Newest GH3 Church video

Laurence wrote on 3/11/2013, 4:24 PM
I just did this video to promote our Church's Celebrate Recovery (Christian 12 steps program) to the general congregation in this past Sunday's services:

Panasonic GH3 with Olympus 45mm f1.8 prime lens. Two Z96 LED lights. Audio was recorded in camera with a Rode VideoMic Pro on a short stand just below frame. Camera was in Aperture Priority video mode with an f-stop of f1.8. Focus was set by the camera with the facial recognition feature.

I am just loving this camera!


farss wrote on 3/11/2013, 5:29 PM
The images are great, I'm impressed but where is all the hiss, crackle and pop coming from?
Beth sounds like she was played back from a 78. I probably wouldn't have noticed much less mentioned it if the images weren't so good.


vtxrocketeer wrote on 3/11/2013, 8:44 PM
Beautiful job with the video. Gorgeous images. And the content is terrific.

The audio was pretty noisy, as Bob noted. Some clips have a very noticeable hiss. Others didn't. Something amiss in your audio chain? I would have initially guessed sanctuary ventilation, but after hearing it more I think it sounds more like a really high noise floor from electronics.
Former user wrote on 3/11/2013, 9:01 PM
What lights did you use?

Looks great.

Dave T2
musicvid10 wrote on 3/11/2013, 9:56 PM
Great use of shallow DOF.
Also liked that you changed angles on different subjects. I liked the latter ones the best.
Good job on audio too. I'm too old to hear the high pitched stuff.

NickHope wrote on 3/11/2013, 11:39 PM
Almost looks like green screen to me because of the lighting and shallow DOF.
ddm wrote on 3/11/2013, 11:41 PM
Wow. Great looking stuff. Thanks for sharing that.
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 12:14 AM
OK, the audio is a lot better now. I shot this on Thursday, it had to be ready on Sunday, and I was booked all day Saturday, so I rushed through it on Friday. There was about two hours of interviews to go through so it took a while to compile the content.

Anyway, the audio was way over compressed, so the problems that were in the recording (which seems to be a combination of air conditioning and preamp noise) were highly exaggerated. I backed way off the compression, optimized the gain structure, then used the excellent Waves NS-1 to get rid of the remaining noise.

Let me know what you guys think of the audio now, and once again, thanks for the spot on constructive criticism.
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 12:19 AM
>What lights did you use?

I used two Z96 LED lights with both the diffusion and color correction filters attached:
Byron K wrote on 3/12/2013, 2:22 AM
Very nice shots! "Bob" was a little over exposed but all the other subjects were lit nicely imho.

I'm waiting for my tax return to pickup one of these cameras. This camera is selling like hotcakes! Every time I see it on Amazon going for a dollar under full retail, they're gone within a week. B&H never has them in stock either.

Look fwd to future videos.
farss wrote on 3/12/2013, 3:51 AM
"Let me know what you guys think of the audio now."

Way, way, way better. You could play that in a cinema no problem I'd think.

Paul Fierlinger wrote on 3/12/2013, 5:20 AM
In two places I saw the image start a FO and then cut back to full exposure. The first time it happened was on the second woman, just before the credits fade in. The fade in also makes the subjects go darker for a few frames. Is this on the original, or just on my video, or is it intentional? I watched the clip on two separate computers and these dim-outs occur the same way in the same places so I doubt it is something that happens on my end.
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 7:56 AM
I think your talking about the spots where I edited the dialog. Rather than do a straight jump cut, I did transitions where it fades to black briefly. It is supposed to look like an obvious edit but be a little less abrasive than a straight jump cut. I did this for the same reason people do all jump cuts: to sort of fast forward through the meandering. I thought this approach was less annoying than straight jump cuts. Am I wrong?
farss wrote on 3/12/2013, 8:13 AM
"Am I wrong?"

I think they're just a tad too short personally.
To me they seemed more like an oops than an overt fade to black. I didn't mention it previously because it might have been my office PC not coping too well.

Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 8:27 AM
When I first saw a jump cut like you see on blogs all over the place these days, I absolutely hated them. Then after a while, because they were everywhere, I started to much prefer them over leaving the rambling in an interview. I still can't bring myself to use them though, so my solution has been to use these little fade cuts. They are very fast and they never quite make it to black. If I had b-roll, I would have put it over the cuts, but often you don't with this kind of material. Can anyone suggest a better way to fast forward through a meandering meandering interview reply?
Former user wrote on 3/12/2013, 10:00 AM

As you know, this is something I have fought as well. I think the average viewer does not even notice this. They are listening to content and not paying attention to the tech things. I know at my church most of the time videos that should be shown as 16 x 9 are 4 x 3. They did this to one of my videos once and I mentioned it to the powers that be and they said they didn't notice it and nobody else did.

I think fades or jump cuts work depending upon how much movement there is between. Fades to white tend to draw attention to the transition and quick dissolves are deadly.

Dave T2
musicvid10 wrote on 3/12/2013, 10:19 AM
When I first started editing video, I hated hard cuts and did exactly what you have done with everything. I've since gained a "sense" of when to use soft cuts or hard cuts, usually some of each in an average project.

To me, a hard cut signifies a scene / location change, or a change in action; and,
a soft cut (ftb/ffb or crossfade) evokes a change or passage in time.
That's just me, of course, I've never seen a rulebook for doing testimonials.

And your treatment here works, given that I never noticed it.
farss wrote on 3/12/2013, 4:07 PM
"Can anyone suggest a better way to fast forward through a meandering meandering interview reply? "

First thing, why do we revolt at the cut in the first place?

There has to be a reason for the cut.

If you cut with a static camera and only the subject has moved the eye / brain is trying to figure out just what happened. Replace the cut with a dissolve and it might even look like the subject just morphed, even wierder to the eye.

Don't let subjects ramble on and on and on. Call "cut" and repo the camera, then when you cut you have a justification, you're showing the subject from a different angle or even revealing different detail of the subject by going from a MCU to ECU.
If you don't want to break the talent's stream of consiousness, ask them to repeat themselves after you've repo'ed the camera.
Things that can help speed this up: A simple wheeled dolly or a slider. With a slider you can push / pull the shot rather than zoom, a push / pull avoids the perspective shift of changing focal length of the lens.
Make certain though exposure is locked down, with AE nasty things can happen.
All of this does require some wrangling of the talent.

The other trick to justify the cut is the cutaway. Here a cutaway to what the talent is talking about would have helped tell the story. Our brains need visual cues to get the narrative. I heard people talk about meetings or some such, show them in the meeting, they might have talked about aspects of their life that were helped, show that. All of this not only makes the story easier to follow for the viewer it helps it stick in their mind.

Arthur.S wrote on 3/12/2013, 5:11 PM
Agree with Bob, that they're too short and look like glitches rather than deliberate editing. The current flavour for this seems to be a dissolve with a short high intensity white glow. But, back to the camera....WOW!! Fantastic picture quality! What's it like in low light Laurence?
riredale wrote on 3/12/2013, 5:33 PM
Second the motion of a quick white flash. I liked it better than just a cut or a dissolve.

Also, I like the Z96 light, have one of them myself. Good mount, compact body and still a fair amount of light. Magnets are a nice touch too.
Former user wrote on 3/12/2013, 6:57 PM

In my case and probably Laurence's, I am dealing with people who are not professional and are normally extremely nervous about getting in front of the camera. They will never say the same thing the same way twice and normally they say a good thing in the middle of bad things. Also, I have to cut for time so I have to take 15 minutes of interview and make it 30 seconds with the bits from thru out.

so yes, your suggestions are great, and I tried in mine, but in the real world it doesn't happen. You want people in this situation to seem genuine, and with too much prompting and manipulating, you lose that. so I choose quick fades to black or a jump cut because the content is the most important. I have not had anyone suggest that they lost the message because someones head moved. Now if this was for a commercial product or broadcast, I would definitely avoid these things. You have to know your audience.

Dave T2
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 7:15 PM
>In my case and probably Laurence's, I am dealing with people who are not professional and are normally extremely nervous about getting in front of the camera. They will never say the same thing the same way twice and normally they say a good thing in the middle of bad things. Also, I have to cut for time so I have to take 15 minutes of interview and make it 30 seconds with the bits from thru out.

That is exactly how it is for me. Not only that, but every time you get them to repeat something, it sounds less and less spontaneous. My local commercials run into the same thing, but at least there I have lots of b-roll to mask the edits.

A little more on this type of editing and jump cuts in general. The young people coming up today are used to them with all the VLOGs they watch. When I first saw jump cut editing, I absolutely hated it, but it has grown on me to the point that I would rather see an akward cut than an "um" or "er" or redundant sentence. With a church audience, they see my work over and over again and I feel like if I start to make use of things like jump cuts, while it may seem akward at first, a given audience will get used to this really quickly. I believe this was my seventh church video this year.

An aside on this, they are hiring me to do all these videos because there are measurable results from using videos like these. They will have a New Members class, a Discipleship class, or whatever, and there will be just a handful of people signed up. They'll show a video with some testimonials and personal stories of how the class helped former members, then suddenly, twenty people will sign up and they will be moving the class to a bigger room. This has happened enough that they are now using me as much as they can.

I really like doing Church videos and charge them a much lower rate. I like being able to hone in my interviewing skills on deeper subjects. I like having a chance to experiment with things like "how well can I light an interview with a couple of inexpensive battery powered LEDs?" I like everything about it really.
larry-peter wrote on 3/12/2013, 7:21 PM
Laurence, nice stuff. I especially liked Dawn (I believe it was) because of the contrast with the ambient light down a bit. It seemed to me that all the shots with talent framed left had a better color temp match between your lighting and the ambient lighting. It could just be the difference in skin tones, but in the shots with talent framed right the LED light seemed cooler than ambient. Just nits - all were very nice looking

As far as interview transitions, the thing I dislike most is when an arbitrary "standard" transition is used throughout a piece. That's what makes me most aware of the edit. In the doc I just finished I used hard cuts, 3 frame dissolves and white pops depending on the scene. I don't think the viewer minds that an edit took place in an interview, but I think it becomes an annoyance when each one is billboarded. I thought you did a good job of using what worked, although fades are always my least favorite.
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 7:26 PM
>I am dealing with people who are not professional and are normally extremely nervous about getting in front of the camera...

I am really starting to figure this one out. What I have realized recently is that when you have someone who is really nervous, the trick to getting a good interview is to get them away from the fact that they are on camera and draw them into the subject that they are so passionate about. You can't give an idea of what you are going to ask them about beforehand, but they can't know the exact questions. If you give them prepared questions you will get prepared answers with all the life sucked out of them. Once you get people who are nervous in front of a camera drawn into their subject, their nervousness and there awkward mannerisms will just kind of evaporate and you'll get an amazingly natural interview. There are going to be "ums", "ers" and akward repetitions all over the place. If I hear a good thought, I will keep coming back to it from all sorts of different angles in order to get something I can use. Doing this has given me a real appreciation for reporters who do this well. My favorite is probably Terry Gross from NPR, and next up would be Diane Rehm who's voice used to drive me nuts, but I now love.
Laurence wrote on 3/12/2013, 7:28 PM
With a nervous subject, a small camera like the GH3 and tiny lights like the Z96s also are great because they really don't make a big deal out of it being a shoot. The fact you can get this high quality out of a "one trip from the car" setup just blows me away!