T351 Week 14 - Spring 2013
Advanced Techniques for field and post-production
- Aim to have a rough cut of your project by the end of this
week's lab. This will give you almost a week to fine tune. As of the start of lab this week, there will be no more camera checkouts. We'll watch Final Projects at the start of lab next week.
- Next week during lecture, we'll review for the
final exam and take care of the class evaluations. Come and you will defintiely get a better grade!
- Don't forget to turn in the Multimedia Exercise! It's a 10-point exercise due today (April 15). Be sure you've left a copy in the T351 MultimediaEx folder AND sent us a link to your on-line video). We'll be checking to see if you used the right codec and that your video is displaying with the proper aspect ratio.
- Ron Osgood (osgoodr) is looking for a student intern this summer that is responsible and might be interested in reading transcripts, making selections an doing some simple video edits. He needs someone that is interested in documentary and can work alone. Give him an email if you are interested.
- Exporting (review)
- Video monitoring & signal analysis
- Post-production tips
- 2k & 4k
Exporting for DVD and the web
If you are exporting movies for non-broadcast uses (E.g. for DVD or YouTube), always add at least a half second of black at the beginning before the program fades up from black. This gives a chance for the player to lock onto the audio. If your audio starts instantaneously, the first few milliseconds of audio will likely be cut off.
Fade to black at the end and add at least a few more seconds of black. This way your DVD won't immediately jump back to the menu. It gives just a moment to conclude the ending.
In your sequence/timeline, set an in-point at the beginning and an out-point a few seconds after the fade out at the end. Alternatively in Premiere you can set a work area.
From the "File" menu, choose "Export -> Media". Be sure to select the range, work area, or in to out points.
For the web:
- iPod works OK- usually it seems to automatically get the pixel aspect ratio. But to be safe, I use a custom size, putting it in square pixels.
- I usually use H.264 for at the "good" quality setting. If the file size is too large, I dial the data rate back or scale it down to 1280 x 720.
For Standard definition DVD:
Video Monitoring & Signal Analysis
With the move to digital production, there are fewer things that can go wrong in terms of monitoring. Analog video signals (E.g. over a composite video cable) were prone to interference and improper termination. However, digital signals are either there or noticeably not.
To some field monitors are a luxury. Purists and photo zealots might argue that all one needs is a light meter and their knowledge to know their exposure is correct. This might be true, but field monitoring sure is convenient and a guaranteed way to objectively make sure you are getting video that's technically sound.
When shooting and editing video we are primarily concerned with just a few things:
Color - SMPTE color bars (generated from a camera or an edit system) should look like this:
On a waveform monitor you would see this:
Note the IRE values of the various colors. Remember that the maximum legal, allowable value for broadcast video is 100 IRE. The blackest black for digital video is 0 IRE (analog, NTSC video is 7.5 IRE).
The vectorscope display should look like this:
Does your camera or edit monitor display the colors properly? This is always the first place to start before making corrections or changes based on visual observations.
For shooting, as long as you have white balanced properly or used the proper preset, color should not be an issue. Small color issues can easily be changed or corrected in post.
All professional cameras have zebra stripes. These provide an objective way to determine exposure/brightness levels.
Some cameras have built-in waveform monitors as well.
If you can't get perfect exposure it's always better to under expose a little rather than overexpose.
In Final Cut Pro you can use the "Levels" effect to adjust the gamma curve. You can turn on the "Show Excess Luma" which indicates areas over 100 IRE. The "Threshold" effect is an easy way to limit excess luma.
Framing - Even though the move to 16x9 HD broadcast happened back in 2009, many are still offering 4x3 SD content. Commercial work often needs to comply by using a 4x3 center cut safe zone. In the example below 4x3 guides have been overlaid into FCP's existing 16x9 safe action and safe text guides.
The image above shows a 4x3 mask placed underneath FCP's 16x9 safe action and safe text guides. Many video cameras have a variety of viewfinder guides you can toggle through.
Here's a link to a 15-second spot that had to fit inside the 4x3 safe action and safe text areas:
Dedicated Signal Monitoring
Professional editors used to have to spend $5,000-$10,000 for dedicated monitoring gear. Now it can be had for about $700 (+ the price of a PC) with Black Magic Design's Ultrascope. There are two versions: a PCI card version and a dongle which you can use with a laptop in the field. The display looks like this:
- RGB Parade
- waveform monitor
- audio levels & spectrum
- video monitor
- error logging
Error logging is a huge feature. It automatically looks for non-legal video and audio elements. You essentially: turn on the logging, start playing your footage, and go to lunch (let the entire program play and be logged). It records the errors and the time they happened.
Remember the CyberCollege Editing Guidelines!
Additional reminders, tips and things to consider:
- Always start and end in black
- Spend time with the graphics and visual design aspect of your videos. Come up with a "look" or visual treatment for your graphics. Consider the colors and textures you might use for time and place identifiers in a science fiction story. Or the treatment you might give a documentary on a haunted victorian mansion. The look and feel of your graphics should be consistent throughout the entire video.
- Red Giant Magic Bullet "Looks" is an inexpensive plugin for editing system that provides enhanced looks. It can be applied to a single shot or an entire scene.
- Spend time with the sound design aspect of your videos. Be sure your audio levels are consistent throughout your sequence(s).
- I usually suggest editing with audio in mind first. In other words listen carefully to how the inerviews, or other elements flow from one to the next. I also lay down music in my first pass, as I'll often cut to the beat and use it to set important moods.
- Edit B-roll to the natural phrases of dialog, or to the beat of the soundtrack
- Sounds can be used to "justify" video edits. [Pellucid, Gesi's piece, or Run Lola Run are good examples]
- Be sure to avoid jump cuts & flash frames
2K & 4K
HD is great but there's something even better: 2K and 4K. Check out the wikipedia entry on it.
Here's a pretty good visual comparison of the various formats: http://www.manice.net/index.php/glossary/34-resolution-2k-4k
2K provides only slightly more information than HD. 2048 pixels per line compared with 1920. But the format was embraced by the digital cinema industry. The Phantom Menace introduced the world to Digital Cinema. Digital Cinema is not about production- but the distribution of theatrical content.
Most have ignored 2K and focused on 4K, which essentially provides 4 times the information as HD.
Just as HD comes in varying pixel dimensions for broadcast and recording 4 comes in different sizes as well. Most variations of 4K have 4096 pixels per line.
Back Magic Designs unveiled a few new cameras at NAB which created some excitement.
- Digital Cinema
- Waveform monitor
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