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skiphunt

Inspiration & Neatvideo

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I think I've got pretty much everything all in-line for heading off to backpack in Mexico where I'll hopefully come up with something interesting to shoot. Have narrowed down what I'm taking, and got at least a clue how to shoot to increase my odds of getting something acceptable.

 

Only problem at the moment is that I had all these ideas before I launched into camera-shopping-obsession-mode... and now that I have all the stuff I wanted... no freakin' ideas of something decent to shoot. I want to test some more, but don't want to shoot anymore shots at the park, or bowls of fruit, or xmas lights. No inspiration at all at the moment. 

 

What do you all do to get fresh ideas of stuff to shoot?

 

Secondly, although the Nikon D5300 has impressive low light performance, I still get noise that I'd like to clean up at around ISO3200 and beyond. From what I can tell, to clean up noise the ONLY game in town is Neatvideo for $99. Is that true? And is it worth the money? I tried the free demo and was getting some plasticy looking results that were extremely slow to process. My machine at the moment is just a MBP 13in i7, that I'll sell off and get a faster 15in retina MBP max'd RAM, etc. sometime after I get back and likely in the Spring. But for now, is Neatvideo generally just very slow to process? And, with tweaking... does it ever yield better than the plasticy look?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Sure thing, and I'll offer some advice:  Stop worrying about the techno babble and try telling a narrative story with motion pictures rather than just shooting various images.

 

I guess my post wasn't clear enough for you. That's exactly what I'm saying... I'm tired and finished with the "techno babble" as you say, and the testing... figured out mostly what I was trying to figure out and now looking for inspiration of something cool to shoot that's not the typical test footage. That's what I was really asking, ie. where do folks go and do for cinematic inspiration? But thank you very much for your flippant reply/"advice". 

 

Many get perpetually stuck in the tech stuff and never actually get out and make something. That's what I'd like to try and avoid, and getting out there and making something is what I'm gearing up to try and do. I'll likely get inspiration in Mexico and have some ideas, but am jonesin' to shoot something now that's not a waste of time and bandwidth. ;)

 

I've also seen plenty of narrative stories that are technically perfect, they've really done their homework and have the whole thing graded perfectly with magnificent bokeh, lighting, etc. But, the story is completely boring and the actors are horrible. I wonder how those get made and why nobody noticed that the story, actors, and directing fell waaaaay short of the visual technical expertise.

 

To be honest, I'd take a great story, well told, poorly lit and shot on an iPhone over the finest state of the art, perfectly-graded, pristine footage, in 6k of vapid banality any day of the week.

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Shoot people, family, yourself, find a model and after experiment with the grading

I've already done that. Just haven't posted any of it. Was thinking today that I might just let a friend tell me a story, shoot that, and at least I'll have something potentially narratively interesting to play with.

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Many get perpetually stuck in the tech stuff and never actually get out and make something.

 

I've personally never seen this happen.  What I have seen happen is people on the internet accuse other people of this when they start losing to them in a discussion.

 

 

 

 

I've already done that. Just haven't posted any of it. Was thinking today that I might just let a friend tell me a story, shoot that, and at least I'll have something potentially narratively interesting to play with.

 

Are you going to be shooting people telling stories in Mexico?  I would shoot what I am going to be shooting in Mexico.  If you are going to shoot beaches go to a beach and shoot that.  If you are going to be shooting people in the street shoot that.  Architecture?  You get the idea.

 

And don't forget about editing.  As an amateur I've learned that you can have all the great shots in the world but if you don't edit it well you will end up with a pile of garbage.  Conversely you can have some mediocre shots and edit them together well with some music and voice overs and end up with something very good.  You have three main ingredients the way I see it.  The pretrip stuff.  The stuff you need to do on the trip.  And the post trip stuff.  All of them combine to make a great movie.  Don't obsess about trying to get a finished film in camera.  Get some great shots and then tell a story in your NLE.

 

And give the "there are so many bad movies" thing a rest.  It's cliche.  Even people who will never even shoot a cell phone video say that at cocktail parties.  Just worry about your own film.  There are tons of people who obsess about equipment and make great movies and there are tons of people who don't give a flip about equipment who make terrible movies.  I've never seen a published study that has shown any correlation one way or the other.  I mean tons of people said Scarface was awful when it first came out.

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But thank you very much for your flippant reply advice

 

I'm not flippant; quite serious and it even seems like we agree a bit.  If you're able to imagine a compelling story that fits your setting and then build your shots around that narrative idea, you got something cooking.  It'll inform your shooting creativity.  I think it's good advice.

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Other than the question about whether Neatvideo is worth the money... I wish I could delete this thread I started. I only wanted to discuss different methods of getting ideas with other folks. Don't want to fight or argue with anyone. Push come to shove, I'll find my inspiration and have a go at it. Just trying to make conversation with others that I assume share my passion. 

 

So. Nevermind. I'll google some reviews of Neatvideo and be done with it. 

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I'll google some reviews of Neatvideo

 

I've used it to salvage some RED footage with too much ISO.  You basically balance it out by applying as little of it as you can to do the job.  So it basically depends on how much grain and how hard you're pushing the image to start with.

 

I'd seriously consider trying to add light or getting a faster lens if shooting low light before relying on NeatVideo though.

 

And hey, I just picked up the GM1 and GX7 for some future shooting.  I'm in the same situation as you.  What to shoot to grab some proof of concept footage?  For me, I could go out and shoot some standard scenics, but I get more motivated when I'm building a story.

 

Good luck!

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Find a great song that you feel is relevant to Mexico or the mood you wish to convey, and think about what you would like to capture to make great music video for it.

sorry, no experience with neatvideo..

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Hey Skip,

 

Regarding NeatVideo, yes, get it.  It's a lifesaver about half the time and unusable about half the time (if the footage is too mushy and grainy), but it will save your ass at some point.

 

Regarding test footage, try this: try to get a stranger to let you film their daily life for an hour or two.  Somebody random off the street from a radically different walk of life.  Show them a little reel of your work on your phone if possible in order to get them to agree.  Then try to film them in an up-close, intimate way that sheds new light on the details of how they live.  Try to use only natural sound, no music, for a challenge.

 

Example:

 

OR try to re-work your b-roll footage into something with spoken narration to give it a tone poem feel. Maybe use your own voice for VO.

 

Example:

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Skip,

 

Sometimes you know the story beforehand, but to me, many times the story comes while filming or editing. Although it's not easy: sometimes you have the story and visuals outlined in your head but can't get them on your screen. That's frustrating and could lead to a form of 'writers block'.

 

But first: I assume you're fully used to your D5300, know your camera, you can set it up quick and easy so you're not missing important shots. It's like a racing driver knowing his car inside out. 

 

Then: if you have a story in your head, go out and film it. If you don't have inspiration, no worries: just go to a city or forrest or something you've never been too. Stop fretting about wanting to make that great film, don't shoot yet, just feel the atmosphere, the mood the new surroundings give you. Then try to capture that mood. Some possess this quality naturally, others have to learn it, but if you train this often, you can distill the mood/emotions/story faster and easily convey that to your film. The advice from Brandon is great too, as is Tosvus'. If you see or hear or read something which touch in an emotional way, a song on the radio, a story in an newspaper, a quote on the internet; save it somewhere and use it later. Point I'm trying to make is: inspiration is always there, sometimes we don't know where to look for it, sometimes we're looking too hard for it when it's already there. It's conveying that inspiration to film is what we have to learn.

 

Post-production: personally I find this the most difficult, because I've got the visuals and story or mood in my head, but my shots are not what I envisioned them to be. Sometimes I really have to push myself to start editing, use all the anti-procrastionation techniques, and once I've taken that hurdle, many times it flows from there. Don't let the drive for perfection get you, I've heard many great filmmakers are not entirely happy with the films they've made, even if they've won numerous awards and the public loves them... 

Just try and convey your story, and about the noise or neat video: story comes first. Even if an image is not up to your standards from a technical point of view, but it is essential in conveying an emotion, use it! Hell, Philip Bloom made a compelling story filmed with a VGA-Barbie-camera ;)

 

And if, after editing, it's not really the masterpiece you've wanted, so what... It's not like Van Gogh or Rembrandt always painted masterpieces every time, but from every trial you learn, and this leads to experience, which maybe makes your next movie into a masterpiece, or at least your filming-life a little bit easier ;) Good luck. 

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Skip,

 

First of all, I've been enjoying the lack of silliness on this forum lately so I don't want to waste any time dodging bullets, but I will say I think there have been some pretty daft responses to your posts here. This is a tech orientated site, that's why people come here. EOSHD set up >this thread for people who want to take threads off topic by stating the obvious. Personally I would ignore such posts or reply with the above link. In terms of what to shoot for test footage? Personally I liked the stuff you shot in the park!

 

Neat video: I find it takes a lot of getting used to, but I'm getting decent results from it. It's horribly slow on my MacBook though, so I'm hoping my new iMac (which arrives tomorrow  :lol:) will be more up to the task. Mainly as a result of seeing Brandon's stuff, I've been using Gorilla Grain to deal with the smooth/plasticky look. I looked into the other grain options but GG seemed the most appropriate for me. I like it a lot. My

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Well, I'm actually glad I posted this now. Some very good suggestions and info on Neatvideo. I vaguely remember something about a thread related to non-technical stuff, but I don't regard that topic so "daft" or "silly" to be honest. It's far too easy to get so obsessed with the technical that it's all you think about. It's good to be reminded every now and then, beyond a catch-all sticky post, what the real goals beyond all the technical stuff are. Yes, that's stating the obvious, but for some it's necessary to be prodded out of the tech-geek obsession mode, and into the creative mode. I'm pointing that finger squarely at myself. :)

 

Thanks for the great ideas and info folks!

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Well, I'm actually glad I posted this now. Some very good suggestions and info on Neatvideo. I vaguely remember something about a thread related to non-technical stuff, but I don't regard that topic so "daft" or "silly" to be honest. 

I think a few wires may have got crossed here. Serves me right for getting my back up I suppose  :wacko: 

I wasn't suggesting non-tech stuff shouldn't be discussed all over this forum, I just meant if you specifically want to divert a topic to say forget about the tech and focus on the other stuff, there is a place to do that. I should perhaps have put it more diplomatically.I certainly don't regard the non technical stuff as silly or daft, that's the bit I like best! What I think is daft is when someone asks a technical question and they get a response saying focus on the story. It happens too often and it's not helpful - it's patronising. I'll shut up now though, before I dig myself a deeper hole … 

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I think a few wires may have got crossed here. Serves me right for getting my back up I suppose  :wacko:

I wasn't suggesting non-tech stuff shouldn't be discussed all over this forum, I just meant if you specifically want to divert a topic to say forget about the tech and focus on the other stuff, there is a place to do that. I should perhaps have put it more diplomatically.I certainly don't regard the non technical stuff as silly or daft, that's the bit I like best! What I think is daft is when someone asks a technical question and they get a response saying focus on the story. It happens too often and it's not helpful - it's patronising. I'll shut up now though, before I dig myself a deeper hole … 

 

It's all good Matt. I get what you're saying. I started off getting my own back up prematurely and didn't exactly respond like I wanted to help the discourse go in a more positive direction. My intent was to just chat about the methods some here use to get their creative juices going, and ended up getting some really good responses as a result. 

 

It's likely I shouldn't have tacked on the Neatvideo tech question that wasn't inline with my main post, but I was trying to be efficient and not add a whole other thread. 

 

Anyway, there are some great ideas here that I hadn't considered before.

 

Although I'm very much aware that it's best to have enough light or a fast enough lens instead of relying on Neatvideo, in my testing I've discovered that there will indeed be times that I'll screw up with improper exposure or expecting too much from my current gear and won't have the luxury to reshoot. For some, $99 is likely pocket change, but for me it's enough to at least read a couple reviews ask other's with more experience if it's worth it or not. :)

 

One of my tests was to see if I could get acceptable images shooting in a car at night with no extra lighting. I shot some clips of my wife driving at ISO6400 with the D5300. That, I'm afraid was asking a bit too much and if I had to do that for real, I'd rent or borrow a faster lens and creatively use a couple portable LEDs instead. 

 

The footage I got was obviously quite noisy, but the contrast and color was decent. The quick test I did with the demo Neatvideo did an admirable job, but it looked too plasticy and was extremely slow. I saw enough improvement that it looked like it could be a viable solution when bad footage is all you have to work with. I've read others rave about Neatvideo, but I wanted to as least ask here before I bought it to see if it can actually live up to all the hype.

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I shot some clips of my wife driving at ISO6400 with the D5300

 

 

How fast is your lens?  What f-stop are you at when shooting that stuff?  4, maybe a 5.6? I did a shoot recently, on an old 5DII, with a driving shot at night through a city, just ambient/dash board light, using a [email protected]  I was able to pull acceptable exposure with a 1600ISO.

 

I'd still recommend getting it right through the lens rather than saying to yourself "Oh, I can use NeatVideo in post."  If you ever tell yourself, "I'll fix it in post" I'd suggest to take a moment, stop what you're doing, and consider a solution to make your imaging work while on location.  I like NeatVideo too, but I never WANT to use it.

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How fast is your lens?  What f-stop are you at when shooting that stuff?  4, maybe a 5.6? I did a shoot recently, on an old 5DII, with a driving shot at night through a city, just ambient/dash board light, using a [email protected]  I was able to pull acceptable exposure with a 1600ISO.

 

I'd still recommend getting it right through the lens rather than saying to yourself "Oh, I can use NeatVideo in post."  If you ever tell yourself, "I'll fix it in post" I'd suggest to take a moment, stop what you're doing, and consider a solution to make your imaging work while on location.  I like NeatVideo too, but I never WANT to use it.

 

I think it was a 35mm DX lens at f1.8, but I could be mistaken. Already deleted. Just shot ISO6400 as a test to see how usable it was. Just a test, wasn't really trying to get any particular shot.

 

It might have been at 60p as well.

 

No need for advice on how to shoot it though. I was just messing around seeing how far I could push what I have in case I need ISO6400 at some point. 

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