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Thread: Any TNL Filmmakers?

  1. Any TNL Filmmakers?

    As many of you know, I hate traffic. In an effort to find a creative outlet in dealing with the subject I've been thinking about making a documentary. I've got a ton of ideas and a very loose outline of what it will cover, but I'm not a filmmaker. So, I was wondering if there was anyone here who has experience with this sort of stuff and could offer some advice - maybe some of the photographers, writers, or know-it-alls?

    For instance, I know I'll need a camera. My friends can help me with a car-mounted camera, but I know I'll also need something portable since I would like to conduct interviews with people.

    Any video editing software that's recommended?
    Last edited by Type Ryan; 12 Sep 2011 at 10:36 PM.
    "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." -- Winston Churchill

  2. I've worked with some guys doing stuff before. I say your best bet is to educate yourself on cameras and video editing and nail down all your ideas so that there isn't any major questions going into production. After that, just use your own creative style to make things work. It may end up sucking, but at least you'll know it was yours.

    For example, if you want to film a driving segment...make sure your camera angles and placement are already plotted out and what your filming is spot on (though with a documentary, this isn't always up to you). Anything else involved is all up to you and how you want the finish product to turn out.
    http://www.the-nextlevel.com/board/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1739&dateline=1225393453

  3. I use Adobe Premiere Pro for my video editing. I love it...simple, powerful, it does it all.

    When it comes to cameras, really do your homework. The vast marjority of camcorders you'll find in places like Best Buy usually aren't the best for editing...they're more for making home movies of Jimmy and Sally fucking around on swings at the playground to show grandma.

    Most camcorders these days are hard drive or flash drive-based, so even if they have a really good lens/sensor/etc, the recording format limits the quality of the video due to the high compression. Plus, these cameras usually record in a format that's not very editor-friendly at all, such as various types of MPEG (or, if you're shooting in HD, AVCHD, among others). More recent editing software programs have more MPEG support then they used to, but I was fucking around with MPEG2 (DVD standard) files in Premiere Pro CS3 recently and I'd get random red frames mixed in with my footage when I imported it. I looked this up and it was a known glitch due to the files being MPEG-based. MPEG is not really an editing format- it's a delivery format to be used after your editing is done. I'm sure it works better in some editors than others, however, so look into whatever works best with what editing sortware you plan on using.

    If you're shooting in HD, make sure you have a beast of a system to do editing, as 1080p (or 1080i) files will bring most PCs to their knees. 720p is much less demanding to edit on your system.

    I do both professional and personal filmmaking, and I use a Mini-DV camcorder (standard def, but it's a high-end model and shoots footage approaching lower-end HD-quality, especially in ideal lighting conditions). Compression of the footage is far lower than MPEG, so the video quality is noticeably sharper (another reason it looks somewhat comparable to HD), and it's easier to archive your footage with Mini-DV cassettes. The footage transferrs to PC in AVI format, which is universal and ideal for editing.

    On the down side, it takes as long to transfer the footage to your PC as it takes to shoot it (an hour takes an hour). I fucked around a flash-based camcorder recently, and while I ended up returning it due to the poor video quality (grain, artifacts) when compared to my Mini-DV cam, I still miss being able to transfer 45 minuts of footage to my PC in under 5 minutes.

    Also, make sure your camcorder fills your other needs as a filmmaker. Make sure it has whatever audio jacks/hot shoes you may need, in case you want to hook up an external mic to your cam or attach a wireless mic to someone you're interviewing. Most consumer-grade camcorders don't come with those options (although some higher-end ones do). When I first started filmmaking I ignored any audio versatility in favor of video quality when I was shopping for a camcorder, and I later realized having good audio options on a camera is just as important.

    Of course, if you're not that serious about making a real quality flick and are just fucking around and having fun, then some $179 Sony handycam will probably work just fine for your needs.

    As for editing tips...watch movies you like and copy their ideas, while mixing in any crazy ideas of your own that you might have.
    Last edited by Dolemite; 13 Sep 2011 at 10:13 AM.

  4. I also use Premiere and love it, though it is positively horrible at encoding, so it needs to be supplemented with an external encoding program.

    I've been in talks with a production company about working on a documentary, but there's already an experienced director involved, they just want me involved with the research/producing end of things, which is more of what interests me anyway. Could be a lot of fun if it works out. If it does, I'll probably have a lot more insight about the process than I do now.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by Frogacuda View Post
    I also use Premiere and love it, though it is positively horrible at encoding, so it needs to be supplemented with an external encoding program.
    What formats do you feel it has problems encoding in? I think it does AVI great (but really, what program doesn't?), but when you start messing around with more compressed formats like MPEG variations (such as h.264), I've seen better, yeah.

    I've been in talks with a production company about working on a documentary, but there's already an experienced director involved, they just want me involved with the research/producing end of things, which is more of what interests me anyway. Could be a lot of fun if it works out. If it does, I'll probably have a lot more insight about the process than I do now.
    I'm the exact opposite...I love shooting and cutting. I couldn't give a shit about researching stuff.
    Last edited by Dolemite; 13 Sep 2011 at 01:27 AM.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Dolemite View Post
    What formats do you feel it has problems encoding in? I think it does AVI great (but really, what program doesn't?)
    Any modern MPEG4 standard, including AVIs that use DivX or Xvid or whatever. Really, I recall it being bad in just about everything I tried that wasn't raw/uncompressed.

    Maybe they've fixed this, I haven't tried a new version since like CS2.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dolemite View Post
    I'm the exact opposite...I love shooting and cutting. I couldn't give a shit about researching stuff.
    I'm not saying I wouldn't enjoy that, I just wouldn't feel comfortable jumping right into shooting a feature film with no professional experience. Not to mention no one would let me do that. But writing, researching, and story are a big part of what's interesting when we're talking about a documentary, and that's more my area of expertise, you know?
    Last edited by Frogacuda; 13 Sep 2011 at 08:40 AM.

  7. filmmaking's for queers.
    "Question the world man... I know the meaning of everything right now... it's like I can touch god." - bbobb the ggreatt

  8. Totally.

    Welcome back, BTW.

  9. Thanks, guys. I've got a lot of homework to do before I can even get this off the ground. I've recieved good feedback from people about my idea, but I hope I'm not biting off more than I can chew. I want to make something that's similar to what Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore have done.

    I'll come back to this thread if I have more questions/need advice.

    Thanks, again.
    "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." -- Winston Churchill

  10. Here ya go, queer boy.

    Read this for a cheap primer: http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/01/06/...r-ultra-cheap/

    ...cheap cameras and how to get the most out of them: http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/02/13/...n-hd-digicams/

    ...cheap effective car mount for light cameras: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER
    "Question the world man... I know the meaning of everything right now... it's like I can touch god." - bbobb the ggreatt

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