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  1. - /vid/ sticky – Middle of 2018 Edition
  2. AKA: "why bother writing all this when the people this will help refuse to read it?"
  3.  
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6.  
  7. 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.
  8.  
  9. ///Cheap beginner cameras:
  10. http://learnaboutfilm.com/making-a-film/equipment-for-low-budget-filmmaking/filmmakingcamera/
  11.  
  12. ///The best DSLRs available at the moment:
  13. http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/best-dslr-top-cameras-by-price-and-brand-944543
  14. The canon 5diii is an oldie but a goldie, now with the ability to record internal 4k raw using magic lantern.
  15. The sony a7sii records internal 4k and has insane low-light capabilites (although the a7siii is coming soon, who knows exactly when though?).
  16. The pansonic GH5s is probably the best DSLR/mirrorless available for filmmaking today (factoring in price). It has internal 4k up to 60fps, internal body stabilisation, an mft mount which can adapt almost any lens, and internal noise reduction. But it's a panasonic.
  17. Also, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k does internal raw 4k with dual-native ISO for like half the price of the GH5s. But it's not out until September (2018). And it's Blackmagic...
  18.  
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21.  
  22. ///What gear do I need?:
  23. http://learnaboutfilm.com/making-a-film/equipment-for-low-budget-filmmaking/
  24. Start with a tripod and a microphone.
  25. 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.)
  26. In general, better sound quality goes a very long way.
  27.  
  28. ///What editing software should I use?
  29. This is up to you, based on what you can find/afford.
  30. Industry standard is Avid  Media Pro, but it’s on its way out.
  31. 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).
  32. Final Cut Pro is the preferred program for MAC users and renders videos stupidly fast.
  33. Sony Vegas gets good results.
  34. DaVinci Resolve 14 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? [GET DAVINCI RESOLVE IF YOU'RE UNSURE]
  35.  
  36. ///What is colour-correction/colour-grading?
  37. http://www.redsharknews.com/post/item/3294-beginner-s-intro-to-colour-correction
  38. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzQmpHAln6g
  39.  
  40. 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.
  41. If you’re shooting on a flat picture profile, or shooting RAW (unlikely) 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.
  42. One way to look at it might be to see correction as a science whereas grading is an art.
  43.  
  44. ///Can you explain log modes and RAW video?
  45. https://www.hdvideopro.com/workflow/capture-workflow/formats-explained/
  46.  
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49.  
  50. ///Anything else I need to know?
  51. Loads. But that’s why film-school exists and why cinematographers/directors/grips aren’t born overnight.
  52. 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, it’s pretty simple though. Google it.
  53. Using ridiculously shallow depth-of-field for every shot is the calling card of an amateur filmmaker using a DSLR.
  54. Be careful of moire when shooting on canon cameras. Be careful of the rolling shutter effect when shooting on sony cameras.
  55.  
  56. 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. Most good DSLRs/mirrorless' can record uncompressed 4:4:4 footage with an external recorder. As far as I'm aware, none can do that internally (ignoring hacks because magiclantern is great).
  57.  
  58. 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.
  59. https://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/5-diy-lighting-tips-for-filmmakers-on-a-budget/
  60. http://learnaboutfilm.com/making-a-film/equipment-for-low-budget-filmmaking/lighting-low-budget-filmmaking/
  61. http://nofilmschool.com/2016/01/how-make-film-look-cinematic-when-your-lighting-setup-less-ideal
  62.  
  63. ///Here’s some final helpful vids/articles
  64. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeCxUspmHk
  65. http://nofilmschool.com/2015/03/15-common-mistakes-amateur-filmmakers-make-fix
  66. http://nofilmschool.com/2016/12/8-things-new-filmmakers-should-learn-making-their-first-film
  67. http://nofilmschool.com/2012/05/dslr-beginners-guide-exposure-diffraction
  68. http://nofilmschool.com/2011/05/what-is-a-look-up-table-lut-anyway
  69. http://www.redsharknews.com/post/item/2966-the-beginners-guide-to-luts
  70. (LUTs are for colour-correction, normally used on RAW footage. They save time.)
  71.  
  72. ///Can we talk about RAW in more depth quickly?
  73. http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Complete-Beginners-Guide-to-Raw-Files-And-Raw-Pr/
  74. Yes, we can.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. Conversely if you record RAW from a hacked Canon 5dmkiii, you'll find yourself with a series of still images and no sound.
  79.  
  80. 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.
  81.  
  82. 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 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.
  83. [In general, if you need this sticky to know what you're doing, RAW is almost definitely not a concern for you]
  84.  
  85. ///Frequently Asked Questions
  86. Q. I only have x amount of money, what camera should I buy?
  87. A. Buy a used canon t3i/600d. If you can't afford that, use your phone.
  88.  
  89. Q. I have no budget, what camera should I buy for this professional job I'm doing?
  90. A. A Red Helium 8k
  91.  
  92. Q. Okay, what's the best camera that is affordable?
  93. A. Define "affordable". The more you're willing to spend, the better a camera you can get. The blackmagic pocket cinema camera is a sub $1000 video-camera that provides RAW 1080p footage without requiring a firmware hack. That's probably your best bet. 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.
  94. The Panasonic GH5 has just dropped with some very nice specs (internal 4k video at 10-bit 4:2:2). The Sony A7sii is the short-filmmaker-with-money's go-to camera due to its internal 4k video on full-frame sensor with insanely high ISO capability. That's all I'm saying about the camera.
  95.  
  96. Q. Do I really need a larger sensor? My mate uses a camcorder and he says it's good and I trust him
  97. 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.
  98.  
  99. Q. My friend says 4k is more important than good audio. Is he right?
  100. A. See above. Decide what you think is more important
  101.  
  102. Q. Is 4k a meme?
  103. 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 consider that most theatrical masters are only just becoming 4k standard. For the last decade, most digital films were mastered in 2k. Whatever you make isn't going to be a Hollywood blockbuster being shown in a movie theater.
  104.  
  105. Q. Should I buy a Sony?
  106. A. Maybe. Which sony and what do you need it for? Research.
  107.  
  108. Q. What's the best lens?
  109. 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.
  110.  
  111. Q. What's the difference between a T-stop and an f-stop
  112. A. An f-stop is an approximation. A T-stop is an actual measurement taken.
  113. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYRJVRMlIe8 
  114.  
  115. Q. I hate the sticky
  116. A. That's not a question
  117.  
  118. Q. Make it better!
  119. A. Neither is that. But if you want to make it better, be helpful and make suggestions please
  120.  
  121. Q. I'm triggered by your attempts at jokes in these FAQs
  122. 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
  123.  
  124. Q. Well I probably make more money than you/have more experience than you!
  125. A. Great, then write a new sticky
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