Posts Tagged ‘zoom h4n

06
Aug
10

my 5dmarkii post workflow

Following an energized thread on the FCP-L, I thought I’d post how I deal with footage from my 5dmarkii.  For starters, dtev001 asked the list why not just use the EOS plug-in Canon provides?  Oliver Peters chimed in with a great response, answering:

The trouble I’ve had (just this week) was that when I L&T’ed Canon EOS files, about 10% came in at less than full length. It appeared to be random. I’m not going to commit time and potentially 1,000s of clips that would have to be checked, to an unreliable workflow.

One other advantage to these various alternate workflows is that you can do it on a machine that doesn’t necessarily have FCS installed. On an 8-core MacPro, Compressor converts these H264 files to ProRes in about 1.5X running time. A 32GB card hold approx. 90 minutes of footage, so figure a ballpark of about 2.5hrs/card for conversion. That’s in addition to H264 copying time for card to hard drive.

Of course, if you REALLY want to go “old-school”, you could use Premiere Pro CS5 or Avid MC5 (with video output hardware), drop the clips on a timeline, output in real-time to videotape and then re-ingest into FCP. I believe that’s actually similar to the post workflow used on “House” – i.e. go to tape first and then follow a traditional offline/online editing procedure.

Personally, I don’t care for the EOS plug-in either.  While I haven’t experienced the terribleness Oliver went through, his retelling makes me even less likely to go that route in the future.  I’m more of a stick shift guy, so I like to load the h264 footage straight from the card onto my editing storage.  Then, I simply run all my clips through Compressor, converting them to Apple ProRes 422 using an 8-core QuickCluster.

because i love you guys

Click the pic for a link to download my Compressor setting.  I’ve come to trust Compressor after a long love / hate relationship.  Especially Qmaster and multi-core processing.

Mike Flamino’s video tutorial has been a wonderful resource. Having watched it I’m harnessing 8 cores in my QuickCluster just fine.  Processing time is fast.  I’m not here to do speed tests, and you’re performance will vary depending on your system, but I will go so far as to say it works faster than the EOS plug-in and I get more control.  Faster + more control = happy.

Oh yeah, audio.  I record 4 channel audio with my Zoom and use either the onboard mic or a Sennheiser MKE-400 boom for reference audio on the camera recorded into the footage.  I hand sync the Zoom audio to the onboard mic audio.  I make sure to convert my lav track to mono and boost the amplitude as needed in Soundtrack Pro.

Once all this converting is done, I’ll drop all my video and audio files into my FCP project, add some project specific extensions to the clip names and set the file names to match.  This way I don’t get duplicate generic file names in multiple projects.  That can be irritating.  Then I string all my footage out into one timeline with the video and audio synced up and go from there.  It’s not automated, you can make mistakes along the way and it’s worked well for me so far.  Hope this helps.

proactively • please just let fcp playback h264 in real time • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

22
Jul
10

hdslr documentary zen

Filming with the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70 2.8L and Sennheiser MKE-400 (with wind-muff) on a Gorillapod Focus with the Ballhead X under the shade of a tree in Bethesda, MD in 100 degree heat and humidity.  Matt is monitoring 4 channel audio recording on the Zoom H4n with a Sennheiser G3 wireless lav pinned to our subject.  My trusty Canon 75-300 f/4-5.6 is standing by on the bench for run and gun.  Everything packs into the backpack near my feet.

Here’s a frame exported with no color correction.  White balanced at 5200K, wide open at 2.8 ISO 100 or something, this is documentary filmmaking at its finest IMHO.  The sensor on the 5D is sensitive enough to get great exposure and shadow detail in a no-light situation so what you see is pretty much what you get.  To me, this is telling the truth not previously attainable at this price point or for this level of production quality; no lights, just a camera and a microphone (or three).  Your audience is experiencing the moment about as close to how it happened as you can get, with video image quality from the Canon glass that we’re previously used to seeing only in glossy magazines.

Here’s a frame from running and gunning with the Canon 75-300 f4-5.6 (had to convert this to a JPG in order to post for some reason so slightly compressed).  Before starting to shoot I try and set my ISO at a good general level, I think I kept it the same all day at around 200.  While I’m running around, adjusting focus and focal length, I’m also adjusting f-stop.  I think this one is somewhere around f8 and I’ve had no problem raising mid-tones in post as needed, really impressed with how the codec holds up in that regards (I know others have different opinions).  I’ve found the trick is to try and expose as close to what you want as possible, realizing there are reasonable limits to what you can stretch out of your image.

I’m using the Videosmith Mightywondercam Classic Shoulderpod for stabilizing the 5D while walking around.  It does a decent enough job, and of course I keep the Sennheiser boom mic for grabbing decent ambient audio.  Eventually I may upgrade but on a budget this thing does the trick.  Doing handheld with a heavier lens like the Canon 24-70 f2.8L can be tiring so a counter balance of some sort may be in my future.

The DNC was kind enough to grant me permission to post this article so a big thank you there.  Hope this helps those of you in the field with understanding my approach to 5dmarkii documentary filmmaking, or at least gives those of you thinking about getting started a solid equipment list to choose from.  I’ve erred on the side of portability and minimalism; no fancy shoulder mount with a big LCD, no focus-pulling gear.  It’s a concious decision to be both lightweight and have a low-visibility factor; I’m so happy with the results.  It feels like I’ve achieved a filmmaking zen state and I’m not going back.

proactively • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.




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