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Choosing Equipment

Lesson 7 from: Creating a Video From Start to Finish

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

7. Choosing Equipment

You don't need an elaborate amount of gear to shoot video -- Victor goes through the essentials for video, and how that list may change for different products.

Lesson Info

Choosing Equipment

Let's talk about bare essentials. Now we're gonna get into the gear stuff, okay, we're gonna just fly through this section. So, bare essentials is camera support, cameras, sound equipment, and then what I call other production tools. So, when you talk about the equipment needs. This shoot is gonna naturally require more equipment than I think it will. But I need to look for ways to simplify the shoot. So here's my gear wishlist. My gear wishlist starts with a couple tripods, a monopod, three cameras, a gimbal, some sound recorders. You know, a good amount of stuff that I think, I think I'm gonna bring in. So, versus what I thought I brought in, here's what I actually brought in. It's black, these black curtains down is one because it's the mats that actually everyone practices on, so we gotta protect the mat. But also because they're green, they're gonna reflect up green. You know, light is gonna reflect up whatever color it hits. And if I put black down, that black is actually gonna s...

uck up that light. So it's gonna really help out with my lighting scene and my scenario. And then keep me from polluting my skin tones with green or what not. I'm about halfway through my setup right now. I've placed my cameras, I've gotten a general idea of which direction I'm gonna be capturing footage. I've also kind of placed my lights in a way that I think is gonna be flattering to the client. So basically what I've got here is my primary camera. This is a Canon 5D Mark IV. It's gonna be shooting in 4K. So the crop factor on this camera is gonna play a huge, huge deal on this because right now I've got a 24- but the crop factor is like 1.7. So I'm getting a lot more reach on this lens than normally, it's actually kind of to my advantage at this point. Because it's capturing 4K I've actually gotta capture to cards as opposed to, to the Atomos. But the Atomos itself has a lot of great features and functionality. When I really get into it, I'll tap in here and I'll throw a chart up there later. And I'll be able to gauge what my exposure is at and how much depth I'm gonna have in the image in terms of shadows and highlights, and if I'm clipping or anything like that. Well anyway, my setup for audio is pretty simple, I've got a Tascam DR that I'm capturing all of my sweet audio to. And I've got a set of Sennheiser G3 lavs that are gonna be kinda driving that whole thing. Before I kind of set everything up, I did a quick reference audio check on my camera to make sure that I was capturing good audio there as well, or good sound there as well. Here's my second camera. Now it's cool for me to show the different setups, right? So this camera is kind of like not a novice setup, it's stripped down setup. Okay, what I'm gonna be doing here is recording out of my HDMI, it's the Canon 5D Mark III, it shoots 1080. So I'm gonna actually output from the HDMI into an Atomos Ninja 2, so I can actually capture the uncompressed 422 signal outta the camera. This is kinda what I started on. You know, some variation of this, as a photographer, I just added something to it. But it's good to kinda just take a second to look at your setups, go through and kind of figure out where your gear is. I'm the only one shooting and operating camera today, so I don't have the ability to pop back and forth. And so what these two cameras are gonna do for me in this setup, is this one is super punched in. Right, meaning, I've got a 70-200 lens on it, so I've got a lotta reach and I'm gonna get that off-angle. And what that allows me to do is in the edit, if I've gotta cut back and forth between what I call talking head, it gives me another camera angle to bounce back and forth between, especially as I cut down what Ivan is starting to say into more digestible things. So I tend to shoot client profiles with two cameras because it offers me a huge level of flexibility. Do you have to do it? No, but it's a really good safety net as well. Kinda moving around here. I've got the lights plugged in but right now I'm using these Stella Pro Lights from Light & Motion. I've got them in some Elinchrom softboxes. What this allows me to do, it allows me to make my light source bigger, right. In the sense of like how much diffusion that light is gonna cast out. So I've stacked the softboxes. And my reasoning behind this is I just want like a nice general soft light to counteract that window light. Now, I'm at like an f4 here, and then an f4 at the window. So what I'm probably gonna do is pull these lights back a little bit, depending if I wanna broad light or short light the subject. I actually gotta get Ivan in here to take a look at how he looks. If I remember correctly how he looks, I might wanna just short light him, okay. So, I'm gonna probably go slightly down on this side just to make sure I get some contrast and shape out of it. Over here is my kicker light. Having a nice hard edge light kind of helps separate your client from the background a little bit. So what I'm gonna do here is once Ivan is set, I'm gonna set this light last. Just 'cause I wanna focus it, I'm pretty short, so I probably need a stool to get up there or whatever it is. But this gets a nice edge light. Because I'm having so much soft light all over the place, if I cut in nice with like an edge light, it's gonna give me an opportunity to really separate that subject out a little bit, give me some depth. Okay, and, you know, that's pretty much it. Like I, it took me about 20 or 30 minutes to set all this up. I still have to do a camera test, I still have to do a sound test, I still have to get my color right. So there's still about 10 or 15 minutes more of work that I've gotta do before I feel comfortable enough to actually start rolling footage. So again, all that pre-production, all that planning, all of that effort led to this moment. And, 30 minutes into the setup, I'm still setting stuff up just because it's just me, I'm doing it all on my own, so I have to put safety checks in there for myself to make sure I'm getting everything that I need, okay. So yeah, that's pretty much it, I'm gonna continue, do my tests, I'm gonna make sure I've got everything, you know, set, and then once I'm ready I'm gonna call Ivan in, do one less sound check and then just go from there. Alright so, okay, walk the setup now. I'll talk to you more about the gear as we kinda go along but let's just jump into the cameras really quickly, okay. So I used a Canon 5D Mark IV, a Canon 5D Mark III, and then a DJ Osmo. Initially, I was thinking, oh, maybe this will be a backup, but as I kinda got more comfortable in the shoot, I was like, okay, I'm gonna use, I'm gonna use two cameras to shoot this thing. Now, as technology has increased, our ability to leverage 4K is incredible. And I'm not talking about 4K in the sense of like high-definition resolution. I'm talking about 4K to cover up mistakes and talking about 4K to provide flexibility in the edit. Okay, that's why I'm talking 4K because when you look at 4K, the frame size is like literally double. Okay, so I'm capturing more picture information than I am at 1080. So, on one camera, the ability, what it gives you is the ability to crop in and not lose detail. How many times have you guys tried to crop in a video and then start to fuzz out. It's because there's not enough detail in there, right. 1080, it's like a two megapixel image. Right, 4K is like an eight megapixel image. Give or take. Okay, it's really got a lotta detail in there, and if we know anything from the dawn of digital, why? Because we are photographers, we know that eight megapixels or six megapixels is what? Print res. So we know all that stuff. We know we can confidently pull a still or crop into this image because at 72 or 96 dpi, I got a ton to play with, right? Does this all sound familiar? Absolutely, why? Because we know this stuff. It's just packaged differently. Okay, this is essentially, you know, 4000 by at 300 dpi. Okay. Then we show it on screen, you get it at 96, and you still have all that resolution to play with. Okay so, we talk about 4K, we downsample, it gives a better end result. Okay, lots of tests have proven that when you downsample 4K to 1080, it gives you a better picture, there's more information there. Okay, lots of wriggle room, both in color, as well as in cropping and edit. And because we're proto guys and girls, we know how to pull a still. And we know how to edit that still. We know how to make that still something that can sing. Hey, wait a second. You're making a client profile piece, you could pull a still from it and deliver a still that is printable to the client as well. Boom, now we're doing something different, right? That's so interesting. So now you can pull stills out and give 'em a set of stills for Instagram, or Facebook, or for their website that tie into the video, right? Now we're thinking, now we're cooking with gas. Okay, that's what I'm talking about. So, you know like, let's talk about, you know, 4K and Cinestyle together a little bit. So, I'm gonna jump over to my computer in a second. Just so I can show you a piece of footage here. So, as we jump in. Okay. Here we go. Now if I select this clip, and then I jump over here. If you take a look at my screen, at 100%, not 10. At 100. That's the frame size that I'm getting out of 4K. Okay, so this a 1080, 1080 box, that I'm putting a piece of 4K footage into. So that 4K footage is big, right? So I could literally crop this much into the image and still get that quality. Now if I go ahead and put this rendering to full, you can still see the level of detail that I'm getting out of this. So I could have done this shoot with one camera in 4K. 'Cause I could have punched in at different crops, right? And that would've been perfect, it would've been fine. But I chose to shoot two cameras to give myself more flexibility, alright. Now, that's at 4K, if I jump down here to 1080, and here you go, it's just exactly the frame size. Right, so that's the, that's why we shoot 4K. We don't shoot 4K for displays that don't exist right now. So I love the idea of shooting 4K and the flexibility that, that gives you. In a situation like this it can make a lot of sense because you have a subject that's quite static. How do you start to think about that in a situation where you have subjects that have quite a bit more motion? Ah, so you'll see that later. Okay so, that's a great question. 4K is 4K, regardless of the content you're shooting. If someone is moving, you're still gonna get a huge level of flexibility when someone is moving. Because let's pretend that there's someone off in the background that you don't want them to be a part of this frame. You can crop in, and now that becomes as if it didn't exist. Right, so there's a lot we can still do for motion. And I think like what I loved about the 5D Mark IV was I could actually lean a little bit on their tracking focus, so that I could frame-up because things are moving so fast, they're like MMA fighters, they move like lightning. You know, so I could lean on the camera a little bit, where I would be able to track, focus a little bit more easily. So I switched a lot from manual focus to tracking focus, and it really, really paid off. Okay, so let's talk about Cinestyle. So, Cinestyle is a flat profile, it's definitely not for beginners, okay. And it involves using the EOS utility. If you go to Cinestyle or, you can look around the website for what's called a Cinestyle profile. And Canon partnered up with Technicolor to create this flat profile, so that you can get more out of the image. 'Cause what happens a lot of the times is like the compressed video that comes out of a camera sometimes can be very, very, very contrasty. And shooting in a flat profile like Cinestyle will allow you to leverage a lot of that out. Just remember, if you shoot Cinestyle, it's gonna add a lot of backend post. Half of my edit, yesterday and the day before, was color grading, was color correction, okay. So it literally doubles the amount of computer time that you have, sometimes triples. So don't shoot Cinestyle unless you absolutely, positively are ready for it. In lieu of that, set your cameras to neutral, shoot minus, shoot no sharpening, minus two contrast, minus two saturation. Alright, if you're just gonna shoot neutral, that'll get you a nice, good picture, okay. So neutral, no sharpening, minus two saturation, minus two contrast. And that's on a Canon. So, you're referring to recording with the disk in the camera versus a recorder? Yeah, so the differences between my 5D Mark III versus my Canon 5D Mark IV, the Mark IV shoots 4K internally. You have to shoot to a card. Okay, you cannot output from the HDMI, there are cameras that exist that can record the signal from the HDMI and then if you do that, you just pop one of these drives in and it captures all the footage and the sound to this drive. The benefit of this is like these drives cost 130 bucks and they're terabyte drives, so you can record the entire shoot on them. Just with the Canon 5D Mark IV, there is no external recording that is 4K, it's all internal. With the 5D Mark III, I could get that uncompressed signal out of the 5D Mark III into my Ninja 2, into a hard drive that was transcoding into ProRes LT, which made my edit time must faster, okay. Just makes it much easier to handle the footage when it's coming off of something like a Ninja. But in this case I had to go off cards. But because of high capacity cards, I only shot like one or two clips. Which is awesome and I'll show you why we should do that. Previously, we were limited by 12 minute clips, now we're not. And because we're not, don't ever stop the camera. Unless you have to. Okay, and I'll tell you why in a second. So, you know, camera support. A lot of the gear I talk about, I've talked about previously too. So a lot of the stuff, it's just, at this sense, at this point, yeah, it makes sense, right. So I used a monopod. I lean on a video tripod, it provides really, really great, great ability to move and pan and tilt. This is something that I really like too, it's like a hi-hat, low-hat. I didn't bring it to the shoot, that's something I didn't bring. Because, you know, I leaned on other equipment to provide me the shot that I would get with a hi-hat. So I had to start cutting stuff because it was gonna be a lot to bring out. So I started cutting stuff. And I brought this slider and I didn't use it, right. So, there's a lot of pre-thought that goes in. "Oh cool, I'm gonna bring a slider, it's gonna be great." I set it up even, I tried to get a shot. And I abandoned it. Like I left it because I was in the middle of trying to get something, it wasn't working out, so I had the executive decision, just cut ties with it and go somewhere else, right. You have to be able to, again, cut ties with the things that you really are passionate about because if they don't work for the shoot, then they're not gonna work, period. Focusing tools. This is a great tool if you're gonna be using some of the older cameras that don't have that tracking focus. I leaned on this a lot before the 5D Mark IV, it helped me really, really kind of get that focus. And it also lets you check your focus pretty well too. Sound recorders, I brought three of 'em. That was a backup, that was in case I needed a second source and then this was the one I recorded everything to. I used that one, okay. And there was just kind of like, in the rush of setting up, I didn't record a backup, I threw caution to the wind, that was a mistake. You know, should've recorded a backup, show you why later, all of that. So, these are things that you think about and you bring, wireless lavs. Making sure you test them, making sure you do this stuff. Now, here's like a new thing. In the way of like lighting for video. Lighting for video is amazing now because in the years that people started using LED to capture content, for lighting. Capture content with lighting. This is a fully battery powered light, right. It's 5,000 lumens, so it's really, really bright. This specific brand is weatherproof, I can take these outside, I can put them underwater, they're full submersible. They're durable as heck. Okay, and the cool thing about that is I can put them into a modifier. And if I put them into a modifier, what it allows me to do is get a level of diffusion that I think is really unattainable anywhere else, when you're talking about like light sources. Just the quality of the light, and we talk about quality of light as being, give me a second here. We talk about quality of light as being how diffused and even that light is on someone's skin, right? This is where like lighting technology is being pushed, like being able to be used in like wonderful, wonderful diffusion tools, you know, that are well made, that have like the proper materials, that can be reached into and leveraged. This is kind of what makes me really excited about shooting content, is where in places I need light where I had to have a plug before, I don't need that. You know, and that company just came out with something that's like a 10,000 lumen light, so that's like a 400 watt HMI. Right, so, and it's like this big, it's the size of your hand, okay. So the lights are getting smaller, they're getting portable, they're getting battery powered, they're getting weatherproof. Now we can take content, we can shoot it anyway, it's amazing, okay. And this company is called Light & Motion, and the lights specifically we're talking about is called Stella Pro. So, knowing lighting is important too, so knowing your contrast ratios. So in the video I was talking about, oh, I'm gonna shoot this in this ratio. What I think I didn't end up saying is like, at the end of the day, I noticed that the light from the window was very, very unpredictable. At some points it'll be f4, at other points it'll be a 3.2, and at other points it'll be 2.8. So I could not rely on the window as my primary light source. So what I had to do was set my softboxes, those Stella Pro Lights to f4. So I set those lights to f4, that way if the window light dissipated or changed, it didn't affect my overall exposure too much, it just gave me more of a contrast ratio that I could then go in post and bring up or bring down if I needed to, okay. Now, diffusion, we talked about that, how this is kind of changing the way we create interview lighting setups. Before you'd have to throw up like silks or like scrims, or that kinda stuff. Now we can just toss a softbox on. Oh hey, I didn't say it already, but I know you guys know these things because you're photographers. And it's Elinchrom, it's a photography brand, right. They have, Elinchrom has some of the most widely utilized and the broadest range of light shaping tools in the world. So, if you want a great light shaper, Elinchrom has got it, right, it's friggin' amazing. I didn't go anywhere in the shoot without my light-meter. Okay, and I'm gonna show you how to leverage a light-meter and a waveform monitor together because you can't have one and not the other. But you can't do anything without a light-meter, okay. Now as we talk about this, color becomes a big thing. So, there's a couple things here like X-Rite came out with some new charts for video. And these are huge in the video world. And if you kind of know X-Rite from photography, nothing changes, you still use the white target, you just shoot a different color target, so that in post you can match footage, okay. Now, here's where life gets really, really, really exciting for me. Is these guys. Three years ago when I first started really, really diving and teaching video, these guys really didn't exist. Okay, these types of monitors didn't exist. So, this one is a Ninja 2, which is this guy. Okay, and it runs entirely off of like a hard drive, okay. You just buy a hard drive online, like a solid-state hard drive, like a two point whatever inch hard drive, toss it in there. And it records all your footage to it and it just lets you dump all of it into a timeline. Really awesome. This guy is amazing. So what this allows me to do, is if I'm gonna use my light-meter to get an exposure, okay. First thing I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna step over and then I'm just gonna grab an exposure off of this subject here. Okay, so at 24 frames a second, at ISO 800, I'm at a four, okay. Which is enough for this camera, okay, the depth of field on this camera at 4K is roughly f4 times 1.7, okay. So what I'm gonna do here is get myself all set up, I'll switch to still mode to grab a still really quickly for white balance. This is exactly what I'm doing, so she's gonna hold this target for me. Okay. I'm gonna come over, get a still frame of this, give me a second here. (mumbling) 50, like a four, alright. Alright, then I'm gonna come in here and just set my white balance really quickly to that image. Once I do that I'm gonna have her flip the target.

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Ratings and Reviews

Cheryl Winkles

You're awesome, I learnt a lot from you, this is like a must-have first course for anyone who wants to step into video or filmmaking world. Highly recommended and thank you a million Victor Ha.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic course, Victor is one of the finest instructors I have encountered. Great stuff, I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to work in video

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