dv cinematography

DV Cinematography - Part 1 All material is copyrighted by Victor Khong (c) 1999. All the contents of this tutorial is copyrighted under Canadian Law and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission. When quoting this page(s), please include the standard credits and citation references. Contents My bias What is digital video (DV)? Why shoot DV instead of film? DV cameras (VX1000, TRV900, GL1, XL1, DV500) Considerations in selecting a DV camera Web resources for selected DV cameras Usenet and newsgroup resources for DV production and filmmaking Camera Accessories for DV filmmaking My bias Let me declare my bias that I present my opinions as a budget-minded, guerilla filmmaker who uses DV as a viable filmmaker's format . I shoot DV to yield as much of a film look as possible. This can be quite different if you are seeking advice on shooting event videography or documentary works. I firmly advocate DV (in any of its present formats), to be a viable format to budget filmmakers (should we say moviemakers?) who have a story to tell but don't have the budget to shoot on celluloid. Celluloid film and DV are different. Period. Their aesthetics are different. If one has money, one can shoot film. But if one doesn't, I believe DV is a good alternative as it provides a cost-effective single point of acquisition for post-production and

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DV Cinematography - Part 1

All material is copyrighted by Victor Khong (c) 1999.  All the contents of this tutorial is copyrighted under Canadian Law and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission. When quoting this page(s), please include the standard credits and citation references.


My bias

What is digital video (DV)?

Why shoot DV instead of film?

DV cameras (VX1000, TRV900, GL1, XL1, DV500)

Considerations in selecting a DV camera

Web resources for selected DV cameras

Usenet and newsgroup resources for DV production and filmmaking

Camera Accessories for DV filmmaking

My bias

Let me declare my bias that I present my opinions as a budget-minded, guerilla filmmaker who uses DV as a viable filmmaker's format.  I shoot DV to yield as much of a film look as possible.  This can be quite different if you are seeking advice on shooting event videography or documentary works. 

I firmly advocate DV (in any of its present formats), to be a viable format to budget filmmakers (should we say moviemakers?) who have a story to tell but don't have the budget to shoot on celluloid.  Celluloid film and DV are different. Period.  Their aesthetics are different.  If one has money, one can shoot film.  But if one doesn't, I believe DV is a good alternative as it provides a cost-effective single point of acquisition for post-production and distribution.  DV filmmaking is truly revolutionary and ideal for the emerging filmmaker. 

While some may perceive this to be a defence of the DV format, I rather see it as the democratization of filmmaking.  Previously, filmmaking was relegated to an exclusive few and it became a club of the wealthy or well-connected who were able to fund these exercises.  While it is true, that many others started with nothing in the  film world and became known for their work, I believe that DV has lowered the entry barriers to filmmaking.  Like many blessings, it brings with it a two-edged sword.  We will have a lot more good projects out there and a lot of bad ones.  But remember that just because a person has a word processor on their computer doesn't make them a Shakespeare.  Likewise, just because the technology

to make movies is migrating to the desktop doesn't make someone the next McClean, Kubrick, Spielberg, Welles, Bertolucci, Mallick, Friedkin, Besson or Lucas. 

What is Digital Video (DV) ?

An excellent primer on DV can be found Adam Wilt's web site which describes the technical specifications of various digital video (DV) formats.  Suffice it to say that miniDV (or consumer DV as some put it) is a high quality video format which is digital and can be suitable for making movies.  Adam's site is possibly the most comprehensive site for the discussion of the DV formats and technical specifications.  It is a little heavy reading if you are not accustomed to it but necessary if you plan to maximize the DV format for moviemaking. Take time to explore Adam's site, it will serve you well. 

A tabulation of DV formats by Adam Wilt

A DV format FAQ by Adam Wilt

With the advent of DV, it is now possible to shoot, edit, composite and output professional-looking, broadcastable finished projects ready for distribution or film transfer.  

Why shoot DV instead of film?

DV filmmaking compared to traditional celluloid filmmaking is cheaper, faster, allows more creative options to the filmmaker while allowing the filmmaker to retain control over their work. 

DV tape is cheaper than film, Beta SP, DVCPro, Digital-S or Digital Betacam. One 60 minute DV tape costs about Canadian $14 versus the cost of 8mm or 16mm film to purchase and process. There is no need for film developing, printing of dailies or work print costs associated with DV.  A DV filmmaker may choose to dub their in-camera original DV tape to a VHS tape with visible time-code for viewing and making an edit decision list (EDL). 

Shooting DV allows a filmmaker to record both sound and image on the same device thus potentially reducing your crew, power requirements and size of your equipment package.  Since DV samples sound at up to 48 KHz, its quality exceeds that of the typical CD sound which runs at 44.1 KHz.  That's one less piece of gear to lug around, one less set of batteries to buy or recharge, one less piece or recordable media to buy, stock, archive and carry around. 

Shooting DV allows a filmmaker to edit their project using non-linear video editing on personal computers without the expense of film to videotape transfers and syncing sound to videotape. DV is capable of looking very good when used with in conjunction with movie camera moves, dramatic lighting and visual design to maximize cinematic qualities.

Post-production processes like Cinelook® and Filmlook®  and FilmFX allow a filmmaker to render their entire video project to look like film transfered to videotape for broadcast. This is particulalrly useful if you intend to distribute via video, cable or TV broadcast.  If transferring to film, then you don't need film-look process as the transfer from tape-to-film will give it a look of its own. 

Shooting DV allows a filmmaker to use a higher shooting ratio than shooting film.  This allows for more experimentation and possibly creative options without incurring significantly higher production costs. 

DV allows a filmmaker to utilize a single point of acquisition for a broad range of distribution options.  DV can be edited and distributed in VHS, CD-ROM, VCD,  DVD, streaming media, digital projected (enabling the filmmaker to show their own movie in a screening facility) and be transfered to film for theatrical release. DV allows a filmmaker to project and\or theatrically release their project using currently

available video projectors.  Within 2 years, e-cinema and the widespread use of high-end digital light projectors (DLP) will enable a filmmaker/moviemaker to project their work with no compromise.  Even now, the quality of a high-end projector is quite good standard viewing. 

DV allows a filmmaker to complete their project and shop for a distributor who is willing to pay for the bump-up to 35mm for conventional theatrical release. This lowers the financial burden of obtaining a 35mm print of the DV movie.

One of the most important reasons to shoot DV is that  DV is generationally lossless (I won't debate this statement with lossless and lossy compression diehards).  This means that you can make copies of tapes and edited projects with no discernible losses in quality.  This is a far cry from film where a final release print maybe 4 or 5 times generationally removed from the in-camera negative after post-production.  

DV Cameras

DV Review (large Adobe Acrobat file about 600K, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) has an indepth discussion on DV cameras published in a downloadable PDF (requires Adobe Acrobat) format which discusses the pros and cons of each camera.  The article rates the following cameras: VX1000, XL1, Optura, TRV900, TRV9, VL-PD1U, PD100, GR-DLS1, AG-EZ30, Vistura. They rate the PD100 first with the TRV-900 second.  Download the article for comprehensive information. 

Considerations in selecting a DV camera

When selecting a camera, you should not overdose on some finer details (lines of resolution, size of the CCDs - they make a theoratical difference but the camera image should be taken as a whole - i.e. Gestalt, etc.) unless they are details that you cannot live without due to the type of work you do.  Any of these cameras will produce outstanding images in the hands of a competent operator.  Probably the most important criteria for camera selection is think through your entire camera  system and not just the price of buying a bare-bones camera.  To produce great cinematography, you will need camera accessories! 

Here are some considerations: 

LCD screen. Makes it easier to check framing, for director to see the action without the need for a monitor, able to shoot overhead shots, possibly cheaper steadicam device since you don't need to buy it with another LCD screen which will necessitate another set of batteries, extra weight, PAL\NTSC compatibility, etc. Due to space contraints when shooting on locations and sets, the direction of key light and the casting of shadows, having and LCD screen rotated to point downwards is useful so that one may crouch down, frame the shot and pan the camera without needing to use the viewfinder. 

Form factor.  Do you prefer the ergonomics of an over the shoulder style camera (XL1, DV500U) or one that you can easily hold with one hand (TRV900, VX1000)?  Do you need to impress your clients with a cool looking camera or simply wish to shoot without drawing a lot of attention to yourself?  I am first and foremost a filmmaker, this means I shoot without needing ego strokes about the size of my camera - I want something that will get the job done with minimum fuss.  What works better in a confined space?  At low temperatures? Using a car mount or window pod for an interior car dialogue? What's easy to use handholding waist high?  Can I still see the viewfinder when my eye is away from the viewfinder?  Is there an LCD screen to compensate?  What can I stow in a backpack comfortably? 

Weight. The heavier the camera the more heavy-duty\beefier the accessories you'll need.  This corresponds to more expensive accessories.  For example, the Steadicam JR will not handle an XL1 or DV500U necessitating that you buy a Steadicam DV to handle its weight.  The JR will also only handle a stripped VX1000 - but if you mount the wideangle and BeachTek on the VX1000, you will have problems balancing and trimming the JR because the extra weight pushes it right to the limits of its design

envelope.  I purchased a SteadyTracker for use with my TRV900 and have mounted the Sony .7x wide angle and the BeachTek with no problems to date.  Another issue weight affects is the purchase of a tripod.  The heavier your camera, the more expensive a tripod you will need.  For my TRV900, I use a Manfrotto 055 tripod with a Manfrotto 136 fluid head which works very well.  The famed British car designer, Colin Chapman who designed such memorable cars as the Lotus Elan, Esprit and Lotus Super 7, exploited the principle that if you keep the weight of the car low, all other things being equal (even with a relatively small engine), you get outstanding performance as a result of its correspondingly higher power-to-weight ratio.  This principle can also be applied here. 

Batteries. How easy and cheap is it to buy extended life batteries for your camera? Some require using battery belts to get longer shooting times. In the case of my TRV900, I use Sony's NP-F950 which yields up to 375 minutes continuous recording time, 210 minutes typical recording time and 485 minutes playing time with LCD screen. This is using the LCD to frame and operate. Using the viewfinder - which consumes a little less power, the NP-F950 will yield 485 minutes of continuous recording and 255 typical recording times (on\off, zooming).  The available of a long life power source is critical to DV filmmaking. 

Firewire\iLink\IEEE 1394 in\out. This is an absolute must if you want to keep your video in first generation in-camera quality!  Firewire allows you to transfer both audio and video into your video capture device with complete digital fidelity.  If your video capture card and non-linear editing system support it, this means you shoot DV, edit in native DV (as opposed to transcoding to M-JPEG, MPEG-2) and output your edited master in DV with no transcoding losses in-between!  Your edited master including audio, video, transitions and graphics will all be first generation without suffering the generational losses associated with analog post-production. 

Slow shutter speeds. Shutter speeds of 1/4th and 1/8th are important as they allow the creation of in-camera effects. Read Digital Cinematography - Part 2 for more details. With the exception of the GL1, all the other cameras listed above have slow shutter speeds.  This is where electronic news gathering (ENG) cameras fall short.  This includes certain Beta SP and JVC cameras.  Many 4:2:2 ENG cameras are designed for news gathering and their shutter speeds start at 1/60th and go to about 1/2000th ot 1/5000th or 1/10,000th.  They also allow you to vary the crystal frequency of the shutter at 1/60th down to maybe 1/59.xxth in order that you can shoot computer monitors without scrolling scan lines due to the difference in monitor refresh rate. For filmmaking seeking to obtain a film-like image from video, it is important to be able to shoot at 1/30th of second.

Web resources for selected DV cameras

Explore each web site thoroughly to get the most of online research. My opinions on the different cameras are biased toward dramatic DV filmmaking. Adam Wilt has a marvellous comparison of these cameras. It is the most fair and honest comparison I have read for the VX-1000, TRV-900, GL1 and XL1.  

Sony VX-1000 Comprehensive site about the VX1000 and accessories. Also contains DV and filmmaking resources:  http://www.abruptedge.com/VX1000.html

Sony's VX1000 site: http://www.sel.sony.com/SEL/consumer/ss5/home/camcorder/dvcamerasandproducts/dcr-vx1000_specs.shtml

Sony VX-1000 forum and user discussions User forum, web-based discussions where you can post questions and answers   http://www.videouniversity.com/vx1000.htm

Victor's opinion on VX-1000 Excellent camera for the money. Best feature is the CUSTOM PROGRAM setting where the user can turn down the SHARPNESS and turn up the COLOR LV to give the VX1000 a real film look. Is not as sharp as the Sony TRV900 - but we are picking at very small differences here. You can also calibrate the viewfinder (EVF Mode) to set it to your monitor. Sony's cameras tend to favor blues. Its weakness is the lack of firewire for digital transfer in\out, lack of an LCD screen, limited battery options and no progressive scan functions available. 

The VX1000 has no analog video in! This is a big disadvantage in my opinion since you cannot use the camera to record or convert any VHS footage into DV.  If you use a DV-only NLE solution, then you're stuck.

Has slow shutter speeds down to 1/4 of a second for in-camera effects shots.  Some people consider the image sharper than the XL-1 and so looks less like film. Is relatively lightweight and well balanced.  It is also small, lightweight and produces beautiful images int the right hands. Century Optics makes a fine line of accessory lenses for the VX1000. 

Here are the custom program settings for the VX1000 which I used on a PAL VX1000 which turns down the internal sharpness setting of the camera and bumps up the color saturation of the camera.  It also calibrated the viewfinder image to the  Sony studio monitor which I had access to.  Your mileage may vary but try it yourself.  You can always choose not to use the custom program setting even though it is set this way.  See the camera manual for more details. 

VX1000 Custom Program for film look  under the MENU settings.  You have to open the door to the battery to access these functions.

A.Shutter = off  (takes off automatic shutter so you can manually set it at 1/30th ot 1/60th for normal shooting)  D.Zoom = off (uses optical zoom only for optimum image quality)  16:9 wide = off (so you don't lose vertical resolution because this is a fake 16:9 which just crops the top and bottom of the CCD and display)  Zebra = on (I use this to determine visual overexpose)  Commander = VTR4  Headphone = low (medium or high depending on your preference)  Beep = on  EVF Mode = Color (2 clicks from left), Bright (3 clicks from left) - the EVF settings were set to my Sony monitor. Yours may differ.  Frame rec = off  Self-time = 10 sec  Custom = on (off if you don't want the custom settings to take effect)  -> Set = on  -> Color LV = 5 clicks from left  -> Sharpness = 3 clicks from left (reduce the clicks even more for a softer setting - mine was set for use in conjunction with a diffusion filter)  -> WB shift = middle (3 clicks from left)  -> AE shift = 2 clicks from left  -> Gain shift = 0db  Clock set = on 

Sony TRV900 The ultimate TRV900 site on earth!  Truly a worthy work by John P. Beale.  John's site is truly one of the

most comprehensive DV camera sites and you will learn a lot about various aspects of DV filmmaking http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/

Sony's site for the TRV900:    http://www.sel.sony.com/SEL/consumer/ss5/office/camcorder/dvcamerasandproducts/dcr-trv900_specs.shtml

User mailing lists & forums Send email and follows the instructions that arrive   email: [email protected]   . Send email and follow instructions.  A web page that deals with subscription info. to the TRV900 mailing list and also has other TRV900 info.  http://www.telebyte.nl/~pe1nib/trv900-list.html

Victor's opinion on the TRV900 Pound for pound, probably the best DV camera on the market along with its sister model the PD-100A. Has the LCD screen which makes it easier for checking framing - especially when using a steadytracker\steadicam\glidecam device or when the director is not the DP.  Image is sharper than the VX-1000 and favors blue.  But the sharpness is not necessarily a good thing.  You will take down the sharpness with a diffusion filter to be more a film look. 

It is small and looks like an ordinary consumer camcorder (read guerilla filmmaking without permits!).  Most of the options available for the VX1000 will fit the TRV900.  This includes Century Optic's wonderful 16:9 anamorphic lens attachment.  Bear in mind that if you use the anamorphic adaptor, you will also need to use a 16:9 capable monitor for framing, lighting and composition.  Century Optics also makes other lens accessories for the Sony TRV900, Sony VX1000 and Panasonic EZ1/EZ30  line of cameras. 

The TRV900 is well balanced, light and compact. With the beachtek XLR adaptor mounted, it makes a nice bottom grip and still retains its compact and balanced form factor. It has slow shutter speeds down to 1/4 of a second for in-camera effects shots. This is important.  It has progressive scan but only up to 15 fps. Therefore its progressive scan is not usable for motion video but is more appropriate for high quality video stills. 

With the built-in picture effects, filters and post-production processing, one can even simulate black and white film with varying degrees of film grain.  It is cheaper than the VX1000 and XL1 by far.  For the price of JVC's DV500, you can buy two TRV900's and have money left over! One TRV900 for shooting and another one as a playback\recording deck & backup camera!  You can also use the TRV900 as your acquisition camera and buy a less expensive Sony PC1 as a playback\deck and backup camera.  This allows you to acquire with a 3 CCD camera and playback with a 1 CCD camera which makes no difference to your non-linear editing system. 

It takes Sony's NP-950 battery which will last an entire shooting day without ever changing batteries (when not using auto-focus and auto gain control). You also have lots of battery and accessory options.  I also bought a Sony AC-VQ800 a AC battery charger for series "L" and "M" batteries.  I needed this to recharge the second battery while still susing the camera to shoot since you cannot charge a battery and operate the camera at the same time.

With its compact form factor even with accessories, the TRV900 is relatively easy to balance and trim on my Steadytracker. Larger cameras will be more challenging to balance and trim on handheld stabilization devices. Reasons why I chose the Steadytracker over other brands maybe found here. 

Its weakness is the lack of control over the internal sharpness settings which are adjustable on the VX1000, GL1 and XL1.  Shooting the camera with the right combination of diffusion is truly rewarding. Some users have reported tapes being chewed on rewinding but I have not had the same problem.  As yet, the problem does not appear to be widespread. Another issue with the TRV900 is that the camera

can and does exhibit camera whine and noise from time to time.  This noise seems part of the camera's design and happens intermittent.  I solve this problem by simply placing a towel, jacket, sweater or any other noise dampening material I find handy as a barney (a camera cover to reduce camera noise). 

You can also buy the telephoto lens attachments from the 35mm Olympus IS-1, IS-2 or IS-3 cameras, attach a filter size conversion ring and use them on the TRV900.  The conversion ring will be a 52mm to 49mm size.

Here's a big plus: The TRV900 has video analog in!  This means you can use the TRV900 to record a DV version of a VHS tape or anything else that can send out a composite\RCA video signal!

Neither the XL1 or the VX1000 has analog video in!

If you use a DV-only non-linear video editing solution, then getting the TRV900 means that you can use it to record from other forms of media into DV, then using the TRV900, firewire the DV form of the footage into your computer.  Now try doing that with another camera! 

Canon XL1 The best web site for XL1 by Chris Hurd:  http://www.mediadesign.net/canondv.htm Canon's site for XL1:  http://www.canondv.com/xl1/index2.html

Victor's opinion on the XL1 Produces the best progressive scan images at 30 fps to date.  Its image is generally considered less sharp than the VX-1000 or TRV900 and renders it more film-like than the others.  It has interchangeable lens ability although that is a benefit more in theory than practice unless you want a very very long zoom\telephoto effect when mounting 35mm Canon EOS lenses to it. This multiplies the focal length of the adapted 35mm EOS lenses by a factor of 7 times due to the differences in image area between a 35mm film negative and the image area captured by a CCD.  A 100mm lens for a Canon EOS 35mm camera will become an equivalent 700mm lens for the XL1 after adaptation! 

Canon has also released a very wide, wide angle lens for it so check it out for yourself. 

The balance of the camera is unfortunately front-heavy.  Its camera ergonomics for manual shooting mode is the best among prosumer cameras.  It also has known problems with back focus.  That means that the camera does not retain focus when zooming from one focal length to another. There is a fix for it if you send it back to the factory under warranty but not all users have found this fix to have been successful. 

Optex  has released an expensive (US $1750)  all-manual lens for the XL1 which promises to address many of the XL-1 lens' shortcomings.  The Optex lens however does not have the proprietary electronic lens mount so the camera does not sense the presence of the Optex lens and will keep flashing "no lens" in the viewfinder even when you have it mounted. 

has released an expensive (US $1750)  all-manual lens for the XL1 which promises to

address many of the XL-1 lens' shortcomings.  The Optex lens however does not have the proprietary electronic lens mount so the camera does not sense the presence of the Optex lens and will keep flashing "no lens" in the viewfinder even when you have it mounted. 

Century Optics also makes fine lenses and accessories for the XL1. 

It also has slow shutter speeds down to 1/8 of a second for in-camera effects.  It is also slightly better in low light than either the VX-1000 or TRV900/PD100a. 

It is an expensive camera compared to what else you can buy.  It also looks more "professional" and draws more attention to itself.  This can be good or bad depending on whether you need to impress your clients or you need ego stroked or want to get away with shooting incognito. 

The XL1 also has many company's which make accessories for it. It also has multiple battery options.  Color rendition favors reds and yellows. It is however considered large by miniDV standards and due to its inherent front-heaviness, makes it slightly more challenging to balance on handheld camera stabilization devices. 

It does not have an LCD screen which is a weakness and its color viewfinder is notorious for being difficult to focus.  Canon is said to be releasing a high-resolution black and white viewfinder for the XL1 in the future. It's heavier weight means you have to buy a more expensive style of steadycam if you want to use such camera movements. 

The XL1 has no analog video in! This is a big disadvantage in my opinion since you cannot use the camera to record or convert any VHS footage into DV.  If you use a DV-only NLE solution, then you're stuck.

Among its outstanding features adapted from Canon's 35mm camera experience is the XL1's ability to push\pull exposure while in Programmed Automatic mode.  This means you can use the programmed settings as a starting point and over\under expose the image from there with the flick of a dial. 

Canon GL1 Canon's own web site for the camera    http://www.canondv.com/gl1/index.html One review of the GL1   http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/gl1review.html Canon's site for the GL1  http://www.canondv.com/gl1/ User's site for GL1  http://www.gl1-411.com/

User mailing lists & forums Send email and follow instructions to subscribe   email: [email protected] A GL1 community on the Net   http://www.egroups.com/group/canon-gl1/

Victor's opinion on the GL1 Too new for much real-world user feedback as of the time of this writing (November 27, 1999). 

It does boast of Canon's wonderful fluorite lens technology but is missing manual audio controls.  It uses AGC (auto gain control) and so far the initial reports is that its AGC work very well.  According to Adam Wilt's report on it however, it does not  have shutter speeds slower than 1/60 of a second.  This makes it unattractive for in-camera effects work that utilize slow shutter speeds. It has 30 fps progressive scan mode just like the XL1.  This makes it attractive for either grabbing full frame stills off the tape or for superior video playback. 

However, John P. Beale has a GL1 resolution test shot under controlled conditions which shows that the GL1 is slightly less sharp (accounting for its more pleasing look to the eye) than the TRV900.  The res-test has also showed that the GL1 exhibits video field blending in its 30fps progressive scan mode. 

Canon definitely copied the form factor of the Sony VX1000 but also gave it the LCD screen of the Sony TRV900 (albeit smaller at 2.5").  The 2.5" LCD screen is also not as sharp as the TRV900's. Canon priced it cheap like the TRV900 in order to compete with the VX1000 and TRV900. 

It looks like a good camera for the price and JVC flatters Sony if imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery.   

JVC DV500U JVC's site for the DV500U   http://www.jvc.com/pro/dv/home.htm

The DV500U is a new hybrid camera.  Previously, no major manufacturer had officially considered miniDV a professional format even though networks and broadcast stations were using miniDV.  JVC is the first major manufacturer to debut a professionally spec'ed camera chockful of professional features including 1/2" bayonet mounted lenses which means you can rent any pro-lens of your choice with full SMPTE time code and direct XLR-ins.  The beauty of this is the DV500U comes with firewire or IEEE1394 or iLink and so can directly DV in\out into your non-linear editing (NLE) system.  You can then output your edited master back into DV without ever transcoding or losing a generation! 

What's the big deal you may ask?  Previously, professional cameras only offered component out as a high quality analog format to send signals out.  Some cameras had SDI (serial digital interface) a digital transfer protocol\interface that was stupendously expensive.  To have SDI in your NLE was another sky-high expense since SDI is considered a professional specification.  With firewire, you have the benefit of digital in\out without the expense associated with SDI. 

Unfortunately, as of the time of this writing (December 6, 1999), the DV500U is not shipping in Vancouver, Canada yet and no realworld user feedback has been received from the Net. 

As a filmmaker, I personally would not buy a DV500U since all the subsequent accessories I would have to buy to fit it would make it prohibitively expensive.  It takes more expensive batteries, Steadicam devices, tripod and is much more conspicuous and much larger than my TRV900.  I would not be able to travel innocently or shoot innocently with it. 

Ironically, its greatest immediate rival may be Canon's XL1 since both share the over the shoulder form factor.  Both have interchangeable lenses though the 1/2" mount of the DV500U gives it a lot of lens options.  Canon's newest manual focus lens along with Optex's manual lens solution also gives the JVC a run for its money. 

Usenet and newsgroup resources for DV production and filmmaking

To use these newsgroups, your must select\subscribe to them from either the newsgroup reader built into your web browser or  another newsgroup\usenet reader program.  It is recommended that you lurk (read messages but don't post) in these newsgroups for a while to learn about the themes and topics in the group before posting a bunch of newbie questions.  You will find more

help in the video groups for DV filmmaking than in movies groups.  These still tend to be dominated by film snobs (November 27, 1999). 

rec.video rec.video.desktop rec.video.production rec.video.professional

alt.movies.cinematography alt.movies.independent rec.arts.movies.production rec.arts.movies.production.sound rec.arts.movies.tech

Camera Accessories for DV filmmaking

I happen to use the Cokin filter system size "A" with modular lens shade. A list of Cokin filters can be found here. Others prefer screw-on 52mm filters.  Yet others prefer a true matte box filter system which uses glass filters. 

Wide angle adaptor - Sony makes a .7x adaptor while Kenko makes one up to 0.5x.

3 f-stop neutral density filter

Ultra-violet (UV) filter


Diffusion filter - Cokin Warm Sun #694, Tiffen Pro Black Mist, Tiffen Pro White Mist, Tiffen Hollywood F/X filters

Warming filters - 81a, 81b, 85

Graduated grey filter

Red filter

XLR mic adaptor - either Beachtek or Studio 1. I use the BeachTek DXA-4S.

Shotgun mic - Sennheiser MKE 300, 416, ME66

Boom pole, extendible painter's rod or aluminium shower curtain

Good tripod - I use a Manfrotto 055 with the Manfrotto 136 fluid head

Camera handheld stabilizer - Steadytracker, Glidecam, Steadicam

Headphones with mini jack

Hardcase for camera

Reflectors - white foam core, metallic silver\gold reflectors

Swatch book of Lee or Rosco filters - for creative white balancing

Microfibre lens cleaning cloth

Multiple NP950 batteries for TRV900

Rapid battery charger

+1, +2, +3 closeup diopter filters for macro shots

DV Cinematography - Part 2

All material is copyrighted by Victor Khong (c) 1999.  All the contents of this tutorial is copyrighted under Canadian Law and may not be reprinted without the author's written permission. When quoting this page(s), please include the standard credits and citation references.


Achieving a film look with digital video

Simulating 8mm or 16mm black and white film with film grain

Camera movements: options for camera movements, start frame and end frames

Why I chose the Steadytracker

Recording location sound

Why consumer miniDV cameras drop time code

How to avoid dropping time code

How a shot log benefits your batch digitization

Achieving a film look with digital video

(This article which I submitted to John P. Beale has been published on his site: http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/filmlook.html). 

Here are some tips to achieve a film look: 

Use a diffusion of some sort, (take your pick) i.e. - flesh coloured nylon stocking over the front of the lens, Cokin Diffusion 1 or 2, Tiffen Pro Black Mist, smear vaseline over clear filter, etc. Basically if you shoot video without diffusion, it will look like video.  In my experience, the Tiffen Black Mist will lower the contrast and diffuse a video image but it will not give it the softer look of a film image transfered to video.  I have chosen to use the Cokin system instead. A list of Cokin filters with their specific filter numbers may be found here.  I use Cokin's Sunsoft filter #694 for diffusion and warming.  This has yield a nice diffused image without the typical video look and takes away the characteristic blue of Sony cameras.  If I want the diffusion without the filter color, I simply white balance with the filter in place.  The diffusion filter you use makes a *big* difference to the resulting image.  Don't believe those who say you can tune down the sharpness in post-production.  It will take more time, is less assuring than getting it in-camera and the difference will vary from one NLE system to another. Unless you are working with a realtime NLE, you wouldn't want to render and re-render to view a slight change in diffusion.  

Use a slow shutter speed of  1/30th or 1/60th(NTSC) - try never to use fast shutter speeds of 125th and above.  These tend to cause strobing or a freeze frame effect.  To see an example of this, aim your camcorder at a computer monitor screen with your screen saver running (if using Windows, set screen saver to "Marquee" with scrolling words).  When using a slow shutter speed of 60th second, the motion of the screen saver will be smooth.  When using higher shutter speeds of 125th and above, the screen saver will appear to "jump" or strobe across the screen.  Add and remove light to work within this parameter. Slow shutter speeds can be used for in-camera effects.  It looks a little like slow motion as the image will trail or lag behind the audio being recorded.  The shutter speed threshold for recorded motion and lip-sync. is 1/30th. Slow shutter speeds enable the trailing red tail lights with automobiles and dramatic slow motion effect in camera.  It is also a little less characteristically video-sharp which some cinematographers like Richard Stringer have found useful.  1/30th of a second shutter speed captures a certain amount of motion blurring reminescent of film's 24fps capture rate and produces motion images which are lyrical and fluid - very unlike broadcast news video which is very "sharp" since they are captured at 1/60th of a second shutters speed and above. At 1/30th of a second shutter speed, there is perceptible motion blur during camera pans which is reminescent of film. An extensive discussion of film and video motion clarity signatures can be read here.  

Use a wide open aperture (on TRV900 it's called Exposure in the manual).  This ranges from OPEN to about F4.  Anything higher than that makes a greater depth of field and decreases your differential focus. When using a Cokin #2 Diffuser, anything aperture larger than F4 will show halation and the artifact from the diffusing element in the filter.  This is also true of some other diffusers. Great for special effects (looks like water) but not usually desirable. A wide open aperture also yields shallow depth of field for nice separation of the foreground and background for the portrait shots.  

Use neutral density filters. In order to use a combination of slow shutter speed and wide open aperture in a bright exterior shooting situation, it is necessary to decrease the amount of light entering the lens.  This can be achieved by turning on the TRV900's built-in ND (neutral density filter) filter and adding up to ND8  (or a 3 f-stop) filter which effectively removes the amount of light entering the lens by 3 f-stops.  This will give you the combination of slow shutter speed and wide open aperture that yields nice differential focus when shooting in bright exteriors. In order to shoot within the contrast range of video, once you have set your desired shooting aperture and shutter, add and remove light to your scene if feasible to achieve results.  This includes flagging, scrimming, screening, netting, etc.  It's a lot of work but you did say you wanted film-look right? ;-)  

Light your set within 5 f-stops. Video only has about a 5 f-stop contrast range.  Make sure you shoot within this contrast ratio for best results exposing for your desired highlights.  The best way to make sure you are within the contrast limits is to meter the important areas of your scene with either a spotmeter or incident light meter to determine if your highs and lows are within the ratios. Learning exposure and luminance for DV is mandatory for achieving photographic control over the video image.  

Use a Cokin graduated Grey filter  which is grey on one half and gradually goes clear on the other half. What does this do? Imagine a scene where a person is standing inside a house beside window and it is bright daylight outside.  If you expose properly for the person inside the house, scene outside the window will be too bright and any detail of the scene outside the window will be lost in overexposed white highlights. A graduated grey or graduated neutral density filter rotated to fit the scene, will reduce  the brightness of the window scene while preserving the exposure of the person standing inside the house next to the window.  By reducing the contrast of the scene outside the window, you allow video to capture the scene both inside the house and outside the window. Likewise with a landscape composition with sky.  A graduated grey or graduated neutral density will reduce the contrast between the high's and low's of the scene and allow you to capture the scene with less blowouts.  

Learn to light like shooting film.   Lighting for the film-look is absolutely critical. This means lots of modeling, shadows instead of the flat blast of video light like what you see in news reel footage. Many TV shows and news room lighting strive for no-shadows lighting.  While this may be fine for studio work, you will wish to pursue lighting as part of your visual design for the piece you are shooting. If you don't see shadows, the lighting is flat.  Try to never shoot against

a white or beige background unless it it either out of your control or part of your production design. There are many good books on three dimensional lighting for film and video. If you light video with the same care like feature films, it will immediately increase the production value of your work by several magnitudes. The way to learn how to light is to read, read, read and watch lots of movies and videos.  

Create light and shadows in your light. This means creating shadows, patterns, shapes using flags, nets, scrims, gobos, cookies, cucoloris, etc.  

Layer your light and practicals to create depth. This means that in addition to your key light (the main light which illuminates your talent or scene, have additional lights in the background to create separation, depth and a perception of perspective within the camera frame.  Most everything you see in a 35mm film will do this to give a 3-dimensional look to a 2-dimensional film frame.  

Control the production color palette. Many new filmmakers fail to do this. Controlling your color palette means that you are involved in selecting the colors of the sets's walls, location settings, wardrobe choices and set decoration.  Allowing a caucasion blonde lead actress to wear beige to be filmed against a white wall is a surefire way to visual disaster unless that is your intention.  Having oversight over wardrobe also means you provide guidelines about the selection of fabric, colors and patterns.  For example, thin-striped patterns do not capture well as they tend to ring on playback.  Always, always, ask to go through wardrobe choices especially for your lead actors or you may find yourself in a corner not being to make your stars look good due to lack of control over the color palette.  *Do not* assume the wardrobe department knows what colors look best for the production's color palette.

First, I ask myself or the director what the scene is meant to convey and what the prime emotion we are trying to communicate.  Lighting and composition need to complement the storytelling.  If the mood happy, we may wish a nice 3-light setup with nice glamour light (key, fill, hairlight).   If the mood is tense or dark, I light to create menacing shadows or light it from underneath.  I may even light it directly overhead so that it casts shadows upon the face. If the time of day is supposed to be night, I may use minimal key light and white balance to create a blue tinge in the image. If the mood is romantic and intimate, I may use practical lighting and either white balance for a warmer tone or white balance for white and use an 81B warming filter instead.  Kino-Flos are also wonderful if the budget is there! Another great technique is to use chinese lanterns placed as a fill light or just under the lens connected to dimmers for wonderful fill and eye-light. 

Another solution is to buy a book on glamour portrait photography which has diagrams of lighting setups and their resulting image on 35mm film.  The lighting is almost always dramatic or flattering (glamour). You will learn more about painting with light using cookies, scrims, spots, cutouts and other devices than from the standard video lighting book.  A good one is: 

  NEW GLAMOUR      A Guide to Professional Lighting Techniques       (Pro Lighting series)       by Alex Larg and Jane Wood       ISBN  2-88046-322-X 

  Designed and Produced by:       Quintet Publishing Ltd.       6 Blundell Street       London  N7 9BH

This is by far the best book I have seen on glamour photography.  Although the book is written for 35mm still photography, the lighting setup diagrams, use of filters and the resulting  images can be used for video lighting conceptually are well worth the price.  Using this book as a starting point, one can

easily then improvise the setups needed for shooting a video  version of this.  If you follow, the techniques outlined in the book, I have no doubt that your video footage will stand out from the crowd. 

There are essentially three differences between amateur and pro work: 

  1. Composition (this includes camera movement)       2. Lighting       3. Use of filtration     

Simulating 8mm or 16mm black and white film with film grain

If you wish to simulate 8mm or 16mm black and white look and film grain with your TRV900, you can try this.  Please adapt the principles to your particular camera.  read the instruction manual that came with your camera if in doubt whether such features exist on yours.  The principles are still the same if you are shooting in manual mode. 

Mount a red filter on your camera.  I used a 3 f-stop Cokin #003 COEF+3 Red (A size). By using a 3 f-stop filter, you have reduced the amount of light entering the lens.  This is good because this will cause the camera to use slower shutters speeds or use digital gain to make the necessary exposure.  The red filter also enhances certain colors in black and white. 

Remember to white balance the camera WITHOUT the red filter or the effect of the red filter will be lost. 

Next, set your camera's PICTURE EFFECT (that's the button on the side behind the LCD screen) to "B&W" for black and white.  If your camera does not have this fetaure, shoot with a TV monitor and turn the color completely off so you can light for just black and white contrast. 

Next, if you are using PROGRAM modes, select the SPORT mode (that's the one with the icon of a guy swinging a golf club).  This forces the camera to use a faster shutter speed to aperture fast motion.  Correspondingly, the APERTURE of the camera will go into digital gain in order to capture the image.  This causes the camera to record the image with video noise - simulating black and white film grain. 

If you are using MANUAL exposure mode, then fix your shutter speed at as high a shutter speed as you can while maintaining enough digital gain to create visible noise in the image.  This is usually achieved when gain (the exposure beyond OPEN) is cranked above 6 db gain to 18 db gain. 

The fine-ness of the visible grain will depend on how much digital gain you trigger in the EXPOSURE of the camera. In this instance, I find it generally easier to use the SPORTS program mode with the red filter to achieve this effect. 

If you are trying to simulate a flashback scene in black and white where a person gets shot or killed and you want to see in in grainy black and white in slow motion without lip syncing dialogue, then select the TWILIGHT PROGRAM mode (looks like a candle).  This will make the camera use a slow shutter speed about 1/8 or 1/4 of a second.  This will result in a slow-shutter strobe which looks like blurry slow motion.  You can of course slow it further in editing. 

If using MANUAL exposure mode, then set for a slow shutter speed like 1/4 or 1/8 of a second with the exposure set between 6 db to 18 db gain.  To reduce enough light to make these settings possible when shooting in daylight, you may have to add a neutral density filter and also trigger the TRV900's internal neutral density filter.  If shooting at night, then this should not be a problem. 

In post-production editing, increase the CONTRAST settings of the video clip to obtain a deep, rich black in your blacks and to overexpose your whites.  This combined with the heightened grain will give an image that is artistic like the look of

pushed processed high contrast black and white film.     

Options for camera movements, start frame and end frames

Start with subject

Start away from subject and pan\tilt into subject

Dolly\slow zoom into subject

Dolly\slow zoom out from subject

Fade into scene from black

Fade out from scene to black

Fade into scene from white

Fade out from scene into white by riding the iris or exposure

Long shot

Wide shot

Medium shot

CU - close up

ECU - extreme close up

Tracking shot

Tilt up

Tilt down

Fix tripod on a wide shot and let actors perform like a stage in theatre (the opening of Stanley Tucci's "The Imposters" began like this)

From low POV (use bean bag - mine is filled with dried beans and lentils, or go to Cinekinetic for their Cine Saddle solution.

From high POV (climb on a ladder, high vantage point)

Use a steadicam device such as Steadicam, Steadytracker or Glidecam.

Rotate camera on its Z axis

Begin dialogue from from black

Dolly and pan

Dolly and tilt up\down

Macro shot

Normal to posterized shot

Long, long zoom compressed shot

Dolly back to reveal for end frame

Zoom out to reveal for end frame

Dolly in to heighten tension for end frame

Zoom in to heigthen tension for end frame

Dolly and reverse pan 180 degrees

Zoom out and reverse pan 180 degrees

Begin shot overhead using something like a Steadytracker

Pedestal down

Pedestal up

Dolly around shoulders for a moving over the shoulder shot

Low tracking using something like a low mount cage for Steadytracker

Rack focus between foreground and background elements

Try to compose with foreground and background elements to lend depth to the shot

From in-focus to out-of-focus

From out-of-focus to in-focus  

Why I chose Steadytracker

I have received several enquiries why I favored the Steadytracker over other makes. The Steadycam DV and JR are far too expensive to justify what they can do when there are better substitutes in my opinion.

The Glidecam uses a floating gimbal which makes it similar in design philosophy to the Steadicam JR and Steadicam DV/DVS.  This means the gimbal floats from the vertical rod that holds the stage (the platform plate that the camera is mounted to).

The floating gimbal design, while more stable if you can balance it, means it is also way more sensitive to imbalance and trimming and fine-balancing. The Steadycam JR is so sensitive that as your 63 minute tape moves from one reel to another through the course of recording, it will affect the floater's balance! This explains why the more expensive models utilize a body harness and arm brace of some sort to compensate for what I consider hyper-sensitivity.  Another reason for body brace is also to allow for a heavier camera

The Steadytracker's gimbal design simple and doesn't float.  It uses the human wrist for micro-movement adjustments. If you study the pictures from the Steadytracker's web site, it means that micro-muscle movement from a trained arm provides the balancing and fine-tuning that you need to use it.  So its design made sense to me after using the JR and not liking it it's hyper-sensitivity.  (Yes, I watched the JR's training video and went through the manual\worbook, line by line, item by item and spent 3 hours on trying to get it to work with a VX1000).

The Steadytracker was quick to balance and fine-tune and trim. Took me umm, all of 2 minutes to balance my TRV900 with BeachTek mounted and LCD screen flipped out.  All too often, operators are loathe to mount and dismount a camera from a Steadicam JR since the process of setting it up again is time consuming and approximates black magic in trying get it to balance and trimmed while trying the different combinations of stage mount holes, the grey rotating knob directly under the stage, mounting extra weight, trimming the left\right mount of the stage with the stage adjustment knobs, etc.   With the Steadytracker, these complexities do not apply.

Since the Steadytracker design does *not* use a floating gimbal, I am able to shoot over the shoulders by raising the Steadytracker far above my head, or begin with an over the head crane shot before transitioning downwards.  It means I can flip the unit with both hands at about 6 o'clock and turn it upright back to 12 o'clock in one move.  The others just can't move with such flexibility since they use a floating gimbal design.

With the optional low-mount cage (picture above - the girl in the centre is holding a Steadytracker Extreme with the optional low mount bracker), I can invert the Steadytracker and use it about 2-3 inches above ground and capture great running footage.  I can dangle the unit outside a car window and capture great side shots of the car with the sid eof the car and front tires framed.  I can do the same looking towards the rear of the car and still capture great footage just inches above the ground. Other designs cannot go so low to the ground for dramatic shots with either a wide angle or fisheye.

The design of the steadytracker means I can easily add more weight to compensate for adding more accessories.  You can also add more eight to the bottom of other designs but you have to re-balance and re-trim everything all over again as a small change in other designs translate into huge outcomes (kinda like the CHAOS theory in systems if you are familiar with it - a butterly flutters its wings in the Amazon and glaciers melt in the North Pole...). The fore-aft, left-right balancing of the camera on the stage is very very quick and simple compared to setting up the pre-drilled holes and getting it "right" for the JR,DV or Glidecam.  Very small changes make a *huge* difference in floating gimbal designs.  I didn't wish for such sensitivity and time-consuming balancing under real production conditions.

The build quality is excellent and sturdy although the prettiest design and paint finish is the Glidecam Pro.

There is nothing to break on the Steadytracker  - just maybe a few screws you can lose and easily replace.

Truthfully, any of these devices will give you great footage once you become an accomplished user. I just believe in KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.  All other things being equal,  I like simpler designs which if all other alternatives produce similar results.

Having said all this, you can build your own stabilization device very inexpensively by buying a Manfrotto monopod from a camera store.  Then buy a bag of beans or lentils that is approximately the same weight as your camera in shooting mode.  

Gaffer tape the bean bag to the bottom of the monopod.

Mount your camera to the monopod. Now shorten the monopod to about 3 feet and vary the height you hold the monopod till you find a

good balance.  - - If you are using the TRV900, you already have a the LCD screen to monitor your shots. Practice hold the monopod with one or two hands.

Congratulations! You know have a simple, inexpensive camera stabilization device! 

In addition, the bean bag will be a great asset for low-angle shots or any place where you can't setup a tripod easily! 

If the thought of this intimidates you, then buy the Glidecam 1000. It's a great value at USD $175.

Recording location sound

  Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 17:51:55 -0700       Subject: DV audio for shooting movies: mics and mixers 

Gary Grady wrote: How do you connect the FP33 mixer to the TRV900? Does the FP33 have a mic level output, and if not is it sufficient just to use a Radio Shack adapter/attenuator? Also, how do you set the level on the TRV900 if you're going to be riding level with the field mixer? 

You use a professional XLR (refers to the connector) mic like the ME66 and line into the Shure FP33. The FP33 will take up to four mics (if memory serves me right). Each mic channel has its own volume level and a Master level for the entire output going out of the FP33. The sound recorder operating the FP33 wears hi-quality headphones to monitor the signal going into the mixer. 

The FP33 needs to line into a BeachTek (or equivalent XLR adaptor box) in order to convert the line level into the mini-jack mic format for audio in. Set the TRV900 volume to a fixed input level - usually something reasonable at about 5 out of 10. Next the levels on the FP33 are set and your location sound recorder will dynamically adjust the levels of the sound (if and when required) of the FP33's signal going out to the TRV900. When shooting a DV movie - depending on the type of movie you want to shoot and directorial\artistic style, you use your rehearsal prior to rolling video to spot audio hotspots and know beforehand which audio spikes (if any) which will be performed during the shot. The rehearsal is also used to establish boom lines by your boom operator and your camera operator. 

Once the level on the TRV900 has been set, you don't touch it and use the FP33 to adjust the signal strength going into the camera. This makes it much easier for feature film shooting. If you are an event videographer, this of course is much less feasible. 

Lastly, the camera operator must also wear hi-quality (walkman headphones will do also) headphones to monitor the audio signal going into the camera. Because audio recordings on video tape are synched together on the videotape, unlike conventional film camera audio recordings where the audio and picture are separate, the cam-op. must verify the audio signal going into the camera. This is ultimately the signal that will be recorded to tape. This is because the little connectors sometimes come loose during production, changing setups, etc. If cam-op. does not wear headphones, the audio going into the camera may be compromised even though the signal going to the field mixer is fine. 

In DV filmmaking, some filmmakers have opted to separate the video and audio recording. Some use DAT (digital audio tape) or Nagra or Sony's Minidisc to record sound. In my experience so far, I have not found it to be necessary as DV sound quality is either 12-bit or 16-bit and can record up to 48khz which is greater than CD sound at 44khz. 

The weakness of consumer DV is the RC code it uses instead of SMPTE time code. If you need extensive post-production audio sweetening, you will be better off laying your final cut audio to a BetaSP or Digital Betacam with SMPTE

so the sync. between your audio and video will be flawless.  If you are using a TRV900, there are methods to avoid dropping timecode at all.  See below for a further explanation how you can avoid dropping timecode. 

Some users have opted to use a high quality boom mic mounted to the video camera itself. 

The most important thing to practice your equipment setup and operators. Not everyone is suited to be a sound recorder or boom operator. So find the people you will work with and practice and listen\view your work before actual production. It will save you much grief and heartache. 

Note: The Shure FP33A is a professional-grade, portable field mixer.     

Why consumer miniDV cameras drop time code

Consumer miniDV timecode is called RCTC or Rewritable Consumer Time Code. Time code is laid to tape the first time the tape is used to record. This timecode is written on a specific place on the tape as specified by the format.   The professional cameras using miniDV use either drop-frame or non-drop frame SMPTE timecode. 

The timecode is displayed on your camera this way: 

hour : minutes : seconds : frames = 00:00:00:00

If your miniDV tape is forwarded beyond the last recorded frame (there are 30 frames in 1 second of video), the time code will reset to 00:00:00:00 no matter what its previous setting was.  Do not make this part of your workflow habit!    

How to avoid dropping time code

With analog, filmmakers were relying on visual slating to identify scenes and takes. Digital technology requires that we learn some new skills to take advantage of the efficiencies of the technology.  Here are different methods to avoid dropping timecode.  Take your pick. 

The least recommended way to avoid dropping timecode is to stripe each blank tape with timecode before using them to record images.  This means you put a new tape in the camera, keep the lens cap on and record black onto the entire tape to write timecode on it.  When reusing the tape in the future, you will not drop any timecode since it has already been written once.  The disadvantage of this method is that it is time consuming (each 63 minute tape?) and doubles the wear and tear on your recording heads.

1. Another way to avoid dropping timecode is to purchase a camera with SMPTE timecode.  At the moment, these are the JVC DV500U and Sony's PD100a.  There are other cameras in the 4:1:1 gamut that also use SMPTE but these are the expensive cameras and don't all come with firewire built-in and are designed for electronic news gathering.

2. When rewinding in-camera for playback, use the END EDIT SEARCH function on your TRV900 (this function is not available on all DV cameras) to automatically forward your tape in-camera to its last recorded frame.  This is the most accurate way if you choose to rewind your tape in-camera after recording for playback before continuing to record.  This only works if you have not removed the tape from the camera between recording and playback.

3. If using a Sony camera, buy the more expensive Sony tapes with the IC chip, these will continue to retain timecode even if you remove the tape from the camera between recordings and playbacks.  While this may be way more expensive than buying regular tapes, there could be an advantage.

4. If you rewind the tape for playback between recordings, manually forward the tape to the last few seconds of the last shot. Start recording again before the last second of the previous take. The timecode will continue from its last written point chronologically.

5. Use a shot log.

How a shot log benefits your batch digitization

When you have finished shooting your  project, you should have a tape(s) of your raw footage all labelled consistently with your shot log.

Connect your camera or DV deck to your computer video capture board.  Insert tape lablled "My movie #1" into the camera or deck.  Now go to your video capture software and start it up.  *Depending* on your video capture board and video capture software, you  may or may not have a function\feature called batch capture or batch digitization.   My Canopus DVRaptor using Raptor Video certainly supports it. With this feature, I can manually input the Time In and Time Out of only the good takes from my shot log.  The end results may differ in appearance but will have this essential information. 

The following example uses the good takes from the example above and assumes your are using a long filename capable naming convention and using the AVI video file format. 

Time In           Time Out            Clip Name 00:03:21:00       00:04:48:00         e:\data\project\jack-jill\jack_falls_down.avi 00:04:49:00       00:06:16:00         e:\data\project\jack-jill\jack_falls_down_02.avi 00:09:04:00       00:11:03:00         e:\data\project\jack-jill\jill_tumbling_after.avi

Once you have entered the Time In's and Time Out's for all the good takes on for your tape called "My movie #1" you hit the button to start batch video capture and go for some recreation, coffee, a walk, a shower or swim or run, etc.  When you come back, all the good takes from your 63 minute tape will be logged into the folder\directory called e:\data\project\jack-jill\ and waiting for you to insert into the timeline of your favorite non-linear editing software. This assumes that your video capture software and hardware has the ability to control your camera via a control protocol. 

This procedure which I have outlined is a great time saver and comes with cinematographic discipline. Once this method of keeping a shot log is utilized it affords you the efficiency of shooting DV and selecting an editing system that complements it.  Slating and shuttling the tape back and forth in search of good takes is time consuming and wears down the mechanicals of your player\camera.