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Cosimo murgolo

Share your videography secrets here.

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Reveal the unseen part of the video recording process.

The essential and the mistakes of capturing moving images.

Composition and camera angles, tell us how do you physically operate behind the camera throughout a given scene or shot.

Important camera operator skills, knowledge of and the ability to select appropriate camera lenses, and other equipment to portray scenes.

 Share as much as you know , don't be afraid to reveal your doubts, play nice to everyone, don't fight over stupid thing, for professional and not, share your experiences and videos, help anyone in need of advices.

Enjoy!!!!!

the-shining-kubrick.jpg?w=229&h=229&cropstanley-kubrick-produced-directed-and-co

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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

I only shoot "manual."

Being a good editor is what sets you apart.

Knowing how to work with clients, solve their problems, and answer their questions gets you hired again and again.

In my (admittedly low-end) world gear doesn't matter so much anymore. All IQ from modern cameras is good enough now.

 

EDIT:  It's just as important to know which clients you should stay away from.  Hard to explain that one.  You just kinda figure that out through wisdom.

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Effective planning goes miles when making any video content. Sure you can pick up whatever camera and shoot something, but if you are looking to make a statement - pre-planning is key to making sure you have done your research and covered all bases.

On many very low budget productions, I admit I do "wing it" for lack of time. This is fine as the budget covers this approach. The bigger projects are a different kettle of fish, planning is key to success!

Always remember that you don't ever get hired because of your brand spanking new flashy camera, you get hired on your ideas, creativity, skill and personality. Your equipment choice is a part of that personality and creativity. Get it wrong and your project suffers.

Good luck!

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a personal favourite for dslr's with live view through a built in evf is to use a battery grip and bring the evf to exactly the right eye level when the base of the battery grip rests against my shoulder.  it adds a very solid point of contact, and since the shoulder is all bone you get no heartbeat/micro shakes.  

 

this technique has 4 points of contact-  the eyebrow, the shoulder and both hands.  added to this, the elbows can be kept close to the chest forming a very solid shooting position.  pans are also easy since you can lock your upper body and just rotate your hips/waist for a smooth 180degree pan.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

So any general tips to give? Let's see.

-90% of your clients can't see any difference between a s35 Canon T3 and a s35 Canon C500 because they have a similar image format. All they care about is the depth of field, lighting, motion, story, etc... Resolution, dynamic range, banding, moire, grain pattern, and all the technical geeky stuff are absolutely invisible to 90% of your viewers. So almost EVERY camera available now is "enough" for the majority of your clients. Keep that in mind.

-Most viewers ADORE shallow depth of field and the fullframe aesthetic. Just a fact.

-90% of your clients doesn't see a single difference between a 100$ Canon 50mm 1.8 and a 5000$ Zeiss 50mm 1.8 Ultraprime. All they see is the focal length and depth of field, if these are identical then the lenses are identical to most of them. Spend wisely.

-A bigger number than you expect of your viewers your product at 360p/480p resolution, with horrible compression and artefacts, and most if them does not care.

*All these three tips are meant for the majority of viewers around the entire globe, if you work in a specific high end environment (Hollywood, London, etc) where you have special clients that understand quality all of these are invalid.

-Use IS lenses. Period.

-Recording audio with an in-camera microphone momentarily tags your production as amateurish and of low quality. It doean't work even for clients with the lowest expectations. Use an external recorder like a 100$ zoom, or even your phone close to the subject.

-If you go into a location, look in the viewfinder and find it boring, don't give up. Change lighting and you can get a very interesting location/scene. Lighting is the only way to turn a dull/flat scene into a dramatic/impressive one.

-Shooting with a bit of handheld motion can hide a lot of mistakes and makes the project fly by, gives it more dynamic feel, as opposed to locked off tripod shots, which exaggerate your actors flaws and your framing/compsoition flaws. A little handheld movement fixes many scenes, try it!

-If you shooting a person (actors, interviewees) make sure you NEVER criticize them on-set. On-set you have to tell them they're doing a fantastic job. Keep your criticizm before or after the shoot. If you want to redo a scene tell them "that was absolutely perfect", but I want to try it another way just to see how it works, do X and Z", etc

-Make your actors/subjects feel like you're daddy, you'll take care of them, make them look good and protect them, and even feed them. Having a break for food and eating something with your crew/actors gives a intimate feel for your relationship and makes them feel more connected to you. It also takes away their hunger! :D

That was all in pre and during production, in post:

-Take your files and copy them to at least two drives. Please don't make it one. You have no idea how many if us lost days of work just because of that stupid mistake. Have a backup. This is important, more than you think!!

-Cutting is where your project is made. It's where the project is made fantastic, or horrible. It's the absolute most inportant factor in the pipeline in terms of the final production quality. So make SURE you have an editor you trust, even then make sure you set by them during the process, or if you can't find someone, edit yourself to your specific vision, Then it's all your responsibilty and all up to you to make it good or bad.

-Buy Neat Video plug-in. It might surprise you I have this one as a complete tip, but it really is that important and that awesome. It's not just for getting cleaner low-light images (which it does perfectly) but it completely eliminates any compression artefacts, like macroblocking, image blotchiness, even banding, and it also works wonderfully as a softening filter for female faces. It's my little secret that makes clients go happy!

-Do you grading to be related to the actual project. Don't make a colourful, bright grade for a horror/dark piece, and don't make a dark/dramatic grade for a comedy piece. Just get a feel of what the project mood is about and grade close to that.

-Cropping to the 2K 1.85:0 or anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio can immediately give a filmic feel to most clients.

If I remember more tips/scerets I will share. There are hundreds if course but these are the ones I feel many don't realise and that are not easily available on the web.

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though in 90% of cases things like the difference between a canon nifty fifity on a 550d / t2i vs a c300 + a zeiss 50 is overlooked, it should be noted that if you want the really good clients, they'll be used to seeing the results from proper cameras and proper lenses.  

 

Personally I don;t aspire to service clients who can;t tell the difference since then the hard work also gets overlooked in the same way. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

It's a sad fact Rich. Most of our viewers (I claim more than 90% of the world's video consumers except for high end parta) are visually illiterate, they don't notice these differences, not even one bit. Visual literacy is extremely rare among our viewers.

I am not saying use crappy lenses and the worst cameras as long as they're enough, I really don't do that even if I know 90% will not notice, I do it for that 10%, and for personal fullfilment. I am just saying it as something to keep in mind while approaching a project and finding yourself obsessing about technical qualities.

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I couldn't agree more with what Ebrahim was saying about clients being visually illiterate..

Most my clients prefer the images I've shot with the GH3 than the RED Epic. Some of the work experience guys can't tell the difference.

Also, I've lost count the amount of times I've gone round to someone's house only to see they have True Motion or Smooth Motion switched on.

Recently one friend was watching The Walking Dead with True Motion on - it looked hideous, cheap and like a substandard soap opera shot interlaced on an old home movie camera. I switched it off, and BANG - it looked superb, cinematic, edgy ang gripping. All he said was "it looks blurry now." Don't you find this interesting?

Only thing I don't agree with Ebrahim on is to "use IS lenses. Period." IS lenses are expensive, electronic and clinical. Sure that's great if that's what you want - but when you can pick up a Helios 44 for literally nothing, the non-IS options have much more variation. Just make sure you have a steady shoulder, tripod or stabiliser :)

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Reveal the unseen part of the video recording process.

The essential and the mistakes of capturing moving images.

Composition and camera angles, tell us how do you physically operate behind the camera throughout a given scene or shot.

Important camera operator skills, knowledge of and the ability to select appropriate camera lenses, and other equipment to portray scenes.

 Share as much as you know , don't be afraid to reveal your doubts, play nice to everyone, don't fight over stupid thing, for professional and not, share your experiences and videos, help anyone in need of advices.

Enjoy!!!!!

the-shining-kubrick.jpg?w=229&h=229&cropstanley-kubrick-produced-directed-and-co

like Kubrick the arri 2c + kodak...=CINEMATIC NIRVANA

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There's a whole theory of philosophical thought that acknowledges people process "quality" regardless if they're illiterate with the medium.

I tend to agree.

There will always be anecdotal examples of people acting foolish and making bad choices, but overall folks appreciate something done well even if they can't articulate the how and why of it.

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 I do it for that 10%, and for personal fullfilment. 

 

This is nice, that's what is important,  , I think you should love what you have captured.

I put my personal fulfillment ahead of anything, (cos I have no clients :D ) I have to be the first to recognize that my job is well done in any aspect.

You can say "I am the first client", and if I don't like it how can the others appreciate it? what if in that 90% of illiterate there is someone who notice my mistakes?

Thanks Ebrahim

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Now, let's leave for a moment the clients out of this and go back to my first post, let's concentrate more on the portray scenes, camera angels, composition and the like.

Do you ever feel you are doing everything in the right way? do you follow and put into practice always what you learned? 

Do you get influenced by any specific director, or are you free from influences and experiment your on style.

Is there any particular scenes  from one of your past work that you are very proud of?

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There's a whole theory of philosophical thought that acknowledges people process "quality" regardless if they're illiterate with the medium.

I tend to agree.

There will always be anecdotal examples of people acting foolish and making bad choices, but overall folks appreciate something done well even if they can't articulate the how and why of it.

I have to agree with this.

For the most part, give a middle-range client shallow depth of field and they're happy. But there's a reason I stopped doing those sorts of gigs.

For the most part, people do appreciate the quality difference even if they can't tell why they like it more.

It's important in as much as you should know that you can shoot on a GH3, GH4, A7s, 5D3 et al and shoot stuff that clients are going to be happy with.

But that does not mean you should not strive for better quality work in everything you do! I'd personally rather move my way up through clients than stall at a certain level because I'm happy just giving them 'good enough' images.

I didn't get to shoot commercials and films from delivering images that were simply 'good enough.'

Do you ever feel you are doing everything in the right way?

Never. There are so many different ways you can light a scene, compose a shot, tell a story through the camera, - I'd go as far to say that there is no right way. Just 'ways' that are more visually pleasing to many than others.

The right way is the way the Director wants/is happy with. That way may be completely at odds with what you're thinking or what you want (hopefully it isn't, but sometimes it is), but at the end of the day you're working for the Director.

My tip is that there's always more to learn - it's impossible to learn it all, so embrace everything (even the terrible shoots) as a good learning experience.

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Now, let's leave for a moment the clients out of this 

 

That you want to "leave clients out of this" is the very reason Ebrahim's advice is SO important, and which, the sooner you begin to appreciate, the more "camera angle" issues you'll get hired to deal with.  When I hire a DP say (though in my business that person would be in the software/data business)  I trust him to do whatever camera angle he/she thinks good.  Assuming the DP is basically competent, the camera angle will be good enough for what I need.  If it's a special camera angle, called for in the script, I might not even know the right questions to ask.  This gets to the equipment issue.  Richg is right that you want good equipment, but ONLY because the client trusts you to do what's necessary.  There is no disconnect between Rich and Ebrahim.  Anyway, if my DP thinks we need a specialist I will let him hire someone.  If I want to use a $6,000 lens, the client will let me if I have his/her interests at heart.  All productions are the sum of many people, each which have ideas that would go ten times over their budget.   A lot of time and energy is spent, politically, collectively figuring who should get the budgeted time, money, etc.  When I was younger (like you?) I spent a lot of time reading/learning techniques (I still do) and felt getting to a certain level of expertise would be the key to success.  Unfortunately, what I discovered is that EVERY project is different in some small but significant way.  Every project depends on my finding a solution to a problem I didn't have before.  Styles and tastes change.  So no matter how well I might perfect a "camera angle" say, it would eventually go out of favor so I'd have to figure out something that fit the new projects.   In short, 90% of my clients use me because they trust me.  The skill they need from me I find trivial!!!!  Of course, I use the $9,000 lenses when I can, because it's important to me, and I do believe they see it, BUT ONLY AFTER I've done the 90% of the blocking and tackling.

 

Another way I might say what Ebrahim is saying is that getting the 20 minutes "in the can" with consistent quality, that meets the client's needs (which they will never be able to fully articulate) always requires a million compromises which CANNOT be saved by all the most expensive cameras and lenses on Earth!  It's not that the client won't appreciate a good lens over a bad lens, it's that the "story/message" is 90% of what they're looking at.  A $10,000 lens in the wrong lighting will NOT beat a $200 lens with the right lighting.  Like everyone else, I admire anyone who uses $10,000 lenses in the right lighting, but there is no real technique to that because lighting, as Ebrahim says IS A FUNCTION of what mood the client wants.   

 

TRUST, TRUST between you and the client is everything!  So it's more important you WORK WITH PEOPLE, than learn techniques by yourself.  Get any job you can.  Work with young people on school projects.  

 

Finally, if you want to know tips and tricks, then you need to look at that person's work and ask them how they solved a certain problem.  Or you need to ask what kind of look you want and what the person does.  There are no tricks that apply to everything...except the learn to work with people for a COMMON goal that, as jax_rox says, may not be your own.

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Another curious thing is the danger of doing more or a better job than what was asked for. When I was a student I used to make renders for some terrible Architects who had no Idea about what's important in Architectural representation. Everytime I did a better job than the shit they were asking for ,they acted like they were paying for something they hadn't ask for, even with the price agreed before the actual job (which was way too much if you compare it with today, but at that time the working generation had no idea about renders)

 

Obviously there are people who know what they are doing, so try to figure out what case it is.

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 When I was younger (like you?) I spent a lot of time reading/learning techniques (I still do) and felt getting to a certain level of expertise would be the key to success.  Unfortunately, what I discovered is that EVERY project is different in some small but significant way.  Every project depends on my finding a solution to a problem I didn't have before.  Styles and tastes change.  So no matter how well I might perfect a "camera angle" say, it would eventually go out of favor so I'd have to figure out something that fit the new projects.   In short, 90% of my clients use me because they trust me.  The skill they need from me I find trivial!!!!  Of course, I use the $9,000 lenses when I can, because it's important to me, and I do believe they see it, BUT ONLY AFTER I've done the 90% of the blocking and tackling.

 

Another way I might say what Ebrahim is saying is that getting the 20 minutes "in the can" with consistent quality, that meets the client's needs (which they will never be able to fully articulate) always requires a million compromises which CANNOT be saved by all the most expensive cameras and lenses on Earth!  It's not that the client won't appreciate a good lens over a bad lens, it's that the "story/message" is 90% of what they're looking at.  A $10,000 lens in the wrong lighting will NOT beat a $200 lens with the right lighting.  Like everyone else, I admire anyone who uses $10,000 lenses in the right lighting, but there is no real technique to that because lighting, as Ebrahim says IS A FUNCTION of what mood the client wants.   

 

TRUST, TRUST between you and the client is everything!  So it's more important you WORK WITH PEOPLE, than learn techniques by yourself.  Get any job you can.  Work with young people on school projects.  

 

Finally, if you want to know tips and tricks, then you need to look at that person's work and ask them how they solved a certain problem.  Or you need to ask what kind of look you want and what the person does.  There are no tricks that apply to everything...except the learn to work with people for a COMMON goal that, as jax_rox says, may not be your own.

Thanks maxotics for sharing this good tips, I guess I have to start getting some job from clients

I have to start from somewhere anyway :)

I would love to see some of guys work, especially Ebrahim's work, I don't know if he ever published some video links, pure curiosity mine ,believe me.

I think it's nice for everyone to read and share all this, I opened this topic with the intensions to help everyone in need.

So if you or anybody else have more to say just do it.

The more the better!!!!

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Recently one friend was watching The Walking Dead with True Motion on - it looked hideous, cheap and like a substandard soap opera shot interlaced on an old home movie camera. I switched it off, and BANG - it looked superb, cinematic, edgy ang gripping. All he said was "it looks blurry now." Don't you find this interesting?

 

Just because there are people with unsophisticated or bad taste, doesn't mean we should just aspire to that level. Sure, work with what you have but i'd encourage everyone to aim high!

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jax_rox, how shallow depth of field are we talking about? I often run and gun with F/4 and an APS-C sensor. 

 

For the most part, give a middle-range client shallow depth of field and they're happy. But there's a reason I stopped doing those sorts of gigs.

 

-Most viewers ADORE shallow depth of field and the fullframe aesthetic. Just a fact.

 

Ebrahim: Is the "full frame aesthetic" simply just a shallow depth of field??

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jax_rox, how shallow depth of field are we talking about? I often run and gun with F/4 and an APS-C sensor.


Haha - depends on the client ;)

I don't do much of that kind of work anymore, but I have friends/colleagues who do, and they tell me that as long as you shoot around f/2.8, the client will love how 'cinematic' it looks ;)

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