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Chris Barnes
t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 12:18:07 am

Hi everyone. Just recently started shooting with the canon t2i and so far it's been a tough battle. I am using the kit lens and I feel that it's just not suited for what I'm shooting. I am a rep for an atv suspension company so I travel to races and shoot motocross only. I feel like I'm constantly zoomed all the way in and it's rarely enough, plus I battle keeping everything in focus. Can anyone suggest a good lens for me to try without completely breaking the bank? Heres what I encounter 90% of the time:

Middle of the day
dusty
fast moving objects (motocross)
No reel need for crazy DOF, just want it all in focus

Also,
I was told to use a smaller aperture to make focusing easier, so I've tried shooting between 9.0 and 10.0. I get a ton of motion blur and I'm wondering if there is a guideline to how high I can go with the shutter speed to compensate. During my hours and hours of research learning this new camera, it seems everyone recommends keeping the shutter speed at twice the framerate. (I usually shoot at 720X60fps).

Thanks in advance for all the help!


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 1:56:34 am

In all my searching, the Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC has caught my eye. Will this be a good lens?


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Joe Shapiro
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 2:59:37 am

I'm wondering what you gain over a video camera like the HVX-200 in this situation?

--
Joe Shapiro
Director / Freelance FCP Editor
206-420-6411

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1497731/
http://JoeShapiro.com
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Noah Kadner
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 3:05:56 am

Yeah you need a real camcorder- your shoots are the opposite of what a DSLR specializes in. (except of course being cheap). But a little handycam style HDV camcorder sounds more like what you need.

Noah

40% discount for Creative Cow users with code ccow2011 at Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 3:06:55 am

Aside from the ability to take photos, probably nothing. But I've got it now, haha. I purchased the t2i after receiving great reviews from cinematographers in the motocross industry. Most of them use a variety of canon dslr's to film everything from short clips to full movie's, so I went that route.


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 6:05:17 am

Anyone?


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Joe Shapiro
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 3:48:58 pm

For run and gun the kit lenses are fine. I have them both - the 18-55 and 55-200. The image stabilization is a lifesaver. For handheld video it's a must-have for any lens longer than about 35mm.

The main thing a better lens will get you is speed (wider apertures). But that gives you even shallower DoF which is what you need to avoid in run and gun.

One last thing- on Canon DSLRs it's important to use only ISOs divisible by 160. All the others give you lots of extra noise. Google this for details. A program called Magic Lantern can help with this if you want to dive in to such. Good luck!
Joe

--
Joe Shapiro
Director / Freelance FCP Editor
206-420-6411

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1497731/
http://JoeShapiro.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_(film)
http://NWFilmForum.org/PoliceBeat


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 6:44:34 am

And let me add. I'm not saying I do not intend to use the capabilities of the DSLR in the future. I will definitely want to explore shallow depth of feel, with some freeride type edits. I'm just saying, that while I'm adapting to this new camera I think I need an all around "run and gun" style lens that I can use in most situations.


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Joshua Kerr
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 11:31:28 am

Provided these motocross shoots are during the day you should have no problem on the t2i. The others are right, a camcorder will serve much better but we don't all have the funds.
Don't worry about a new lens its how you use what you have (yes a 28mm prime will give you a nicer image but it doesn't make the slightest difference to the settings you need to use). You would need to lower the aperture to something beyond 16 to get a wide enough depth of field to keep things in focus and I assume being fast paced you need to have almost infinite depth. Then of course coupled with cranking up the shutter speed you loose more light. This only leaves you with the t2i's iso sensitivity to compensate for the light loss. The t2i will give you some serious grain anywhere beyond 400 but like I said on a day shoot this will be no problem.

Click to view my video production company or visit our company facebook page.


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 14, 2011 at 9:40:44 pm

Thanks for the help so far! Would I be better off going with the canon 55-200 lens rather than a sigma 18-200? Also, if I'm running the aperture at anywhere between 10-16, what kinda shutter speed should I be using in order to stay away from motion blur? I've been told to keep it at 2X the Framerate and also been told that when using a smaller aperture (larger number right?) that I need to up the shutter speed. Which is correct?


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Steve Crow
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 1:57:28 am

Keep the shutter speed at twice the frame rate...if you go higher the video will start to look more staccato (like the super old fashioned hand cranked movie cameras used during the Charlie Chaplin era) and if you go lower it will get blurrier. You might try a few shots just to see the effect but you won't end up using the footage more than likely.

You don't have the skill or experience yet to bother with trying to maintain focus on moving subjects - that's something experts camera operators can do with lots of practice...so keep your iris in in the high numbers - in other words smaller aperture holes letting LESS light in. I don't think you will have any lighting problems since its daytime but you can raise your ISO to compensate for the high aperture, try to stay below ISO 400 or max 800 which should be very doable in your situation.

There's also an exposure compensation function where you can raise or lower your exposure by 4 stops I believe without changing the ISO. (think of it like "Gain")

Getting new lenses shouldn't be necessary....I'd stay as wide as possible to begin with...remember that with the cheaper kit lenses as you zoom in....your picture will actually get darker...that's because they don't keep what's called a constant aperture....the aperture changes as you zoom in and out. Therefore I'd set the lens up at a wide-ish setting and just leave it there....that will be good enough for filming racers going around the track. Invest in the best tripod you can afford...one with a fluid head - that's going to make a major difference to the look and professionalism of your final video. Shaky handheld footage can be okay for a shot here and there but when everything is rocking and rolling like your camera is at filming from a boat in rough seas - that's when audiences start to get nausea. :-)

As you start to film B-roll of cars that are stationary, things around the track, people and so on - then you can try out the shallow depth of field look by moving your aperture down to the smallest numbers your lens can handle. Be aware that on a sunny day you may be limited to how large an aperture you can film at before overexposing your image...you may have your ISO set at 100 for instance, your shutter speed somewhere around 1/50th and the image will be way too bright...that's where attaching Neutral Density filters come in...basically they cut down the light so that you can get that shallow depth of field look without blowing out/overexposing your image.


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Joe Shapiro
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 5:39:40 am

Nice guide to DSLR filmmaking. Very well-said.

--
Joe Shapiro
Director / Freelance FCP Editor
206-420-6411

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1497731/
http://JoeShapiro.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoo_(film)
http://NWFilmForum.org/PoliceBeat


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:28:19 pm

"You don't have the skill or experience yet to bother with trying to maintain focus on moving subjects - that's something experts camera operators can do with lots of practice...so keep your iris in in the high numbers"

My thoughts exactly! I definitely want to learn how to use this camera to it's full potential, but I still have work to do in the mean time. Seems like the shutter speed is really the only question now. I have tried to play with several options, but I'm wondering if the high shutter speed that was recommended to me wasn't causing allot of my problems. I was thinking that I needed to go even higher to handle the motion blur, but it appears thats incorrect. I also didn't know about the exposure comp. That should be a nice feature for someone like me thats trying to keep everything in focus.


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Steve Crow
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 7:50:56 pm

Remember that advice from photographers doesn't always apply directly to video - a high shutter speed is great for a still shot when you want to freeze the action - but for video ....errrr.....not so good. Keep it at 1/50th if you film at 24-26 frames per second and then don't touch it! :-)


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Stephen Best
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:56:58 pm

Chris, while I know you're asking about shooting with a "t2i", the subtext is how to shoot motocross.

In my view, the real work of making movies happens in the editing room. In this digital day and age, to a great extent the actual filming is, in reality, data collection. So much can be dealt with in post, particularly when you're doing the sort of work you're doing.

Let me suggest two things. First, shoot a little wider, and get closer. This will give you an easier time of following the action and keeping everything in focus. For closer shots of action, you can always cheat a 20% enlargement in post, and almost always get away with it. Secondly, invest $150 bucks in a GoPro camera. Strap it to a driver's helmet or bike or plant in the middle of the track, and get yourself the kind of shots that you'll drool over.

At any rate, it's not the camera that matters so much but rather the shots and, almost above all, the editing, and above all of that, the story.

Lastly, the dirty secret about video is that the sound is more important than the pictures. Get good sound and get yourself a music library. Sound and music can make a still look good.

Regards
Stephen Best
http://stephenbest.ca


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 6:22:25 pm

I can agree with that for sure! I have been using a gopro (although the 1080p version I'm using cost closer to #300) and I'm editing with vegas movie studio platinum 10.0 HD. I would like to move from PC to mac and start working with final cut though. I'll stick with the current lens and look into some other items to help the finished product such as an external mic, better quality tripod etc. Heres a couple of my vids that I've gotten so far, as you can see, my quality is nowhere near what I'd like it to be. But I think I'm improving each time I shoot and I feel that I am creative enough to put together some good edits. Take a look and tell me what you think:













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Steve Crow
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 7:48:49 pm

Yeah, I watched the first video you linked to...it looks like you don't have to tell the story of the entire race and just show highlights which is great for you. I don't film action sports so keep that in mind but here are my thoughts:

I think your next step is to mix in interview footage and more closeups of the bikes while they are being prepared for the race and also in the pit stop (if that's the right word!) For both of these shallow depth of field and for the interviews good audio will really spice up your presentation.

You had one section (around 2:11) where you were able to position yourself in a nice spot to capture the riders getting some good air....for that particular spot you might try getting a tad closer and, again, going for the shallow depth of field. Combined with the slow motion effect you've already learned to do - that will make for some dramatic footage.

By the way I firmly agree with the earlier comment about sound and the fact of how 80-90 percent of the story is really brought out through editing....of course you need the raw footage to work with.

When you have the budget for it - check out the "sliders" they really can add a lot of drama to your shots in the right circumstances.


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Steve Crow
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 7:53:23 pm

Oh and then when you're REALLY good check out the remote controlled helicopters (one popular model is called the Parrot) that are designed to carry small video cameras - then you can chase the riders, hover in a dramatic spot or fly parallel to the action - just don't crash into any of the riders - that will be the end of your sweet production deal! ha ha


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 15, 2011 at 7:58:32 pm

Thanks! Yeah, I work for a suspension company, so I really just have to show the riders running our products. I posted the second video, because I tried to use a little of the shallow DOF to focus on some of the bikes and products as well.


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Brent Dunn
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 16, 2011 at 2:16:10 pm

If you are showcasing your company's products, you should try to get some rider testimonials. Shoot it like a commercial spot.

I don't think the parrot remote helicoptor can carry a camera. It has a built in camera, but the quality is poor. It's made of foam, which is safe. It only has a lens that sends a wireless signal to an ipod, iphone, ipad.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Brent Dunn
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 16, 2011 at 1:58:48 pm

First, I would never use a DSLR for filming fast moving sports.

A Sony EX-1 works great for this.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Henry Vaughan
Re: t2i video advice
on Sep 16, 2011 at 6:28:33 pm

Try shooting with a higher frame rate.

The primes i like to use are 50m 1.4F 28mm 1.8F both of them are canon lenses and esily found on places like amazon.

Stray Fox video production Newcastle - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Jaye James
Re: t2i video advice
on Oct 1, 2011 at 8:21:56 am

My 2 cents. If you're only concerned about keeping things in focus I'd say go with the video camera route. I have an HV 40 and love shooting with it.

It had autofocus which is great for quick shooting. And when you want to get fancy you need an irv wheel ($50) to make focusing easier.

This camera uses tape which is great if you're out on the rave track you just have to pop in a tape instead of download footage. You just need extra batteries.

The camera doesn't overheat.

And you'll want a wide angle lens Raynox 6600 is one people love. I have the WD43 which I like.

Of you use a wide angle lens you'll need a lens hood. You can order the xa-1 lens hood and be ready to go.

I love this video camera. But now Im doing less run & gun stuff and had to get a Dslr.

But you can't go wrong with an HV40.


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Oct 1, 2011 at 2:43:42 pm

I do think I'm liking the DSLR and I believe I will learn more ways to get the quality I want. I recently went out to shoot a rider promo and some random race footage,with some of the suggested settings. I'm still a bit confused with the shutter speed though. Most often I hear "keep the shutter speed at twice the framerate" but then I also hear "up the shutter speed for fast moving objects". These two videos below were shot at 720x60fps with a canon75-300mm lens, aperture between 10-15 and keep the iso between 100-200.(except for the interview portion were I am learning to shoot with a high aperture for DOF) Can you please view them and give me some feedback? Thanks!













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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Oct 1, 2011 at 2:54:59 pm

Oh and also, the clips above were shot with the shutter speed at 125.


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Chris Barnes
Re: t2i video advice
on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:12:30 pm

Anyone?


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