Monday, December 8, 2014

Video seems so intensive in contrast to still photography

The Panasonic GH4 hasn't really made my life easier.  Yes, it's great equipment.

I've taken roughly 49 video clips since getting the GH4.

Hold the camera steady.  Follow the motion.  Oh, and remember to remove the lens cap and power on the camera.  Yes, that's it.

Once I got the clips onto the drive, I was confused about what to do next.  I started iMovie (I have Adobe Premiere Elements on the way) since that's my only video editor.  Suddenly, I need to deal with Events and Projects and Importing.  Am I confused?  Am I.

I managed to get a video onto YouTube and Vimeo.  That seemed a little problematic, but not horrible.  Horrible was the description for dealing with Instagram.  It saw my video, but refused to process it, possibly because it was too wide.  The solution?  Dropbox on Android was extra helpful in exporting to Instagram.  It somehow found the face in the video and kept the person in the video, regardless of the location.  That was quite amazing, and better than I could have thought to do at this point.  The iOS version of Dropbox didn't have such an option (or any export to Instagram) that I could find.

After getting the first, very raw video on all three networks that I use, I felt better.

The next day, I tried working with iMovie further, without any extra support.  I made mistakes, and learned.  Finally, I managed to learn enough to put a bit of the video into slow motion.  Then, I found that iMovie could immediately send the final product to Vimeo and YouTube without much more than e-mail addresses and passwords.

I still have something like 10 videos to process--out of 49 I took.  Some of the videos need pieces thrown away.  I should be able to learn.

Update 2014.12.13: Finally worked with the last nine of the videos, added some transitions, and wrapped them into one video of slightly under two minutes.  Am I proud?  Am I accomplished?  I don't know.  I'm satisfied to be able to finish something else, and do more.

I got my copy of Adobe Premiere Elements, along with Photoshop Elements, today.  I'm not sure it's easier or better but the multiple levels of assistance will probably be useful.  (I use Photoshop so little since working through Phase One Capture One that Photoshop is all but obsolete for my workflow.)

Apple doesn't seem to care about helping the user, except through some videos.  They'd started a tutorial system way back in Mac OS 8.x but they killed it fairly quickly on the way to Mac OS X.

Still, iMovie is more confusing than difficult to use.  Hopefully, Premiere Elements is also more confusing than difficult.

Update 2015.01.15: Premiere Elements is similar.  It's just giving me a load of new user problems, as is iMovie.  Why am I not going for a professional product?  It really doesn't matter at this point.  I still have to learn to work with taking the video, working with equipment, and processing the clips, understanding the software.  If there is magical software to help do what I want without requiring learning something, I need that kind of software.  I don't believe it exists.

Also, I'm looking at which lenses might help me.  It matters about whether I'm going to take video clips or make films.

What does that mean?  Serious equipment will require more than just a monetary investment.  It will require a mental investment, planning any move.

I'm more of a run-and-gun type of photographer.  I'm ready at any moment.  I don't tell people what to do--I ask what they want to do or use what they are doing.  Sports photography is like that, though working around skate parks requires even more flexibility.

I've been thinking about cine lenses.  I can use those in a way that isn't completely different from the way I work now, but these are adapted or otherwise, manually-operated lenses.  There is a recent crowdsourced group Veydra that will be able to provide supposedly high quality cine lenses at low prices, in contrast to Zeiss--US$900 vs US$5000 for each lens.

What's different is actually setting the various parameters of exposure, which may not change a lot from minute to minute, and focus.  This should not be a problem because, as I've found photographing sports, auto focus isn't always all that reliable, unless maybe you're using a camera body over US$5000.

However, I'd found that the Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm f/2.8 lens was fairly good for run-and-gun situations.  Perhaps the GH4 with Panasonic's 12-35mm f/2.8 lens would be equally good.  The really great solution would be for Panasonic to work with Olympus and vice versa, to add the higher end Olympus lens profiles to the GH4 for Depth from Defocus application.  It doesn't feel as though the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens from Panasonic is all that great with the GH4 but it wasn't all that great with the GH3 either.

I'm still considering all of the options, but quick auto focus is certainly effortless, mindless--if it works.

Update 2015.03.26:  In January, I bought the Panasonic/Lumix/Leica 15mm f/1.7.  It's been very good for video, staying focused.

The other day, I tried my Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens.  The OIS was enabled and it was worse than the two lenses I use that don't have any image stabilization.  What's worse, they recently updated the firmware to improve the OIS during video, and I'd applied that fix.  It was absolutely jumpy.  I suspect it would have been much better with the OIS disabled, as I'm usually only slightly shaky.

Building a workflow has been interesting.  I organize the clips into folders.  Delete the bad clips.  Combine the good clips.  Add transitions and titles.  Shorten clips to remove unwanted material, and quicken the unwanted material in the middle.  (I might be able to split the clip, and delete the bad section, but right now, this makes the process less complicated, and the speed up might be entertaining.)

Since I'm using iMovie at the moment, there are a lot of simple ways to add effects, as long as I can figure out how to select the correct segment.  I'm taking baby steps to avoid making an unsophisticated mess of my finished videos.

Update 2015.11.20: I have over 120 videos on YouTube and only a few on Vimeo.  Vimeo wanted me to pay to upload more and I would not.

I'm using the Panasonic GH4 and GX8 for video, but I have used video from the E-M1 and it's not as bad as people say that it is.  It's just not as good as it should be.  The Pentax K-50 is also not bad.  The fixed display isn't helpful though and the fixed display on the Nikon D7200 has kept me from using it for video, especially when I already have some powerful equipment.

 I'm still using iMovie for video production.  Yes, it is the free one.  I recently bought a Windows 10 machine and paid for Sony Movie Studio Suite.  This is a cut-rate version big package and it is confusing.  To start a new project, it has various categories of the type of video--you're importing or producing--I can't tell.  Nothing in the DV or HDV category seems to be 1920x1080p 60fps, which is what I use.  They have AVCHD which is something the cameras support but I don't use.  The package supports 3840x2160 but not 4096x2160.  Shouldn't the application read the files you're importing to determine the project and ask you what you want to output?

In any case, iMovie has been amazingly quick and easy to get reasonable skate park videos out of it.  I put together a final project, a best of video, that started with 42 minutes' worth of clips that ended up at 14:55, with music and effects.  Even with iMovie, it was a task but at least, it's not difficult to remember how to split a clip, change effects, or even import from multiple folders.  It took a while.

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