Posts Tagged ‘Cinematography’

How Music Fits Into Your Video

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Music notesI received an email recently from one of our blog readers in regards to our article on the Art of Storytelling. He had a question regarding the role music plays in telling a story, which I feel is a very important topic to discuss when it comes to video production. I have always supported the use of music throughout a short film, feature film, TV commercial, corporate video, etc. The right music, used in just the right way, can really enhance the mood and emotion of a scene. In other words, music should compliment the story. However, I am against relying solely on the music to encourage an emotional response. If the story is structured well through the writing, cinematography, direction, and the editing, then the audience will feel the appropriate emotion. Leaning on the music to elicit an emotional response that otherwise can’t be earned by the story is manipulative. Concentrate first and foremost on telling a good story by the way you edit the video. Then find the right piece of music to fit the mood you have already established. The video will be stronger as a result.

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Making Time Lapse Videos

Friday, January 28th, 2011
Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...

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Time lapse videos are visually engaging because they compress hours (or even days) into only a few seconds or a few minutes of video. There’s something fascinating about watching things evolve and change in super fast motion, like this time lapse of a space shuttle being prepped for launch. I’ve used time lapse shots in my own video projects for various clients and they really punch up the production value. Recently, I came across this question about time lapse videography:

I have a camera right now, but it’s difficult to make time lapse videos with it. I may know the answer but i’m not quite sure, it’s something about you have to be able to have automatically shooting every xy second. At least that’s what one person told me. I just know what to look for when purchasing a camera, if that’s what I need, because I want a camera with this function so it is easier. There is a way you can do it with my camera, but it’s confusing.

If you are interested in creating time lapse shots that span several hours, even days, then your camera needs to be equipped with an intervalometer. Prosumer and professional video cameras have this function built in. Essentially, the intervalometer allows you to specify how long the camera needs to record and how often it needs to record. For example, you might want to shoot 2 seconds of video every 5 minutes, or 1 second of video every 10 minutes, etc.┬áIf you don’t have an intervalometer, you can easily set up your camera, hit record, and leave it alone. However, your time lapse shots will only be able to span a few hours with this method and you will end up with quite a bit of footage that you won’t really need.
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Another Great iPhone App for Cinematographers

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

helios-screenshotI love my iPhone. It’s incredible to have that many resources and tools in one device. I’m always interested in learning about new apps that can increase productivity and make my life a little more organized and efficient. Last month I posted a video about Cinemek’s storyboarding application, Hitchcock. Today I wanted to post a little information about Helios. Released last April, Helios is a tool for cinematographers that will allow you to calculate the position of the sun for any given day, at any given time, at any given location around the world. This can be an incredibly useful tool for DP’s working with natural light. Let’s say you have an exterior shoot in Grand Rapids, MI next month, but it’s overcast and rainy on your location scout . With the Helios app, you can instantly calculate where the sun will be at the exact moment of your shoot. It’s a great way to keep track of the ever-changing lighting conditions when shooting outdoors.

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My Video Is Fuzzy

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This question came to me recently…

We have a cannon XHA1 and are having issues shooting dark objects inside. The pixels within the dark areas become noisy or fuzzy. It seems like lower shutter speeds help this issue but don’t resolve it all together.

If you are shooting video in low light and your camera is set to auto iris, the camera will maximize all available light to boost the exposure. This results in grainy, or noisy video. You can also introduce grain onto your video if you increase the camera’s gain to compensate for low light. Many video cameras with manual controls allow you to control the amount of gain, usually in increments ranging from 0db to 18db.

To ensure that your image is clear, sharp and clean, you need to ensure that there is enough light on set for a proper exposure. If your script requires that you shoot nighttime scenes, or scenes in dark interiors, remember that the illusion of darkness is created NOT by taking away the amount of light on set, but by increasing the amount of contrast. You can shoot nighttime scenes without grain by knowing how to properly light the set.

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Video Production 101 – White Balance

Friday, February 5th, 2010

This question came to me recently:

My videos have been oddly yellowish. I read somewhere about ‘white balancing.’ I have a Sony Cybershot. Do I white balance on the camera during filming, do I do it during editing, if so where? Thank You so much for your help!

Although our eyes can’t perceive it, certain light sources give off a particular color temperature. These varying degrees of color are represented on the Kelvin scale. Tungsten bulbs burn at about 3200 degrees Kelvin, while sunlight burns at about 5600 degrees Kelvin. However, the color temperature of the sun doesn’t stay constant. It’s constantly changing as morning turns to afternoon and as afternoon turns to dusk. Our eyes can automatically compensate for this change in color temperature, but video cameras cannot. So, they need to be calibrated every time the light source changes. Otherwise, the footage can come out with an orange tint, blue tint, or even a green tint.

Calibrating a video camera to ensure correct color representation is called white balancing. Many cameras come with preset white balance settings for diffewhite-balancerent shooting situations – indoor, daylight, cloudy, etc. However, conducting a manual white balance on your camera is the best way to ensure that all colors within your scene are represented correctly. There’s a great tutorial on color temperature and white balancing here. You can also read my production tip for shooting under fluorescent lights, which pose a different set of challenges.

To white balance, turn your camera’s white balance setting to manual. Then, hold a plain, white sheet of paper in front of the camera and zoom in until the paper fills the screen (make sure you hold the paper under the light source under which you will be filming). Then (this is true of most cameras with manual white balance), press and hold your white balance button until your camera confirms that a proper white balance has been set. Then, you’re ready to shoot. Just remember to re-white balance every time you change locations and lighting setups. Read this post for tips on how to adjust your white balance to a warmer or cooler tone.

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