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decent training out there?

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Andy Engelkemier
decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:48:18 pm

We have a Canon 6D for photos. I'm not sure about it's video capability, but that's what we have now, and people keep shooting garbage with their iphones then giving to me to edit. I'd like to do a little training with lights and learn some techniques on how to shoot handheld walking shots, pans, zoom/dolly, rack focus, etc.

Our photographer left, so now other people are allowed to touch the camera, lol. But he had mentioned that the camera wasn't good for video because it didn't indicate focus, so you'd want an external screen. I have no idea if that's BS or not. But it sounds about right if it's true.

Does anyone know of some good online training to get started with a 6D? Or would you recommend something entirely different? I already know how to edit and I am fairly good at color grading decent footage. I'm mostly after the physical part of things. Setting up the shot, and learning how to smoothly run the camera and what equipment I need to do things like rack focus.


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Mark Suszko
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:45:17 pm

You may not have expected this response, but I think you may be missing an opportunity here. Bear with me.

Ask yourself why they're depending on using their phones if there's a dedicated shooter/editor available.

Is it because you're spread too thin and aren't as available as they need?

Is your turn-around time too slow?

Or is it that they are unaware of your services, or it's too time-intensive to do something spur-of-the-moment with you?

Do they just not know what you can do?

Or do they just a very casual opinion of media and how it's done?

Do they think phone video is "better", i.e. more "legitimate" or "truthful" or otherwise valid, than using more traditional capture methods? ( I have to laugh here as I personally still don't much care for using DSLR's over dedicated camcorders but that's a discussion for another day).

See, none of those problems will be solved just by taking more DSLR courses. Though of course, take some if you need them... No, there's a different problem here and if you want to have good job security and advancement, pay attention to what their actions are telling you. They are choosing their phones over you. It is vital to your job you figure out why, and what you can do about that.

They're shooting badly with their phones; you could turn this issue around, and give mini clinics or one on one tutoring or make a tutorial slide show or in-house video on how to do that better, and point them to things like proper apps for shooting from the phone, that control focus and iris and sound, stabilizer apps, etc. you could help them get cheap, even used tripods and mounts, and a shotgun or wired lav for the phones, those lavs are like 20 bucks but make a world of difference. And not coincidentally, they end up giving you better, easier raw material to work with.

There are various benefits to this approach that may not be immediately obvious. One of which is, you'll be establishing, or re-establishing yourself, as *the* video authority, the guy everybody comes to, who makes their stuff better. You're proving your value. You will make good personal connections to these people by mentoring them and making them look better and do better. You build trust with them; instead of looking at them as competition, you're recruiting them. What you may find happens next from this approach is, even though you've given them the ability to work independently from you, and have better results, because they have grown an appreciation for what goes into good media, they will start handing off more things to you that they want "done right", instead of doing everything themselves. On your end, you'll have to be very fast on turn-around of their stuff, and always improve the look and sound of what they give you, any way you can. They give you crummy vertical video of a bust shot? Frame it to the side and add graphics and text to the rest of the frame, to make it look polished and intentional. Clean up their audio; you can't believe how huge an issue this really is in making your stuff stand out from theirs.

Other people can give you better tutoring on the DSLR stuff. But realize you have something more urgent, more fundamental going on here and IMO you need to address that as a priority.


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Andy Engelkemier
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:42:46 pm

Well, you have hit the nail on the head here, but that's what I'm trying to fix.

The reason we hire out video, or just whip out a cell phone, is speed. Currently, I'll choose to use my cell phone for some things, or a gopro even. Because of speed.

I have the same problem with photography. I can't do it Fast enough because I don't fully know how to use the equipment and what settings I need to get the shot I want. Hey, this is lower light than I expected, so maybe I should swap to a prime lens to get less noise. Maybe I have to track something later, so I should probably use a heck of a lot of light for something? Someone wants a rack focus. Can my camera even do that? So we hire those kinds of things out.

The cell phone footage happened just recently, and they Did use a gimbal at least. But they didn't know what they were doing so much that one person requested I take a vertical video and flip it. After they asked that they realized it wasn't possible to do. And they didn't use the gimbal on that so it was shaky as hell. I made it look ok, but not great.

What I'm after though, is getting rid of the need to hire out work. A client hires us to put something together, and hiring out eats Heavily into our profit because I'm at the shoot with the videographers in most cases. Shot lists don't work in subjective situations.

So I'm really looking for some training on what I can do with my equipment, and arming myself with the knowledge of what other equipment I need in order to expediently set up a shot with reasonably good quality and control.


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Mark Suszko
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:50:21 pm

It might help a little to know what exactly you're shooting with the DSLR: tabletop product demos? How-tos? Unboxings? Fashion? Plant tours/ real estate walk-thrus? Training lectures? What? The subject, and the final use the footage is put to, dictate so much of how you shoot and what toys you need to enhance it.


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Andy Engelkemier
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:01:55 pm

Now, see...that's the trouble. We're a design consultancy. And engineering, and we even do assembly production.
We would likely entertain most anything that someone wants to pay us to do. Each job is pretty different.

Some videos I've done: A crazy amount of B-roll footage shot around a building to celebrate their team, mixed with shots of the people in various ways. Handheld footage of a BBQ festival following one team. Some flir camera footage (we actually have a nice one of those) of a few different products. "sexy" product use footage.
That's about it so far. Much of the stuff I work on, the product isn't out yet so I do it all digitally with animation. But I'd Love to do more camera matching and inserting the product into the video. But that's usually pretty time consuming and expensive. And I don't quite have the know-how to get the shots right myself.

I know Just enough about video to get some of the shots, but it takes too long because I often don't see the problems until I look at the footage on my computer. So I want to learn some of the tricks of what to look for. And I know some of them can be addressed with the proper equipment.

I thought I'd start by seeing what I can do with my 6D. And I think I should be able to find the technical details on some of that. I can ask our local photography/videography store as well. But they Do have some incentive to sell me a bunch of stuff. And that's likely where I'll buy it if there isn't a huge price discrepancy with B&H or Amazon. But I don't want to spend 6K on just a camera unless that's really what I would need. If I can just buy some nice rigs, lights, and a lens more specific to video, then that might be it. But at this point, I don't know.

I'll keep looking and see what I learn. I just thought I'd turn to some of the expertise here to see if anyone suggested any training. What I'm Not doing is weddings. Although, if someone wanted to spend 20-30K on video, edit, and animating some stuff for their wedding, then congrats. You've hired yourself a wedding videographer/animator.


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Mark Suszko
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:27:54 pm

Well that clarifies it a bit. You should add this info to an edited re-post of your question in the cinematography forum, and the guys who know how to work with DSLR's will chime in there I'm sure. And they won't try to sell you anything.


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Graham Tees
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 7:23:33 pm

This is a brilliant response. So much excellent advise and understanding of the situation.


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Mark Suszko
Re: decent training out there?
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:43:05 pm

There's a ton of free online training out there on lighting for film and video. But one place I point people to when they are starting out is the online interactive lighting setup made by Lowel. It's very fundamental, but timeless because of that. I like how you can turn on and off various lights in the interactive lesson to see their effect. The lessons use all Lowel gear, obviously, but the principles are universal for film and video work, and will work with any brand of lighting gear you own.

http://lowel.tiffen.com/edu/

As to running an external monitor for the DSLR, well that's fine for times when you're fixed in one spot, but not very easy to do on locations where you move around a lot. I'd encourage you to consider getting a dedicated video camera, even a used one.


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