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Brian Dougherty

Question for all you video creators

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It has been suggested that my kids or, even my grand-kids if that happens some day, would enjoy watching videos of me doing the things I do.

 

I'm not sure I believe it, but I do spend hours watching people I don't know do things that interest me on youtube. I suppose I would be watching videos of my dad or grandad in their shops if I had them to watch.

 

I have a handi-cam sort of camera now that I can set up on a tri-pod, but it is a pain to work around it, and getting in close is a problem. Do any of you use the gopro style cameras? Are there any advantages in a shop setting over the handi-cam style? Are there good options to a floor standing tri-pod?

 

Thanks :)

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I'm right there with you! I love watching people create things, especially when I don't have the space to do so myself.

 

I've used both my go pro and my dslr, both with their advantages and disadvantages. Really any old tripod will be serviceable if you have the right mounts to attach your camera(s) to it. Unfortunately working with the camera just has to become one of those things you include in your process. I find that either I take the time to establish what I'm doing so it works wit the camera, or the footage is ultimately less than desirable. In the next week or so I'll have a video up that I shot on my dslr, and it did very well with getting in close without getting in the way. Having an optical zoom lens (as opposed to digital, which is more or less useless unless you shoot at very high resolutions) will be the best thing I can recommend for that reason. Also, having a good lens will allow you to have that depth of field which handy cams don't necessarily have. That is why they usually look so much like a 'home video' over the more 'cinematic' sort. Go Pros are still a bit on the flat end of things, where more stuff than what you are trying to actively film will be in focus, but they are good because they are small and easy to put in places that regular cameras aren't as equipped to handle. And they are relatively cheap, so being in a shop environment is less stressful with 2000 degree metal and dust and sparks and who knows what flying around.

 

The only real recommendation for a tripod I have is one that you can independently lengthen/shorten the feet on as well as has a smooth tilt/rotation mechanism. I have an old Velbon tripod and it's great. The sturdier the better, in my opinion, but as I said before, anything will really get the job done as long as it doesn't self destruct. Sometimes having one of those small pocket tripods can be nice too, if you want to set the camera on a table or platen or something. That is also where the go pro is nice, as it can be clamped or wedged just about anywhere.

 

Hope some of that helps...

 

If you have any questions in particular I'd be happy to help!

 

 

John

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Hi John, thanks for taking the time to post that. I do find it very helpful.

 

I worked my way through school as a still photographer and darkroom tech, but I never did any video. It never even dawned on me to think about video composition in terms of depth of field :blink:

 

I bought a decent DSLR a couple of years ago, but didn't understand why anyone would use a DSLR to shoot video so I opted to spend that money on other options. Oops! :rolleyes:

 

From what you said, I need to start playing around with the handy cam and see if I end up in situations where a gopro style would be useful in terms of space/mounting. I have a few tripods still hanging around, but they are pretty light weight. I wish I still had my old Bogen.

 

What do you use for editing software? Is there a decent low cost / low learning curve option?

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I made the same mistake with the DSLR! In the beginning, I discounted it because I didn't really understand how to use it for shooting video. To some extent, I still don't, but I'm getting better. One of the biggest things for me was moving to manual focus only. Because of the internal noise from auto focus and the tendency for it to try and track things I didn't want it do, the footage was always mediocre at best. It does take a little more time to set up every shot with manual focus, but the results have been much better.

 

Another thing with the go pro that I've had to take some time in figuring out is correcting the fisheye distortion. I shoot in the narrowest stetting to help avoid that, but there is still a noticeable effect. High resolutions with cropping down also helps. Also with the go pro is the weird colour and white balance that happens in low light and with hot metal. Sometimes it turns the entire room overwhelmingly purple or red, which can be difficult to correct. Still though, it is a handy solution for spur of the moment shooting. If you pair it with a smartphone app, you can see where it's pointed and control it remotely, which is a great advantage.

 

For software, I use mostly Adobe Premier Pro CS6 because I have an old copy from when I was in school. It is really powerful but expensive and a bit cumbersome to learn. A light weight solution that I used a good many years ago was Sony Vegas, which is very intuitive and quick to learn. It's been almost 10 years since then, but I imagine there are newer and better versions around, and significantly less expensive than the Adobe option. If you have a mac, the native video editing software it has (not sure what it's called) will be good for getting quick and serviceable results. There are probably free programs out there too, but I don't know enough about them to make a solid recommendation.

 

Cheers!

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I have been using my GoPro Hero 4 for all the videos I have made. I use an old microphone stand (boom style) for the tripod so I can attach the cam to the end of the boom and keep the base out of the way. It usually works well. I use the free GoPro Studio software to edit and convert the files to usable video. It took a while to get used to the software, but I am getting the hang of it. There are dozens of camera mounts for the GoPro cameras so you can attach it to almost anything. The mount I use is adjustable in 2 dimensions and the boom stand provides the third and also the ability to swing the camera back and forth from one angle to another one. This was very useful in shooting the video for the Damascus billet making where I had to go from the press to the power hammer to the anvil quickly while working. I have never used the DSLR or handi-cam type of cameras so I cannot talk about advantages of one over the other. I haven't yet had any of the color or fisheye distortion that John has experienced, but I always record in narrow field. With the mic stand I can also adjust the the height of the camera from the work area quickly. This came in handy in the latest video of hand sanding a blade where I was able to zoom in and out just by lowering or raising the vertical adjustment on the boom.

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Thanks Joshua, The boom is a good idea. One of the problems I have is with the wide base on my tri-pod, and rather cramped working space, I get my feet tangled up with the legs of the tri-pod and mess up the framing.

 

Thank you too John. I'll look at the tools you mentioned.

 

Let me also say that I have done some very simple editing of videos for the kids' sports stuff. I am very thankful to all of you who take the time required to make videos of your stuff. I am truly indebted to those of you who take the time to create a high level of production. I know it is very very time consuming.

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I really enjoy watching guys do things with their hands, even if it's something I'll never try to do myself. I can't count how many vids I've watched on hit-n-miss engine rebuilding and the like!

 

I'll look forward to seeing your videos.

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