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First shoot advice needed


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#1 Dave Jones

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:10 PM

I recently purchased an XL2 (quite a step up from what I have used before) and had planned to do a lot of experimenting over the Christmas holiday to get acquainted with the camcorder. Needless to say, a friend of mine needs a mini-doc (5 - 10 minutes) completed in a few weeks for charity and, with our schedules, not a whole lot of time. I will be spending the next week learning as much as I can about the XL2.

I plan to shoot something fairly simple. The film will consist of few interviews with a boom/mic combo with action shots edited in as the interviewee is speaking. The scenes will be shot in both an office and school setting. Lighting, of couse, would consist of what you would find in a typical office or classroom. I will be using Liquid Pro for the editing.

Considering the filming environment stated above, what settings should I use (wih practice) for a quality, film-like picture? My biggest concern is I won't have much, if any, control over the lighting.

Also, I will be using a shotgun mic floating over the head of the person being interviewed. Any basic words of advice. I would like the sound quality to be good enough to be able to put a soundtrack beneath the voice.

Lastly, although I shouldn't have many problems with the editing, are there a few suggestions concerning how to improve the picture quality during this phase of the project?

Again, I will be practicing and going through some practice runs with volunteers (family?) during the next 5 days and could use a little direction. Advice would be so much appreciated!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:26 AM

In terms of post stuff; personally I find the XLS can do with a slight saturation increase and a punch up of the gamma to get some contrast. That's just me, though.
As for lighting; any way you can bring in something small just to agument what's around? Give a nice kiss of light to a cheek or fill in some of the overhead's shadows?
XL2s make a nice picture. Just avoid using the gain if possible as it'll add in grain. Depending on what you're aspect ratio is, shoot either straight 4:3 or Squeeze mode. Keep the boom mic as close to the top of the frame as you can to get a good SN ratio and you should be fine in post.
Also, for a "filmic look," shoot in 24P.
that's my 2 cents. a lot will depend on the project and the specific look you're trying to achieve.

Best of luck!
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#3 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 01:00 AM

Also, I will be using a shotgun mic floating over the head of the person being interviewed. Any basic words of advice. I would like the sound quality to be good enough to be able to put a soundtrack beneath the voice.

Set your frame, and then allow the person working the boom to lower the mic closer and closer to the subjects mouth/throat area until the mic just appears in shot. then get them to back it up 6inches or so and keep that as their level. It may help for them to pick an aiming point under the mic to help prevent the mic wandering.

Test and set voice levels on the camera before you start rolling. Be careful with the auto levels function.. it can cause some real trouble if you have low level background noise(like an ac unit), and your interviewee tends to pause during their sentences. The auto levels will tend to punch up the background levels in the pauses... not good.

A simple reflector might be useful for you exterior work, and probably very useful for your interviews as well.

Have fun... and get as much practice in as you can.
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