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Stabilizing and "professionalizing" my videos

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Ben Handler
Stabilizing and "professionalizing" my videos
on Apr 20, 2012 at 6:22:18 pm

Hey all,

I just shot a "music video" for a friend. It was a promo for a show he just performed. It's a dynamic one-take video where the two musicians are walking towards the camera singing and playing guitar. I'm using a t3i, 35mm F2.0 Nikon lens and a DIY fig-rig made of PVC pipe. Another friend is shooting footage from the side on a t2i and a canon 50mm F1.8. He shot handheld. I'm somewhat happy with the results, though I think it lacks the polished look that I've really been striving for. Here's the clip:

My biggest gripes: stabilization and the "baked-in" look. I was able to keep pretty steady, but any major movement from either the musicians or me really detracts from the quality. Compared to this hip-hop video, for example:

. I feel that my movements create noticable frame bending, but when these guys move it looks fluid. Is this something as simple as shooting at a higher Frame Rate? I shot 24 FPS / 48 shutter speed. I'm new to video, so I tend not to deviate from 24 frames very often as I've heard 24/48 will be best for the "cinematic" feel. These guys are also using a proper stabilizer--The MiniDV Stabilizer--which would help, but I'm not sure it would make THAT much of a difference. Any suggestions?

Second: I shoot flat (cinestyle I think--my friend was using Marvel, which was a mistake I realize as we both should've been using the same picture style) and I color corrected in after effects. I crushed blacks and adjusted levels, then tinted a bit with a tritone and desaturated. I tried to play around with other variations, but nothing looked particularly good because the original video had this sunny, orangish look to it to begin with. We both white balanced to 5400 before we shot. When I watch other peoples' well-done DSLR video, the color seems so... balanced. It's as if you can tell it's been shot on a DSLR, but in a good way. I'm not sure how else to describe it. My video is H.264. I didn't compress it to an avid codec in MPEG streamclip before(something I just learned about). Would that've given me significantly more room in post to make my video have that DSLR feel akin to this "checho" video I linked?

Also worth mentioning: We shot at 3-4 PM and used a reflector to light the guitarist. When shooting outdoors I try to shoot around 6-7 PM to get nice lighting, but we couldn't in this instance. Even when I shoot at 6-7 PM I feel the "look" isn't as cinematic/pretty as I could do. Here's another example from an upcoming short film I'm making for class. Only a basic color curve on it. If anyone has any suggestions to improve the "look" that would be great:

If you made it this far, thanks for looking/helping me out!

- Ben

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