Friday, December 7, 2012

Mirrorless Video … Solid Oak Mark II … Open Mic Night at the Barley Mow Pub

On 13 November, Nick and Ben (Solid Oak) played a second open mic night (second for me taping that is) and I capture the even on three cameras. I brought the G5 with the gorgeous Olympus 45mm 1.8 attached, the GH2 with the Panasonic 14-41 X Vario PZ Power OIS lens attached, and the GF3 with the Panasonic 45-175 X Vario PZ Power OIS attached. The G5 was on a small tripod and the GH2 was sitting on the table (a bar table so not the steadiest in the world) tilted up with its lens sitting on the lens cap, and the GH3 was hand held for close ups.

The GH2 failed in the middle of the taping and I was freaking out since I wondered if I had received a lemon (bought it used for $535.) I looked it up on the Internet and found that I needed to ensure I used fast, high quality cards for video and that I rest all settings. After I did this, I have had no problems. Meanwhile, I still recorded most of the even as an alternate viewpoint. But I also got the exposure too low, so the video does not look as good as the G5 … slower lens means higher ISO and underexposure means extra processing, so the G5 video is definitely better, if a bit overexposed.

The GF3 video is mushy when compared with the other two, but because I only used it for close ups, I think I can get away with it. Still, I definitely want a G3 or GX1 to perform the third angle so that the video is closer to the higher quality. I can see now why people end up owning three GH2 bodies :-)

I recorded the audio on all the cameras and on the Tascam DR-05 portable audio recorder. Very nice unit and the audio came out pretty well after being heavily pounded in Sony Vegas Movie Studio 12.

So … the first video was Dylan Phillips playing some of his own songs, and then being joined by Nick for a blues jam cover of Muddy Waters. Very nice. This was my very first attempt at combining footage from more than one camera, and I tried three. I had no idea how to do compositing in Movie Studio, so I hacked it using split with transitions and such and it was painful to say the least. I also experimented a lot with modifying levels etc and the result looks burnt out to me somewhat. I will be much more careful in the future … finally, I played quite a bit with crop and pan and found it useful. But I will be more careful instead in the future to frame everything better.

Nick and Ben came up right after. Here, I adjusted the cameras a bit, but the framing was very similar. I did move a bit and I shot the entire set hand held with the GF3 at full zoom, so you see a lot more movement between tracks. You can also tell that I figured out how to do compositing correctly. Wow … what a difference. It took me only a couple of hours to do all the editing on this video, versus longer than that to handle the very few transitions on the earlier one.

So … improvements I plan on the next time out:

  • Spend more time learning how to shoot the G5 with compensation to get better exposures. Might not be possible, but I hope so.
  • Get the GH2 exposure to work.
  • Put primes on both the G5 and GH2 (I have acquired the two Sigma 2.8 lenses at 19 and 30 mm …)
  • Mount both cameras closer to the stage on tripods to switch between two interesting viewpoints.
  • Shoot the third camera from a distance with the 45-175 … move from side to side to get different perspectives to cut back and forth
  • Attach the DR-05 to the sound board to get clean vocals and guitar
  • Use a second DR-05 (recently acquired) for ambient sound to be mixed in lower …