Mobile, Smartphone Videos That Doesn't Suck: Video How-to, How it Helps

Amidst all this smartphone and iPhone hype is a simple, painful truth: a lot of us are shooting pretty poor-quality content on phones. Inadequate lighting, shaky handheld footage, and woefully-poor sound from internal mics that badly lag the improved image sensor quality all contribute. Fundamentally, the device’s lightweight, handheld, um, phone-ness work against you. Reader Paolo Tosolini sends in a remedy. At first, I was skeptical: tacking on this extra gear requires some extra cash and reduces some of the mobility of the rig. That is, why not just use a camera? But having a look at his solution, there …

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Mobile, Smartphone Videos That Doesn’t Suck: Video How-to, How it Helps

Amidst all this smartphone and iPhone hype is a simple, painful truth: a lot of us are shooting pretty poor-quality content on phones. Inadequate lighting, shaky handheld footage, and woefully-poor sound from internal mics that badly lag the improved image sensor quality all contribute. Fundamentally, the device’s lightweight, handheld, um, phone-ness work against you. Reader Paolo Tosolini sends in a remedy. At first, I was skeptical: tacking on this extra gear requires some extra cash and reduces some of the mobility of the rig. That is, why not just use a camera? But having a look at his solution, there …

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Digital SLR Music Video: Westernsynthetics – The Machine

The age of the Digital SLR is well upon us. With a wide variety of backs and formats, and plenty of video-capable units available under the mythical $1000 price point, the line between High-End Photography and the Rest Of Us is becoming terminally (lens-)blurry. That’s not to say that any muggle can go out with their shiny new DSLR kit lens and take world-class, cinema-quality video – good camera control, lighting, composition and content is as important as ever – but the technical barriers to doing so are all but gone. DSLR video still has its limitations, rolling shutter and …

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Weekend Inspiration: 360 Degree Views – Hot Chip & Merlot = Tasty!

360┬░ “lenses” (which generally aren’t actually lenses, but spherical reflectors) are perfect for simple, single-shot video production. Especially given some inventive viewpoints, staging, or post-production. Recently Merlot’s “Loser” impressed me with its combination of a surround angle shooting and a snorricam setup. LOSER – Merlot from Julien Widmer on Vimeo. I was reminded of this today by Hot Chip’s “One Life Stand”: “Reflective sphere dangling in front of the camera” is probably the easiest way for someone to get started with this kind of shoot. The Hot Chip piece physically rotates the camera so as not to lose resolution, but …

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Single Shot Perfection: Colourful Chromakeyed Delay in OK Go's "WTF"

OK Go have built a career around creative music videos, and their latest “WTF” is no exception: OK Go – WTF? from OK Go on Vimeo. This is a great example of a “high budget”, low budget piece. There has obviously been some investment in a nice chromakey studio to shoot in, and plenty of prototyping of effects and props. I think OK Go are making better use of that investment than the endless, homogeneous “band playing in white studio” clips which pollute our music video ecology like so much floating styrofoam. Of course we’ve all seen video-delay and single …

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Single Shot Perfection: Colourful Chromakeyed Delay in OK Go’s “WTF”

OK Go have built a career around creative music videos, and their latest “WTF” is no exception: OK Go – WTF? from OK Go on Vimeo. This is a great example of a “high budget”, low budget piece. There has obviously been some investment in a nice chromakey studio to shoot in, and plenty of prototyping of effects and props. I think OK Go are making better use of that investment than the endless, homogeneous “band playing in white studio” clips which pollute our music video ecology like so much floating styrofoam. Of course we’ve all seen video-delay and single …

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Apertus: Open Source Camera for Cinema

Okay, Apertus doesn’t actually look like this just yet. But you can shoot video using an all-open solution today – and that’s an encouraging sign for more ambitious plans down the road. Forget deeper philosophical or political arguments for a moment. Right now, the proprietary chain of technologies for video, from sensors to firmware to software, is a mess. Lovely as a lot of camera technology is, pick up a modern digital camera and you’d be forgiven for wondering if its designers had ever seen a computer. Part of what makes the Apertus project so interesting, then, is that its …

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Magical, 3D-Warping Techniques Steadies Your Videos

Technology still has the power to appear like magic. And one place we may desperately need magic: straightening out our horribly shaky, handheld video shots. Software makers like Apple have already offered up some techniques for doing this – in the case of Apple’s Final Cut Studio, optical flow analysis attempts to track the image as it shakes around the screen and compensates by adjusting the orientation of the frame. But a research team at the University of Wisconsin, partnering with Adobe, will present a new approach at the legendary graphics-geeky SIGGRAPH conference in August. They go one step further, …

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Shooting Video For Gigs: Take That Camera Close and Make It Look Like Stuff Happened

I’m in the middle of editing a video that combines an artist interview with event footage. The supplied raw material is 10 minutes of interview footage and 45 minutes of the event, shot from a single camera. From that footage I was able to extract 5 minutes of usable interview, but just 40 seconds of the gig. It’s not that the gig video was badly shot, it was just homogenous. Medium-long shot of people dancing. Medium shot of the DJ. Over the shoulder shot of the DJ. Medium shot of girls dancing. Repeat. This is sad, because a single camera …

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Cheap, Single Shot, Many Shot Music Video: DZ – The Mess Up

This is getting close to the absolute minimum possible for a cheap, fast music video. 2 guys, a camera, a strobe light, and a bottle of J├Ągermeister. This contains all of the elements that make the quick, single shot video effective: It’s a unique concept, it’s fast and cheap to make, it will grab your attention and evoke a strong reaction, and it’s very personal. The video is for local Brisbane band DZ, who are grabbing some mindshare and attention despite being yet to release an album. I spend a large portion of every day watching music videos, and this …

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