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Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?

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Lisa Hurley
Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 6:11:08 pm

Hello All!
I am wanting to change from shooting SD video to DSLR HD.

On the surface it looks like the change over would be easy. But IS it? Can anyone offer up any good advice or information regarding how shooting and EDITING SD vs HD video differs. I'm wondering if my computer will even handle HD as compared to SD.

I am running Windows XP, with an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.66 GHz. I have 3.25 GB of RAM. Using Adobe Premiere Pro CS4.

Will I be in for a rude awakening if I try using HD video with this setup? I need to sell the cameras I have in order to purchase the DSLRs, and once it's done, it's done.. so I'm just trying to get a "heads up" on this.

If there are any good links someone could share, etc... with info on what all is involved, I would greatly appreaciate it.

Consider that I am a person who has never had any experience with HD, nor DSLR cameras. But looking at the video quality, I am lusting after that "Look" that I cannot ever achieve with SD.


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:01:42 pm

Also, another thing I'd like to know, is how much video will a DSLR hold? And how about the audio? How do you get the stereo audio when you are videoing with one of these? Is there a lot of additional equipment needed? Right now, I only need my two SD cameras. I just dont want to jump into this, get the cameras, and find out that I am going to have to buy alot of other things that I can't afford. Then, I'll be out of business! :(


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Richard Harrington
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:05:13 pm

I'd recommend you pick up the book and From Still to Motion to learn the whole process. You don't choose DSLR because it's easy (or cheap). Camera body ends up being only 10-25% of cost for whole rig.

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:17:19 pm

Thanks Richard. If the camera body is only a small percentage of the whole rig, I'm most defintely not financially ready for this move right now.. but I'm going to be looking into it for sure.

I love the look I'm seeing as compared with SD. The clarity is awesome. It makes me sick to look at the quality of mine, after viewing video in HD.

I am looking for the cheapest camera to do the best job. I can't afford the 5D, so I was thinking the T2i would be good to learn with. Please let me know what you think. Would I be better off to wait until I could at least afford a 7D, or is the quality of the T2i comparable?


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Peter Burger
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:22:20 pm

There is no big difference betweet the 7D and the T2i, concerning the picture quality. In lowlight with ISO higher than 800, the T2i is a bit noisier.


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Peter Burger
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:11:36 pm

You'll most definitly need a bunch of equipment.
There was an interesting discussion here recently:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/280/3233

The Canons can hold about 50min of video on a 16GB card.
Clips can be 12min (or 4GB) max. Then you have to start a new one.

Audio is a big problem. I use an external recorder and sync in post.


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:34:41 pm

Thank you VERY much Peter. I am most definitely going to check out the link you gave.

And I have one last question for you....
(I AM an amateur... and still have a lot to learn)...

I'm wondering what kind of recorder you would use for audio for something like this? Because I've always just relied on the audio from my cameras, I have NO CLUE. The only extra recording device I've ever used is a pocket mp3 recorder.

If you have any suggestion to send me in the right direction, I'd be EVER thankful!


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Peter Burger
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 8:16:15 pm

I personally (for my private projects) use the Zoom-H1, which is very affordable. You can plug in external microphones or use the built-in ones, which are quite good, but very sensitive to wind.
For bigger/commercial projects we sometimes use the Zoom-H4 with appropriate microphones.

I have a T2i myself and wasn't happy at all with the audio. Mostly because of the small built-in mic and the auto-gain-control. Same problem with the 7D, that my working-partner uses.

Of course you can plug in external mics and for T2i you can get the Magic-Lantern firmware, that'll allow you manual gain control.
The 60D has manual gain control built-in.

There are two great sites with information for any kind of VDSLR-work:

http://dslrhd.com/
http://nofilmschool.com/dslr

Helped me a lot.

All the best!


Edit: Forgot to mention that you can plug in the Zoom-H1 into the camera and use it as microphone as well, if you want to avoid syncing in post


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clyde villegas
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 21, 2010 at 9:51:15 am

What's the problem with the audio?

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Peter Burger
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 22, 2010 at 7:13:48 am

Audio with the T2i (and 7D) is a bit tricky for two reasons:

1.) Built-in microphones
2.) Audio gain control

Of course you can plug-in an external mic, but you still don't have any control over volume because of the AGC unless you use "juicedlink" (I think that's the name...).
With the T2i you can use the Magic Lantern software, that provides manual control, which is a cool thing, but I personally like to use extrernal sound recording, that'll give me more control over audio.

The 60D has manual audio control, with the 5D I'm not sure. But there is a Magic Lantern Version available for the 5D


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Peter Burger
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:04:56 pm

Assuming, that you are aware of the differences in shooting (focus, stabilizing, not very good audio with the built-in mic, etc...), I'll just talk about editing:

Best solution might be, to change from Premiere CS4 to Premiere CS5, since with CS5 you can work with the native files from your DSLR.

I used to work with the exact same hardware setup as you (but with Premiere CS3) with VDSLR footage quite a time, so I think I can confirm that it will work as well, but you'll have to change your workflow.

First thing is: You won't be able to edit your DSLR footage natively in Premiere CS4.
So you have to transcode your footage to a more "editable" format like Cineform or the AVID DNxHD codec. You can do this with MPEG Streamclip.

Second thing is: Buy lots and lots of HDDs ;) And very big ones. The transcoded files need a lot (and I mean A LOT) of space.

With a not so fast machine like yours, you might want to consider proxy-editing. Works pretty well in Premiere (convert your original files to SD, edit in a sd-project, open your sd-project in an hd-project, set the sd-files to offline and relink with the hd-files). It's a bit time consuming, but works even on slower machines.

Hope this helps a bit


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:13:48 pm

Yes. That helps a LOT. Thank you!


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Steve Crow
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 20, 2010 at 5:06:15 am

It's a lot of fun Lisa and don't be scared off by the cost...renting until you can afford to buy all that extra gear can make a lot of sense. People have done remarkable things with a standard T2i and kit lens (although I'd say spring the extra $300 for the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens to get more of that beautiful shallow depth of field look)

You will want a tripod too. A lot of the beautiful footage you see on Vimeo doesn't even have synced sound - just copyrighted music! :-) Still a mic would be a very solid recommendation since the built-in mic is useless except as a scratch track.

Have fun becoming a filmmaker!


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Chip Thome
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on Dec 22, 2010 at 4:11:57 am

Welcome Lisa, you are EXACTLY where I was three months ago. I owned 2 DVXs that I never got the hang of, and 3 other Panny consumer GS models we shot with. Instead of beating my brains out any longer with the DVXs, I sold them all and went to Panasonic GH1s. I since have sold those, and have Panasonic GH2s on order. Distribution has begun on the GH2s, albeit slow right now.

Here is what you are going to encounter going to DSLRs.

First, you are going to be shooting in most likely 1080P to get that "look" you want. From the GH1s and 2s, that is editing in AVCHD. I had CS3 and upgraded to Premiere Pro 64 bit CS5 which edits .mts files natively. IF CS4 can not handle that, you always can transcode to a codec/wrapper it can handle.

Audio is going to be a bit different, as a DSLR doesn't have the audio attenuating and limiting capacities you may be used to. I have gone to using Yamaha Pocketrak CX digital recorders. I picked those from another's recommendation that they have no drift in the audio. These give me the clean audio, and I use Plural Eyes to sync the Pocketrak clips to the camera's clips, via syncing the audio.

What is going to be very different going to these, as was said, the body can be the cheapest part of the investment. Lenses are the key, especially to get some of those seriously insanely gorgeous views. Starting out, like you, I am learning as I go. I have the Panasonic 14-140 kit lens and the Panasonic 20mm prime pancake for low light. I find with these two, I am "in the game" at least for now. I have my wish list for more and different, but right now I can shoot something in any light I am given.

If unlike me you came to video from photography, you are way ahead of the game understanding the terminology etc used with DSLRs. Where in video I learned about db and gain, here they talk about ISO and F Stops. This for me has been the greatest challenge.

So to give you a list of what I have bought, to make this change over happen.

i7 64 bit Windows 7 computer with 9 gb ram. (also needed for day job)
Upgraded Premiere Pro and After Effects to 64 bit CS5.
Upgraded Colorista to CS5 compatible version
Yamaha Pocketraks and a couple of Giant Squid lavs
Plural Eyes by Singular Software
GH2s with the 14-140 kit lenses and Panasonic 20mm pancakes to match.

My existing Rode Stereo Videomic and shotgun Videomic I can use with a 3.5mm-2.5mm adapter cable for the cameras ($3.50 Ebay) or just plug right into the Pocketraks.

On another forum I had several people try to talk out of going DSLR and to stick with the DVXs. There was one guy there who supported this move, and so far, I am thrilled to have gotten to know him. Right now I am happy with DSLRs, and even more thrilled I didn't listen to the nay sayers. There are times I miss the simplicity of a camcorder, but those times are getting fewer and farther between.

Good luck in your decision and if I can be of any help, hit me via PM if you care to.

Chip


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Lisa Hurley
Re: Changing from SD to DSLR HD video. The Consequences...?
on May 1, 2011 at 7:31:47 pm

I would like to thank all of you for your wisdom and advice :) I didn't realize several of these posts had been left, and was quite happy when I checked. Thank you all very, very much. I am hoping to be on the path to DSLR soon, if I can find a way to afford it! Thank you all once again!
Lisa


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