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12-26-2010, 12:01 PM   #1
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Christmas 2010 - A K-5 video

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season!

Yesterday was the first time that my wife or I have been away from family for the holidays. So, since we were on our own in Colorado, we decided to make a video of our Christmas morning to share with family and friends, and are also sort of using it as our Christmas card to people, since we never sent one out.

This is also the first complete piece that I've shot with the K-5, besides a bunch of random test clips. Everything was shot in a quick manner throughout the morning, just grabbing clips here and there, with very loose rough cut in my head of how I wanted things to end up. Genny was more interested in the aspect of sharing our Christmas with family, while I of course took it as a great opportunity to play around with all sorts of camera movements and other techniques. So we both win.

Hope you all enjoy and have a great 2011!


Shot with the K-5, 14/2.8, 55/1.4, 50-135/2.8, and 100/2.8 macro.

Cheers!

12-26-2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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Cool! Very cool indeed!
12-26-2010, 12:11 PM   #3
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Nice video! Merry Christmas! BTW- Your kids are going to have great teeth!
Regards!
12-26-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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Very nice, and thanks for sharing! I thought some of the focus techniques were quite interesting - were they hard to do?

Merry Christmas!

Glenn

12-26-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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Thanks, guys!
12-26-2010, 04:33 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
Nice video! Merry Christmas! BTW- Your kids are going to have great teeth!
Regards!
Thanks. I assume that you are saying we have nice teeth, or something? Which is funny, because both of are rows of bottom teeth are super jacked. But neither of us show them when we smile. Haha.
12-26-2010, 04:52 PM   #7
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THAT is awesome!!! The more video I see the more inspired I get to shoot more. Great job you camera movement is so fluid. What's your secret?
12-26-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
Very nice, and thanks for sharing! I thought some of the focus techniques were quite interesting - were they hard to do?

Merry Christmas!

Glenn
Thanks, Glenn.

When I started getting into DSLR video, which was like yesterday, I had the same immediate question that every other photographer turned videographer had. Which is, 'How the heck do you focus during a video?'. As photographers, we're so used to the notion of auto focus, and it came as a bit of a mind blower when I learned that nearly everything you see on the big screen or on TV is manually focused. But professional film crews also have 3-4 people manning one camera, and it is usually ones person's entire job just to pull focus. They also have a Follow Focus device, which is much smoother to control than the focus ring on a lens, and typically have their own monitor. They also do thing like use marks on the ground the correspond with premarked marks on the follow focus, so they can track moving subjects, use measuring tapes to get distances perfectly accurate, prefocus on certain objects and make corresponding marks on the follow focus and rehearse certain move before the actual take.

All that to say that focus in video is pretty tough. Most of the stuff available to traditional format film crews is by now available to the DSLR crowd, but is pretty expensive. I plan on working my way up to all of that in the near future. But in the meantime, the best thing is practice, and understanding various techniques. The reason why there are usually 3-4 people on a camera is that there is just so much going on, that doing it all at once is nearly impossible for one person. When you've got a camera getting pushed on a dolly, while making pan/tilt movement while trying to maintain focus on a moving subject, trying to do it all by yourself results in all of those operations being pretty chunky and inaccurate. It take full concentration on any one of those things to get them really smooth and perfect.

So while I'd would love to have a follow focus, external monitors, and 2 assistants (wouldn't actually want them at christmas...) and hope to have all that someday, I don't yet. So like many things in photography that are typically not as ideal as we would like them to be, it's all about creatively finding ways to make things work. If I can't do all of those movements at once by myself, then I will limit myself to as many as I can accomplish well. And there's nothing that says cameras must be moving in every way possible for every shot. Many great moments in film involve a stationary camera. I would consider this movie to have way to much camera movement, but it was mostly just a chance to practice various movements; and since it's doesn't really have a story flow to interrupt, it can get away with it.

I've found that I can right now perform any two movements together with relative success. A dolly and a pan, and pan and a tilt, and tilt and a focus shift, a dolly and a focus shift. Throw three movements in there and it stars getting pretty choppy. Throw a fourth in and it's a train wreck. So I was mostly just experimenting with 1 or 2 movements at a time to see what's cool.

Since pulling focus is hard on a 3" screen while moving the camera, you'll notice that a lot of the shots in there are pre-focused., which is something film crews do a lot. Many of the dolls push-ins, I would pushing to my final framing, then focus how I wanted, then mark where the wheels are on the dolly track, then back up the rig, and push it into that spot of focus. That is how I did the low macro shot of the four coasters with the map on them. Other times, like the shot of the book, I would start with the lens unfocused, then tilt up while sliding the focus in to place. With any of the shots, it really just comes down to practice. Somewhat practicing ahead of time and building skills, but more so, just practicing each shot. Bot of the trickier focus shots, I probably rehearsed a few times right before, and then would still do 4 or 5 takes, trying to get it perfect. And since the film is free, you can just keep trying the shot until you nail it.

There are many ways to get around the difficulty of focus in video, and I would say that it's equal parts understanding techniques, practicing techniques, and having the right/best equipment. It's the cheapest to see how far you can get with the first two, then work on the third when you hit the limit. That's my plan.

12-26-2010, 06:27 PM   #9
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Very good effort.
Hopefully video clips like yours will spur others to try out video and slowly chip away the archaic notion that there is no place for video on a DSLR.
12-26-2010, 06:36 PM   #10
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Having done this sort of thing in the past I know how time consuming it can be. Did you storyboard in advance? It sure looks like you did.

Very well done.
12-26-2010, 07:58 PM   #11
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Cool video, like it. Made me smile

Babya is a cool name too. Let's hope it's a girl though
12-26-2010, 09:18 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by vievetrick Quote
THAT is awesome!!! The more video I see the more inspired I get to shoot more. Great job you camera movement is so fluid. What's your secret?
Thanks, man. That's how I was for sure. When the whol DSLR video thing start popping off, I was very much in the camp of 'who cares about video, it's stupid, and if I wanted to shoot video I would buy a video camera'. But then I saw people starting to create really cool things, and I started coming around tho the fact that it's just another expression of creativity and vision. And with it so easily available to us, why not take full advantage? The line between media forms are quickly evaporating, and more and more the game is becoming about just being a visual storyteller. Doesn't how you mix mediums. Whatever tells the story best. Or at least that's what's going on at the professional level. The people that were early adapters to the multimedia thing are making a killing right now.

No real secret to the smooth camera movements. For anyone who is beginning to get serious about video, the first thing on their list should be a fluid head for the tripod that they hopefully already have, otherwise they need one of those two. I use the manfrotto 701HDV fluid head, which mas made for smaller DV camcorders and such, and is the perfect size for a dslr with a small to medium sized lens on it. A nice fluid head will instantly skyrocket the quality of the video. Nothing in the piece was hand held. The camera was almost on the tripod/fluid head, and that was mostly on a dolly and dolly track. Once you have the right equipment, it's just a matter of practicing with it to get really smooth and steady.
12-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Very good effort.
Hopefully video clips like yours will spur others to try out video and slowly chip away the archaic notion that there is no place for video on a DSLR.
Thanks. I think that notion is fading pretty quickly. It definitely seems to be all but buried in the canon camp, and nikon is getting there quickly. Pentax is certainly a little slower to get there, probably because the technology has been a bit behind the others and because I think the Pentax demographic a lot more "traditional" photographers than the other brands.
12-26-2010, 09:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by krebsy97 Quote
Having done this sort of thing in the past I know how time consuming it can be. Did you storyboard in advance? It sure looks like you did.

Very well done.
No advance storyboard. Although I'm glad it gives that feel. I'm sure some of that can be attributed to the fact that Christmas morning has somewhat of a natural flow to it to begin with. Aside from the end shot of the baby bump, the whole video is pretty much in chronological order. I was always thinking in my head of roughly how I wanted it to go, and grabbing lots of shots. Then in the edit, I just found the ones that worked best together and tried to find the natural story. Then just spend a while polishing the timing a bit and trying to get it to synergize with the music. It all came together pretty quickly and came out much better than I was expecting it to.

I've been siting on the sidelines for a while observing teh whole video movement going on, and waiting to get involved. But I'm really starting to get to the point where I'm ready to make something good. This is the first time I've actually put some effort into trying to make a complete final product, and I'm satisfied with how it came out. I've got a few fairly significant video projects coming up in the next year, so expect to be seeing some (hopefully) really good stuff rolling out in 2011.

Cheers,
Ben
12-26-2010, 10:12 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the great information on the focus techniques. Sounds like there is a lot to learn.

Glenn
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