Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking


Lesson Info

Lensbaby, Copters and 4K

I've had Lensbaby for a while, I started with the very first one, and kind of evolved into this one, which is called "The Composer." Do I use it on every shoot? No. What do I use it for? Stylistic type of things. Why do I like the Composer? Because it's simple to use. I just set in a direction and it gets my effect, right, and I move, it gets my effect, I can also take the optics out of it. So this one is a 35mm optic that I can push in and pull the optic out and then I've got an 80mm optic that looks like this, and they're fun tools, guys they're just fun, it gives you a look and so we're gonna take a look at some sample footage really quickly of a Lensbaby, here it is, here's the 35 optic. You see here, as you're moving that lens around, you can how it starts to distort the picture of the image. So let's think about what sort of impact this footage would have on a film, like if someone is groggy and sleepy and maybe inebriated, this works really well for narrative, guys, okay? Maybe ...

they're just like, you know, working or maybe they just want something. Here's the 80 optic, on the edges, okay? So let's watch it one more time. Let's watch it one more time. So if you think about like work, could be in terms of sleepy, and then a lot of the times with the Edge 80 optic, because it's is more controllable, in terms of where the fall off happens. You could use it with great effect to change the plane of focus, so like the corners are out of focus, but that center part of the lens is in focus, okay? Can you use the Lensbaby to, I can't remember the name of the effect, but it makes everything look miniature? got it? Tilt shift? Tilt shift? No, so a Lensbaby is not a tilt shift lens, okay? It's not a tilt shift lens, it's like a distant cousin to it, okay? So, what I really like about Lensbaby is it's again, a tool that you don't use everyday, but a tool that when you use it at the right time, it becomes very, very impacting, okay? Any questions? Alright, just because I have to talk about it, now, disclaimer, there's a bunch of legalese type stuff around the topic of drones. I used to live in Colorado and in Colorado, the word on the street, because my buddy's an aerial cinematographer there, the word on the street is that eventually, there's gonna be permits available. And the permits will be numbered per region. So you'll need a number of permits in a given area. So what these guys do is they practice, and practice and practice, so that when the permits become available, they can be one of the ones to snatch them up and do the services of aerial cinematography via drones in that area. Now, I don't know the law behind it, I don't know anything, I just know that at some point, I'm gonna get an opportunity to order a pizza and a six-pack and that's awesome, okay? Have it delivered via drone. I don't mind that, okay? But until we figure it all out, it's another tool, alright? And so, I got some footage from these guys, and they're super cool, and we're gonna watch it. Alright, how do we wanna do this? I'll just kind of talk about-- Hey I'm Blaine, Hey I'm Phil, and then you go. Oh alright, okay. Yeah. (upbeat rock music) Alright, so, when you think about that, that's pretty legit, isn't it? Okay so that's a, I think that's a S800 by DJI is the copter, they're using a Sony NEX as the camera, they shoot at 60 frames a second with the accompanying shutter speed to match, and then they drop and post even down to 30 frames a second, because it tends to look a little better that way. We tried editing it in 24, it just didn't play back properly, just because of the way the slow motion played back and all that kind of good stuff. The thing about aerial stuff like that is it's just neat, isn't it? It just gives you a different perspective and obviously, there will be some stuff that you'll have to kind of navigate through as this thing becomes a reality. But we can't deny that there's a significant impact in the way that that footage looks when used properly. So that's why it's part of this class, because some of you guys may not know about it, or may not have seen quality footage that can be done with something like this, you know, and there's even smaller ones like quadcopters from Phantom, okay? There's a major difference between a quadcopter and like a hexicopter, like that, and the quadcopter and hexicopter, the major difference is the hexicopter had a gimbal on it, so the gimbal on the copter that we showed actually helped stabilize the camera as it was capturing footage. Now you notice that one guy had a set of goggles on, and one guy was actually doing the piloting. So it's a two-man tandem team, one guy does the piloting, and the other guy does the camera work, and they're always talking back and forth to each other. So they're always in communication, and it's a really cool experience to watch those guys work, you know? And good teams like that, they'll be really honest with each other and they'll just yell at each other, and it's fun, it's good. They're doing work and they're getting it done, okay? Moving on from this idea of drones and helicopters and that kind of stuff, this is where a lot of people start to kind of wonder. Glidecams and Steadicams. The minute I show you the footage, you're gonna go, "I know exactly what it is." However, there's a very small percentage of people that do it well, I am not one of them. I will probably never be one of them and that's okay. However, if there are people out there that are good at it, more power to you because it's a very, very cool way to capture footage. Typically, you have something called a hand or a vest system. The vest system is what you see in Hollywood with those guys who are carrying the vests, they're carrying all the weight and they're kind of just running around? They're doing all that work, and the Glidecam, in a sense, your whole body is the vest, and you're holding it, and you're grabbing it and you're moving it around, okay? Now when it comes to Steadicam and Glidecam, the footage is very distinct. But it's distinct at some cost. Because sometimes units are expensive, they require balancing when you change the lens, even change the zoom of the lens, they require rebalancing, okay? Now the people who actually can do it well, they're awesome because the footage looks like this. (alternative rock music) That's Steadicam, I mean, it just speaks for itself, doesn't it? The ability to do that type of footage is unique in and of itself to those devices. You know, there's a tool out there I talked about earlier called MoVi that does that as well, MoVi is, in terms of dollar value, you spend a lot of money up here, Steadicams you spend a little bit less money, because you can get other units for less, but there's a time investment and there's a learning curve to it. But you can see why it's always used, is because it gives you such a quality effect, right? Now, moving on. I'm gonna end on this topic. Because this has, I like to bring it back to what we are, we are photographers. This is a direct impact on what we do. This has a huge impact on what we do. So, to give you guys an idea, we're capturing video at this frame rate, or at this frame size, okay, 1080. There are cameras now that are capturing at this frame size. The dimensions are 6100 by 3100, that equates to a 19 megapixel image, okay? That equates to a 19 megapixel image, guys. So there are cameras out there now, and granted, they're expensive, but what do we know about technology? The first ones that come out are expensive, and then they funnel down through to us, where they become more affordable. Think about 4K televisions, think about flat screen TVs. Think about 5D MarkII's, alright? Think about that. They start here and they run down, and at 6K, you get a 19 megapixel image. The camera company right now that has a 6K sensor is Red Digital Cinema. The sensor name is called a dragon. I've been able to work with the sensor and it's cool because you see a frame, you freeze the frame, you grab the frame, you print the frame, and it's awesome. 19 megapixels is roughly like a 5D gen 1, okay? So how does this impact you? Why are we talking about this? Because this is where we're going, this is our future. This is our future if we're photographers. Because, in the cineworld, they're already doing it. There's a guy, look him up, Aaron, two A's, A-A-R-O-N, last name Lieber, L-I-E-B-E-R, Aaron Lieber, really nice guy, really nice guy. He's taught a video in 4K of a surfer just dropping into this gigantic wave. It went viral and then it got picked up by Hurley International. The thing was, it actually wasn't a photograph, it was video, alright? So he was rolling footage and when I talked to him, he's like, "You know I was thinking about it, "and I should've just shot it in 5K." And it blew my mind! It blew my mind! It became the magazine cover of like, Surfing World Magazine and he's sitting there going, "Well I could've got a better photograph out of it" "if I just shot at a higher resolution." And it blew my mind, guys. That's where our world is at. Now, I have the distinct privilege of traveling the country. I travel 220 days a year, give or take, a week, and it's a love-hate relationship with my life, but in my travels, I've gotten to see some really amazing things, one of which are commercial studios that have completely ditched still cameras, and dedicated themselves to 4K capture. Because 4K capture allows them to watch the model walk down, stop, do their turn, walk away and then freeze that moment, pull the frame, send it to clipping, choose the video, put bumpers on it and have it meet on the web. Go to,,, all of those do that, and it's really, really cool and that's where our world is. So, I think this is a great opportunity for us to have that one discussion that I'm gonna have once with you and say, if you're not shooting video, why not? Because if you start to shoot video, and you start to kinda catch up, when that technology becomes available, could you imagine capturing a wedding in 4K video? Or 6K video? And having that mom or that relative go, "You know what? "we were looking at the photos and we didn't see "this one moment, could you pull that video?" Before we used to be able to say no. Now, we can say, absolutely, for a price, right? How awesome is that? And I think that's where all of this unit, this creative production idea, we spent a lot of time talking about tools and the next segment will again be about tools, but it all has to relate back to why we're here today and why we were here yesterday, is that we're photographers, we're trying to get into DSLR cinema, but we gotta keep an eye on the future. We gotta keep an eye on where we're headed. Where you guys are heading, because you've taken this class, is you're heading into a world where that conversion is real, because it's already happened. It's already happened, the cameras are available, they may be really expensive given our abilities, to pay for a $15,000 or $20,000 camera set up, but because they're there, we will eventually get to a point where they're gonna be available for us, in a practical, in practicality, okay? Some of you guys out there will have the faculties and will have the ability to rent a Red and to go get a Red, and to go play with a Red and see how it differs from still photography and more power to you, because if you have the ability to do that, you're that much better off, because you've just absorbed a piece of technology into your repertoire of tools, okay? Now, not all of us will ever own a Red, but they're there for rent, you can rent them for a weekend to shoot a big job, and think about it, I'm spit balling with you guys, and I'm vision casting for every one of you guys in the room and at home. There will be a time where you're gonna get a job because I've already heard it, you're gonna get a job and they're gonna ask you to shoot it and you're gonna wanna use a bigger camera. You're gonna wanna step away from a DSLR and you're gonna wanna step into a bigger production camera. You're gonna get a crew and you're gonna get a DP, and you're gonna get an AC and you're gonna get a good budget and you're gonna do it and you're gonna do it well, hey, that's what you guys can do. That's a possibility, and I think that essentially, if you're gonna do like a corporate profile, and a corporate profile for a large company, they're gonna want the best quality out there. I know guys who shoot for them and they want the best quality out there. That's the future, that's big blue sky, that is blue sky vision casting for everyone out there because it's at your fingertips. You learn on a DSLR, you learn, learn, learn, learn, and then you graduate and you come out on the other end knowing so much more about production, and now you have the ability to leverage 4K and beyond, alright? So, that brings me to the end of the segment, hopefully I kept it entertaining for you, and with the video examples and all that kind of good stuff, the next segment is gonna be about tools, and I'll let you-- Awesome. Take over. Well one thing I was thinking about, the time lapse pans that you did in cropping with 4K, that would take on a whole new meaning, wouldn't it? Also I do know about a wedding photographer, or I've heard of a wedding photographer that basically shot video of the whole wedding and then made an entire photo album off the video. So times are changing with that. I mean hopefully, you don't ever want to replace wedding photography as an industry, but it's interesting to think about. I don't think that wedding photography will ever be replaced. I think we'll always need photographers, especially like in strobe, in the world of strobe, right? But I do think that the convergence has happened and it's happened in a big way because of our ability now to combine two disciplines, and now it's the sifting period, right? Now it's that sifting period where we're all, we're gonna fall where we fall, and based on the technology, the people that leverage that technology the best and first, so it's kind of like a really exciting time for us, it's really exciting for us to be in this world right now, because the technology's only gonna get better. The computing that supports the technology is only gonna get better.

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