When I want to doing something really well I find out who is doing it the best, copy them down to the smallest detail and then after I have that perfected I then get creative and do my own thing. I always learn a ton this way.
First off I am not a “video guy” I am an “audio guy” so this is all new for me. The web site I own I have been wanting to create some top notch training videos for property web site owners. So I was studying Blip.tv and luckily found Digital Juice TV (an amazing site!). The site has fantastic training videos on how to make you videos better. The one I really like is Eric Frank’s Tech Know so I have been copying it and learning along the way.
I first built my video studio in the basement on a very cheap budget, I think I spent $45 on the green screen and $150 on the halogen lights. I then purchased the Sony HDR-SR7 HD camera for around $1,000. The camera produces AVCHD files on its hard drive so then I needed to find a NLE editor that could edit those files. It came down to Pinnacle Studio 11 and Sony Vegas 8 Movie Studio Platinum Edition $120. After trying them both, I went with Vegas because Studio 11 seemed to crash too many times while trying to do the advance render for the preview window. Pinnacle did not have a free download trial, I had to buy it to test it out which was OK, but I had the hardest time trying to contact them for a RMA # (that really upset me).
I have spent a lot of time experimenting in manual mode on the camera which has been a large learning curve for me. I think I have settled on the following after setting the white balance:
- 1/60th of a second (can’t control)
- F2.0 (I control using the exposure level adjustment)
- Focus 2.4 meters (manual mode)
- Gain at 0dB
- AVC HD 15M (XP) mode
To white balance I placed a piece of white paper on a stand where I would be standing, zoom in on the white paper and then set the white balance. I am not sure if I am doing this right or if I should be doing it to the white sheet in the background?
After tons of experiments with my green screen I gave up and went to a simple white sheet (I tried paper like on Tech Know but I couldn’t tape it together well enough). The white sheet has been very easy to key out and also was so much easier to get the exposure where I thought it needed to be.
I set up my Vegas project file as follows using the
native video format on import (I had screwed up before and used the native format which has an aspect ratio of 4:3, so I reduced the frame height to achieve the 16:9:
Within Sony Vegas I added three filter effects to the video, Chroma Key, Chroma Blur and Color Correction.
I first do the Chroma Key as shown below:
I then did the Chroma Blur – I turned this off because Charlie at DJ said I didn’t need it.
“Chroma blur is not needed if your backdrop is free of imperfections (no visible seams, deviations in surface) or if your Zebras are reading 100% on the background. This essentially wipes out detail due to the overexposing.”
And then I play with the Color Correction, I tried to do what Charlie recommended:
“In your color correction, click on the eyedropper to the right of HIGH to set a value in your frame of what you want the computer to consider as “white” Try adjusting the LOW Magnitude value down until your blacks seem nice and dark. This is regarded as “Crushing the Blacks” and makes things look better (IMHO). Same with the Black level ( maybe the darkest part of your suit).”
But in the end I just kept playing with it until I felt I had the best look.
After I am done editing I render to an AVI file as follows:
Then I use Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 ($249) to create the FLV file that I upload to blip.tv so Blip.tv won’t re-transcode over what I have already done using the following settings:
Now I realize that I have spent less than $2,000 on everything and I am never going to get to the level that DJTV has, but if I can get 95% there then I am happy. I am looking for advice to bring it up another notch.
I am trying to figure why I do not look in focus like Eric does, my image seems too soft.