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02-14-2013, 01:13 PM   #1
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Looking for video advice/tips

I've been asked to put together a relatively basic promo video for my gym. I'll be shooting my K5 and I have a 50 f1.4 manual, 18-135 or 90mm macro. There will be minimal audio if any.

I'm looking for some basic video instruction preferably specific to the K5 but obviously I'll take what I can get. Recommendations on which lens to use, aperture, how to focus effectively, etc...

I have a month to shoot and edit it and it's basically a for trade thing so not too much pressure. But I'll like to get started soon and get as much advice as you can provide.

Feel free to suggest other sites, blogs and other sources of info.

Thanks!

Ken

02-15-2013, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Hi there,
I don't really have any useful links, but I read some on and experimented a little with the video mode on my K5, so maybe I can give you and anybody else reading this some insight in what I found out. Please correct me on whatever I might have gotten wrong, made to complicated and please don't be too harsh on my english.

Bad thing about the k5 and video is, that you don't really have 100% control during shooting and setting it up can be a little tricky.

In order to get consistent shots, I'd suggest to switch the auto aperture during video to "fixed" in the menu at first. Using an M lens that wouldn't be too much of a concern as the M lenses aperture ring is fixed, anyway. Another problem with the video mode is, that for some reason the K5 doesn't map away hot or dead pixels when switching to movie mode. This can lead to annoying red or white dots in your final video. There is a walkaround to avoid this: switch your camera to live view mode in any other mode than the movie mode, then turn the mode dial to the movie mode. The hot pixels (if there were any to begin with) will be gone. Remember to do that everytime you switch the camera off and back on again. Also, whatever white balance settings (I think I would avoid "Auto", just to prevent the camera from changing it on the fly as you shoot) and image settings you chose and manipulated (setting it to B/W mode and increasing the contrast in Av mode, for example) before switching to movie mode will be present in the movie mode, then. This can be very useful as for some reason you can't access the WB and image setting buttons in video ode, IIRC. I am not sure if the same applies for the chosen ISO.

Then you might want to use a tripod to get steady shots. a special tripod head for video cameras that gives you a lever to do smooth pannings will always work fine, too. If you want to shoot handheld for more dynamics, I'd recommend to turn the shake reductio on (which is off in video mode by default) and experiment with it a little. As long as you dont wave the camera around too quickly, you might avoid the "rolling shutter" effect or what it's called. At least that's my experience.

I prefer shooting videos with M lenses, although I don't really shoot videos that often so there might be benefits to lets say the kit lens. This is, where another useful button for the video mode comes into play: the AE-L button. If you hit that one, the camera won't correct the exposure in a way that it thinks might be necessary. If it did, though, you would clearly see these transitions in the video later and this would make it look unprofessional. I guess the ligthing in the gym will be pretty consistent, so maybe it is neglectable, but I recommend using the AE-L button anyway. If you like the lighting on the LV as you see it, hit that button and it will stay like this. If you want to film under different conditions, I'd recommend to set the camera up for each of them individually and make a cut inbetween them later in the movie (for example if you were filming in the gym itself, outside and maybe in the dressing rooms (eek!). Don't start filming outside, walk in and through the gym and serve it to your audience as a one shot video with all the nasty light transitions. Make it three sequences instead. Outside, gym and dressing room, each set up individually.). Ok, so here comes the AE-L button with M lens: point the camera at what you want to shoot or what ever will make the camera expose in the way that you want to shoot the following sequence. Choose an aperture. This wont affect the metering, yet, as the lens won't be stepped down. Now do this by using the aperture preview function on the on/off switch. The camera will now correct for the set aperture. This is when you press the AE-L button and let go of the aperture preview again. What you will see now in the live view might be totally over or under exposed, but as soon as you start shooting, the lens will stop down and give you good exposure again.

The LV also helps you greatly to focus (which is a pleasure to do with the M lens), even at fast aperture settings. The DOF at 1.4 might be a little bit too shallow, though and also you will get a sharper image when you stop down a little. If you were interviewing somebody, for example, you also won't have to worry about your subject moving forth and back a little when you are using a smaller aperture (lets say 5.6 or something) while the background will still be blown out nicely.

A general rule (rules are there to break them, maybe you will be able to use it for good effect sometime) is to avoid zooming during a shot. Better do multiple shots with different zoom levels (or distances) and pick and cut them together later.

So this is all I think I know. If there was something unclear or you have got corrections, suggestions or general questions, please let me know. I guess this will make me understand the video mode better, as well.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that if you want to record sound during shooting, at least get an external mic to plug into your K5, as its onboard mic only records in mono and the sound quality isn't the best, especially as it mostly records all the sound that you are making while handling the camera. Best advice would be to record the sound externally with something that gives you the ability to level the microphone manually to get the best results

Last edited by Arvid; 02-15-2013 at 09:39 AM.
02-18-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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Hmmmh. I wonder if I killed this thread with my post. Nobody else who wants to share their approach in videography with the K5?

Sorry for doubleposting, but I was a little disappointed and decided that this maybe just needs a bump.

Last edited by Arvid; 02-18-2013 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Accidently quoted my whole post above. Got to get used to these forums
02-18-2013, 08:48 PM   #4
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I always figure my advice was so fabulous, it was the last word on the subject.

I'm really terrible at video so nothing from me on topic would help.

02-18-2013, 10:28 PM   #5
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I havn't done much video shooting myself - and I don't know what video control's the K-5 has, but I'll try and give a few pointers.

Firstly, do some research and planning. Take a look at some gym video's online that match the style your going for and note down what you like about them/try and determine how they were shot. Try story boarding your shoot or at least note down how you think the final cut should be, maybe even include some timings. E.g. Opening shot -> wide shot outside of gym -> cut to close up of logo -> establishing shot of inside -> bla bla bla bla. This'll give you an idea of what shots you need to get, and it'll be a good reference point for when you're editing - you don't want end up with loads of random footage and then try to edit it blindly into some mish-mosh video.

Take long wide shots to use as masters and then shorter close-up clips to cut away to. Try to refrain from hand held shots unless they're close ups/faster cut aways, especially if you don't have a hand-held rig of some sort. Lock-down the focus on your wider shots and use a tripod for them - you can do some slow panning etc for a bit of movement. Don't try to force excitement into a shot by moving the camera around fast, as it can look amateurish and you'll probably get some bad rolling-shutter effects - instead use fast and short cuts, along with an energetic soundtrack, if you're going for "fast action". It'll will look cleaner and more professional than fast camera movement. E.g. short, static cuts of different parts of a moving exercise bike (gears, pedals, display) will look far better than one looooong shot of you moving around a bike.

If you're doing an interview with somone, it's probably best to use a tripod and have them sit/stand on the left/right 3rd of the frame with either a plain background behind them, or knock the background out of focus with a wide aperture. Again, maybe use this as a master shot - keep the dialogue running while you cut-away to some action shots -> then back to the master -> cut away, repeat. Also, when you're asking questions/they're talking, remember they'll probably be looking at you, so make sure you're standing by the camera or wherever you want them to be looking.

Know who your video is for - if it's a modern gym for younger people you'll have more skope to use interesting angles/experimentation/effects etc. if it's a more conservative place you'll want to refrain from pushing the boundries and just go for more of a conservative style. Talk it over with whoever it is you're making the video for and then gauge how far you can push it.

In terms of technical details, you'll want to to flatten out the in-camera settings as much as possible and then add any contrast/colour adjustments back-in during post. Try to get an even exposure across all of your shots, and refrain from using auto-white balance, set it to whatever wb looks best for the location your in and leave it there until you change location/the lighting changes. You won't have much leniency with jpg compressed video footage in terms of colour and exposure, so if you underexpose, don't expect to be able to pull it back without noise/issues when trying to match the rest of your footage, similarly if you mess up white balance for a shot, you might have trouble correcting it later. Don't go too high with your shutter speed or it'll look like a home-video, remember you're not trying to get pin-sharp frames like photography, you want to keep the motion present - try to keep it at 1/50 or so, and keep you're video frame rate the same for all of your footage. For everything else, just follow the rules you'd use for photography and you'll be fine - rule of thirds, depth of field to draw the viewers eye to your subject, lighting, and so on.

A tip for smooth panning on a tripod. Use an elastic band. Put the band on the tripod panning handle (if it has one), or the camera lens, and smoothly drag it across trying to keep the speed steady as you move. Also for focusing, you can wrap a band around the focus ring on your lens, and mark down focus points in it with a pen - this can make focusing a lot more precise. For example, say you have a static shot of treadmill display, and you want to start out of focus, and then pull it into focus - firstly focus on the display (this'll be the end of the shot) and mark it on the band, then turn it out of focus for your starting position - press record, move the focus ring to your little pen mark, and boom, focus will be spot on.

Time-lapses can also be a great way to spice up footage.

There's endless amount of things you can think about, but hope that helps a bit as an overview. Any questions give me a shout, hope I've made sense with all that.

WoJ
02-19-2013, 06:04 AM   #6
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These are some great ideas! Too bad the K5 doesn't allow for manual control of the shutter speed in video mode. I guess this is something that everybody is waiting for to be added in a firmware update.
I read of a technique that is supposed to force the camera to stay at a desired framerate, but it is even fumblier than everything else and I haven't tested it myself, yet, as I am very bad at counting fps. To be honest, I think it doesn't work, but I'll leave you this link to the dpreview forums here and maybe some of you can make sense out of this. I file it under the category of wishful thinking:

Re: Pentax K5 video 2x better than K30 on dpreview compare tool?: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

What I learned from that linked post, though, is to make use of the AE-L button as it will keep all the nice auto adjustments from messing with your shots.
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