20x2 video!

So here's my movie that I made for the last 20x2 Chicago. Unlike previous efforts this one consists of all-original footage (the content, however, is recycled). This post is just a quick overview of the technologies used in making the film.

The shoots were done using a Sony NEX camera shooting AVCHD format. A lavalier mike was also used to capture better audio from the speakers. Daylight was used as main lighting wherever possible, and I tried to shoot in the speakers' homes as much as possible. I brought a laptop with me to the shoots so that I could preview the video immediately after shooting, to check for sharpness, lighting, and any other possible issues.

The lens used as a 35mm CCTV lens (yes, the Fujian lens that some people love and some people hate). It provided a clear enough image with excellent depth-of-field. The Sony cameras provide focus peaking, which allowed me to confirm that the subjects were in focus. (Unfortunately the camera I use does not have the "zebras" feature which shows with parts of the image are over- or under-exposed. Maybe next camera...)

Due to the lightweight equipment used I was able to use public transportation to get to my shoots around Chicago. I didn't need much footage from each person, so most shoots were completed in less than half an hour. I actually ended up spending more time socializing with the subjects than the actual shoots took (a common ratio in film-making in general, I'm guessing).

Once I had my footage I had to somehow rework it in an easy-to-edit file format, so I took the common sense approach of creating a master project for each person, and rendering the individual lines out as high-quality AVI files with proper audio and color correction and any other enhancements. Taking this approach allowed me to create the final film much easier than having to sync each individual video & audio track at the same time.

I'm using Vegas Pro for my video editing software. I bought early into the whole line of software back when it was still Sonic Foundry, so I've kept up with that line of audio & video tools.

The final video used Titler Pro 4 from NewBlueFX for the title cards, and the standard title plug-in for Vegas to generate the text superimposed over the footage. Neither product could do everything that I needed; Titler Pro 4 was just too slow to use for all the superimposed text, and the Sony plug-in was not recognizing the font that I wanted to use for titles. So it was just a mix of things in the end.

I also overlaid some film grain from rgrain.com to make the final product look less like DV. It doesn't quite come across in the lower-resolution formats, but it looks quite nice at a higher res. So watch for the DVD version, I guess.

As a guide for my video I used this blog post for advice on camera settings. I think it turned out rather well for a first-time project, and hopefully I will get a chance to do something like this again sometime. Not right now, though. Gotta rest for a while.

This article is my 60th oldest. It is 535 words long