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/vid/ sticky February 2021

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Feb 7th, 2021
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  1. - /vid/ sticky – February 2021
  2. AKA maybe the real pandemic was the friends we made along the way
  4. Contents:
  5. -Cheap beginner cameras
  6. -The best cameras available at the moment based on your price range
  7. -What gear do I need?
  8. -What editing software should I use?
  9. -What is colour-correction/colour-grading?
  10. -Can you explain log modes and RAW video?
  11. -Anything else I need to know?
  12. -Some final helpful vids/articles
  13. -Can we talk about RAW in more depth quickly?
  14. -Frequently Asked Questions
  16. This sticky is a guide(!) on what you need and what you need to know in order to start making videos of a presentable quality.
  17. 90% of stupid questions you have can be answered by going out and filming and seeing for yourself. It's easier to buy lots of expensive gear and convince yourself that you're not properly prepared to make anything yet. But all the gear in the world can't replace actual experience. So the number one piece of advice is to start filming shit. And if you can't afford a fancy camera, use your phone (yes I'm serious).
  19. If you're at the point where you're trying to decide if a Canon c200 is worth the pricetag, you shouldn't be reading this sticky. Or you're nowhere near ready to be considering spending that much money on a camera yet. Your choice.
  21. ///Cheap beginner cameras:
  24. ///The best cameras available at the moment based on your price range:
  25. -200$ and below: Any interchangeable lens camera with at least 1080p resolution will be more than adequate for your shitty short film with a budget that small. The pros over using your phone will be learning how a camera work and getting used to manually adjusting the shutter speed, aperture and iso.
  26. -Notable cameras of the past that will cost south of 400$ (all canon cameras coincidentally):
  27. -Canon EOS M, easily the best video for the cheapest price on the second hand market. Needless to say, it doesn't have as much sharpness or overall image quality when compared to more expensive bodies, but hack it with firmware upgrades like Magic Lantern and you can expect some surprisingly solid 2.5K raw footage that's usable for most projects.
  28. -Canon EOS 7D, universally known as one of the most popular entry level cameras for filmmakers a couple of years back and, even today, still arguably the most competitive one for a sub-400$ budget. Much like the EOS M, it also has an excellent amount of downloadable firmware upgrades that will boost up the bitrate and give you some rather sharp results, especially for a camera this old.
  29. -Canon eos m50. Small, decent video autofocus. Can easily adapt ef lenses. Shoots 4k. Downside is the crop in 4k. Also, it's clearly a budget-body.
  30. -400-1000$: Panasonic covers this price range well enough, the cheapest and most popular one probably being the Lumix G7 and, if you're willing to shill out a little more for a newer model on retail, the G80 / G85 and the G9 are also great choices with slightly higher specs. All of them are 4K capable with excellent sensors and the Micro 4/3rds compatibility also allows for plenty of choices as far as lenses go.
  31. -1000-3000$: The best prosumer cinema camera on the market at the moment is the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k. For ~2500 dollars/pounds, you get 6k raw internally recorded to a s35mm sensor, with dual native iso providing decent low light. There's a bunch of other great features that are worth checking out.
  32. Then you also have the Nikon z6. It is a full frame camera that can record 4k, again with dual-native iso and can record '''''raw''''' (what nikon claims to be raw anyway, achieved via pixel-binning) externally with an atomos ninja. There are also meme cinema cameras like the z-cam and the Sigma FP. There are pros and cons of looking at these cameras but it's hard to recommend them to anyone who's looking at this sticky for information.
  33. The best and cheapest is the BMPCC 4K which can record 4k raw internally and is so much cheaper than any other camera with anything close to similar specs. The downside is that you're using a mft sensor. A lot of cameras have excellent low light capabilities these days but you should really be investing in learning how to light if you don't want your videos to look like shit.
  34. A Sony a7iii, Canon eos r and Panansonic s1 or gh5s will all do you great too but their features for price don't really compare to the above.
  36. -More than 3000$: At this price, you REALLY shouldn't be taking random recommendations from a Thai Cooking forum. Having said that, at this price point your options are divided into different design choices. There are straight up cinema cameras that, as the name suggests, will do you perfect on a professional film set. The Sony fx6, the Canon c300mkiii, the Red Komodo etc etc. But major cinema cameras like this are (generally) not a good fit for the run-and-gun one-man-band.
  37. A youtuber who likes to vlog will obviously prioritise things like low-light ability and autofocus. But these things aren't of much importance on the set of Transformers 7 for example where they can meticulously control the light and have an entire camera team to nail focus.
  38. Then you have hybrid cameras that are stills cameras that shoot really competent video. These are basically the best versions of the cameras mentioned at lower price points. The sony a7siii, the canon r5 and the panasonic s1h are the standouts here. You can't go wrong with any of them.
  39. As mentioned elsewhere, do your fucking research before purchasing.
  40. It's probably worth mentioning that the canon r5 can do 8k raw internally (not externally at all) on a full frame sensor. This is kind of revolutionary. There are problems with overheating, though these can be overcome with DIY cooling solutions. 8k raw is a meme feature and not something that you who's reading this sticky should care about. But it's also a major leap forward in technology and there are probably rich kids reading this who would love to be able to circlejerk about how they shot their shitty short film in 8k raw when The Fast and the Furious 10 was probably only shot in 6k.
  42. In general, we tend to advocate DSLRs and mirrorless cameras due to their large sensor sizes (super 35mm is the standard for cinema cameras, many DSLRs' sensors are this size and larger), interchangeable lenses and relatively cheap prices.
  43. DSLRs have historically been used on the set of several feature films, often as B-cameras, including the Avengers (canon 5dmkiii) and Black Swan (canon 7d). On top of that, Shane Carruth's highly-praised feature-film 'Upstream Color' was shot on a Panasonic GH2. In more recent years, almost every large budget film set will have a couple of prosumer cameras knocking around somewhere (as well as gopros) due to their size and speed. They're pretty useful for grabbing quick b-shots.
  45. ///What gear do I need?:
  47. Start with a tripod and a microphone.
  48. After that, there’s all kinds of fun things to invest in, from external sound-recorders(the pre-amp in most cameras is kind of shit) to glidecams and gimbals for stabilisation. And don’t forget lenses, they aren’t cheap. You won’t know what you need until you start filming shit and from seeing what you can’t do that you want to do. (Also, I seriously recommend ND filters for your lenses if you plan on shooting outdoors during the day. They’re relatively cheap.)
  49. In general, better sound quality goes a very long way.
  51. ///What editing software should I use?
  52. This is up to you, based on what you can find/afford.
  53. Industry standard is Avid Media Pro, but it’s on its way out (says increasingly nervous man for the 5th year in a row).
  54. Adobe Premiere Pro is extremely powerful and relatively easy to use. But a license is very pricey. Arguably 'worth' it for its cross-compatibility with the entire adobe family (such as after effects and adobe audition).
  55. Final Cut Pro is the preferred program for MAC users and renders videos stupidly fast.
  56. Sony Vegas gets good results.
  57. DaVinci Resolve 16 is free (version 17 is available in the beta too) and is also the best colour-correcting program available. It also has a powerful sound editor, Fairlight Audio, built in. And it's a pretty decent NLE. Did I mention it was free?
  59. If you want something free but DaVinci doesn't run smoothly on your janky pc, then Lightworks is the other alternative.
  61. ///What is colour-correction/colour-grading?
  65. When you shoot footage, it often won’t look how you want it to for a number of reasons. If you’re shooting on a bad consumer camera without paying attention to the picture profile, you’ll want to correct things like contrast and saturation.
  66. If you’re shooting on a flat picture profile, or shooting RAW (see below) then colour-correction is needed to properly align the colours with what you saw when you were shooting. Colour-grading, on the other hand, is there to make the picture pop in a way that you specifically want.
  67. One way to look at it might be to see correction as a science whereas grading is an art.
  69. ///Can you explain log modes and RAW video?
  72. Not very well. Read the above link, it will explain it much better than the average idiot on an internet forum. In short, you can get theoretically get much better images out of your video if you record like this and then spend the necessary time needed colour-grading it.
  73. Having said this, SHOOTING FLAT IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. Flat picture profiles will often give you more dynamic range allowing greater capacity for editing. But the video is still just as compressed as a non-flat profile. Depending on the profile you're using, sometimes the apparent increased dynamic range comes by compressing the mid tones more to allow more information to be saved for the shadows/highlights. The effect of this? Heavy grading will inevitably lead to banding.
  74. As a general rule of thumb, I personally would avoid shooting log in a codec that isn't at least 10-bit 4:2:2.
  75. (video on 8bit video vs 10bit video)
  77. As for raw, it's the exact same thing as it is in stills. The short explanation is that it contains a shit load more data, recording everything that the sensor reads, allowing you to then construct the picture exactly as you want it in post-production.
  78. This provides much better quality but, you may have guessed, creates stupidly large file sizes. Compressing raw is possible but red are dickheads with a patent that makes that very hard to do. More importantly: YOU DON'T NEED RAW
  79. Raw is not the standard for anything except for narrative feature films, and even then it's not always used (Moonlight wasn't shot in raw for example and that was nominated for an oscar for cinematography). Your indie short film with your friends as actors definitely doesn't need the added extra stop of dynamic range in the highlights (separate point, but dynamic range is also kind of a meme).
  81. As it says at the top, experiment. Experience is key. Start with a neutral profile and find out what you want to do but can't do. Don't go immediately looking for a camera that shoots RAW. Don't be so antsy to get a camera just because of its log profile. Do your research.
  83. For more information on raw, specifically why more cameras don't record raw internally, read this:
  87. ///Anything else I need to know?
  88. Loads. But that’s why film-school exists and why cinematographers/directors/grips aren’t born overnight.
  89. Standard is to shoot at 24 frames-per-second in the US (23.976 if we're being pedantic) and 25 fps in the UK and Europe. For both, you want your shutter speed to be 1/50 of a second. This is roughly a 180 degree shutter-angle, which is easier to use when talking about it (and some high end cameras only let you change the shutter speed in this way rather than give exact shutter speeds). It's easier because it lets you stay consistent when you're changing frame-rates. There’s an equation for figuring out what the shutter angle is, it’s pretty simple though. Google it.
  90. Using ridiculously shallow depth-of-field for every shot is the calling card of an amateur filmmaker using a DSLR.
  92. External recorders can often help your camera produce better results. They also allow companies to bypass red's compression patent which is why prores raw via an atomos recorder is now a thing in a few cameras.
  94. This sticky also hasn't really touched on lighting, that could be an entire new sticky by itself. Experiment. If you find yourself unable to properly expose your subject, it's often easier (and cheaper) and will look better to light the scene correctly than to buy a camera/lens that can perform better in low-light situations.
  95. If in doubt, more light is better. You can easily lower gain in post (as long as you don't blow your highlights out), but increasing gain will give you a noisy picture. If literally nothing else, grab a torch/lamp because it will be better than nothing.
  100. ///Some final helpful vids/articles
  107. (LUTs are for colour-correction, normally used on RAW footage. They save time.)
  109. ///Can we talk about RAW in more depth quickly?
  111. Yes, we can.
  112. RAW can be recorded in many different ways depending on which camera is used. Some pro cameras record RAW internally (all REDs and the Alexa65 for example), some don't. The original Alexa doesn't record RAW for example, only ProRes 4444.
  113. On top of that, exactly what RAW is varies from camera to camera. In essence, like with photography, RAW records all the information that the sensor receives.
  114. RED cameras, for example, record in REDCode RAW which uses their own compression algorithm to slightly (or not so slightly depending on the setting) compress RAW into a proper video. You can record from 3:1 compression (which is, for all intents and purposes, lossless) to 18:1. And you can record sound at the same time of course.
  115. Conversely if you record RAW from a hacked Canon 5dmkiii, you'll find yourself with a series of still images and no sound.
  116. Recently, Apple has created Prores Raw which is an attempt to create a standardised raw file type for various reasons. You can read more about it here
  118. A lot of people wonder if RAW allows you to get away with massively over/underexposed shots that can just be fixed in post. You should think about it differently with RAW. RAW just records the entire capability of the sensor at once, but you can still underexpose and fuck it up. If you bring gain into it in post it will still get noisy, you only have more leeway. Really what RAW is best for is color, because since there is little to no compression, gradients are smoother and you really capture as many colors as the sensor can handle. One of the issues with the 'digital' look of DSLR's is that because of low MB/s compression a lot of color information is thrown away. RAW bitrates are extremely high (hence the huge file sizes) and so it has huge information retention.
  120. RAW is not something that the amateur short-filmmaker needs to be particularly concerned with. Having said that, the low budget filmmaker's best options for RAW are Blackmagic cameras.
  121. With the advent of prores raw, other prosumer cameras are getting into the market but it's taking a bit of time. And blackmagic do it great for not much money now. If you're determined to shoot RAW, do considerable research in advance.
  122. [In general, if you need this sticky to know what you're doing, RAW is almost definitely not a concern for you]
  124. ///Frequently Asked Questions
  125. Q. I only have x amount of money, what camera should I buy?
  126. A. Buy a used canon m50. If you can't afford that, use your phone.
  128. Q. I have no budget, what camera should I buy for this professional job I'm doing?
  129. A. An arri alexa lf
  131. Q. Okay, what's the best camera that is affordable?
  132. A. Define "affordable". The more you're willing to spend, the better a camera you can get. Do some research but the short answer to this is the BMP6k. But it's not for beginners who have never used a video camera before. That's your only warning. I'd do some research before dropping that much money on a product but then I don't have cash to burn.
  134. Q. Do I really need a larger sensor? My mate uses a camcorder and he says it's good and I trust him
  135. A. Then why are you coming here? Get him to buy all your shit if he's so smart. Larger sensors let more light in and tend to provide better image quality. You can record great video with a camcorder. You can get better quality with a larger sensor. Your choice.
  137. Q. My friend says 4k is more important than good audio. Is he right?
  138. A. See above. Decide what you think is more important
  140. Q. Is 4k a meme?
  141. A. No, it's a resolution. It has a much larger file-size and requires more powerful processing. Clients like it cause it sounds nice on paper. It gives you more breathing-room in post. But for the last decade, most theatrical digital films were mastered in 2k. Whatever you make isn't going to be a Hollywood blockbuster.
  142. More and more it's becoming standard though. Several companies have started on 6k now and canon and samsung are pushing 8k, so it's worth considering how future-proof you want your videos to be.
  144. Q. Should I buy a Sony?
  145. A. Maybe. Which sony and what do you need it for? Research.
  147. Q. What's the best lens?
  148. A. No such thing. Buy the lens that does what you need it to. Faster apertures alone don't necessarily mean that it's a better lens.
  150. Q. What's the difference between a T-stop and an f-stop
  151. A. An f-stop is an approximation. A T-stop is an actual measurement taken.
  154. Q. I hate the sticky
  155. A. That's not a question
  157. Q. Make it better!
  158. A. Neither is that. But if you want to make it better, be helpful and make suggestions instead of whining
  160. Q. I'm triggered by your attempts at jokes in these FAQs
  161. A. That's also not a question. These aren't jokes, these are sarcastic answers based on the stupid questions that get asked every thread. If you ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer
  163. Q. Well I probably make more money than you/have more experience than you!
  164. A. Great, then write a new sticky
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