Butchers Hook Blog
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Posted on 1:57pm Tuesday 10th Jan 2012
This is the first of a couple of explorations into the use of picture profile settings on the FS-100. This is the camera of choice for corporate video and web video here at Butchers Hook. I've been watching Phillip Bloom's camera comparisons and reading about picture profile settings on Frank Glencairn's blog here and decided I needed to try and work out how best to use PPs with our camera.
This is not a scientific test and the obvious lesson from this is that it’s entirely subjective as everyone we asked about the pictures we took had different opinions.
This was also a 'real world' test, in that conditions weren't particularly controlled. Basically I shot into a dark corner of my kitchen at night using the available light from the bulbs in the house.
The camera was manually white balanced, lens fully open at1.8, and about 25db of gain.
I then took the shot without using any picture profile, and then using Frank Glencairn's suggested picture profile setting. This test is no criticism of suggested settings but an exploration of how those settings might fit into a workflow.
The shots were then imported into FCP7 through log and transfer. The shots were given a basic colour correction, using 3-way corrector to bring the tiles back to white, then a 'look' was applied using Magic Bullet looks. I then produced four pictures from this. The first was as the shots were recorded in camera, the second with colour correction, the third with the colour correction and Magic Bullet looks grading, the fourth was with the grading but no colour correction. The left half for each picture was with PP and the right half with no picture profile. I then asked various people what they thought of the pictures without letting them know the settings or what was being looked for. It should also be noted that the images were enlarged by 143% on the timeline.
The shot straight out of camera, with Picture Profile on left.
With 3-way colour corrector (meaning little change for the right hand side)
A basic grade added on top of the colour correction (as hoped most people preferred the left hand side which is basically the picture with most work/effort)
Seeing the shot with the grade without having colour correction (suggesting that with this pp colour correction is vital)
Obviously the responses are subjective and there was no 'intended' look or style that we were trying to get. We found that most technically people with a camera background liked the left hand side of the third picture the best, which is using the pp, colour correction and grading. Which is kind of good news as it shows that by going to all this effort can be worth it as it provides a 'better picture' as a result.
For the rest of the pictures a few people did like the left hand side on all, but most people preferred the right. This would imply that using (this particular) picture profiles is good if you are intending to colour correct and grade the shot. Otherwise it seems less complicated to let the camera do what it does.
One thing I found was that (due to white balance) colour correcting the shot without the pp made little difference where as the pp shot required colour balancing so maybe I need to be tweaking the PP settings so that colour correction isn't necessary but so that the shot is still primed for grading.
Anyway, this leads me to conclude that using PPs can greatly improve the shot and flexibility with doing grading, but, especially if the edit is in someone else's hands, it can be wise to play it safe. Also more tests need to be done. There are no skin tones in this shot and it is unevenly lit and not actually 'lit' at all.
For the next test we'll be shooting a face outdoors and comparing different Picture Profile settings as well as without a PP, again for straight out of camera as well as grading uses.
Our thanks to the following for doing the blind test... Ella, Toby (http://www.tobydeveson.com/), Bran, Ashley, Rich, Luke's mum, Simon (http://www.create.net/), Kevin, Samantha, and Alex, as well as anyone else who contributes.
Also to Frank Glencairn for his PP settings which can be seen here, which ultimately did produce the best picture, and to Phillip Bloom (http://philipbloom.net/2012/01/06/christmas-shootout/) who's continual exploration for better pictures is an inspiration.
Posted on 2:12pm Monday 19th Dec 2011
As the cold set in on England - Butchers Hook's own creative director Evan Pugh managed to blag a swift exit to the land of Wallabies to direct on ITV's goo-tastic reality TV show - I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.)
Evan this year took our lovely Sony FS100 camera (usually reserved for our corporate video productions) to record some interesting going's on at work and play whilst in Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia
As well as using our main camera - the "at work" elements were shot using Evan's iPhone 4 in the Reality Gallery of the show (literally a Nissan hut in the middle of the jungle.) In addition to that - the underwater was shot on a fellow director's GoPro camera - quite a versatile piece of kit!
The sequence in the car park ingeniously uses a camera mounted on a skateboard for the "dolly" like movement.
You can see more work directed and/or shot by Evan in his more usual capacity in the projects pages of our site!
Posted on 11:57am Tuesday 19th Jul 2011
Today's article is a bit of a love bomb to the fantastic Promotion Hire folk. Promotion hire all sorts of production kit (cameras, lighting, sound) to film and video production crews across the UK and Europe.
We deal with Andy in the Brighton office but they are HQ'd in London (which is handy if you want to drop kit back there instead.)
Promotion are friendly and always go out of their way to facilitate your production. They are flexible and have excellently maintained kit. They give great advice and are on the cutting edge as far as the latest equipment is concerned- they also have free drinks launch parties!
They were excellent help with our most recent big corporate video (details of which to follow...) - well done to them
Ps - no monies or bribery occurred in the making of this article ;)
You can visit Promotion here
Posted on 1:15pm Wednesday 8th Jun 2011
Last week I outlined some of the great advantages of DSLRs when used for video production. Today, we have the turn of the disadvantages and how to overcome some of them.
Movement is the first major factor. A stills camera is designed to produce imagery whilst in a generally stationary position, moving the DSLR can cause issues with focus which a shoulder mount would be able to take in its stride. These stability issues have been helpfully circumvented by companies such as Zacuto, who produce interesting rigs to achieve great results. A real cottage industry has grown up around stability issues on DSLR’s – with Glidecam producing a pared down version of their ubiquitous rig which allows lots of mobility for the user.
Next is the miserable sound recording capability which seems almost completely uniform across DSLRs. In fairness, the cameras aren’t designed specifically for recording sound and a larger, more powerful microphone and recording equipment on board would be impractical. Fortunately Zoom provides a portable H4N recorder that works excellently with DSLR’s – allowing four independent channels of recording simultaneously. Synchronisation is achieved in post the old fashioned way (ie. Clapper board/clapping hands etc).
Panning with DSLR’s can be an issue too. If you pan too quickly, or feature fast movement into frame – the effect can distort the image – giving the image a fluid “jelly” effect. The simple answer to this is to not whip pan.. perform the pan normally and increase the speed in post!
Another potential issue is the recording limit on most DSLRs is about twelve to fifteen minutes for a single take. For what it is worth, from what I heard this has something to do with import restrictions. If they go beyond, these products are no longer regarded as stills cameras and fall in a different tax category. This could be an issue for recording live events – even then you are probably only recording snippets that can be bridged. Any budding Hitchcocks wanting to remake “Rope” may have an issue or two though!.
So – here are some answers to the often held issues of recording HD video with DSLR’s. There are some that still niggle at us, generally involving position of buttons, exposure and white balance settings which are down to personal preference.
In our case, we’ve decided to circumnavigate these issues by ordering the Sony FS100 camera – a great new camera which has the functionalities of a shoulder mount but the lenses and mobility benefits of the DSLR – Win!
Butchers Hook Video Production
Posted on 2:24pm Thursday 2nd Jun 2011
Over the last couple of years, a massive revolution has occurred in high definition video production. This sea change started in late 2008 with the release of the Nikon D90, the world’s first DSLR with HD video. Now anyone who could afford it could shoot excellent HD video without having to spend five figures on a shoulder mounted camera.
Now of course with all of such things, there are downsides as well as up. Over this article and a second to be following shortly – I’ll look to cover some of the pitfalls as well as advantages
The first big advantage for the average video maker is price. Whether for the SME video production company or the average man on the street – HD video of the standard of Canon 5D (which we happen to use quite a lot) allows a professional result which defies the amount of investment. The 5D current retails at about £2000+VAT – a fraction of the cost of an equivalent shoulder mounted professional camera. The results however, are frequently difficult to see.
Another big benefit of DSLR’s versus more traditional camera is the large sensors. A DSLR’s sensor is full frame (35mm) – much bigger than any broadcast camera sensor. The biggest advantage of this is the ability to put 35mm still lenses on the camera – allowing alarming depth of fields (DoF) on the HD video. This can create moving imagery unlike any seen before a few years ago - traditional video cameras that have a tiny depth of field due to restrictive sensors.
Further to this – you can put pretty much any lense you like easily onto the DSLR giving new lease of life to older, more interesting lenses that you may have tucked into the back of the cupboard.
So these are some of the brilliant advantages of a DSLR over a shoulder mount professional video camera. In the next article (which I’ll post next week) I’ll touch on the disadvantages of the DSLR – and how to overcome them.
Posted on 9:39am Wednesday 18th May 2011
Using Video to market your business online – Tips from Butchers Hook
Producing a well crafted corporate video (or series of videos) is tremendously useful for business online. But the video itself is merely the foundations for what needs to come next. What many people and organisations need help in grasping is how to market that video for a good return on investment.
The medium of video is useful in many ways to both an SME (Small/Medium sized Enterprise) or a Corporation. It can show a client complicated business processes easily. It’s also useful for showing prospective clients your facilities and staff’s professionalism. Further to this you can target new business with engaging videos which effortlessly show your company’s unique selling points.
In addition to producing a video which caters for any of the needs mentioned above – it’s important to feature a call to action on your video. Call to action generally feature at the end of the video – providing the client which contact details for the them to get in touch.
After the video has been produced, the next hurdle is to get it watched by as many people online as possible. Video is a great way of drawing in traffic to your website, as Search Engines rank videos generally higher than links that are purely text based.
As with websites, it’s important to optimise the videos that you produce with care, to ensure they are as attractive as possible to the Search Engines.
The first step is to ensure that the title of the video features the keyword(s) that you are looking to target. Next is to have keywords in the transcript text that features around the video.
Every search engine sends out ‘spiders’ to search through websites to find relevant content which forms a large part of the algorithm which the Search Engines use to form their results. Due to this it is also vital to have keyword heavy content in the transcript text, as these spiders can’t read video!
Heavy keyword content is important whether you are embedding the video within your site or featuring it in Youtube, or the wealth of other video sharing websites; because the spiders search through the sites in the same way.
There are a number of very useful sites that enable you to submit your video (along with keyword heavy text content) to all of the major video sharing sites in one go.
Among the best are
Posted on 10:16am Tuesday 26th Apr 2011
Optomising videos for Youtube is a bit of a minefield - so here are Butchers Hook Video Prodiction's top tips!
There are other suggested ways of optimising for Youtube but this is the method that we have found to produce excellent results when exporting from Final Cut pro 7.
From the 'File' tab select 'Export' and click on 'Using Quick Time Conversion' from the drop down menu.
From the resulting box keep the format as 'QuickTime Movie' but click on 'Options'.
Choose 'Settings' from the Video section and select 'MPEG-4 Video'
then select Compressor Quality to 'Best'
and click 'OK'
Then select 'Settings' from the sound section and choose AAC as the format
and select quality as 'Best'
then it's 'OK'
then 'Save' and you're done.