be used to offset the color temperature of the lights, can be clipped onto lights or lights or set into separate frames; also comes in diffused variety to soften the light; all gels reduce the level of light to some extent, so you will need to compensate for that.