Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DSLR Filmmaking Kit in India

Embrace Video's DSLR Rig (Mattebox separately available)

For the last 2 years I ve been searching for DSLR filmmaking kit in India. Alibaba dotcom also known as Cinecity in Chandigarh was the only online store where DSLR filmmaking kit in India perhaps existed. But they don’t ship in India. I ve requested them several times for a DSLR rig, Camera Slider, Pocket Crane (or Arm jib), but they just don’t ve the right to sell in India. Bad luck for me and equally for those like me in India who are dreaming to buy a DSLR filmmaking kit in India.

Nakul's Design: Camera Slider
Eventually I was ready to buy from US or Singapore and ready to bear the mountainous price. But it was last week, when I was trying the keyword “DSLR Filmmaking in India” on Google search engine as a part of the SEO programme of this blog, and then I saw an Indian site called EMBRACE VIDEO owned and managed by Nakul Sood. Voila..!!! I saw all the DSLR filmmaking accessories in his website and the price was remarkably lesser than the international prices (almost ONE THIRD). So I immediately called him up and fixed a meeting on last Sunday (19th Feb 2012). His factory cum office was located @ F-43 Noida Sector8, INDIA .

God must be Crazy!!! I was shunned, shocked, taken-aback, stupefied or aghast to see those DSLR filmmaking kit in Nakul’s factory. He has:-

Embrace Video's Steadicam CASPER

I tried all his equipment at his place. It was the nicest experience I had ever had. Thanks Nakul Sood..Thanks EmbraceVideo.com and Thanks GOOGLE.

DSLR filmmaking kit in India-Jai HO

Thursday, February 16, 2012

EDITING RULES : DSLR Filmmakers' Report

Film/Video editing is an Art as well as a Science. We need to master both the Art and the Science with rigorous practice and Observation. Editing is all about making multiple decisions at one time: decision about what shot to use and what not to, how long it should be, how should it appear, what should be the color, brightness, contrast, How is the audio and a lot of other relative decisions. Some important decisions are mentioned below:-

1. When cutting from shot to shot, have at least a 30% change in shot size. Wide to Medium is good. CU to wide works. Medium to another Medium of same angle looks weird.

2. Try to cut on a motion to hide the edit. A raised hand, a head turn, a slammed door.

3. If you think a cut is too long…you’re right. It’s too long.

4. If a scene plays great in one shot…leave it alone. You don’t have to cut to CU, reverse, wide, medium. Let the story tell itself.

5. Overlap any action by 4 or 5 frames. Someone turns their head in a medium shot, on the next shot start the head turn 4 or 5 frames earlier (then the previous shot) and for some ridiculous reason it looks and feels right.

6. Don’t go bonkers over every cut. Often performance trumps continuity. Now if the lead actor’s shirt is a different color in two consecutive shots…you’re on your own!

7. With DSLRs you can scale a shot up to 40% and still have adequate sharpness if you need to reframe or make a medium shot a close up. Sneaky but it works all the time.

8. As much as an editor feels he is saving the film, he’s probably not.
There were a couple other people involved before he started editing.

9. Anyone who says “We’ll fix it in post!” needs to be made aware that they need to get it right during shooting.

Last by no means the least learn how to put "Filters in order". To learn how to put filters in order visit my previous post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DSLR Filmmaking: Color Correction

Color correction is just one step of the entire filmmaking process…but oh, what a difference it can make. You can take average footage and really make it pop, sing and enhance the viewing experience of your project. If you have excellent footage, then the sky is the limit. You can also make images look garish, ugly and destroy all the hard work the crew did to capture those images on the day of the shoot. The challenges and choices are many and it comes with great responsibility if you are the one applying the Color Correction and Color Grade. What is Color Correction & Is there any difference between Color Grading and Color Correction?

3 Way Color Corrector Filter in FCP
COLOR CORRECTION is the process where every clip is manually tweaked to get a good exposure and balance of light. Each clip is adjusted to match color temperature to a predefined choice for each scene. This tedious and mechanical process is essential and in its own way, an art form. The use of SCOPES (Waveform, Vectroscope, Parade) is critical to this step and luckily most NLE’s and Grading software have them built-in. Without them you are literally flying blind and solely trusting your eyes, which have to adjust to room light ambience, fatigue, funky monitors and other factors constantly. Trust the SCOPES and let them guide you into accurate and creative decision making.

COLOR GRADING is the creative process where decisions are made to further enhance or establish a new visual tone to the project through software including: introducing new color themes, re-lighting within a frame, films stock emulations, color gradients and a slew of other choices. Being that this is purely creative, there is no wrong or right…only what the DP, director and colorist feel is appropriate for the story. It can be subtle and invisible or over-the-top and uber-stylized. Therein lies the challenge…The challenge of choices. The tools available are so numerous, powerful and often free (Davinci Resolve Lite!) that you have no excuse not to explore these options further before you embark on the Grading journey.

3 Way Color Corrector in Adobe Premiere

To maintain image quality and to preserve as much info as possible, it’s important to do things in the proper order.  Just as you wouldn’t ice a cake before you bake it, when you apply an effect is critical. Doing Color Correction on your footage in this order will help you maintain extremely high quality in the interaction of all the effects you use.  Not all steps are needed for every shot but in case you have to use them all, here they are:
1. Remove artifacts and de-noise.
2. Balance your shots by adjusting BLACKS/MIDS/WHITES, SATURATION and WHITE BALANCE.
3. Relight within a shot using power windows or masks.
4. Add gradients, diffusion and other lens filters.
5. Add vignettes
6. Grade your images
7. Simulate a film stock of your choice
8. Resize and sharpen

3 Way Color Corrector in Final Cut Pro

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to make zero-budget films: DIGITAL MOVIE-MAKING !

So You Want to Be a Filmmaker
Film is a powerful medium. With the right script under your arm and a staff of eager team players, you’re about to begin an exciting ride. The single most important thing that goes into making a successful film is the passion to tell a story. And the best way to tell your stories is with pictures.
Filmmaking is visual storytelling in the form of shots that make up scenes and scenes that eventually make up a complete film. As a filmmaker, you have the power to affect people’s emotions, make them see things differently, help them discover new ideas, or just create an escape for them. In a darkened theater, you have an audience’s undivided attention. They’re yours — entertain them, move them, make them laugh, make them cry. You can’t find a more powerful medium to express yourself.

Filmmaking: Traditional or Digital?

Today, you can shoot your movie in several different formats. You can choose analog video or digital video, high definition (HD) digital files, or a traditional film camera using super-8 or 16mm film, or — the choice of studio productions — 35mm motion-picture film stock. The medium on which you set your story — whether it be actual film celluloid on which the images are developed, videotape, or digital (standard or high definition) with a film-style look — engender specific feelings and reactions from your audience. A movie shot on film stock tends to have a nostalgic feeling, like you’re watching something that has already happened. Something shot on video elicits the feeling that it’s happening right now — unfolding before your eyes, like the evening news. You can use this knowledge to enhance the emotional response your audience has to your film. Steven Spielberg, for example, made Schindler’s List in black and white to help convey both the film as a past event and the dreariness of the era.

Going digital: Standard or high-def

In this age of digital technology, almost anyone with a computer and video camera can make a film. You can purchase or rent a 24-frame progressive digital camcorder (like the Panasonic AG-DVX-100B) that emulates the look of motion picture film, without incurring the cost of expensive film stock and an expensive motion-picture camera. For a little more money, you can shoot your movie using an HD (high definition) digital camera (like the Panasonic AG-HVX200, or Sony’s PMW-EX1) that uses memory cards to store your footage. If you can’t afford one of these digital cameras, you can purchase computer software called Magic Bullet Frames (www.redgiantsoftware.com) that takes a harsh video image shot with an inexpensive home camcorder and transforms it to look more like it was shot with a motion-picture film camera. Many new computers come preloaded with free editing software.

High definition (HD) is the new-age technology that takes the camera image one step farther. The picture is much sharper, richer, and closer to what the human eye sees as opposed to what a standard definition (SD) video camera shows you. Watching HD is like looking through a window — the picture seems to breathe. The new HD digital cinema cameras combine HD technology with the 24-frame progressive technology to emulate a unique film-like picture quality in an electronic file format, without the use of physical film. When talking about inexpensive HD full resolution camera, DSLR cameras are the favorites among many Indie-filmmakers and Industry people. DSLR cameras can give you not only stunning film-look-alike visuals but the flexibility to try plethora of photographic and film lenses already available in the Market. And the Cost: NOTHING LIKE IT. Which DSLR camera to Buy, Plz read my earlier postTop DSLR Filmmaking Cameras !

 Keep Reading! Keep Knowing: SCENEMASCOPE

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top DSLR Filmmaking Cameras !

Ready to join the video revolution and shoot Hi-Resolution Videos with a DSLR? Here’s a look at key cameras in this fast-growing and rapidly-evolving category.

Point-and-shoots with HD video recording have been around, with Kodak kickstarting this trend back in late 2007. The history of DSLRs with high-def movie capture, however, is a slightly shorter one, with the Nikon D90 taking the lead in 2008. Its thunder was soon stolen by the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which boasts a 35mm full-frame sensor and 1080p-quality video recording.

HD Video is the buzzword of the day. Nearly every DSLR introduced over the past two years has it, but the image quality, resolution, compression scheme and other factors vary greatly from brand to brand, and even from camera to camera within a brand. Let’s take a look at top models as well as up-and-coming new HD-enabled cameras and see which ones make sense for you.
HD is usually used to indicate 720p where the frame resolution measures 1,280 x 720 pixels.
Full-HD refers to 1080p and the frame resolution is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
The fact that DSLRs employ much larger image sensors than compacts gives the former a huge advantage when it comes to video capture. Videographers are able to achieve more cinematic effects with shallow depth-of-field. The multitude of lenses available for each system also means that filmmakers have more flexibility when it comes to framing shots. Film studios have since explored using DSLRs for recording shows. 

Why go with a DSLR rather than a smaller camera? First, you get access to the vast array of lenses available for each brand's system and if you already own a stills-only DSLR, upgrading to a video-capable model makes sense. Most MILCs are not compatible with DSLR lenses without an adapter.

Popular DSLR Cameras for HD Filmmaking:
1.Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Around 1.20 lac

The Skinny: If the Nikon D90 was the pioneer of HD Video, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the refinement that brought DSLR Video recognition as a serious tool for pro video production work. The first DSLR to offer full 1080p resolution, the 5DMII has been embraced by more videographers than any other DSLR. And with a 21.1MP CMOS full-frame sensor, it’s not too shabby when it comes to incredibly high-resolution still photography.

Still Skills: 21.1MP CMOS full-frame sensor, 9 user selectable AF points, plus 6 vertical and horizontal AF assist points, 3-inch LCD monitor with 920k pixel resolution, 3.9fps burst rate, Live View, Face Detection AF, 35-zone TTL metering, ISO range 200-1600, expandable to 6400, shutter speed up to 1/8000 sec, X-sync 1/200 sec.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels
Frames per Second: 30fps
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: Quicktime MOV
Video container: H.264
External Mic Input: Stereo external mic
2.Canon EOS 7D
Around Rs 80,000/

The Skinny: A camera designed to appeal to both professionals and serious amateurs, the 7D is a full-featured DSLR for under two grand. Full HD at 30 frames per second combined with a rugged body and super-fast frame rate make this a great sports and photojournalism camera for both still and video newsgathering.

Still Skills: 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor, ISO range 100-3200, extendable to 12,800, top shutter speed 1/8000 sec, x-sync at 1/250 sec, 63-zone TTL metering, 19-point all cross-type AF, 8fps burst rate, durable shutter, 100% viewfinder coverage, magnesium weather-resistant body.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080, 1280x720 pixels
Frames per Second: 30 (29.97), 24 (23.976) or 25p at 1080p, 60 (59.94), 50 fps at 720p
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: MOV
Video container: H.264
External Mic Input: Stereo mini jack
3.Canon 60D
Price: Around Rs. 50,000/

The Skinny: The big news here is manual focus control during video recording and full 1080p HD video in a camera, with a very high resolution articulating LCD making life easier for videographers. It’s a solid contender for the hearts and minds of photo enthusiasts looking to add motion.

Still Skills: 18MP APS CMOS sensor, ISO range 100-6400, expandable to 12,800, 5.3fps, 1.040k dot monitor, 62-zone metering, 9-point AF system, SD card, top shutter speed 1/8000 sec, X-sync 1/250 sec,

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels, 1280x720 pixels
Frames per Second: 30, 25 and 24 fps at 1080p, 50 and 60fps in 720p
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: MOV
Video container? H.264
External Mic Input Yes, stereo

4.Canon T3i/600D
Price around Rs. 33,500/

The Skinny: Its predecessor, the T2i (an aoutstanding camera that is still available) was called a "transformative" camera for its abilities to produce outstanding stills and true 1080p videos; the T3i adds a flip-out LCD monitor, native wireless control of off-camera flash, different aspect ratios, an in-camera guide that walks beginners through different settings, and an image-driven database. 

Still Skills: 
18MP CMOS APS sensor, 3.7fps burst rate, 63-zone metering system, 9-poit AF, live view, ISO range 100-6400, 3-inch 1.04 million dot resolution LCD, top shutter speed 1/4000 sec, X-sync 1/200 sec.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels, 1280x720 pixels
Frames per Second: 30, 25 and 24 fps at 1080p, 50 and 60fps in 720p
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: MOV
Video container: H.264
External Mic Input: Yes, Stereo

5.Nikon D7000
Price: Around Rs. 65,000/

The Skinny: With the introduction of the D7000, Nikon has shown that it is getting even more serious about video. The first Nikon with full 1080p movie capture and a more generous 20 minute continuous shot limit, the D7000 offers a solid feature set for both video and still photography and although it’s priced for enthusiasts, we can expect some pros will employ it as a main video camera and backup still body.

Still Skills: 16.2MP APS-sized CMOS sensor, ISO range 100-6400, expandable to 25,600, 2,016-pixel RGB matrix sensor, customizable 39-point AF system, bright glass pentaprism finder with 100% frame coverage, twin SD card slots, 3-inch, 921k dot LCD monitor, fully compatible with Nikon i-TTL wireless flash system, D-lighting.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1,920x1080, 1,280x720
Frames per Second: 24 fps at 1080p, 24 or 30fps at 720p
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: MPEG-4
Video container: MOV, H.264
External Mic Input: Stereo Mic Jack

6.Nikon D5100 
Price: Around Rs.32,500/

The Skinny: Designed for enthusiasts, the Nikon D5100 offers sophisticated metering and a fast 11-point autofocus system with virtually no lag time. It supports Nikon's full range of i-TTL flash system, and offers a range of special effects for still photos. The 16MP sensor delviers excellent image quality, even when shooting at higher ISOs in low light, and the high-resolution LCD flip-out monitor make it easier to view your stills and videos in progress.

Still Skills: 16MP DX-format CMOS sensor, 3-inch 921k dot reslution finder. Effects mode isolates color within a scene, exposes for high-key and low-key images, miniature effects and more. ISO range 100-6400. In-camera HDR, 11-point AF system, 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, 16 exposure scenes, D-Lighting, automatic sensor dust cleaning.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: up to 1920x30p
Frames per Second: 24 or 30fps
Video format MOV
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video compression: H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding 
External Mic Input: Yes; stereo
Max. recording time: 20 minutes.

7.Nikon D3100 
rice: Around Rs.29,750/

The Skinny: Nikon's starter DSLR was upgraded earlier this year to a 14MP CMOS sensor and an overhauled navigation system. Its biggest strength? Easy-to-navigate, explanatory menu system (thanks to the new Guide Mode), intuitive controls and lots of hand-holding. It's a great camera for anyone who is stepping up from the point-and-shoot world.

Still Skills: 14MP CMOS sensor, 6 auto exposure modes (Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-Up or Night Portrait), ISO range 100-3200, can be expanded to 12,800. 11-point autofocus, 3-inch LCD monitor. Face and scene recognition, D-Lighting expands dynamic range, in-camera image editing possible. Compatible with all Nikon flashes, extensive lens system.

Video Specs: 
Video Resolution: 1Up to 1920x1080 at 24 fps or 1280x720 at 30 fps
Frames per Second: 24, 25 or 30fps
Movie File Format: MOV
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video compression: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Other: Maximum movie recording time 10 minutes, Mono microphone.

8.Nikon D3s
Price: Around Rs.2,60 Lacs

The Skinny: A full-frame pro camera, the D3s is capable of shooting up to ISO 102,400 (no, that’s not a misprint and yes, you can shoot videos at that ISO), and is designed for sports photography and photojournalism. Because of its larger sensor, expect even higher image quality at all ISOs and uncompromising quality. At its heart, this ruggedized pro tool is a still camera. Its video feature, because of its 5-minute recording limit at full resolution, should be considered a bonus.

Still Skills: Rated by DxOMark as one of the best high-ISO low light performers, the D3s has a 12MP full-frame sensor, burst mode to 9FPS,  thethered shooting possible, 51-point AF system, 1,005-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering II, scene recognition, dual CF card slots, horizon indicator, fastest shutter speed 1/8000 sec, 1/250 sec x-sync, 4,200 still images per battery charge.

Video Specs
Video Resolution 1,280x720 pixels
Frames per Second 24 fps
Aspect Ratio 9:16
Video compression Motion JPEG - 4
Video container MP42
External Mic Input: Yes, stereo

9.Nikon D90
Price: Around Rs.41,500/

The Skinny: 
This is where the HD Video DSLR revolution began and even though it’s been around for over two years and is being phased out, the D90’s low cost makes it easy to get started while giving users entrĂ©e into the vast world of Nikon lenses. 5-minute limit on video clip length might limit some users.

Still Skills: 12MP APS-sized CMOS sensor, 4.5 fps burst rate, ISO range 200-3200, 3-inch 920k LCD monitor, 11-point AF, live-view, 3D Color Matrix Metering II with scene recognition, in-camera image editing, geo-tagging unit available. Shutter speeds up to 1/4000 sec.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1280x720 pixels
Frames per Second: 24 fps
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: Motion JPEG,
Video container: AVI
External Mic Input: No; internal mono mic

10. Olympus E-5Price: Approximately Rs.80,000/

The Skinny: The only high-end DSLR built around the 17.3x13mm APS sensor, the 12MP E-5 is a rugged camera designed for heavy-duty pro use. Successor to the popular E-3, the E-5 adds creative "Art Filters" so you can apply special effects in camera. A durable shutter, high-resolution flip-out LCD monitor, digital leveler, wireless flash control system, multiple exposure, a field-tested dust reduction system, in-camera image-stabilization, and what Olympus claims is the world's fastest autofocus complete the picture.

Still Skills: Thixomold magnesium-alloy construction, splash and dust protection, shutter mechanism tested to 150,000 cycles, image stabilization claimed to compensate up to 5 shutter speeds, 100% high-eyepoint optical viewfinder and pentaprism, 3-inch, 920k dot swivel LCD, CF and SD card ports, 11-point fully twin cross AF system, 10 built-in Art Filters, multiple aspect ratios, wireless control with FL-36R and FL-50R flash units. IS range 200-6400, EV compensation + or - 5 stops, shutter speeds 60-1/8000 sec, 5 fps burst rate.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1280x720p
Frames per Second: 30 fps
Aspect Ratio: 9:16, 4:3
Video compression: M-JPEG, 1/12 (HD); Max. recording time 7 min
Video container: AVI
External Mic Input: Stereo mic available

11Pentax K-5
Price: around Rs.60,000/

The Skinny: The successor to the wildly popular K-7, this is a lightweight, ruggedized camera with a 16MP APS-C sensor, a 3-inch, 921k pixel resolution finder, built-in shake reduction, HDR and lots of features found on cameras costing considerably more.

Still Skills: 11-point AF, ISO up to 51,200, shake reduction claimed to shoot at 2.5-4 shutter speeds slower, claimed improved digital noise, usable in temps down to 14 degrees F, 7fps burst rate, 77-segment metering, pentaprism finder with 100% field of view, shutter speed to 1/8000 sec, improved in-camera HDR, in-camera special effects, customizable RAW capture.

Video Specs
Video Resolution:920x1080, 1280x720
Frames per Second: 25fps at 1080p, 30 or 25fps at 720p
Aspect Ratio: 9:16
Video compression: Motion JPEG
Video container: AVI
External Mic Input: 3.5mm Stereo Microphone Jack

12.Sony a560 
Price: Approx. Rs.32,500/
The Skinny: A low-priced mid-range DSLR, the Sony A560 has a 14.2MP APS-C sensor, and a tiltable 3-inch LCD monitor with 921.6K resolution. Offers AF during live view, AF during video, ISO to 12800, built-in image stabilization.

Still Skills: Built-in HDR, 3D panorama, high ISO boost to 12,800 and native ISO range 200-1600, 7fps burst rate, 15-point AF sensor, eye-start AF, face detection, smile detection.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels
Frames per Second: 60i (59..94i Interlace, 29.97 progressive)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video compression: MPEG-4 AVC (H264)
Video container: AVCHD
External Mic Input: No

13.Sony a580
Price: Rs.37,500/ Approx

The Skinny: A higher-resolution camera with a tiltable 3-inch LCD monitor and over 921k resolution, the Sony a580 is said to have faster autofocus, a more responsive live view, and Sony's fabled outstanding high-resolution performance. 

Still Skills: 16MP APS-C CMOS sensor, ISO up to 12,800, 7fps shooting speed, anti-dust technology, HDR and dynamic range optimizer,, Sweep Panorama, Face Detection. New technology promotes faster AF 8 scene modes. JPEG and RAW image capture.

Video Specs
Video Resolution: 1920x1080 pixels 
Frames per Second: 59.94i (from 29.97fps sensor output)
Motion JPEG:
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Video compression: QuickTime Motion JPEG
Video container: AVCHD
External Mic Input: No
Panasonic GH1 product shot

14. Panasonic Lumix GH1
The Skinny: The GH1 is actually a Micro Four Thirds camera, not a DSLR, and uses an electronic viewfinder rather than an internal mirror/prism assembly. Consequently video is much easier to implement and this shows in the superior video specifications of the GH1.

Video Specs
Recording full 1080p HD at 24fps, or 720p at 60fps in AVCHD mode, it can also shoot in the Motion JPEG format  at 30fps if you prefer, in a range of sizes up to 720p. The built-in mic is Dolby Stereo, and there's a 2.5mm port for an external mic, such as Panasonic's own hotshoe mic, or a third-party model (for which you'll need a 2.5-3.5mm adaptor).