Friday, June 19, 2009

More 5 D video stuff

So I ran into a very nice guy in the park the other day named Marc Steiner who had a great rig for recording sound on the 5D Mark II. It's a Sony UWP-V1 Wireless Lavalier ENG Microphone Package.

Marc was kind enough to upload a photo of his system.

It's about $525 at B & H. I noticed it specifically because the biggest problem I have found with shooting video on the 5 D is the fact that there is no way to monitor the sound and he was shooting with earphones plugged in. I was intrigued enough to hang out and wait till he was done shooting so I could ask him about it.

The system is still limited by the fact that the Mark II uses a relatively unshielded mini jack (which can be affected by certain ambient frequencies, like fluorescent lights), but it's by far the slickest rig I've seen and I'll be buying one as soon as I have a project to justify the expense.

The new manual firmware (available from the Canon website) makes the camera a much more viable video camera. I've been shooting an experimental film with it this summer and took some of my footage over to the guys at the NYU SCPS video department who were pretty blown away by the quality of the image and the ability to shoot video on a full chip camera.

The best part is that all of my beloved, and fast, Nikon primes that have been sitting in my closet for the past 5 years now have a new mission as video lenses thanks to a great lens adapter I found out of Hong Kong that is is cheap (about $ 25) and has the necessary electrical contacts to auto confirm focus.

The final addition comes from Tisch alumni Clayton Burkhart who showed me his very nice Zacuto loupe which attaches to the back of the live view screen and makes it a viable electronic viewfinder that is better than anything I have used on a dedicated (video only) camera. I didn't spring for the $ 425 Zacuto (which is much nicer) but went for an $140 Hoodman loupe which is functionally just as good but not nearly as comfortable or nicely made as Clayton's Zacuto.

By the way, the most recent video entry on Ceci's blog (Butterfinger Ice Cream) was shot entirely on a 5D with the crappy little mike I carry around in my camera bag that it just clipped onto my lens hood. Even with youtube compression it looks pretty good in HD. If anyone has any really good settings for uploading to youtube or vimeo I'd love to hear from you.


apoorva said...
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Fiat Lux said...

Regarding compressing video for the internet.

The best format for playback on computer monitors is H.264, a good blend of high quality and small file size. The only issue being that it takes some time to format, so be ready for a long wait on your export.

30fps (or 29.97) is best for youtube, as that's what their compressor will recompress your video into regardless of the original framerate. Nonetheless, uploading at 24 usually doesn't lead to any noticeable artifacts.

You can export your video from final cut to H.264 via quicktime conversion in FCP or through compressor. If you don't have access to either, mpeg streamclip is a free online program which has similar capabilities.

If the video is short and you're not worried about file size, you can set the data rate to automatic or unlimited. In general 2500 kbps will render SD footage near perfectly and 4000kbps will do for HD. If you're footage is overall devoid of movement (camera movement, or in the frame movement, i.e. not the superbowl) then you can lower your data rates and still receive sharp footage. IF this is the case you can also set the key-frame rate to automatic and things should look good.

If the footage is complex, i.e. lots of motion and visual change over time, a higher data rate may be needed, although i've never seen anything that needed much more than 4000kbps, although you could push it to 5000 if you've got the space and your interested.

If you're shooting 1920 HD footage, you may want to scale down to 720 if your hosting site can't handle 1920.

On that note, i'd go with vimeo over youtube any day.
Vimeo offers much higher quality second stage compression than youtube, the only loss is that it won't be on the youtube database, accessible from a search via youtube. But you can still embed your vimeo videos anywhere you want, email them, set up password protected rough cuts for clients etc.
Vimeo is the way to go.

If you've got any more questions, send me an email or ask on the blog.


Fiat Lux said...

* with relatively "still" footage, lowering the keyframe rate and the data rate (or setting it to variable/ automatic) you can achieve equally sharp footage at smaller file sizes.

p.s. if its for streaming and the quality of the first few seconds isn't completely paramount, you can check the "hinted streaming" tab in your export window.

Fiat Lux said...
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