/vid/ feb 2019

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  1. - /vid/ sticky – February 2019 Edition
  2. AKA I'm pretty sure not a single person read the November version of this sticky so why do I bother?
  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. -150$ and below: 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.
  26. -150-400$: Canon EOS 7D, universally known as one of the most popular entry level cameras for filmmakers a couple of years back and, even today, still arguably the most competitive one for a sub-400$ 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.
  27. -400-1000$: Panasonic covers this price range well enough, the cheapest and most popular one probably being the Lumix G7 and, if you're willing to shill out a little more for a newer model on retail, the G80 / G85 and the G9 are also great choices with slightly higher specs. All of them are 4K capable with excellent sensors and the Micro 4/3rds compatibility also allows for plenty of choices as far as lenses go.
  28. -1000-3000$: The best prosumer camera on the market at the moment is actually (to literally everyone's surprise) the Nikon Z6. It is a full frame camera that can record 4k prores raw via external recording means. Second best 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. Both the Nikon Z6 and the BMP4k have excellent low light capabilities too (though you should really be investing in learning how to light if you don't want your videos to look like shit).
  29. The Lumix GH5s is much more expensive but also has great low-light and can record 4k 10-bit 4:2:2. The GH5 is there if you want more still photography options as well as an in-built stabiliser while compromising on some, nonetheless excellent, video capabilities.
  31. 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.
  32. DSLRs have frequently 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.
  33. The canon 5diii is an oldie but a goldie, now with the ability to record internal 4k raw using magic lantern.
  35. ///What gear do I need?:
  37. Start with a tripod and a microphone.
  38. 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.)
  39. In general, better sound quality goes a very long way.
  41. ///What editing software should I use?
  42. This is up to you, based on what you can find/afford.
  43. Industry standard is Avid  Media Pro, but it’s on its way out.
  44. 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).
  45. Final Cut Pro is the preferred program for MAC users and renders videos stupidly fast.
  46. Sony Vegas gets good results.
  47. DaVinci Resolve 15 is free (as of last time I checked) 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?
  49. ///What is colour-correction/colour-grading?
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. One way to look at it might be to see correction as a science whereas grading is an art.
  57. ///Can you explain log modes and RAW video?
  60. 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.
  61. 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. 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.
  63. ///Anything else I need to know?
  64. Loads. But that’s why film-school exists and why cinematographers/directors/grips aren’t born overnight.
  65. Standard is to shoot at 24 frames-per-second in the US and 25 fps in the UK. 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.
  66. Using ridiculously shallow depth-of-field for every shot is the calling card of an amateur filmmaker using a DSLR.
  67. Be careful of moire when shooting on canon cameras. Be careful of the rolling shutter effect when shooting on sony cameras.
  69. Pretty much every camera can get better results if you use an external recorder. That's why there's a difference between what a camera can do internally and externally. A DSLRs/mirrorless camera can record uncompressed 4:4:4 footage with an external recorder.
  71. 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.
  76. ///Some final helpful vids/articles
  83. (LUTs are for colour-correction, normally used on RAW footage. They save time.)
  85. ///Can we talk about RAW in more depth quickly?
  87. Yes, we can.
  88. 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.
  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. Conversely if you record RAW from a hacked Canon 5dmkiii, you'll find yourself with a series of still images and no sound.
  92. Recently, Apple announced Prores Raw which is an attempt to create a standardised raw file type for various reasons. You can read more about it here
  94. 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.
  96. 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 the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, the Nikon Z6 and the Canon 5dmkiii (with the magic lantern hack). Anything else will be extremely pricey. If you're determined to shoot RAW, do considerable research in advance.
  97. [In general, if you need this sticky to know what you're doing, RAW is almost definitely not a concern for you]
  99. ///Frequently Asked Questions
  100. Q. I only have x amount of money, what camera should I buy?
  101. A. Buy a used canon m50. If you can't afford that, use your phone.
  103. Q. I have no budget, what camera should I buy for this professional job I'm doing?
  104. A. A Red Monstro 8k
  106. Q. Okay, what's the best camera that is affordable?
  107. A. Define "affordable". The more you're willing to spend, the better a camera you can get. The blackmagic pocket cinema camera 4k is roughly £1000/$1300 and is a video-camera that provides internal RAW 4k footage without requiring a firmware hack. The Nikon Z6 can do the same but is more expensive and requires an external recorder, but in exchange you get better low light and a full-frame sensor. One of those will be your best bet. But they're 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.
  109. Q. Do I really need a larger sensor? My mate uses a camcorder and he says it's good and I trust him
  110. 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.
  112. Q. My friend says 4k is more important than good audio. Is he right?
  113. A. See above. Decide what you think is more important
  115. Q. Is 4k a meme?
  116. 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 being shown in a movie theater.
  118. Q. Should I buy a Sony?
  119. A. Maybe. Which sony and what do you need it for? Research.
  121. Q. What's the best lens?
  122. 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.
  124. Q. What's the difference between a T-stop and an f-stop
  125. A. An f-stop is an approximation. A T-stop is an actual measurement taken.
  128. Q. I hate the sticky
  129. A. That's not a question
  131. Q. Make it better!
  132. A. Neither is that. But if you want to make it better, be helpful and make suggestions instead of whining
  134. Q. I'm triggered by your attempts at jokes in these FAQs
  135. 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
  137. Q. Well I probably make more money than you/have more experience than you!
  138. A. Great, then write a new sticky
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