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general question about shooting music videos


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#1 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:19 AM

I've shot sync sound at 24 f.p.s. but I've been told that many music videos use a motor
that is controlled to run at 29.97 f.p.s. to match television, at least SD t.v..

1. Is there a desired frame rate for shooting music videos in which the artist is lip syncing?

2. What is a good playback system for reference for the artist to lip sync and for recording as
a scratch track? Would a standard C.D. boombox be reliable or could it vary enough to not
match the song when it's dropped from a file into the editing timeline?

3. I was told that sometimes the cameras (set to 29.97) deviate after a minute or two of
continuous running. Not that I'm planning such long takes for a three minute song
but is this so?

4. If we decided to shoot using say an HVX-200 would the same issues apply and would we
benefit from shooting 30P rather than our preferred 720P 24N or 720P 24P?

Thanks.
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 08:24 PM

There's no single way to do it. You just make sure that your post path can accommodate what your production methods give it.

You don't have to shoot film at 29.97 fps. In fact, you lose part of that "film look" when the frame rate gets away from 24. Shoot at 23.976 (23.98) fps with a crystal synch motor and you'll be fine. 24.00 fps film actually gets transferred to video at 23.976, which is where the audio drift comes in. You'll have to either cut around it, or change the speed of the audio slightly in post to compensate. 29.97 fps film should not drift (with a crystal synch motor), but 30.00 fps will.

The HVX-200 records all of its 24P modes actually as 23.976, so you're covered. No need to shoot 30P (29.97) unless you just like the look.

For audio playback you can use whatever you like, as long you have some reference between the audio and the footage for synching in post. CD's on their own don't provide any visual reference, so they're not much good when shooting film. When shooting video though, you can record the audio playback to the camera (by onboard mic or line-in) as a reference track for editing.

A good low-budget alternative to a "smart slate" is to create a playback video from the audio in Final Cut Pro, displaying the TC prominently in the video. You can play back this video file as a Quicktime on a laptop, or put it on a video ipod as a closeup/insert slate. When shooting film that will be transferred to 29.97 video, create a 29.97 video file for the correct TC. When shooting 24P"N" on the HVX-200, create a 23.98 video file for the playback. In both cases, it's good to include at least 10 seconds of preroll before the song starts.

screenshot.jpeg
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#3 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 09:15 AM

There's no single way to do it. You just make sure that your post path can accommodate what your production methods give it.

You don't have to shoot film at 29.97 fps. In fact, you lose part of that "film look" when the frame rate gets away from 24. Shoot at 23.976 (23.98) fps with a crystal synch motor and you'll be fine. 24.00 fps film actually gets transferred to video at 23.976, which is where the audio drift comes in. You'll have to either cut around it, or change the speed of the audio slightly in post to compensate. 29.97 fps film should not drift (with a crystal synch motor), but 30.00 fps will.

The HVX-200 records all of its 24P modes actually as 23.976, so you're covered. No need to shoot 30P (29.97) unless you just like the look.

For audio playback you can use whatever you like, as long you have some reference between the audio and the footage for synching in post. CD's on their own don't provide any visual reference, so they're not much good when shooting film. When shooting video though, you can record the audio playback to the camera (by onboard mic or line-in) as a reference track for editing.

A good low-budget alternative to a "smart slate" is to create a playback video from the audio in Final Cut Pro, displaying the TC prominently in the video. You can play back this video file as a Quicktime on a laptop, or put it on a video ipod as a closeup/insert slate. When shooting film that will be transferred to 29.97 video, create a 29.97 video file for the correct TC. When shooting 24P"N" on the HVX-200, create a 23.98 video file for the playback. In both cases, it's good to include at least 10 seconds of preroll before the song starts.

screenshot.jpeg


Thanks, Michael, that's a big help. If I could follow up, when talking about the audio drift I would have
to compensate for the differnce between 24 f.p.s. and 23.976 which is -.024 so would it be a simple
adjustment of speeding up the audio in post by .001001% (the percent from .024/23.976) if I'm
understanding how to do the math. Also, I'd have to see how to do that in Final Cut Pro. I guess that
I'd select speed and add the extra to the default 100% ?

At this point, due to other things, not math phobia, it looks like we'll probably use the HVX-200. That's
a great suggestion to have the video/audio reference on the the laptop and thanks for posting the
picture. I want to make sure I understand it correctly.

1. In Final Cut Pro timeline, put ten seconds of black then load song and have timecode play in
video section of 23.98 timeline created when song is loaded.

2. Shoot screen with timecode providing a slate that corresponds to
song. If already into song, start ten seconds before desired shot.
Call "action."

3. Record playback as reference track and match shots after capturing to existing timeline.

4. However, unless I use the laptop for playback audio on set (not sure how to do that loudly enough)
how does shooting the playback video provide a useful reference. It seems that I would have
to be playing audio from that exact timeline when shooting but I'm not sure that's what you
suggest.

If you could clarify, I would greatly appreciate it.
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:07 PM

I'm just getting my feet wet with FCP, so I don't know how to best do the speed change for the audio. But if you're shooting with the HVX, you don't need to worry about that for now.

You've got the on-set procedures correct. You'll need to amplify the audio out of the computer or ipod somehow, in order for the artists to be able to hear it (especially with live drums, etc.). Just go line-out of the playback device into a small PA system. Look at the pic; the black cable coming out of the computer with the yellow tape on it is the audio-out. Not pictured is a small amp and speaker setup.

It's also helpful to create an audio countdown before the song starts. Some people put a one-frame "beep" at each second, four seconds prior to the start of the song. Sometimes artists like the beep or click-track to be in tempo with the song instead.

In post, the idea is to lay down the audio into the timeline first, using the same timecode generated for the playback. You can use the same FCP project you used to generate the TC -- the audio is already there and the TC is guaranteed to match. As long as the audio is in the timeline matching the TC displayed in the video, on set it is like playing the audio from that timeline.

Then for each shot, you visually match the TC number displayed on the slate with the TC in the timeline, and drop the clip into the timeline at that point. Then the clips are in synch with the song.
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#5 Jim Feldspar

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 09:23 PM

I'm just getting my feet wet with FCP, so I don't know how to best do the speed change for the audio. But if you're shooting with the HVX, you don't need to worry about that for now.

You've got the on-set procedures correct. You'll need to amplify the audio out of the computer or ipod somehow, in order for the artists to be able to hear it (especially with live drums, etc.). Just go line-out of the playback device into a small PA system. Look at the pic; the black cable coming out of the computer with the yellow tape on it is the audio-out. Not pictured is a small amp and speaker setup.

It's also helpful to create an audio countdown before the song starts. Some people put a one-frame "beep" at each second, four seconds prior to the start of the song. Sometimes artists like the beep or click-track to be in tempo with the song instead.

In post, the idea is to lay down the audio into the timeline first, using the same timecode generated for the playback. You can use the same FCP project you used to generate the TC -- the audio is already there and the TC is guaranteed to match. As long as the audio is in the timeline matching the TC displayed in the video, on set it is like playing the audio from that timeline.

Then for each shot, you visually match the TC number displayed on the slate with the TC in the timeline, and drop the clip into the timeline at that point. Then the clips are in synch with the song.



That's fantastic help. You made it extremely clear. I've got a shoot coming up in April and I'm
going to test this method out so that I have it down. I would never have known this
otherwise. Thanks a lot!
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

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Ritter Battery

Glidecam

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Wooden Camera

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks