Easy to use - not iMovie6 - Final cut express #?

Discussion in 'Video' started by christian_stahl, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. I'm a musician (Early Music) and need to make a few documentations over the next few years. I have a DV Camera (Panasonic NV-GS 300), professional audio equipment, and an iMac 20-inch.
    I tryed iMovie06, liked it very much, but have several problems:
    - I can't integrate pictures/slideshows, because of the image quality (the get converted to DV and look very fuzzy)
    - There's only one video track, so cuts are a litte difficult (transitions are very tedious because footage gets used up, and audio sync is difficult to maintain)
    I had heared FCE 3,5 was the solution. Then up came FCE 4 and reactions are split.
    Here's an experiment as an example, please note the audio is from the cameras mic: http://web.mac.com/stahlchristian/Videos/Luckau.html
    So, suggestions?
  2. FCE of any version will be fine.
  3. Christian, a few comments not directly addressing your question:
    I have also experienced quality issue when integrating still pictures (on a PC + Sony Vegas) which was traced to resampling during video output rendering; it seems best results are obtained when images are externally processed and resized (to the video's maximum export resolution, 720x480 for example) prior to importing into your editing program.
    I noticed your sample video contains a picture with portrait orientation. It is best to re-frame still pictures to occupy full video screen even if at the expense of compositional aesthetics so you don't throw away 50% of usable resolution and avoids black side-bands. Transitions will also looks more seamless.
    You may already know this: One way to overcome a single camera point of view is to shoot multiple video tracks akin to audio overdubs using the audio track as your repeat performance reference - lipsync equivalent, if you will. You can then cross-transition between video tracks to create more interest.
  4. Michael, thanks for the input.
    I can't reframe with iMovie06, but good point - I'll try that with ... I guess FCE.
    I had though about "lipsync equivalent". Early Music is really very, very unplugeed (there are even gut-coloured strings out so you can hide the fact you don't play gut in live performances). I should give it a try, but I'm afraid it won't work here... not sure.
    I guess it would be better to have several takes with multiple cameras all set up at different positions, use the best take and "flip" between the diffent videos of the take - requiring several cameras...
    Josh, thanks for your comment. Is there anything else to say about FCE except that it's "fine" - I know some people don't think so, then again, I don't know what goals they have.
    Well, thanks anyway.
  5. Josh, thanks for your comment. Is there anything else to say about FCE except that it's "fine" - I know some people don't think so, then again, I don't know what goals they have.​
    On some level you can find people who crap on just about anything. This is just my opinion, but for most amateur, semi-pro, and even a lot of pro DV stuff, the abilities of FCE aren't going to hold you back. And if it is holding you back, you are going to have to make a big step up in video systems to make the difference. I amy be missing some information (as I don't use FCP) but most of the differences between something like FCE and FCP aren't the kind of thing that will make a difference for your intended use.
    Again, this is just my opinion and I'm only a hobbist/semi-pro video guy.
  6. Christian, I understand the challenges you face, made even worse if you're also the performer.
    I have attempted the single-camera multi-shoot with a solo pianist, grand piano on a performing stage. The primary shot was a diagonal closeup of hands on keyboard. The others consisted of a wide shot from about 10th row, back shot of the pianist, front shot from the tip of the piano - lid-up, and a walk around shot for movement. The static cameras were augmented with pan and zoom.
    With a little cleaver editing, the result was actually quite convincing. All but the closeup was enough to hide the hands. The biggest challenge was keeping the camera steady in the walk-around without a mechanical stabilizer (but did have optical stabilization).
    Audio was through a stereo M-S microphone about 15' away, 8' off the ground. Each performance was live as solo pianists can almost never play in sync with even their own performances given the nature of personal interpretation and rapid passages.
    Just thought I would share a bit of experience from which may spring new ideas.
  7. "Just thought I would share a bit of experience from which may spring new ideas"
    Which you did. A wide shot quite far away will be fine with playback. I'd be interested in the outcome of the walk-around - the optical stabilzer is supposed to be quite good with the 300. I hadn't thought about anything but tripod work, no wanting to look too unprofessional (of course someone else has to do the walk-around, sorry for stating that); but maybe that's an option.
    I'm more concerned with the flute player, but I guess it's fine for extreme long shots.
    "On some level you can find people who crap on just about anything."
    If that's the problem I'd be glad to use FCE. But I haven't been so happy with Apple in some respects. I tested Aperture and couldn't use it, and am very happy with a iPhoto/Nikon NX 2.
    Thanks to both of you!
  8. These things have a way of quickly growing into a big deal, Christian, but you did say "over the next few years". :)
    I generally try to choreograph camera movements with the music which was a challenge in the example of Chopin's Grand Polonaise Brillante. From the Early Music example you shared, I can imagine slow movements using a tripod dolly (~$50) which will be an easier solution for a casual helper than a hand-held walk-around.
    My experience with optical stabilization is its effective ability in damping (higher frequency) hand jitter, but not very useful for smoothing larger movements such as those from walking (sideways). I have tried various home-made counterweight damping solutions with varying degrees of success but all were awkward and heavy to use. I also never wanted to look like a space cadet wearing a body harness just to stabilize the camera. So I'm still searching for a practical and low cost solution.

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