What to buy next?

Terje wrote on 7/23/2008, 10:40 PM
OK, so this is a loaded question, but still, perhaps there are some good opinions. I have Vegas. I have the HDV camcorder with a wide-angle lens. I have the Blu-Ray burner. I have played with a Mac for a few weeks, with FCP just to see what the fuss was all about, and most of the time I felt like doing what an animal caught in a trap does so don't say a Mac and FCP. [Edit] Oh, I should be more precise. I love the Mac. I love a lot of the applications that come with it. I had serious problems stomaching FCP Express and FCP.

Anyway, so, assume the above, and I have some money burning holes in my pocket. What would you recommend next? Should I buy Movie Looks? Boris? I have Grafitti, but I never use it any more. New Blue? After Effects? For someone who is just doing this for fun, for family stuff, vacation stuff, hobby. What would be a good next purchase, and (don't forget) why would it be good? Currently I am leaning towards Movie Looks, but maybe I should get Cineform NEO for that kind of work first? Please opine.


Grazie wrote on 7/24/2008, 12:49 AM
One for the "WOW" . . and one for the "Amazing sound!" result . .and 2 to make your life easier and even more creative.

Interested? Read on . . .

But first, FIRST, my dear friend, a mild Grazie-type-Gripe . . .

You say you do this for the family - yeah? Weeeellll you want your family to enjoy, reflect, be moved, hear a loved one now passed away? - THEN you want tools that will give both respect to the individual AND the viewing audience. I don't buy the "I only do it for the family" nonsense. You do it 'cos you are passionate about your work; you do it so others can admire and be "moved" by WHAT you do! So enough with the "I only .. " stuff - yeah?

OK, lecture over

"Wow" = Magic Bullet Movie Looks - Why? It is fun, it is relevant, it will educate you into what you do, it will allow you to experiment EASILY in the ways of colour correction/grading/grads and all the juicy stuff that all us filmic types w!"£"$$k on about. You do some of this stuff to your "family" footage, they will look like film stars! 'cept for uncle Eric - well, there are limits!

"Amazing Sound" = Izotope RX - Why? Well, I know you capture perfect sound, all the time - yes? You don't? Don;t you have auntie Ruth's words smothered by air conditioner and a rumbling of background traffic? Use this and you will hear her perfectly! IzoRX? Pure VooDoo!!

Just get Excalibur and UltimateS - They compliment and provide ways in which you have never thought of doing stuff 'cos you thought it was going to be too difficult, too complex and take up to much creative time. And now they are extension-aware they STAY put and docked in your Vegas Work Space.

These are my faves at the moment. OOhh I do like spending other's monies!!


(ps: Is it "others" or "other's"? which of these is the possessive pronoun for the "other" - if you see what I mean?)

farss wrote on 7/24/2008, 12:53 AM
Why think about plugins / apps. You haven't mentioned what camera(s) you have so my comments might be out of line. I'd be looking at better audio kit, tripod, lights, that kind of thing.
Why it'd be good is, most of how your final video is going to look / sound is determined by how it was shot / recorded regardless of what application you use to edit it. The other reason is good kit is instant gratification and less hassle. If you're doing this for fun and with family then stuff that just works keeps it fun, if you've got the money for it of course.

Grazie wrote on 7/24/2008, 1:08 AM
. . and before you spend money on software, make sure you have a good tripod, good mics, lights that bring out the best in your family - y'know - kit! If you do it right on acquisition, you have better/more options in post. Have you got those? Yes? No?


blink3times wrote on 7/24/2008, 2:40 AM
Ultimate S is a must.

I enjoy what New Blue has to offer as well (It does tend to be a bit expensive though for what you get).

I would also think of a good audio editor. Vegas can do most of what you want but I find that there are times when an audio editor is really needed. I have Adobe Audition 3 (which is actually noted as a DAW) and I find that I use it with just about every project I do.

Black Magic Intensity might be something to look in on.

The contour shuttle beats up a mouse pretty good (although the logitech MX revolution mouse is about the best I have ever used)

A keyboard with all of the Vegas shortcut keys on it (I don't have one but that's only because I can't find a wireless one).

And a coffee machine, mini fridge right beside the work station so you don't have to get up. (Don't have those either. But that's only because the wife refuses to allow it. She believes if I install those particular items then I will never have reason to exit my office and therefore..... never be seen again)
TLF wrote on 7/24/2008, 2:54 AM
I'll second what Grazie says regarding Magic Bullet Looks. Fantastic plugin, that has earned it's purchase price already, after just one project.

And a good audio editor. I have Audacity (free) Goldwave (£25), Adobe Audition 2. I prefer Audacity for multitrack recordings, Goldwave is quite good at cleaning up old recordings, and Audition is great for cleaning up new soundtracks.
Daveco2 wrote on 7/24/2008, 6:40 AM
I like my Zoom H2 audio recorder. Light and fits in a pocket. Very handy for getting stuff to put in the background: conversations, interviews, narration, music, street noise for when you don't want to (or can't) pull out a camcorder or in very dim light like in a tent on a mountain.

That Izotope RX that Grazie mentions looks pretty sexy. Think I'll sign up for that one myself.

JohnnyRoy wrote on 7/24/2008, 7:09 AM
I would concentrate first on rounding out your gear. Do you have a good mic for acquiring audio? Do you have a good tripod for stable shots and smooth pans? Do you have a monopod or steady stick for recording the kids at sporting events? If you are recording your children in school plays, do you have an audio field recorder for taking the sound direct from the house mixer? (you would be surprised at the increased production value I get by recording school events direct from the sound system). If you do a lot of outdoor shooting do you have a good mattebox or hood to reduce sun glare and a polarizing filter to cut glare and improve colors?

Anything you can do to improve the quality of the footage coming into the edit bay is money well spent.

As for software, it really depends on what you want to do with your videos. Productivity tools like Ultimate S Pro and Excalibur will really speed up your editing. Photo montages of old family photos or vacation shots can be created in a matter of seconds. They both have lots of little tools that will increase your productivity.

My favorite plug-in right now is Boris RED. It is so versatile. The chroma key is excellent, motion tracking will save you hours of manual keyframing, it has particles, rain, snow, tons and tons of filters, 3D titles and motion, etc. Even things that can be accomplished in Vegas I will do in RED if it involves keyframes because Vegas cannot save a sequence of keyframes as a single preset and therefore cannot save motion. Boris allows you to save all of this with one preset. I recently edited a school production of Aladdin and I had the final opening title blow off the screen like it was sand. Very cool effect and easy to do with Boris.

iZotope RX is a must have for fixing audio problems. You can remove background noise, coughs, car horns, fix over modulated audio (clipping). It's just brilliant. I am constantly surprised by what this pug-in and fix. I don't care how careful you are... noise happens and when it does, RX can usually fix it. Also iZotope Ozone 3 is a great mastering plug-in to give that extra sheen to your audio.

If you've got shaky video from running after the kids, Mercalli will do a nice job of stabilizing it. If you've got grainy video from low light and small CCD chips then Neat Video can clean it up. I use Sound Forge for editing audio so if you don't have a good audio editor you might consider that.

rmack350 wrote on 7/24/2008, 9:10 AM
Hiking boots? A bicycle?


apit34356 wrote on 7/24/2008, 11:06 AM
I think Grazie, Farss, Blink & JohnnyRoy touched on about everything important. ;-)

AE is nice to have and use ;-) , but RED is a good plug-in for vegas or stand alone app with a lot of filters that you can add also. iZotope RX helps on the audio, thou I can't claim a lot of experience with this great app. Ultimate S Pro and Excalibur will really help most individuals, but I would consider writing some of your own scripts for your work flow needs also. If you don't have CS2 or CS3 for photos, add it to your "must have apps" and check out its 3rd party plug-ins. "Looks" wins about everyone over once used. This cheap little program called "Blufftitler" can be a lot of fun for testing titling ideals while flying ;-)

Hardware, a lot of good advice has been given already.

Have fun! ;-)

Edited to add Blink's name to list ;-)
Terje wrote on 7/24/2008, 11:26 AM
Got a decent tripod with fluid head. Don´t really have too much in the lights department.
Terje wrote on 7/24/2008, 11:33 AM
Great suggestios. Got the mic (Røde) and the tripod already. Looking at lights. Got the polarized earlier. Got Photoshop. Looking at wireless mic. Looking at Movie Looks.

All good suggestions. I´ll print this page, erase anything I am buying or have, the rest is my list to Santa for Christmas. Does Santa do birthdays as well? I´ll send it early just in case. Birthday is in October.
Editguy43 wrote on 7/24/2008, 3:07 PM
Some great comments here, I can't think of any other than I love my Shuttle PRO 2 and I also use Sony Acid for some music bed creations as well as SonicFire PRO. I also use Sound Forge for sound fixing. After reading here I went and go Audacity it is simple and fast, I will also be checking out the izotope software.

As always the advice is GREAT and plentiful on the forum. Hope my 1.23 cents were OK.

Paul E
rmack350 wrote on 7/24/2008, 3:44 PM
If you're treating this as a hobby then I'd stay away from lights. Sooner or later you end up with a ten ton truck and a teamster in the driver's seat.

In my mind I often compare this to woodworking as a hobby. You can definitely spend more outfitting a woodshop than you might outfitting an edit suite and at some point you have so much gear that you have to go pro to justify it.

I was kind of serious about the recreational gear. Make excuses to go places and see things. If it's a hobby then you want to keep it fun. Buy some cases so you can take your kit on a plane to someplace interesting.

Terje wrote on 7/26/2008, 12:06 AM
take your kit on a plane to someplace interesting.

Thank you. That was probably the best advice. Or something like it (yeah, yeah, I know never start a sentence with...). When you think about it, finding something to shoot is probably the best advice right? There is lots in the backyard, but after a while, some times less than 30 seconds, it might become boring. Perhaps the advice is to spend the money to gas up, buy a bus, train or plane ticket and find something to shoot. I love Bangkok. Wonder if the wife can get some time off...
apit34356 wrote on 7/26/2008, 1:33 AM
"I love Bangkok. Wonder if the wife can get some time off..." Sounds like a great plan and "short" in the making! A documentary of network security struggles of small businesses in Asia '-)
Dan Sherman wrote on 7/26/2008, 9:26 AM
izotope RX is a must for the toolbox.