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#1 Melanie Dean

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 10:56 AM

I am basically gearing up to start my own little project and need help selecting equipment and getting it off the ground. I have scrimped and saved and will be making some pretty big purchases soon? but on what is where I need help. I want to do my own little venture in a series of shorts? I know I am not experienced at editing, shooting or any of that but figure this would be a neat little way of self-teaching myself. In saying that, I don't need anything too fancy because this will be a learning experience but I dont want to go completely "on the cheap".


Here's the idea:

On many a car trip where 4 or more people are confined with each other for hours on end, some pretty hilarious conversations have occurred. I want to film these and edit them into a quick 5 -15 min short to be displayed via internet (nothing fancy). I know I will need editing software and a computer for the post-production, so I am planning on a G5 (or so) and some Final Cut (express or pro). I will try to do several of them, so I will need a main title and stuff? so its my own little mini-movie.

Most of it will be retro-scripted? I'd like to keep it ad-libbed as possible however before shooting all of the "actors" (myself included) will get together and draw up an outline and any semblance to a plot. We then rehearse loosely, add / subtract content, then finally go out an shoot it. Therein lies the issue: how do I shoot this?

I have some ideas, but would like it if there was some way I could invest in one handheld camera (for exterior shots that are set up) but have the car outfitted that it can record video and audio without any help. Kind like that "Blind Date" show where they have the interior rigged with cameras and sound and the driver can still drive, etc. I almost thought about buying a high end security / surveillance system w/ 4-5 cameras and just mount that bad boy in? but who know how it would look and if I could edit it. I really would like to stay away from hood mounts and hostess trays if possible.

I can keep going on and on but if you have any ideas please let me know.
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#2 Dan Horstman

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Posted 18 August 2006 - 11:24 AM

Many of the CMOS and CCD security cameras have a composite out which you can run to a deck to record the image. You can get some that have USB outs (they are basicly webcams) which you could plug into a laptop and record the video direct to the computer. The quality isn't as good as a DV camera, but you can get some that are pretty darn close.

For sound you could use a Lavalier Mic and MiniDisc recorder for each actor. Or you could get a PZM mic (cause it is easy to hide) and put it in the center of the car.

You'll need to slate the head and probably the tail of each shot. I have no idea how well the security camera and the MiniDisc will stay in sync. There could be some drift. But you should be able to fix it in editing.
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#3 Melanie Dean

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 08:17 AM

Awesome awesome awesome. Thanks for your reply!!


I did get some advice from a friend about the camera I should use. He recommended a sony hdv f/x 1. Again, this would be for any exterior shots used in the title sequence and in the bumpers I am planning (basically one conversation ends, insert exterior of car going down the interstate, next conversation then begins). Depending on the destination or the rest stops on the way, I would shoot some stuff for the heck of it and if its anything interesting.. editting it on in there. I am trying to do research now and cameras (man I never knew there were so many out there) and where would be the ideal place to purchase them. I was hoping to find one in the 2500 - 4000 range... but I am lost on what I should be looking for. Again, any suggestions would save my life. Okay... maybe not save my life but it would cut the number of middle-of-the-night-headaches-induced-by-research down :)

Edited by Melanie Dean, 20 August 2006 - 08:18 AM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 10:23 AM

You have to decide if you want the film look effect from using a 24P camera, which narrows your choices. If you were talking about survellience video cameras, it sounds like a film look is not a high priority though. Maybe what you need is something really cheap that allows you to buy at least two of the same cameras.
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#5 kentemporary

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 10:35 PM

let me put it this way - invest more on hardware than software. your output is limited to the hardware that was used to take your stills/videos. if you are into stills, a canon 20d is not too bad, and not too steep. if you're into video, a canon GL1 wouldn't be too bad either. but if you can push it up a notch, that would make a whole lot of difference.

as for software, hey, there are always ways around those things... like having rebates and stuff. why? did you think i was talking about pirated stuff? heck no. piracy just makes hardwork from honest people like us count for nothing... so i'm totally against it. seeing a music video you did in a free video site way before your group releases it will teach you that :angry:
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#6 Melanie Dean

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:34 AM

let me put it this way - invest more on hardware than software. your output is limited to the hardware that was used to take your stills/videos. if you are into stills, a canon 20d is not too bad, and not too steep. if you're into video, a canon GL1 wouldn't be too bad either. but if you can push it up a notch, that would make a whole lot of difference.

as for software, hey, there are always ways around those things... like having rebates and stuff. why? did you think i was talking about pirated stuff? heck no. piracy just makes hardwork from honest people like us count for nothing... so i'm totally against it. seeing a music video you did in a free video site way before your group releases it will teach you that :angry:




Thanks for your advice. I think I will invest more into the hardware now that I have found alternate resources for the software as you suggested. Namely, my friend has a g4 and final cut pro and is willing to teach me how to use it, then will help me buy what i need (without going to the Mac store and being upsold on stuff I wont need by the salespeople).
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#7 Melanie Dean

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:50 AM

You have to decide if you want the film look effect from using a 24P camera, which narrows your choices. If you were talking about survellience video cameras, it sounds like a film look is not a high priority though. Maybe what you need is something really cheap that allows you to buy at least two of the same cameras.



Most definately. I am not really going for a high quality film look, but what I do hope to hope to accomplish is to get a good shot of the driver in the frame, the passenger, rear passenger (driver's side), rear passenger (the other side) and one mounted on the dash for a wide shot of everyone (this may or may not be possible but hey, why not try).

They would all be stationary so that is where I thought of a surveillance camera equipment so all the cameras are small and can be run to a single source, then get one REALLY good one for the wide shot.

Now I'm begining to lean toward purchasing a bunch of single cameras and finding ways to mount them. In the last issue of Stuff magazine, they had a quick article about the camera's Les Stroud uses in "Survivor Man"... two camcorders and a minidv handicam. I have to research that further because i thought he was using much better equipment than that...
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