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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Video recording experts in the house? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

seadog93
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Hey guys,

A while ago I started working on an idea for a video recording project. I got some great advice, which I will be going back over, but I lost the momentum. I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice for recording good quality videos, on your own, on a budget.

The idea is to do a simple DVD, in a staged area. Mostly just me sitting there talking, with a few guests and maybe some outside shots as well.

I have a (limited!) budget)
My idea is:
-HD camcorder
-microphone (is a wireless lapel mic better or a boom mic what I need).
-lighting (again, on the cheap. Maybe one 'red head' or a set up with some reflective paper.)

My understanding is that the picture needs to be acceptable, but the sound and lighting are very important.
I would love any feedback or pointers in the right direction.

Thanks
CK
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Bob1Dog
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I have a very limited experience in making videos, very non professionally. It ain't easy. My advice? Get some help from a pro. My own opinion is that the picture should be more than acceptable, as should the lighting and sound. Would you settle for a second rate magic show?
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
tommy
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I have worked with pro documentary makers and more or less there is a film crew consisting of a lighting man, a sound man and a camera man. They use very strong lights, good mikes and good camera. The hard work is in the editing afterwards in my view. They seem to me to shooting roughly. It's not like it's like it's live and can cut what do not want but they stitch it all together very nicely after in the editing.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Michael Baker
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I am a firm believer that one can vastly improve their abilities with some education. Obviously, hiring pros will always (usually) give you better results, but I also believe that it is possible to do a much more than adequate job on some tasks, provided you go into it with the proper knowledge.

Naturally, you would not want to give yourself a root canal, but there are some earthly jobs that are possible to someone of average intelligence, as long as they have some kind of guidance, whether by formal school, productive trial and error, and/or informal education from available sources.

Not every great magic show has used a director, etc. Still, some very good results have been realized, in spite. Of course, some so-called experts are only so because they have the guts to call themselves that. Results will vary. Your goal would be to remain brutally honest and understand the limits of your knowledge. It is possible to improve, but not if you stop in your tracks.

I am not an expert on this, but I did a couple quick Google searches and found a number of things under:

1) Lighting techniques for video

2) Sound techniques for video

See if any of this information parallels what you learned previously. If so, you are probably on the right track.

But, that's just me...
~michael baker
The Magic Company
landmark
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A good book or two. Search Amazon.
seadog93
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Thank you guys for the feedback.

Bob1Dog,
I shouldn't have said "acceptable." What I meant (which could still be wrong) is that it seems like if I get a decent HD camcorder then the picture quality will be good, depending primarily on lighting.

I have done some searches on google, not yet on amazon, and have found some interesting stuff. It's a little overwhelming how much there is out there, but perhaps that's just the nature of the beast. I'll check amazon and do some more focused google searches like "sound technique for video," that's good.

and okay, editing too!
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Andrew Zuber
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It depends what the purpose is and what your budget is. That will determine what options are available to you.
If you're looking for help, I have a friend up in the Dublin area that you might be able to contact as this is what he does for a living.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
JoeJoe
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Watch a bunch of YouTube videos - you can learn a lot of tricks watching them. I don't mean clips of your favorite TV show, I am referring to actual YouTube'rs that post video blogs in their own homemade studios.

For lighting ...

I use 4 halogen bulbs on standard track lighting I bought at Lowes, and

Two three-bulb standing lamps ($20 at Wal-mart) on each side - I use florescents in these and they are not diffused, so I aim them off to the sides as opposed to directly on the target ... and

I then have two cardboard lightboxes I made myself - just white cardboard boxes with lamps inside. I cover these with a white linen sheet to diffuse them. These sit on the floor to each side as footers and are aimed at the wall behind me to reduce shadows.



-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
motown
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I'm not an expert, but have worked many many commercials with people that were.

In addition to many of things listed above, you'll also need to take in to consideration the colors and materials used for your set, as well as the clothing worn by the people involved. Whites tend to bounce light causing things to look too bright and washed out. Really dark colors require more light. Red is a difficult background color to shoot if you don't know what you're doing. It tends to swim. See David Regal's first DVD set to get an example of what I'm talking about.

Since you're shooting people you need to find the right balance between their clothing, skin tones and background.

I would read a few basic books before starting.

Good luck!
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
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EsnRedshirt
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Some more advice- don't forget makeup. People on camera, under studio lights, look horribly washed out without it. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. The difference is incredible.
Self-proclaimed Jack-of-all-trades and google expert*.

* = Take any advice from this person with a grain of salt.
seadog93
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Andrew,
I would love to connect with your friend if it's possible.

JoeJoe,

Yes, good youtube videos are actually the kind of quality I had in mind. I like the comicbookgirl19 show, but was a little shocked when I saw a behind the scenes shot and saw how much stuff they have set up there!
I'm going to look more into the set up you describe, do you have any thoughts on this?:
http://provideocoalition.com/aadams/stor......up--ever

motown,
Thanks. The background will probably be my grandparents house (their living room is beautifully staged for company), or someplace else, but I'll definitely make a point to take these into account. ...not to self: no red!

EsnRedshirt,
Darn! This actually had crossed my mind, but I know even less about makeup than I do about filming (if that is even possible).
....I'll investigate this further. Thanks!
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On 2013-04-26 22:55, seadog93 wrote:
I'm going to look more into the set up you describe, do you have any thoughts on this?:
http://provideocoalition.com/aadams/stor......up--ever


I think that would work if all you ever wanted was head shots. I don't think it is a practical setup for a multi-purpose studio. Here - study this - this is an ideal light scenario:

http://stebian.com/2012/08/studio-lighti......tations/

The setup I described is based on this model: the overhead halogen track lighting is the "key" light, the two wal-mart lamp posts are the "fill light", and the two footers are the "background".

Set it up, then do some trial and error ... film yourself, view it, adjust it, film again, etc etc etc until you are happy with it.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
seadog93
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JoeJoe,

That's a GREAT article, I think I may just get the set she recommends (no setting up track lighting in someone else's house!). I also saw your youtube videos, which look very good.
Do you use a lapel mic (I didn't see one), a boom or the mic on your camera?
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
JoeJoe
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I wanted a cam with an external mic, but it was out of my budget. I just use the mic on the camera.

My original videos were on an old VHS camcorder and the quality was pretty bad - especially after the wind blew over the tripod several times at Barefoot and it hit the concrete.

I then upgraded to a DVD camcorder - the DVD has the advantage that the media is cheap (less than 50 cents each), however you get motion compressed video which is kinda lame. Plus there is a noticeable sound of the DVD spinning while filming - especially indoors - moving parts make noise and the camera hears that noise.

My current camera is a Sony Handycam, which produces good results but doesn't have all the fancy "pro" features. I think I paid about $300 for it. It records to SD Card with great results - I'm not even using the "high quality" mode, I prefer medium quality so I get more time per card. Plus the higher resolutions require more processing power for post editing. I also don't like the "wide screen" mode, mostly because my studio is not "wide" and looks weird in the format.

That is something else to keep in mind when designing your studio - if you want wide screen, make sure you have a wide room for it. My original studio was about 8 feet x 12 feet (with the pink curtain). I could only get shots from the waist up. I moved upstairs to a room that is 12 feet wide x 20 feet long, so now the camera can be further back and I can get full body shots (the studio with the red/gold curtains where I filmed the Web Spinner DVD).



I have a lot of fun making the videos, you can see the quality has steadily improved over the years - I view it as a learning process and didn't expect my first videos to be "5 stars". The more videos I make, the more I learn, the better the results. This is one of my latest, I think it is an excellent combination of great magic and great video ... I've always loved the ocean and to be able to do this on the sands of Myrtle Beach was just awesome! I consider this by far my best work and am very proud of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI0wLQ4fnRA

[/bragging mode]


-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
seadog93
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Looks great.
It's interesting, because I think the sound is just fine. I'm looking into lapel mics, but I wonder if just the camera mic is enough for me too.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
JoeJoe
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I'm pretty good at projecting my voice - watch the video I posted again, and listen to the difference in levels between me and Lena. Her speaking will give you an idea of what to expect when speaking in a "normal" tone/volume.

Also note that indoors it is not as relevant as it is outddors, as the sound will bounce off the walls.

But if you can afford an external mic, I would recommend it. I don't suggest a lapel mic, use an overhead boom. This will keep your head looking upwards which looks better on video.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
george1953
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I agree, I have used ll sorts of mikes and the lapel type is terrible for feedbback , depending where your speakers are situated.
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
seadog93
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Okay you guys, I really appreciate all these suggestions! One more thing:
I may, potentially, be able to get someone to help me with the camera, but I certainly won't have a sound guy at all.

What do you think about a shotgun mic, plugged directly into the camera, on a boom stand and set up statically over the shot?
Something like this maybe?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ATR25-25-ATR-625......3dea0a82
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
JoeJoe
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I would setup your studio using the internal cam mic first, and if you are not happy with the results then spend the money on an external mic. It might save you some money, and you would have the benefit of knowing what type of equipment would best fit in your studio once you have it setup.

-JoeJoe
Amazing JoeJoe on YouTube[url=https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazingJoeJoe]
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