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A Video a Day

Lesson 7 from: Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

7. A Video a Day

Next Lesson: 180 Degree Rule

Lesson Info

A Video a Day

The name of the segment is A Video A Day Keeps The Photographer Away. And initially when I started creating this segment it was, "Oh, you know we can do a lot of stuff "with our smartphones, we can keep it simple." But then I kind of thought like, "Well, yeah, we can keep it simple "but I'm not really teaching you anything at that point." I'm saying, "Grab a phone and shoot with it and it's fun." and then that's not 90 minutes worth of content. So I think like where we get to this segment is we spent a lot of time this morning talking about storytelling and different elements of storytelling, different elements of things that we can do to create better work all around. And then we talked about camera settings. I think at this point we have a choice we can make. We can either continue down this path of just information overload or we take a break and go, "You know what? "We're going to let all that information marinate, "little sit." And we're just going to kind of just let it affect us...

on a subconscious level as we talk about the next segment. So the purpose of a video a day is this idea that we want to create something simple regularly. And if you don't creating something simple regularly I want you to think about doing something simple regularly. Second thing, I want to focus on basics. Don't worry about crazy equipment, don't worry about the camera, don't worry about anything. Get it, set it up and just shoot. My big thing that I say a lot to new photographers who are shooting videos, you can't edit it, you can't create a project if you don't shoot it. And the thing is is like forget the tech and just shoot already. Don't get bogged down with this whole idea of like, "Okay I can't, well I don't, I can't do that now "you know on the camera now." Or "I'll do it when I have like the right lens." Or "I'll do it when I do this. I'll do it when I can." fill in the blank. It's not about that. We all have smartphones. And I think this is where the concept of this segment started off is we all have a smartphone, we all have some camera that can shoot video and even if it's not 1080 at 24 or whatever it is or everything else that we talked about already, it shoots motion, captures motion. So heck, let's start thinking about it. So we have in this wonderful age of technology, a number of different avenues that we can create a video with and then upload it and do stuff to it and have it never leave the safety and comfort of our hand and our smartphone. It's amazing. We heard a statistic earlier today that like we've taken more pictures in the last year than all of history, it's because of smartphones. I was just at Coachella a number of weeks ago. And the number of people raising up their cell phone to take a picture is astounding, because a decade ago that was a point shoot camera. We were in Seattle right now and I was just along the waterfront over by the Ferris wheel and for every five people that took a picture of their smartphone one person had a point and shoot or a DSLR. This is the kind of like the world we live in right now so if we're going to use our smartphones we might as well use them for our own training, own practice. So we're gonna practice, keep it simple, keep it really simple, and it focuses you to think in sequences. So in the world of filmmaking you can either shoot stuff out of order and piece it together in post or it can shoot stuff in order which makes your edit easier. So these tools that we have like Vine and Instagram they require you to shoot in sequence. So whatever happens in the beginning has to be shot first, whatever happens in the end has to be shot last. And there's no like editing, you just kind of got to figure it out and it's actually a great way to learn conceptual editing. This idea of taking clips and piecing them together visually and aesthetically so you can create a complete piece. So remember earlier in the day we talked about five shots creating one segment. Kind of same thing, that's what you're using your smartphone for, for using Instagrams, using Vine for. And if you go to YouTube and look at the best Vines of 2013 or you'll see some really creative things that'll make you go, "Holy crap, how do they do that?" And that's great, with a piece of technology like a smartphone, you're able to do that. But let's get down to something very basic. If you're not familiar with a company called Flixel, they make an app and a desktop program called cinemagraph. So what a cinemagraph does is it takes a clip that's just motion and let's you freeze elements of it like a still photograph but retains some of the motion behind it. So for photographers who are just getting into motion it's a good practice element, it's a good tool for them to kind of get into thinking about motion. It makes you focus on the overall scene, it makes you focus on what's moving. A lot of times for photographers we forget that motion is about moving and it's not about the moment so much it's about the process of getting to that moment and getting out of it. You can do with very little equipment, it's really neat. For example, this is just a video clip. You can kind of tell, let's see here that it's moving but you see how she is not. So we frozen her, we've given a little bit of like movement to her hair, we've actually moved it and it can play infinitely, so that's a Flixel. Let me show it one more time. It's just a moving photograph. Think Harry Potter. Think Harry Potter and think when you saw that in the movie you were like, "Oh, that's so cool, I can't wait till that happens." well it's here. It's really here. Well what does that process look like. How do you actually do it? So you take a clip and you record a piece... So you can see here there's a train and it's gonna keep going and you see how she's moving just a little bit, there's a little bit of a wiggle to her. So it's not quite there. What you end up doing is you record a clip and you go into a program called cinemagraph. And this is cinemagraph, this is the picture of their interface here. So you end up loading the image or loading the file into this program and it gives you like a little timeline, it gives you a place to kind of look and see where you want to go with the clip. And if you look at the bottom right hand corner there's a little indicator here that lets you pick what's called the still frame. So what you're essentially doing is you're taking a still frame, you're laying it over the video and you're blending it together so that what you freeze is essentially covering that video. And when you're doing that you go into the mask view. So once I've picked my still frame I go in and I just mask out what I don't want to move. And I go ahead and I click on export gives me like an export like a render file it kicks out a video for me. So from here what you can do is you can render it or you can kind of use their tools to color it and grade it and make it look pretty like kind of how you would add a filter in Instagram. Or if you can know your way around color grading in Premiere or Final Cut, you can export this file out and go into Premiere where you have all of your grading tools to create a look. See I've created a look here. That's the neat thing is, it's still a video file, I'll just take it and then I'll go ahead and upload it to their website and boom, I'm on their website and it's there and it's playing and obviously this is a still grab, a screenshot of the website but essentially that video looks like this. Here we go. This is the final product here. Right here. So all told, it's kind of a tedious process because it involves masking and if you're not used to masking it gets to be kind of like, "Oh gosh, this is really time-consuming." But at the end of the day what it lets us do, as photographers, it let's not necessarily focus on a sequence if we're not there yet but focus on a moment. So let's stop here and think. What types of shots that would work in a cinemagraph? You can't cheat right now thankfully and go to their website and find out. So we did one with like a moving train. Let's think of other things. A very typical easy one is like a model hair, a Ferris wheel. One that I saw that was really, really cool was just a freeze-frame of everyone like looking at the Eiffel Tower and a jet flying across. So what it does for us is it gets us to really focus in on the motion and learning to differentiate between still photography and motion. And then for those of you guys who actually have a business doing photography, there are a number of digital frames out there these days that are hot synced to the Cloud. Pay for subscription, you can actually from your comfort and safety of your studio upload a file to the Cloud that will then hit that digital frame that you've sold to your customer. So imagine if you could do like a string of Harry Potter videos like this in their frames and it's in their entryway and they get home from work one day and it's now been updated and they freak out, that's so cool. If you're looking for the the titles of those frames, off the top of my head I can't remember it. But send me an @reply at Twitter and I'll make sure that I get it out to you. But like the thing is this is the future. Not only has photography move to a point where it's now incorporating motion, the products that we offer our clients are now tangible again. So for a while you know we had this weird, weird period in photography where everything was digital and nothing was being printed. And now being given that the ability to hand something tangible to a customer that not only has photographs and video but like the ability to toss in little cinemagraphs like this, it's freaking cool, it's just cool. I mean it's another tool for us to reach an audience and a customer base that that will allow us to be different as a business. I think we have gotten away in our industry of providing tangible goods to customers because, when I was photographer, it was just as digital is coming on and people were really on into it. They're like, "Oh, I just want the CD." I can't tell you how many CDs we sold and none of those photographs were ever printed. And it's sad because photography like the mysticism, the mystery about photography is the fact that you take a picture and you have a print and it's tangible, and you're like, "Hey, I took this photograph. "I captured this image." And we can do that now with tools like this and like digital frames and it's kind of neat. It's a little bit different but it works. You go into something like this and move on from cinemagraphs to Vine and Instagram. Side note, if you're wondering what my @names are for the stuff, I'll give it to you all later. But on Instagram I've started doing videos just because I want to practice what I preach first. And two, because I think there are moments on Instagram where you take a photograph that just doesn't, it doesn't encompass the moment. I walked into a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon the other day and I totally got rickrolled. And if you know what rickrolling is, Google it. If you don't know what it is, Google it, and you'll know right away. So I walked into a coffee shop and totally got rickrolled, and I wanted to cheer up my friends, so instead of taking a photograph I took a video of the speaker that was playing a song and sent it up. So there's little moments like that where video is really neat, especially Instagram. It's fun, it's totally low pressure. No one's going to like critique your Instagram video because it's Instagram. What is Instagram for? Selfies, pets and food. It's low pressure, no one's really going to judge you, it's cool. I look at more pictures of food on my Instagram feed than anything, it's awesome. So we're going to take a look here. Here's Instagram. It's always fun to see what's on the first screen of someone's iPhone. I'm very organized. If you guys don't know what those are, those are old film reels, like canisters when you develop film. So you go to Instagram and it's going to take you to this little... It's going to take you to this little screen and you hit that little button and it flips you over to video mode. Now, you should notice something here. When you go from still mode to video mode it automatically crops them. So it's going to crop in for you, so just be aware of that. And when you hit record, if you have tap it it's going to say, "Oh, you got a press and hold record." And one little thing that I always forget is when you hit record you have to actually record quite a bit of content. When you record a bit of content then you can do stuff to it. So you click next and you come down, hey, I want to add a little filter to this, a little look and then you get to picking what's called a cover frame, we also call those poster frames and then you upload. Hey look, teaching Instagram is fun. You upload it, hit your feed and again it's just something that allows you an opportunity to think in sequences. So if I'm going to do an Instagram video of this class. Maybe I do like a couple second shots of this, a couple second shots of you guys, a couple of second shots of this and then like a selfie of myself of and then hit share and then all of a sudden I've got myself a video that tells a story of what I was doing today. And that's what you should be treating Instagram like. I did a training seminar for a number of sales reps for a distributor, and we got them all on Instagram. And it's amazing because the retention of Instagram in this group of gentlemen who are probably twice my age was about 50%. And the ones that stuck with it are doing some really fun stuff. They're posting selfies, they're posting videos. One guy just got like two feet of snow in Colorado in May and he posted a video of it. It's really neat to see that technology can transcend age if you just take some time and just sit with it and do something that's going to be a little bit, a little bit simple, but it's going to really help you along as you kind of start to work with big boy cameras like DSLRs and beyond. So before I kind of move on past this and talk about some other stuff. How does this feel to you guys? What do you think? Yeah. You like it? The reason I really kind of want to go with this is because we spend so much time worrying about ISO settings. Like I got a question during lunch today it was like, "Well Victor, I heard about like differences in ISO's "and I shouldn't be shooting at this ISO "versus other ISO's." At some point, yeah, you're gonna want to worry about that. But I think we get bogged down with the details and we prevent ourselves, and it's an excuse to prevent ourselves from actually shooting and capturing.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution
Pre-Production Planner
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!

Student Work