Questions from a total beginner

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by hojkoff, May 22, 2006.

  1. hojkoff

    hojkoff TPF Noob!

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    Right as I say, I'm totally new to pretty much ever aspect of photography so forgive me if I ask anything stupid. On that note, you might have to break everything down for me! I'm interested in both still and video.

    My first question is about lenses. I've been given a Sony DCR TRV285E. When I take video on it and watch it back it looks, well, amateur. How do I get my films to look professional? I've heard it’s to do with the type of lens that's used. But I haven’t got the 1st clue about lenses and I've no idea where to start, can some one help me with the basics?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll take a stab at answering this, however, I have no experience with video. You are also asking this in a forum whose focus is on still photography and not video. That said, I think the basics for video would be similar to that of still photography. Also achieving more professional results has more to do with the person operating the camera, than the camera itself. I think a top photographer could take "more professional" pics with a $20 Holga than an a novice (like me) could with a $2k camera.

    Beyond that, I would think many of the same rules apply for video. Use a tripod anytime possible to eliminate that annoying jerking around that you see on home movies. Try and keep the subject in frame the entire time (with a tight crop) instead of looking down with the camera to see where you're going if you are moving. The rules of good composition and proper exposure would apply just as much to video as still photography I would think. And as with still photography, practice with it. You won't get better unless you invest the time to practice, review, critique your own work.

    That's about all I can offer.
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    What John says here is good advice. Try and find some info on basics of lighting and composition - these apply to both disciplines. Most home videos suffer due to the hand movement of the operator and inappropriate lighting. Work on lighting correctly, stabilising the camera and composing a shot/scene and you'll be most of the way there.

    Rob
     
  4. Sir Duke

    Sir Duke TPF Noob!

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    I think that the main problem you are going to have is that you are expecting your video to look like film. Video will never look as great as film does, and it almost always has an amature look unless you really tweak your lighting and surroundings. That, or get a copy of Final Cut Pro. That has a feature that can make your video look more like film.

    Edit: Oh, yeah. Watch 28 Days Later. That was shot in DV, and I think it looks great, but a lot of people disagree. A tripod is great. Use a dolly if you can. A skateboard or an office chair can be used. I have done this with a friend pulling me, and thought it worked great. Of course sound is a problem there, but you can work around that. But don't completely shy away from handheld. It can look great, and provide the right feel it done right. Keep your movement natural, even when doing a "still shot".
     
  5. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    I remember many, many years ago [about 45] working for a company that had Kodak as a client. We had to shoot professional shots on a box brownie. Results, though not the sharpest were very professional. The equipment comes a long way second to the skill of the operator. trust this is of some help. Philip.
     
  6. hojkoff

    hojkoff TPF Noob!

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    I thought that the reasons that a film looks so great are because of the type of lenses that's used. Is this wrong? It's not "film" I'm going for, well I am, but I know that that's like trying to buy a Ferrari with £10. I'm sort of more aiming at a Top Gear angle.

    I'm a COMPLETE petrol head. So I'm trying to shot car movies. I've watched pretty much every episode of Top Gear and I've fallen in love with some of the photography. I want to do that!!!!! I've noticed that in some shots, the sky isn't really sky coloured. Which is why I'm thinking lens.

    Everyone has really mentioned lighting. What do I do and where to I start there? As I say, I know nothing.

    Thanks so much for everyone’s help!
     
  7. Ringo

    Ringo TPF Noob!

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    Love that show. They use filters heavily- most likely digital filters rather than glass ones, based on all their bizarre effects/editing. You can get your video to look very decent with a few filters. There was an independant film a while back shot on a $350 DV camera. They added $1000 worth of filters and the result looked amazing.

    Your lens will have an effect on quality, but if you're going for that film "feel," I suggest investing in some filters. Or buy a nice editing program (Mac: Final Cut Pro, PC: Adobe Premiere Pro) and use the built in filters.


    Chris
     
  8. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Keep in mind that my "film" experience is limited.


    1) to get close the the film/movie look, you need 24 frames per second. Progressive scan... not interlaced
    2) never zoom in/out during the take. Forget it exists.
    3) set the camera on a tripod and a good one. You need a good fluid head too. the tripod should cost 500 bucks minimum... new ;)
    4) you need a lightmeter and a camera with manual controls
    5) you need to know how to light your movie. I'd suggest picking up a cheapest photo camera with a hot shoe and experimenting with flashes. This will get you an idea as to how to get the picture that's in your head onto the tape.
    6) you'll need lights when you start shooting the movie. Lots of them. Home depot lights would be your best bet... but that's too far away to think about.

    Start with still photography. It's easier to make a photo than a video... and cheaper too.

    Read this:
    http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/
    http://www.photo-seminars.com/Portraiture/syllabus.html
    http://super.nova.org/DPR/

    Get a still camera and try the exercises from the above links.
     
  9. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Your video camera allows you to make "still shot mode"

    so play around with that. Try and get a photo of the scene first... just the way you want it... only then make a video.
     

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