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Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed

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Ben James
Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 24, 2010 at 4:41:35 am

Hi guys,

First time I've posted on here. I'm having trouble with something that I think should be simple. I'm doing a video for my church with our pastor giving a lesson. I used two cameras (5D and 7D) one with a tight close up shot, one with a wider mid shot. They were both very close together and he looked directly at the close up shot. I thought that it would be close enough that it would look like he was looking at both cameras, it didn't work out the same. The close up camera was hand held and the mid shot camera was on a tripod. Since one had subtle movement and the other was stationary it looked weird to cut between the two combined with one looking straight one and one look almost straight on. I tried dissolves and other transition between the two shots and everything I tried looked really cheesy. I also add some subtle post camera shake to make the mid shot look more like the close up shot. I have done many interview videos but they've always had B-Roll to cut between to hide edits and camera changes. So I need some help on either suggesting better ways to edit this or better ways to shoot it with two cameras. Heres the video:

<p><a href="http://vimeo.com/14377886">Five Stones - Lesson 1 - A Call</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/thebenjames">Ben James</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Thanks,
Ben James


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Bill Davis
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 24, 2010 at 7:05:26 am

Dear James,

There's nothing really wrong with your technique. I think your problem is that you're facing a fundamental disconnect between what you're videotaping and how you're videotaping it.

This is ENTIRELY subjective, and quite possibly personal - and I would very much expect others to disagree with me - but I LITERALLYcould hardly stand to watch your example and found it quite disturbing.

You're using a camera technique which puts ALL the focus on the subject. And the subject is clearly intensely committed to his message. So committed that the intensity - combined with your camera style - creates a feeling (in me at least) of profound personal invasion. I felt I was watching a cult leader trying VERY hard to convert me to something. That may be, in fact, accurate. Or it may not. But regardless of which is true - the combination of camera approach and "in your face" presentation combined to turn me TOTALLY off.

To me, it looked almost completely inauthentic. I felt not just manipulated, but nearly violated. Like I had wondered into a church curious and interested in how this congregation worshiped and for a HOUR, the preacher planted himself in front of me me trying OH SO HARD to convince me that he had some celestial answer to a problem I didn't even know I had - and was BOUND AND DETERMINED to sell me on his cure. Thankfully, I could stop the video. Which I did after barely a minute.

Sometimes, when the performance is intense - you need to step back and let your audience comfortably come to the material. Rather than forcing them up close and SHOVING IT IN THEIR FACE.

To me this is the video equivalent of someone buying their kid an electric guitar - and the kid, who's admittedly only a moderately good player - INSISTS on turning everything up to 11.

That's me. Perhaps others will feel differently.



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Ben James
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 24, 2010 at 1:15:45 pm

Hi Bill,

Thanks for you thoughts. I do get what you are saying, but the audience to this video is people in our church that are already used to his intensity. He is a very intense person and it shows even when he is preaching 100 feet away on Sundays. I think your point about his intensity being too close to you might be part of it maybe. I really like the way the close ups look though, so I think I'll have to do some experimenting to find out what is the best option.

My main question I think is should he look at the camera or off to the side for this (like an interview would normally do). I looked at another similar video (Tim Keller in NYC) and thats what they had done. They had a three camera shoot (dolly, tripod, and jib) and Tim never looked directly at any of the cameras. They also only did wider shots ( long, mid-long, and mid) so that might go back to your advice as well Bill.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts :)

Ben


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Mark Suszko
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 24, 2010 at 1:58:18 pm

The framing and eyeline don't look all that bad. You could do an in-post zoom of a few percent into the wide shot and then move it over to the right just a little bit. Rememeber your rule of thirds when framing shots; I think maybe one of the subtle things you're not liking in your work is how the relative position of his eyes on the screen takes a rather large vertical change, on top of the horizontal shift. I like "look space" in my compositions and the framing is more dynamic and interesting visually if the subject isn't always dead-center frame. But the natural jarring effect of a focal length change makes you startle and then look to re-establish the relative positions of objects in the frame, and if the eyes stay on the same horizontal reference line, maybe that visual re-setting will seem less, I don't know... difficult? I ain't Walter Murch, for cryin' out loud. :-)I think if you were to keep the subject eyes on close to the same horizontal line, the cuts would seem more seamless, and maybe you can adjust the larger frame in post to facilitate this. Shouldn't take many pixels' worth of offset to accomplish, why not try a short version of a minute or two and see if it works for you?


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Curt Schulz
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 24, 2010 at 8:21:14 pm

First of all, this is shot very well. The framing is perfect, great colors and depth of field... The problem is that it is a jump cut. You are cutting from (what appears to be) the same angle from close to wide. Also, if you are having the subject talk to the camera it is almost like a POV. I would pick one shot or the other and use a dip to black if he changes subject. OR you could have him talking to you instead of the camera: put one camera to the left and one to the right (you in between), one close-up and one medium. This would probably make him a little less "intense".

-Curt

Curt Schulz
MBP 2.53 4GB Ram/Mac OS 10.6.4/FCP7.02/Matrox Mini w Max 2.0.0.0150


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Brian Mulligan
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 25, 2010 at 12:56:51 pm

This is nicely shot, and the jump cut isn't horrible, but it isn't right either.

I would almost, like to stay on the tight shot, I like the intensity. Especially for the subject matter. But I know it would be impossible due to the length of the piece. He needs to be looking at the camera, and not off, because he is speaking to the viewer. Interviews style would be less effective.

My suggestion would be to separate the cameras even wider, almost 90 degrees. Then he can do a head turn from one camera to the other. Cut on the motion/change of thought. This will help the jump cut. Not sure if your location and lighting can accompany this idea.



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Phil Balsdon
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 25, 2010 at 10:47:35 pm

I'm wondering about the "floating camera look", what is the motivation for this?

I don't think this is helping the distraction of the cuts, often the camera is floating in one direction then on the cut to the following shot it is floating in another direction, this sudden change of direction makes it even more distracting.

I know zooms are a challenge on these cameras, but have you thought about possibly using a dolly or slider so you can track the camera in as the delivery becomes more intense? This would enable you to also retain the "float" effect more seamlessly and get closer without the inevitable subconscious "blink" caused by the cut down the line.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Mark Suszko
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 26, 2010 at 7:59:36 pm

When the whole frame moves, it forces the mind and eye to devote more attention to process the picture. But if you use it too much or too often, you make the viewer subjectively tired from all the extra concentration.


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grinner hester
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 27, 2010 at 9:32:56 pm

You'll just cut in black holes... in between sentences/points.
Next time give more variation between the two cameras and you'll have no fight.



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Joe Garcia
Re: Two-camera teaching video suggestions needed
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:29:08 am

Hi Ben

I'm glad to meet you. First of all you do good work. I looked at some of the other stuff on your link and I like what I see. ( keep it in mind I'm no expert)

I'd like to ride the coattails of the following contributers.
Hope this helps you.

1- Mark Susko brings in a great point by mentioning the 'rule of thirds'.. And the eye positions. (I'm gonna try to remember that one myself). This is really good stuff.

2- Curt Schulz is also very 'on key' by mentioning the 'jump cut' that occurs in your composition. He suggested the dissolves, I do almost all dissolves on my work and take the time to experiment with changes in the amount of time I set them to. Some work looks really good with a default of about a second but if the pace is fast then I will trim back the time in frames until the dissolve is present but very subtle. For you piece I'd suggest very fast dissolves because your not taking the viewer to another place or time as if a new chapter had begun. But the viewer is watching the same event in the same place and time so here the fast dissolve is for esthetics.

3- Brian Mulligan advised taking the cameras apart and having Pastor turn at given intervals of the class and again this is a good suggestion. I think it's the sort of thing that can make the piece look like most professional productions. And the new angles should serve to refresh the viewers attention. I'd say that the longer the piece your working on the more you'd need to consider the change in angles.

Be blessed
Joe Garcia

Gen 1:1

JOE

Gen 1:1


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