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I have invented a new way of making television - I think

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Richard Schiller
I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 24, 2011 at 7:52:18 am

This might be something that everyone else has been doing for years but I have not found any reference to this technique anywhere and would be interested in people's comments.

I was asked to record a chat show. Before anyone gets any grand vision; I am an ameteur and this was really a favour. Anyway the chat show was a live event on a stage with one interviewer and three guests. The lighting was surprisingly good as was the performances making the whole event more professional than you might think. So; I took my one camcorder and mounted it locked-off on a tripod facing direct on to the stage. The video looks fine but boring because it is one single shot for the whole 30 minutes or so. However the need was for some low-resolution web video. So, I thought, why not take the shot and cut out low resolution vignetes then cut between them in a kind of imitation multi-camera look.

Here is what I did. As I had shot in 1080p I could cut the video down to one ninth of its original size. I made one version of the original which was the whole scene but downconverted while the other two shots were of the interviewer (taking the right side of the scene) and the interviewees (taking the left).

OK; so the video is less perfect than using the whole image and this all only works because I am acquiring HD but broadcasting low resolution video for the web. Being progressive this is a lot better than you might expect - I think this would be impossible with interlaced acquisition. The game changer is the availability of progressive HD cameras. The main thing I notice is the chromatic aberations from the lens but to be honest this is a cheap camera and I know what I am looking for so I would not say this was intrusive or could not be improved. Having said all that though the finished piece is in my humble view remarkable. One thing that surprised me was how good it looked even though all the camera angles were identical - it is only the framing that varies. I don't think this is very noticeable it has a lot of the look of a proper multi-camera shoot.

I am interested in your views.


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Brian Mulligan
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 24, 2011 at 4:31:03 pm

Interesting workaround. But I'd have to see it to really make a call on of it really worked. In reality then, you would need a camera that is shooting like 8000 pixels for this to work in the real world, and even then, it's the same angle... so for a sit-com, it wouldn't work.



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Rich Rubasch
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 24, 2011 at 5:01:28 pm

I love it....this is a great solution for your particular situation. I agree it works best with progressive material, like 1080 30p. If you are careful how you set up your sequences and interpret the footage, you can get very realistic downscales to provide many "new" angles.

We actually find we can blow up 1080 footage in 1080 sequences by about 130% before it starts getting soft, so making "new" framing is easy.

Nice job....post the link if it is on YouTube etc.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Richard Schiller
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 24, 2011 at 5:41:32 pm

Rich

Thanks for the kind words. I wanted to get across how surprised I was at how well it turned out - accepting that this was intended to be low-resolution material for internet-style distribution. Maybe others will get a chance to give it a go.

Unfortunately given the copyright and confidential nature of the material I will not be able to post it - at least I think not.

Working amateur

Panasonic Camcorder 1080p, Nikon SLR with video acquisition 720p, Sony Vegas editing software.


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Richard Schiller
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 24, 2011 at 5:34:28 pm

Thanks for your reply Brian. Plainly this will not work for full resolution TV in either HD or even just SD. I was creating 640x360.

This is no substitute for a full multi-camera shoot but I was surprised how much more interesting and dynamic it looked (in my humble opinion) than just using the one downconverted shot for the whole piece.

Quite a few people must end up with a recording that they could try this out on. Even if they have shot with several cameras if you have a complete recording from one wide-shot camera you could give this a try and see how it looks. I prepared the three downconverted versions before the edit so that I could switch between them easily. Two were fixed and with the third I actually moved the selection so some shots even have the effect of camera movement.

Working amateur

Panasonic Camcorder 1080p, Nikon SLR with video acquisition 720p, Sony Vegas editing software.


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Mark Suszko
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 25, 2011 at 4:47:54 pm

Don't rush your patent application just yet:-) re-framing HD shots to synthesize closeups and new angles is not new.

You might want to get some inspiration by looking at an old REM video for their song "sugar cane"/ "Imitation of Life".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2AGvj2cdlY&feature=related







This I think was one of the earliest attempts to do your "new" effect commercially. It was captured all one shot, AFAIK, then the zooms and re-frames were all done in post, but what makes it interesting is in how they pre-planned all the inter-related action segments.


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Bill Davis
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 25, 2011 at 9:44:21 pm

Just to bolster what Mark said,

Starting two years ago when a lot of us transitioned to shooting HD with Canon 5dMk II's one of the first things we noticed was that we could push in on part of the picture and essentially do re-framings, and generate cutaway shots from the originals when we're delivering in SD.

So its NOT a new trick in any sense.

But still, congrats on thinking beyond your current workflow. This is precisely what makes someone good at this video thing - constant personal evolution.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Martin Curtis
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on Apr 26, 2011 at 12:14:29 am

Love it. I often look enviously at my photographer colleague as she crops merrily away, while I curse the videographer (me) for giving the editor (me) such badly framed video.

Just wait until we ALL have 4k cameras :-)


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Fred Jodry
Re: I have invented a new way of making television - I think
on May 22, 2011 at 4:37:03 pm

Richard, since you are taking multiple moving images off a color TV camera (as vignettes and sections) and recombining them as simultaneous, you are the only one doing this with television in modern times. It really hasn`t been practical to do this with an all- television approach until now but it does have resembling predecessors.

Using a camera and partially silvered mirrors to make one tv camera into multiple cameras was all some TV stations could do in the old days for the money. One thing it gave them that you don`t have is different camera angles. It has even been tried with a splitting arrangement that put a zoom lens as one field lens, and a prime lens as the other, however putting lenses far away from the pickup tube, which is what happens when there is a splitter in-between, forces a camera to be telescopic. This was, a splitter right in front of the pickup tube, or tubes if color, 2 or more lenses, and sets of mirrors in the field side, literally field mirrors.

In the comic strip, Gasoline Alley, the artist used to sometimes draw the character, Skeezix, or others, walking from one frame into another of the quadrant four, where the next story scene was awaiting. The lines were purposeless.

Of course, rolling back a film cameras`s negative and making all sorts of dissolves and vignettes has been used endlessly in old film and film for television.

Still, I look at Cameramen- Producers with Arri Alexas making nothing but butt- edited scenes and shooting fruit on a table or underlit street corners, and wonder how television technique has fell back so far. -Fred Jodry (So Richard, I hope you make more).

Richard Schiller I have invented a new way of making television - I think
by Richard Schiller on Apr 24, 2011 at 3:52:18 am

This might be something that everyone else has been doing for years but I have not found any reference to this technique anywhere and would be interested in people's comments.

I was asked to record a chat show. Before anyone gets any grand vision; I am an ameteur and this was really a favour. Anyway the chat show was a live event on a stage with one interviewer and three guests. The lighting was surprisingly good as was the performances making the whole event more professional than you might think. So; I took my one camcorder and mounted it locked-off on a tripod facing direct on to the stage. The video looks fine but boring because it is one single shot for the whole 30 minutes or so. However the need was for some low-resolution web video. So, I thought, why not take the shot and cut out low resolution vignetes then cut between them in a kind of imitation multi-camera look.

Here is what I did. As I had shot in 1080p I could cut the video down to one ninth of its original size. I made one version of the original which was the whole scene but downconverted while the other two shots were of the interviewer (taking the right side of the scene) and the interviewees (taking the left).

OK; so the video is less perfect than using the whole image and this all only works because I am acquiring HD but broadcasting low resolution video for the web. Being progressive this is a lot better than you might expect - I think this would be impossible with interlaced acquisition. The game changer is the availability of progressive HD cameras. The main thing I notice is the chromatic aberations from the lens but to be honest this is a cheap camera and I know what I am looking for so I would not say this was intrusive or could not be improved. Having said all that though the finished piece is in my humble view remarkable. One thing that surprised me was how good it looked even though all the camera angles were identical - it is only the framing that varies. I don't think this is very noticeable it has a lot of the look of a proper multi-camera shoot.

I am interested in your views.


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