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have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?

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Lindsey Cathcart
have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:15:05 pm

I have a Sony HDR FX7 and was going to use it to film this series. But after reading about the Canon 5D and TSI3 and 7D etc. I am seriously considering buying one. My question is this:

Can I use both cameras or am I going to have huge differences in footage that I wont be able to fix with AE color correction?

Should i just do away with the HDR FX7 and get two dslr's?

Or will I do better with two Sony HDR FX7's?

I want to do a dual camera shoot on a green screen and add a virtual set in order to do How To tutorials. Is it a bad idea to do dual cameras on green screen because of angle shots and virtual set placement?

Thank you everyone in advance, this will be my first green screen shoot, I have up until now just been an AE guy. I have done keying, just never shot the footage.


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Craig Alan
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 8, 2012 at 5:29:56 am

Certainly you can shoot with more than one camera using green screen. But you need to light your screen evenly. (kino flos) You need good separation between talent and screen and between cam and talent. You need to light your talent and include a back light to help with separation. And if you are using more than one cam you most likely are using a wider field and therefore a larger green screen - more lights. How to videos are heavily dependent on audio. You would do best with either dual system or a camera that has xlr inputs. A mixer helps a lot. (sound devices 302). Speaking of mixers, some video switchers would allow you to create a virtual set and live key in production rather than in post. Either way works but the advantage to live is you see what you are going to get and have a faster turn around. All this gets expensive. Is there a reason you need multicam? A Good how-to is all about clarity. Why not just multiple takes rather than multi-cams?
I would not use HDV for a green screen production. You'd do better with other codecs. DSLRs take great images and have great control of depth of field. But is that what you want for this type of production? Do you want your talking head and whatever they are demonstrating to be in/out of focus? I'd go for a camcorder that has SDI and /or HDMI out so you could record to a video recorder in whatever codec comes around. Pro Res 422 or whatever works best with your NLE. It sort of future proofs it.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Lindsey Cathcart
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 8, 2012 at 5:57:50 am

Thank you soooo much for your response. I am thrilled to get a little input on all of this. I have been reading for days waiting on the company to cut the check and have landed on some items I am interested in, if you cares to look it over, I would very much appreciate it :)

Green Screen with 10x12 stand and 10x13 chroma key

Canon t3i for 2nd cam "product shots, in field stuff, B roll"
"Using the Canon as B roll is all due to your suggestion btw" I also read it was harder to key it due to 4 2 2 color sampling or somthing and H264 output? so the Sony is probably the way to go.

New Zoom H4N or Used Marantz PMD660?

Rode video mic on the Sony HDR-FX7?
I was going to do this to have like a B roll of audio, or is the onboard mic of the camera close to the same quality?

Rode NTG 2 with pole, shock, cat.
I think you were plobably saying that I should get two of these right?

And most importantly.....3 x PBL MX 1000 watt lights with no fans, softboxes and barn doors for talent, and 2 x 1000 watt yellow contruction lights to light the screen.
Saw a guy using the construction lights and he was saying that the dual 500 watt head lights can be pointed "1 up and 1 down" on both sides of the creen. Thoughts???


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Craig Alan
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:20:10 pm

The Sony does not have XLR inputs for mikes and is HDV. I would look for a different codec. HDV is not known for keying. I'm not saying you can't do it but there are better choices. It does have component out and HDMI out so it could be attached to a video recorder. I do not know in this case if that bypasses the HDV compression but it should. The video recorder will most likely cost more than the camera though.

If you are going double system for sound then I would look for a recorder that has xlr inputs and can provide phantom power.
I would not try to light a screen with home depot lights. The screen must be very evenly lit. Kino Flos are the industry standard and a great investment. They are really nice to light product as well since they provide very even lighting and flos use less electric and stay cooler than other types.

Using a shot gun mike requires skill and an extra crew member for boom. You might want to go with a wired/or wireless lav instead.

For B roll in a different location the lack of matching images is not that big a deal. You'd be keying there too?

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Lindsey Cathcart
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 8, 2012 at 7:35:54 pm

The shots from the T3I are gonna be like live shots; Products, interviews, that sorty of thing. No Keying.

Then I am planning on doing a two camera shoot with the HDR FX7 as lead and the t3i for angled head shots. Those shots will be keyed and I will drop them in the virtual set.

Ordered the marantz pmd660 last night, it has two XLR's and phantom. Just hung up on the mic now, thinking about this beyer dynamics shotgun mic at this point for around 250.00.

I wanted to ask if they make a big boom stand for shotgun mics?

I cant afford a video switcher or recorder. I am stuck with what I got. Just gonna dump the footage and go into AE and go for it.

I didnt realize that HDV was a codec, I thought the sony did Mpeg2 1080i? Or are they the same? Fkn codecs, like a million of em.


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Craig Alan
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:26:12 am

HDV is the codec and is heavily compressed. HDV looks pretty good but is a poor choice for editing. It really shows its weakness when you start applying graphics, titles, KEYING etc. The reason it can shoot on dv tape and use the same amount of space as standard def DV (about 13 gigs per hour) is due to the compression and they cheated somewhat by grabbing some of the audio space and giving it to the video. But whatever. The cam does have HDMI out if in the future you want to try a recorder. Using completely different cams in a two cam shoot will produce very different looks. Which cam do you light for? I would go one cam and just have the talent do multiple takes. You could even script it as talking head shots vs demo shots. I find with how-tos that you also need to go to ECUs. Is there a reason to try to record this in one take?

You can mount a boom on a c-stand - they sell accessories for that purpose,

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=Boom+Pole+Holder+mathews&N=0&Initi...

but again the talent would almost need to not move. Indoors you do not want a shot gun mike you want a Hypercardioid. I think a lav makes more sense since the mike will move with the talent. Wired lavs are way cheaper than cordless kits. The countryman B3 and B6 mikes are industry standards. You can make them almost invisible and have very good sound quality.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Brand_Countryman&ci=8535&N=42910...

A good cordless mike kit would set you back about $600-$700 per mike. Very handy though.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=sennheiser+g3&N=0&InitialSearch=ye...

You could also record much of the audio as voice over and get way better sound for a lot less work and money. A good hand held mike can be as little as $50. You could even use your audio recorder without a mike. I think the advantage to low budget shooting is you can keep at it until you get it right. If you plan to capture something perfectly the first time in one take then you better have good equipment and a crew that knows the gear inside and out.

If you insist on using a mike mounted on a boom pole held by a stand then make sure its pointed at your talent's mouth, the talent must face forward, and mark off on the floor the "staging" area. This should be no more than 3 feet from your mike. Then you need to ride the gain on your audio recorder. Remember to monitor with good headphones.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/49510-REG/Sony_MDR_7506_MDR_7506_Head...


You might want to look at Cool lights if Kinos are out of your budget. Remember though that good lights will outlast your cameras and computers and NLE.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Lindsey Cathcart
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 9, 2012 at 1:08:00 am

Dude, I cant thank you enough for all of yuour help. I litterally learned after effects from the tutorials on this site and happy as shit to be a member of these forums finally. You rock as does this whole community. That being said, can I trouble you for just a bit more help?

I am going to define this project so you may better understand my limitations and concerns.

I am the camera operator, the talent, the post AE guy, audio engineer, whole deal.

I am pretty ok at AE because I have been a MCSE for 10 yrs. I just tend to get computers. I also majored music and have a full recording studio and lots of mics. I need the mic stand because I will be in front of the camera. The reason I am not loving the T3I is because it lacks autofocus apparently, and the HDR FX7 does a pretty good job at auto focus. I dont zoom because I am green screening and the set will move with the talent zoom as I recall so I think I am limited to software camera zooming if needed. I will take ur suggestion and do multiple takes and maybe frame them up a little closer or farther so that I can switch cameras every 5-10 seconds to keep ppls attention. I dont mind doing multiple takes, this is another reason I was not that stoked on the T3I as I understand it only has a 13 min recording time for video??

The reason I was gonna buy the T3I is this dude on youtube did a side by side of the T3I and the HDRFX7. The T3I looks nicer than my very expensive video camera so I was interested in purchasing it for item close up and head shot and stuff like that. The DOF on it just makes everything look like movie quality. I was thinking of trying cinnegamma on the HDRFX7 as I have read that it looks nice. Any experience with that???

So what I am thinking is I will hire this college graphoc artist kid to help me set it up or maybe hold one of the boom sticks for mics or what not and I will shoot and star in these things. I have keyed before and never really had a problem, but I dont think I have ever gotten really truely professional results from it.

I will totally look at the light you suggested but I have to also add the budget for lighting is less than 1k. I was going to buy 3 PBL MX series dual bulb 500 or 1000 watt softboxes with barn doors and a boom hor hair light. That was for talent. After your last post however I was warned about using construction lights for the green screen. So my questions are these:

I have an audio technica 4040 and 3034 and some sm57s and that sort of thing. You think one of those would be better for micing the tallent?

Can I use CFL softboxes for the green screen or will thier kelvin rating mess me up due to the PBL lights on the talent being more like 3000k, more orange than blue?

If I set up everything and test it do I really need a camera operator, or sound guy present? I was just gonna set this shit iup in a spare bedroom and do it thatr way. Use a camera guy mainly for on the scene interviews and field work.


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Lindsey Cathcart
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 9, 2012 at 1:28:19 am

Let me know what you think of these for talent and screen?

http://www.skaeser.com/servlet/the-887/STUDIO-LIGHTING-KIT-FLUORESCENT/Deta...


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Lindsey Cathcart
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 9, 2012 at 1:34:22 am

Oh, and I have like 200 dollar akg headphones for the studio and a set of lav mics. I just dont like the way lav mics sound and all of the ambiant noise the pic up. I was hoping the shotgun mic, being like omni directional would eliminate some of the room noise and what not. I tent to always get room noise out of standar condesnor mics as well even with a compressor. I am probably not a great audio engineerr but I have been told by recording pros in nashville that I was pretty ok. I just think audio is the evil nemisis of video and want to record it seperatly on the marants pmd660, and try to get a solid fat voice signal. I was thinking of running it through a presonus bluetube mic preamp to fatten it up a bit. Any thoughts?


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Craig Alan
Re: have to do a Green Screen project of 15 videos, HDR FX7 or Canon DSLR is the question?
on Jun 9, 2012 at 5:48:34 am

I am the camera operator, the talent, the post AE guy, audio engineer, whole deal.


Not a good recipe for a successful shoot.
At the very least get a camera operator and do an audio check with him wearing headphones.

I need the mic stand because I will be in front of the camera.


The lav will work better under these circumstances. Unless you want to go hand held, but then your hands are not free. You could also go V.O.

Given what you describe I’d go for a wired countryman B6 ear set. Check these out

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=countryman+eg+earset+wired&N=0&Ini...

The reason I am not loving the T3I is because it lacks autofocus apparently, and the HDR FX7 does a pretty good job at auto focus.


Right the DSLRs are meant for “film” style shooting. Meaning manual everything. If you have a shallow depth of field then you have to manually focus – otherwise how would the camera know what you want in focus?

the T3I as I understand it only has a 13 min recording time for video??


You either need extra media cards or dump them to your computer. 13 min is a long time for any given how-to shot/scene.

The T3I looks nicer than my very expensive video camera so I was interested in purchasing it for item close up and headshot and stuff like that.


Yes the images of DSLRs are impressive due to the large sensors but they have disadvantages: they do not have the features or ergonomics of a video cam. The two are starting to merge into new modular forms like the RED cam. But these still require film style production. Not run and gun.

The DOF on it just makes everything look like movie quality.


Yes the DOF is good, but lighting creates the look, particularly in INT.

I was thinking of trying cinnegamma on the HDRFX7 as I have read that it looks nice. Any experience with that???


I haven’t used that cam though I have used Sony HDV cams (Z7U). But now when I use the z7u I attach it to a KI PRO which records in Apple Pro Res.

So what I am thinking is I will hire this college graphic artist kid to help me set it up or maybe hold one of the boom sticks for mics or what not and I will shoot and star in these things.


Get the kid to shoot. It’s just too limiting to shoot yourself. You can have him stand in for you and you can adjust the exposure, white balance etc. Mount the thing on a tripod and have him slowly follow the action.

Good idea to attach a monitor to your cam so you can really see what you are getting. Broadcast monitors are expensive but a Panasonic plasma with sdi and hdmi inputs are pretty cheap and do a great job.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/780138-REG/Panasonic_TH_42PH30U_TH_42...

I have keyed before and never really had a problem, but I don’t think I have ever gotten really truly professional results from it.


Spacing and lighting gives you pro results. Avoid green reflections on talent. Avoid shadows on screen. What kind of keyed b.g. are you planning on using?


I have an audio technica 4040 and 3034 and some sm57s and that sort of thing. You think one of those would be better for micing the talent?


If you want to record V.O. style yes. If you are putting these on a boom pole you need a boom operator. Be careful not to throw a shadow on your screen.

Can I use CFL softboxes for the green screen or will thier kelvin rating mess me up due to the PBL lights on the talent being more like 3000k, more orange than blue?


I don’t know about DIY lighting stuff. I use light kits designed by top lighting firms. There are hundreds of articles on-line for the DIYer. I just feel some basic light equipment is a good investment. The stuff will outlast your camera.

If I set up everything and test it do I really need a camera operator, or sound guy present? I was just gonna set this shit iup in a spare bedroom and do it thatr way. Use a camera guy mainly for on the scene interviews and field work.


There are plenty of videos on u-tube shot with computer cams. Most of them look and sound like crap. At the very least if there was no movement at all you still need to frame your shot. I guess if you attached your cam to a monitor facing toward you and used a remote control for zoom and focus and walked back and forth to adjust the tripod until you got it right and then never moved during the shot you could pull it off. But really, why?

Oh, and I have like 200 dollar akg headphones for the studio and a set of lav mics. I just dont like the way lav mics sound and all of the ambiant noise the pic up. I was hoping the shotgun mic, being like omni directional would eliminate some of the room noise and what not. I tent to always get room noise out of standar condesnor mics as well even with a compressor. I am probably not a great audio engineerr but I have been told by recording pros in nashville that I was pretty ok. I just think audio is the evil nemisis of video and want to record it seperatly on the marants pmd660, and try to get a solid fat voice signal. I was thinking of running it through a presonus bluetube mic preamp to fatten it up a bit. Any thoughts?


The closer the mike is to the source the less the back ground noise will interfere with the intended recording. That said there is a reason they say, “quiet on the set!”

A shot gun is not the right mike indoors. The ear set mikes I linked you to get you closer to the source than any other kind of mike save doing VO work with a high end mike designed for that pupose. You might try some sound treatment in your room as well. But you know about recording sessions in the music world. It’s not different for video. Male voices are harder to record. They can be muddy, boomy. Do some tests and set your levels correctly. Use a mixer. I use the High-Pass Filter (Low Cut) Used to reduce excessive low frequencies. 12 dB per octave at 80 Hz. Then experiment with closeness to mouth and angle and of course all the gain settings. On the cam’s meters you want above -12 but not clipping. On a pro mixer above 0 but not clipping. On a pro cam you want to calibrate the mixer so that 0 tone out the mixer records at -20 on cam.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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