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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 26 of 39

DSLR Filmmaking Tools Part 1

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

26. DSLR Filmmaking Tools Part 1

Lesson Info

DSLR Filmmaking Tools Part 1

And I bring to light meters. I carry two light meters with me because I believe in you guys using the tools that you already own. And if you don't already own the tool, looking at one that does both. Okay? So I'm gonna talk about these models and then we're gonna talk about just proper light meter technique and then we're really gonna dive into it tomorrow. So tomorrow I'm gonna do a little forecasting for you tomorrow. Tomorrow we have two lighting segments tomorrow. And it's fun for me to teach lighting because I feel like I teach it in a way that's accessible and it's fun. But it's also very basic and allows you to learn some simple concepts that you can leverage for your entire career. I've been fortunate enough to learn lighting from some of the best teachers in the world. And I've been able to glean a lot from them and I steal a lot of their material and steal a lot of what they say, because I believe in it. And every one of them uses a light meter, okay? So if you guys recognize...

this it's a Sekonic 358 okay? And for you guys at home you're actually benefiting. This account of 358 is a bulletproof meter. it's super old. I got this when I was 17, 18 years old. And I'm 33 now, yes it's old. I've dropped it, I've had to send it in once for recalibration because I dropped it whatever it is. But over the course of a lifetime it's been my go-to meter. This meter I bought for photography. However, this meter can be used for video. Just gotta learn how to use it for video. So the first thing here, is the way this meter works is there's a box around what's setting it's on. So you wanna put the box around the sun. Put the box around the sun that means you're in ambient mode. After that, you wanna put the second box over the T and so give me a second here. You wanna put the second box over the T. When you put that second box over the T, you're now in shutter ambient mode. So I could control the shutter. If I put my meter in shutter ambient mode, I dictate the shutter speed, and it kicks me back in aperture. We're not done yet. Spin the dial counterclockwise. If you spin the dial counterclockwise, eventually what you're gonna see, oh sorry, clockwise. Eventually what you're gonna see is frames per second and that's where you make your living, okay? So if I spin my dial to 24 frames per second, the meter is gonna assume, if I'm shooting at 24 frames a second what's my shutter speed? 53. Yes! Yes! (laughter) Yeah, that's so good. You guys know it, alright cool. So it's gonna assume that your shutter speed's at 50th. And it's gonna kick back in aperture. Do we often shoot at 50? Yeah we always shoot at and sometimes would go up and something go we down. We can do the math for it. Hey, you bought the speeder a while ago, and now you can use it for video. That's what's so neat about it. And I got more life out of the meter that I bought when I was 18, alright? (coughs) This meter, a little bit fancier, it's like a cell phone but it's not. It's touchscreen, it's a Sekonic 478. When you look at a Sekonic 478, the major thing about this meter is if I tap here I'll have all of these functions. I have my typical ambient readings, I've got my shutter, my aperture. One of the features they added in this is I can dictate a shutter speed and an aperture. And if I pop it, it'll tell me the ISO to shoot at, which is kinda neat. Here is where I love it. I have a cine which gets me frames per second and shutter speed HD cine. And if I tap it up again and go into cine mode, I can actually set my shutter angle. So I was at a workshop, I actually do take at classes as well. And I was in a course called REDucation. And REDucation is a three-day course for individuals who want to learn how to operate the Red digital cinema workflow. And I brought my meter. And that camera can either work in shutter speeds or shutter angles, and in my specific group there are people who really just wanted to work in shutter angle. So I changed my meter to shutter angle, and I was able to get readings. And that's kinda what's neat cause at some point you're gonna meet people in the world, who wanna do the same things you do but have a different vocabulary, and this meter in terms of lighting, if you have the tool it really makes it easy to kinda get an exposure. So we're gonna go over this tomorrow but if I'm gonna actually meter properly. Let's see. I'll set my meter to 24 frames a second, right like I showed you. Now there's two types of metering. Metering is incident or reflective. Pop quiz, what type of metering is this? (murmuring) Incident. incident meeting is taking a reading of light at the incident of contact, okay? whereas reflective metering is I'm across the room and I'm trying to get that reading from across the room. The way that we like to talk about metering, is there's one that looks for 18% gray and one that just represents real life. Incident is real life, reflective it's 18% gray. It's gonna always try to establish a value that's 18% gray. Now we can spend an hour or two talking about metering and metering techniques but the way that I've been taught and the way that I like to teach people, is you wanna point the meter towards your strongest light source, your key light. You wanna talk about this tomorrow, but I'm gonna pop my meter in, we're kinda all even up here and nice and flat, so I'll pop my meter right up here and it's kicking back a value at ISO 800, at 24 frames a second my f-stop is 5/6. What's my shutter speed? (snaps finger) 50th, okay? So I know because of my magic wand, now what my exposure should be. Now, if you remember from the first day, the first day we talked about the latitude of that file. And I showed you two examples, one where I didn't apply a curve, and one where I did apply a curve. And you immediately saw the differences in quality, where the noise happened. Meters not only allow us to be accurate, they allow us to replicate lighting scenarios across a project. So let's make believe I'm capturing interviews of four or five different people, and they're all gonna be in different places. If I know my lighting ratios, I have something to stand on. Because if I want a two-to-one lighting ratio, I can set up a two to one anywhere in the world. I can set up a two to one anywhere in the world. So long as I know what the relationship between the F-stops are. Green question I think. So outdoors you point that at the sun? Okay, so if I'm outdoors and I'm gonna be taking images outside, it depends on where my subject is. I'm outdoors in broad sunlight, of course I'll put the meter right under their chin, and let the light that's falling on the subject, fall on the dome and I'll get my reading. If I'm under a tree I will not go out outside of the shade. I'll go under the tree with my subject, pop the meter under their chin, you get the light that's falling on their face, on their chin and get that reading. Now if there's a direction of the light, I wanna put my meter towards the direction of the light. Read the meter and then go from there. We're gonna learn all about this tomorrow. Okay. With meters I'm a firm believer in meters. Because there are those people who take a picture and look, who rely on the back of their camera, okay let's think about this okay? Opportunity cost of a camera. How much of it is dedicated to the sensor, the manufacturing of the body, the chassis, and then that LCD that they got. How much money do you think they put into the LCD? I don't know. But as a percentage of the overall cost of the camera, I don't know. Can I really trust that LCD? No! What makes me think I can look at that LCD and believe that that's actually in exposure? In gamut actually correct, I can't. I can't because there's no way for me to tell. And I know so many people that look at the back of the camera, engage the exposure off the back of the camera and then they say, "Oh I'm looking at the histogram." And then I ask them to, I put up three pictures, a black card a middle-grade card and a white card and three histograms and I ask them to match the cards. And they can't do it, right? It's because we look at these things and we just don't want to use the proper tool. I believe in the proper tools, use the proper tools. You're always gonna be right. You will always be right, okay? Neutral density filters. So actually, real quick before we move on, a couple questions for folks about lighting ratios and lighting meters. For one thing by the way everybody tomorrow, we're gonna spend two segments talking about lighting. We're gonna go one segment talking about using natural light and one segment using artificial light. So a lot of your questions will probably be answered then. Cause you're gonna use that meter and you're gonna demonstrate everything, Absolutely. how to use it. So we'll probably actually hold off on asking any of the "how to use a meter" questions, because we're gonna see it happen. No questions about light meter, so just know that we'll get your questions tomorrow-- Yeah, but could you talk briefly about what a lighting ratio is. So a lighting ratio is measured in f-stops. When we have a light scenario or lighting pattern, something is always gonna be brighter. There will always be one light typically, that's brighter than all of the other lights, in a room or on a subject. So in this room right now I've got one, two, three, four, five lights. I've got five lights in this room and I'm looking at two banks that are roughly the same, so I'm gonna assume that my key light is right here. Because I'm looking at this bank, and half the lights are off in this other bank. So my fill light is right here. Key light means brighter light. Fill light means filling light, okay? These lights back here are hair lights and rim lights that do not affect the overall exposure of the light hitting my face. So if I had, if this was a lighting workshop, what I would actually do is I'd shut off all the lights in the room. Turn on my key light right here, show you where the lights falling. Turn off my key light turn on my fill lights, so you can understand. Now when you have a relationship between key and fill, the relationship that connects them is an f-stop, which is a ratio. In photography, the most common ratio is 2:1. Which is f/8 and f/5.6. Your key light, you put at f/8 your fill let you put it 5. and then that gives you a wonderful 2-light pattern. And then your hair lights can be anywhere between f8 and F 2.8, depending upon how you want that to look, okay? So there's your 35000, 50 second explanation of key light versus fill light, and if you wanna learn more tomorrow please, we're gonna explain all of this tomorrow. We'll show you, because I don't believe in lighting by numbers so much that I believe in looking at the light and then looking at what the numbers tell us about the light. It's very different, alright. So neutral density filters. Neutral density filters come in two forms. And this guy is a variable 10 stop neutral density filter. Do you need it? (sighs) My friends phrase is, "I'm sixes on it." Meaning like it's two sixes, I can go for it or go against it, okay? And the reason on a variable I feel this way, is because you buy a 10 stop and you can never use it at 10 stops. So let's look at the video that I have first and then we can talk about this variable filter. So here we go. This filter, this shot, is no ND filter, 1/50th second, f/9 and the variable filter. You can see how the depth of field changed. This is at max 10 stops. You see the color shift? (murmuring) Okay. Let's watch it one more time. No filter, with a filter, max filter. So let's talk about why we use a neutral density filter. We use a neutral density filter, because we wanna maintain a 1/50th of a second, outside-in blaring sunlight. And we also wanna maintain our relative shallow depth of field between five and eight. So the only way to actually get that exposure that we want, is to use something that creates density, in front of the lens. Now as you saw the variable was great, you know within like a two or three stop range. One to three stop or four stop range. But the minute we went to 10 stops, which is what they claim this guy to be at, the minute we get to ten stops, we have this awful blue color shift, that no amount of posts will ever let us get rid of. And this was an expensive one. I bought an expensive one for you know, I was like, "Let's get an expensive one," and it still does this. So I'm of the mind now that if I'm gonna continue using neutral densities and I will continue using neutral densities. That if you're a landscape photographer and you landscape photographers already know this, drop in. Four by four drop in is where it's at. There many different manufacturers out there that make filter holders, and drop in holders, and drop in filter holders. So look for four by four, people like glass over composite. It's basically just in terms of cost, which you wanna throw more money on. You're gonna want to get like one stop, a three stop and a ten stop. And here's the cool thing, is if you end up getting a set of drop in four by four filters, it will make your nature photography look phenomenal. Won't the ten mean the ten stop will be ten stop whether it's on a neutral, whether it's a variable or the drop, I mean-- The drop in-- It's like pulling down the curve in Photoshop where you're gonna get that color shift as the as the... Not necessarily. Cause the reason the variable happens, right? So let's actually clarify the question first. A ten stop drop in and a 10 stop neutral density filter, the question was aren't they the same thing? Am I still gonna get that color shift? The answer is no. On a variable ten stop filter, you're essentially taking and spinning this dial, that's darkening the filter as you get on, alright? And what happens, the reason there's a color shift is because these two circles at some point, they counteract each other and they create that weird, where it doesn't cover the full frame and it just doesn't work. A 10 stop filter, is a thick piece of glass or a thick piece of composite, that is designed to work in that same way, in just a 10 stop filter. So when you drop it in you don't get that color shift. They're designed for that. So if you take a look, you look at nature photographs and the waters are super milky, it's because they're using ten stops drop in. And a lot of nature photographers will live and die by glass drop in. Because they wanna make sure that they're not shooting through plastic. I'm not particularly married to a specific type of drop in, I know that that's probably a question. Get a set that you can afford and get a set that you'll use and get a set that if you drop them, you don't mind replacing. Because if you buy glass filters and you drop them, they will be expensive to replace, okay? Alright, lenses. Lenses. I get a lot of questions about lenses. 17-100 millimeters and on the side here 200 millimeters. If you can cover these focal lengths, with the lenses you already own, you do not need to buy anything. If you can cover these focal lengths, with the lenses you already own, you do not need to buy anything. I believe that photography, will always be my go to, my passion. I grew up as a photographer, I learned image making as a photographer, I built a business I bought a house as a photographer. It's a part of me, and I'm not gonna ditch it. So if I were to ditch my autofocus lenses, for manual focus cine lenses, that would be like giving up a part of my soul, right? So here's the thing. As photographers, we're used to seeing these lenses. Filmmakers use these lenses. 24 millimeter, 50 millimeter, 85 millimeter. 24 millimeter, 50 millimeter, 85 millimeter. They're all standardized to one size, they're heavy, they're big in construction, they've got gears, that interface with a follow focus, which we'll talk about in a bit. They have more rotation in the focus, they're heavy pieces of glass. And they're also expensive. Canon make some great glass, but there are companies out there, a set of three lenses, 35, 50 and 85. A 35, a 50 and a 85. Three lenses, $180,000 in the cine world. I'll say it one more time. Three lenses, $180 000. So in the cine world, glass is really important, alright? For us I'm gonna live with my still lenses for a while. Cause $180,000 is a lot of money, right? So here's the thing, I'm gonna say for all of us in this room, for all you guys watching at home, the reason we're here as photographers, is because we wanna learn how to make motion using the products and the tools that we have. I'm only showing you this guys, because a lot of people will say, "Well you know, "I can get better quality out of like a ZEISS set of lenses, "set of ZEISS lenses or Canon lenses." Yeah you can, but you're sacrificing autofocus and you're sacrificing your soul as a photographer, because we live and die by our still lenses, right? And there's a way to adapt our still lenses, to make them compatible for things in cine. And there are some things we give up and there are some things that we can't do nearly as well if we invest in the set of lenses here, but where are we at? We're at a class about photography, about photographers getting into video. And that's what we're doing. We're taking tools we already own and learning how to apply them and maybe picking up some other things that we'll need along the way, okay? So now we talk about something like this, lens adapters. So we're all capturing in manual mode right? Which means if I go ahead and pick up a lens, that has a manual aperture ring, I can still make some bread. I can still make some hay with it. So in this case one of the most popular lens conversion adapters, is Nikon f2 to Canon EF. About six or seven years ago, the used market for Nikon lenses skyrocketed. Because the canon 5D Mark II came out and people started adapting older Nikon lenses, to their Canon bodies. And those adapters can cost anywhere from 50 to 100 bucks, they have some different functions, some of them can go iris control or not. But you know if you're interested in kind of experimenting with primes, so prime lenses are single focal lengths, so there's zooms and there's primes. A zoom is like 17 to 35, a prime is like 85 or 35. And if you're interested in experimenting with prime lenses on a video project, you can probably pick up a set of primes, and when I say a set, a 24 or 35, 24th or /35, 50 and 85. Pick up three lenses for somewhere between 300 and 500 bucks. You know, eBay. You can pick them up then a few more hundred dollars for the adapters. So you're interested in kind of like picking up some primes to kind of experiment and kind of see what that's like, it's a good route to go. Because you're gonna be capturing and focusing manually anyway. So some of the benefits and pitfalls of buying used glass, some of these lenses are 20, 30 years old. So when you buy used glass, you gotta make sure it's in good shape, it's actually sharp and not foggy and you know, that kind of stuff. Just be forewarned about that, okay? Focusing tools. (breathes audibly) Oh! Breath just came out of the room. So I'm gonna go ahead and assemble what I would call my go-to run-and-gun rig, alright? This is my go-to run-and-gun. And notice how I use the monopod guys, how to use that monopod. I put the bottom leg first, the next leg, so that I have room for the top leg, okay? so give me a second. Actually I messed it up, so... (clicking) So this is my go-to rig. This is what I go to, this is where I make my living, this is what I do, this right here. Camera, viewfinder, monopod. These are the two things that if you're doing, these are the two things that if you're doing video with a DSLR in motion, I couldn't do what I do without these two pieces. So here's things I was saying, a viewfinder, this viewfinder, is the custom view finder from Hoodman. I've tried a lot of view finders, I have. Tried a lot of view finders, mess around with a lot of them. Bang for the buck. I mean I like the Hoodman one. It's a really good viewfinder, okay? It's got a diopter, it doesn't get in the way if I don't want to use it anymore, I can just pull it off, alright? It comes with a lanyard. I took the lanyard off but it comes with a lanyard, so actually in a job, I'll have the lanyard around my neck so I can clip it in and take it off when I'm needing to shoot still or something, okay? But it just slides on, tighten it down. And what I do here is I can actually put my head right into it. I'm gonna get my focus this way. I love this thing. And it's affordable. It's not $600, okay? it's affordable. A little bit benefit is you guys probably all have BlackRapid straps or something like that. I can keep a tripod plate on the camera and then use this quarter 20 for a BlackRapid strap. Which is awesome! It's really neat. So this is what I go to. When I'm working and I'm gonna do a shoot, this is the equipment I bring. Especially if it's an event, especially what's gonna be run-and-gun, that sort of stuff. I live and die by this, okay? Any questions? (mumbles) The plate, underneath comes with a head. Correct? The custom viewfinder is this bracket and this viewfinder piece. Alright. So this viewfinder slides (mumbling) into that bracket. And it's an entire piece that you get from Hoodman. The quick-release plate that I have, is just from the tripod that I use. Is on the tripod, you gotcha. Okay? Yes. Okay, great. So before I move on any questions? You said something about a BlackRapid? Yeah, a BlackRapid strap is a camera strap, that comes across your body and slings. And it's a really popular camera strap. Okay. Unfortunately, it uses the quarter-twenty hole, in the bottom of the camera. So a lot of people who use BlackRapid, can't use their tripod mounting plate. And so I've just found a good solution to keep my setup the same, and use my camera strap that I use. Okay. Okay? So how we doing over here, any questions, comments? We're doing good. We're doing really good. Okay. A lot of question or a couple of questions about like third-party lenses, when we were in that section. You kind of talked about that-- Yeah, I mean I could come back to-- There were talking about let's see. Rokinon, uhm... Somebody else who I can't find right now. Yeah, sure so-- Samyang? Okay so there's a lot of third-party lenses. Sigma, Tamron, Rokinon, ZEISS, there's a lot of manufacturers out there. And I'm not gonna dictate which lenses you should all buy because there's two things that affect it, budget and taste, right? Budget and taste. So I think what you should look for in a lens, I'm gonna give you things you should look for in lens. Edge to edge sharpness. Edge to edge sharpness is corner to corner, corner to corner on both left and right side. How much of that frame is sharp? If you have corner to corner sharpness, that's considered a good thing. Next thing. Chromatic aberration. If you don't know what chromatic aberration is, it's very hard to kind of explain without a visual example, but chromatic aberration is in a highlight, where there is a subject against a bright highlight, if the line along their face against that highlight, goes blue or purple that's bad. That's called chromatic aberration. You don't want that. Then there's subjective things like contrast and color. So some lenses are not contrasty and not saturated and people like that. Some lenses are very contrasty and very saturated and people like that. that's your personal taste. But there are some hard set things that you wanna look for in a lens. It's sharpness, chromatic aberration, distortion. How much is the image distorted? Does a straight line bow out? Does it get wavy or is it straight? Those are things you wanna look for when selecting a lens. I think those are just the... I'm not gonna tell you what you're gonna like, because you're gonna look at it and go, "Well I like the fact that it's fuzzy." Okay fine. Use it for something else, okay? But those are some really, really key metrics that you can look at when selecting a lens. And the last thing, is consistency. Read up on your lenses, there's a great website DxO, DxO. If you go to DxO, they rate every lens on the planet. And they give it a rating. And they give it a very, very agnostic rating, a very honest rating. And you can go and research for lenses, and research lenses you buy, and go from there. Like I have on my Canon, I have a Sigma 35, 1.4 artisan lens. And I love this lens. It was the first non-canon lens I bought in 13 years. And I love lens. But I love all my other Canon glass too. So it's just, kind of just what your tastes are. On the lenses, I've been shopping for new lenses and I was curious, do you recommend getting image stabilization in your lenses or does that matter? I think you'd talked about it. Okay so the question is, what about image stabilization, should I get it should I not? And I think are you a photographer? No. You're not a photographer. Image stabilization in photography is worth its weight in gold. Because I have shaky hands, I drink way too much coffee. And so in image stabilization helps camera shake problems. If you're gonna be doing a image stabilization or sorry handheld work in video, image stabilization could helped a little bit, okay? But I generally turn off image stabilization when I'm on my tripods and my monopods, okay? And I definitely turn it off when I'm on a slider, okay? So there are certain times where I don't use image stabilization, but because I still take photographs, it's very important, okay? Yeah. Alright! Moving on, okay. So I'm gonna get myself a second here and move this stuff off (clicking), so I can bring my tripod on, so that we can roll out into the next part of this segment.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

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Pre-Production Planner


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Ratings and Reviews

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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!