A question! Several years ago I did a UK Open University course in digital (still) photography. Several of the tutors (tho not all) were very strong advocates of getting it right in the camera, ie minimising the amount left to editing on the computer.
As I'm a very keen Photoshop user (dabbler?) once I've got the white balance right (I use a Whibal http://whibalhost.com/_Tutorials/WhiBal/01/ ), the focus and exposure as accurately as possible (as well of course as the composition) I'm happy to leave quite a lot of work for the computer afterwards. For me it's more than half the fun, to be honest -- often, the photo is merely the starting point for a lot of messing around.
I also use Nik software quite a bit, ColorEfex Pro and SilverEfex Pro (black & white -- especially good).
But it occurs to me, is there an equivalent in video, for "getting it right in the camera" and leaving as little as poss. for afterwork (afterthoughts?). Using only a DSLR it seems to me extremely difficult, if not impossible (?) to get video as "right" in camera as still shots -- but maybe with the better kind of dedicated video camera, this isn't only an ideal aspiration, it's the "must-do" reality?
Thanks in advance for any comments on this.
Most camcorders get the white balance right automatically -- and the vast majority of the time that will do just fine. Others have a switch by which you can set it manually.
I don't know anything about your specific DSLR but I assume it has its own automatic white balance controls.
And, of course, Premiere Elements 11 has an Adjustments panel for correcting tints and white balance.
Your PE11 book arrived last evening, Steve and I’ve been looking at it. Not systematically working through it yet but I can see that apart from the step-by-step basic learning there’s a vast amount of great tips and loads of vital stuff like looking after the computer, appendices with loads of information. I know I’m going to enjoy this book. Different approach, I think so far on only a quick glance, from the Adobe Classroom book and right now my feeling is that it complements the other one, but I’m sure I’ll come to a view when I’ve really worked through it properly.
In particular what I might be looking out for is whether the absence of ‘Exercises’ to follow (on a DVD or downloaded files as with your Lynda.com series) actually frees one – ie it might be a considerable learning advantage to apply the principles to one’s own material from the start. It’s very easy to become something of a ‘slave’ to the set-piece exercises and get rather ‘lost’ when out on one’s own.
But I might be talking through my hat ‘cos I’ve not read enough of the Muvipix book – actually looking at the cover right now, the word ‘Guide’ stands out at me. Yes, a guide guides one, points one in directions, it doesn’t say “Do this or else ...”.
BTW, yes the Canon 650D does have auto WB controls, but I always prefer to hold out the little Whibal card first and take a shot of it. I shoot in RAW almost exclusively.
You have already unlocked one of the "secrets" in Steve's Books - the appendices. Many readers never bother with those, but Steve gives so much useful info, in those, that I try to point all new readers in their direction. Much of that info is a bit drier, just nature, but so very important, especially the hardware suggestions and tips.
Most of my background came from a day, well before any automation, and certainly anything digital. While I had the benefit of one of the best labs in the US, to support me, and did spend many hours in a wet darkroom, both with B/W and color, I was still, always of the mind - get it right in the camera.
I had the great luxury of being able to take my time with most shots, and planning them out, even with days of R&D photography, before I began, as 99% of my work was for advertising use. I was not shooting events, or capturing much in real-time. Even when the shots were going to receive plenty of time in analog compositing, or with bleach&dye work, I wanted to get as close to 100%, as I possibly could. Even with digital, I still want to be, as good as it gets, and try to never utter, "this is OK, 'cause I'll fix it in post production."
Now, video differs from still in that usually, with still photography, one is trying to tell a "story" in one, or a very few shots. Video covers many Frames, and has the benefit (or detriment) of motion. I try to plan out my "story," before I begin shooting. That would be exactly the same, whether using a dedicated videocam, or a DSLR. Some years back, Steve did a nice little article on "the story," that he posted to Muvipix. I will locate that, and link to it, as I feel that it is beneficial to all people shooting video - whether producing a feature, or recording "Little Johnny's" birthday party.
As Steve points out, modern camera take some of the mechanics out of the equation, and most do a very good job at it - such as White Balance, Auto Focus and even Exposure. However, it pays for the operator to understand when that automation can break down, and even get in the way. One instance of such is that with many stabilized lenses, the stabilization can really mess up a panned shot. Same with Auto White Balance and Auto Exposure, with a stage production - you are not likely to get exactly what you want. Knowing the limitations, and working around those, is an important part of the technical aspect, but that is the same for both photography (where you already have a strong background), and video.
With video, you usually also have audio, and the correct capture of that can be very, very important. Unfortunately, the built-in mics on most DSLR's fall quite short. Actually, the same can be said for many vid-cams too.
One of the benefits of DSLR's for video is that one has the capabilities to exchange lenses, and a vast array of lenses to choose from.
Just some observations,
There happen to be a few similar posts to the Video Lounge. Most of the folk, involved in those are PrPro users. Also, as they are in the Video Lounge, let's just say that some of the discussions might not be that linear, with tons of tangents thrown in. Still, some good info:
Good luck, and remember, there WILL be some "odd" tangents in those threads, so do not get sidetracked... you'll see what I mean.
Very grateful for those gems from experience, Bill. I’ve just remembered that on that OU dig. photo. course there quite a few fellow students who objected to anything more than just a little sharpening – they sort of regarded it as a kind of sin if one used the Shadow / Highlight correction, or did even a little fiddling with the Curves.
We used to have endless discussions, sometimes quite, er, ‘animated’, when someone would bring up the argument that even from its earliest days photography ‘cheated’, eg with the wet versions of dodging, burning and the rest of it.
All this reminds me that I need to find out much more about sharpening in PE11, because from my limited experience so far, it seems that a very little goes a long way, and more than a figure of eg 15 or so (at least on the files I’ve done so far) is way too much, with harsh edges (I forget the technical term for those oversharpened edges you see in bad editing). I’m finding both lenses I’ve used so far often have difficulty finding the focus (my camera has “Movie Servo AF Enable / Disable” facility which so far I’ve always left set to Enable – is this wrong?)
During video’ing if the image has lost focus, I’ve sometimes half-pressed the Shutter Button until the Green (in-focus) light shows, and later in editing I remove the blurred bit. Even so, I’m not happy with the relatively unsharp look of my clips – but wary of oversharpening.
I think PE11 Sharpen Effect comes up at default 10, but I’ll check.
Well that’s made me think ... Really touching, warm piece by Steve, and pretty profound too in its significance.
I need to work much more on this because I realise that up to now I’ve thought too much of THE still picture as something-in-itself, almost as existing as apart from the little story it tells in its moment.
A propos the discussion on 'getting it right in the camera' there's a lovely film I've just watched (just under 30 min), beautifully produced I think, following the great Don McCullin around as he takes up digital photography (at the age of 77) for the first time. He discusses how revelatory the technology of digital is to him and compares it to the way he always did things. Looking at the results of his work about ¾-way through the video, he jokingly tells his interviewer / Canon rep / helper that this technology "would totally corrupt you", ie compared to the hours he'd have spent in the darkroom producing a similar result.
Hope this isn't too off-topic, btw.
True, it's an extended ad for Canon (I presume McCullin was paid for his appearance, tho I don't know that) but he's so searingly honest that it doesn't come across as a mere ad. I found it fascinating to hear about how McCullin approached his work. And he's done such a wide variety -- war reporting, landscapes, still life arrangements. He says he turned to landscape photography to get the war darkness out of his system -- his war experiences "darkened" him. But he's obviously never lost his humanity.
He says some really memorable things about the relationship a photographer has with light. (Perhaps this is a topic for a different sort of forum? Bill sent me some links the other day from somewhere called "the Lounge", but I've not had time to go there yet. Maybe links / discussions of this sort should be there?)
Back to PE11 now. Sorry for this diversion. But I enjoyed the documentary so much. (Of course they gave McCulling their topnotch camera. Now if I had a camera like that ...)
The Video Lounge IS a good place for discussions that are not really "technical," by their nature.
Some technical discussion might be apropos to, say a thread on aesthetics.
For camera discussions, in general, it is also a good place, as nothing directly related to Adobe Premiere, After Effects, etc., is normally covered. There is also a Premiere Hardware Forum, and some camera discussions to start off there, but it is more related to computers for Premiere, or Photoshop, than for cameras and lenses.
There is a fairly active DSLR thread, one on the Oscars, one on high-speed video for slo-mo, and then a few others, that have zero to do with video, Adobe, Premiere, or much of anything. Those are usually good for getting very "light," and having fun with humor (humour). Most of the general tenants hold - no profanity, nothing sexual, no politics, and no religion, but beyond those, almost anything goes.
I greatly enjoy The Video Lounge, as many editors/videographers will drop by, post a link to their trailer, or maybe a feature, asking for critiques on what they have done. After a day of trying to find out why Premiere won't launch, or why it crashes, discussing some technical, albeit general editing topics, or the aesthetics of video/film. Just a nice change of pace.
When you have some time, and just sort of want to put your mind in neutral, stop by, kick back and do some reading. You'll probably see a few "familiar faces," but there are also some new folk. Some from the Premiere Pro forum, and some from Encore and Photoshop.
Good to know all that, thank you Bill.
I'm taking a break from video editing, or at least from doing it intensively for a while, because I realise I really have to get my actual videographing technique much better. No use bringing bad clips to PE11 and expecting it to work wonders. Now that I've actually got PE to work for me, I can afford to relax a bit about it.
So new priority for me, since Harrington's book arrived, is to get that done first. When I've begun to feel happier about how to actually take the videos, I'll be back turning Steve's pages again. His book will be on the table next to the pc until it moves back again to just in front of the monitor.
(And I also need to experiment with rigging up the microphone.)
But I'll keep in touch. Must have a look in the Lounge too.
Back soon -- all best
Along with the Video Lounge, spend some time on http://Muvipix.com. It is a "sister site" to this one, and also co-created by Steve Grisetti. As it is not an Adobe forum (though many Adobe programs ARE covered in detail), there is much more general discussion, and a lot of great ideas in those discussions. As Muvipix is not pure Adobe, other programs are discussed, along with a lot of talk about cameras, videography, music for video, and just tons of other stuff. Lot of nice folk over there. Also, one major contributor, John Twoheads McDonald, is from the UK, as well, though I am thinking Sheffield (?).
The Community Forums are divided into many topics, with some being program-specific, but plenty of general forums too.
I did have a good look around Movipix last week, Bill, and agree it's a great site. I've also joined Richard Harrington's Video.com Group
and here http://vimeopro.com/dslrfstgs/examples short clips to accompany points in his book.
By the way, what do you do about focusing? A slight medical problem (not serious but a nuisance) to do with having pulled a muscle in my camera-holding arm makes it very difficult to do manual focusing -- I can to it, but it definitely adds to camera shake if I'm not using a tripod (and most of my stuff is not using a tripod).
I've no problem at all setting the camera to Manual, setting aperture, ISO, fps myself. My attempts to do manual focusing however have been disastrous. Image Stabilizer does nothing to help that degree of shakiness. And no, I was not drunk at the time. I swear it.
Is autofocus really that bad? Is it frowned upon? Harrington is quite clear, manual is the ideal, he's no fan of the autofocus and he explains why he isn't.
Have to be up early. Retiring now.
Manual focus will depend on the exact camera. With most DSLR's, there is some sort of LED to signal when focus is attained. With other cameras, it can be tougher.
Now, something like this might be useful:
Richard Harrington: "When it comes to video, you really want to get the shot as close to right as possible in the camera. The reasons for this are two fold: First, rendering color correction filters during editing is relatively time-consuiming with video because there are so many frames to process. Second, what you can accomplish in the field and at the computer is relatively limited compared to a raw photo workflow. Always do your best to shoot your footage right from the very start."
— From Creating DSLR Video: From Snapshots to Great Shots, chap 6, Shooting in Daylight
(With reference to my first question on this thread)