Video using Z6 and the 24-200 S Lens

Discussion in 'Video' started by Mary Doo, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. I was terrified of shooting videos with a camera. Not sure why. Now just about all newer cameras are equipped with competent video features, so I thought there was no excuse not to try. Hwvr, it was not easy to overcome the reluctance. I had to enroll in a video class for the push to to do it. So here is my project, using the Z6 with the 24-200mm S lens, and the Deity 4 Duo video mic, with or without a a tripod with a fluid head, The most time-consuming part was kludging along with Adobe Premiere Pro.

    The Point Judith and Beavertail lighthouses
  2. First you need a dedicated video head on your tripod
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
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  3. Looks like VR is fighting your panning.

    Is there a Mode 2 or Sport that allows lateral movement, but smooths vertical for handheld panning?

    Im guessing all stabilizing should be OFF for tripod stuff?

    I say guessing cos i don't do much video either.!
    Mary Doo likes this.
  4. To make the video watchable, you need to achieve smoother pans and if possible either avoid zooming or make those zoomings slow and smooth. Fluid heads are wonderful for smooth pans if you use a tripod. You might also find them excellent for still photography with long lenses. For shorter focal lengths, to achieve smooth movement while maintaining your ability to change camera position, you could also consider a motorized gimbal such as DJI's Ronin series. You could also try smoothing movement in post-processing if you have suitable software. I've tried Premiere's warp stabilizer. I am sure there are many other algorithms and software that can help with removing jerky movements.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  5. I was about the same, a dyed-in-the-wool still photog, with a leaning towards monochrome, so video was frightening. Figuring out the basic settings was most of the battle and I don't have panning mastered yet, but then one also has to learn a new editing program. I did dozens of tests with formats to get to video that looked good enough to please me and was still small enough to upload. Take everybody's suggestions here (I am!) & shoot lots of practice stuff. BTW, I really like the photographer walking in front of the lighthouse with the camera and tripod; did you stage that or just got lucky?
    Mary Doo likes this.
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  7. I like the subject matter in your video project, including the "noire" look. Keep at it.

    The general rule is to avoid panning or zooming within a given shot. Like the 4th wall, video rules are broken in order to enhance cinematic intent. Zooming is seldom used in a shot, outside of sports and special effects. Sliders (sideways) and dollies (fore and aft) are much more common in cinema.

    When reframing a shot, I prefer to jump to a second static camera, in editing, to cover the pan or zoom. With a single camera, you can remove the transition in editing, and replace it with a hard cut (most common these days), or an animated transition (cross fade, dip to black, etc).

    In order to get a smooth pan, you need a fluid head, which are usually priced to start where a good ball head leaves off (~ $500). There should be no slip-stick action, which allows you to pan by applying pressure to the handle, rather than grabbing and moving it. Since video heads have only two axes of motion, you must level the head each time you set up to keep the horizon level. The good news is that a fluid head is equally effective for still photography, especially with long lenses and for panoramas and possibly wildlife.

    In order to get a smooth zoom, you need a motorized lens. Just touching the lens will cause an annoying jiggle. You can get by with a pull focus knob, geared to the zoom rather than focus ring. It's better to use a motor drive geared to the lens. Some cameras have a digital zoom, which may work for you. The range is limited but it is completely jiggle-free, and can often be controlled remotely. Zoom (or dolly) in cinema is used to draw the viewer into the scene, gently. The same for panning (sliding). Both add a 3D effect without huge changes. Sony makes three affordable motorized zoom lenses, and there may be others.

    A motorized gimbal mitigates and smooths out most camera motion, without a tripod. With a gimbal, you can simulate slides, dollies and crane shots. You can shoot at ankle level, or while walking, with very little bobbing (using the classic, Groucho Marx walk). Most video clips are under 15 seconds, which helps when holding a 5-8 pound rig, even with two hands. I put mine on a monopod, for setup shots and frequent respite. Warning: Never let go of the handle while the gimbal is on. It will whip around like a trapped tiger (don't ask). You can also use a gimbal in place where tripods are forbidden, as on city streets and the National Mall.

    It's been a long time ago, but I learned the most from a book on Premiere Pro by They still have an online course, and possibly a book too. Lynda concentrates on what tools to use for a practical project. Most, including the Adobe Classroom in a Book series, teach you what the program controls do, but not when and why to use them. Learning Premiere Pro

    A7iii video rig with Sony 200-600 zoom
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2020
    Mary Doo likes this.
  8. Which Manfrotto head is that Ed?
  9. I'm using a Manfrotto Nitrotech 612 for this setup. It's rated to counterbalance a load of 8.8 to 26.4 pounds. Their smaller head, the 608 is very nice for lighter loads. It's not a true fluid head, but still very smooth in both directions. The counterbalance is easily and continuously adjustable and the QR is side entry (tilt and snap down, no need to thread a heavy camera from the end). With a V-mount battery (not shown) the camera weighs a little over 13 pounds.

    Manfrotto 612 Nitrotech Fluid Video Head

    The servo motors for focus and zoom are very powerful. You need to brace the lens against the torque. I found it necessary to add a top strap to the lens support. For conventional use, the lens can be supported by its foot, with the camera supported by the lens. For a more compact setup, I use a base plate with an RRS clamp and short rails to support the battery. The internal battery will last for about 1/2 hour, enough for most purposes. I shoot events lasting 1-1/2 hours or more, with a 90 watt-hour battery lasting 4-7 hours.
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  10. I was just lucky. So I kept that footage.

    Thanks for all the responses and critiques. There is so much to learn! :eek::(

    I ordered quite a few books last night. Let's see...;)
  11. A "true" fluid head relies on a viscous fluid between closely spaced plates. The resistance is adjusted by varying the area of overlap, adjusted with a sort of transmission. This is an expensive mechanism, but has not slip-stick action at all. Heads of this caliber, in the $2K+ category usually have roller bearing pivots rather than bushings, and are built to last a very long time. I would not be surprised to see heads that have been used for 30 years or more.

    Less expensive heads use a silicone grease between teflon or brass plates, with resistance adjusted by spring tension. Better heads, like the Nitrotech cited above, have no noticeable "stick" at the beginning of a pan or tilt. I have noticed that they develop a little "lost motion" after a couple of years of heavy use, particularly in the panning axis. The other issue is that the action of pseudo-fluid heads gets very stiff if left in the car in freezing weather. My Miller CX10 head can be used down to 0F or below, even though I have no desire to work under those conditions. I've had it frost up when the case is opened in a warm room, and still work well.

    In fairness, the head will warm up to inside temperature by the time you get everything set up. If you are chasing arctic foxes in wintertime, let me know how it works for you ;)

    A very desirable feature is a counterbalance system, which offsets the high center of gravity as the head is tilted. The restoring force increases in a sinusoidal fashion the further the head is tilted. You start by balancing the camera with the counterbalance set to a low value, by sliding the plate fore and aft with the head level. You then increast the spring until you can tilt the camera up or down, and it will hold its position without using the handle. It's never perfect, in part because the center of gravity varies from rig to rig. However it's usually possible to balance it to hold at +/- 30 degrees. If you're shooting downward from a balcony, you adjust the counterbalance to hold at the angles you are using the camera. The Nitrotech is unique in using a gas spring with an infinitely adjustable linkage, with about the same amount of force required throughout its range.

    One last thought. The operating controls for the head (tension and locks) should be on the left side so you don't have to change hands on the handle. I've only had one good head that violated that "rule", and Manfrotto should have known better.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  12. Just curious, but why has Mary's original post about the use of Nikon gear to make video, been moved out of the NIKON EQUIPMENT forum into generic video?

    I never knew the NIKON FORUM was dedicated to stills only.
  13. I suspect it was moved precisely because the Nikon forum is stills-oriented, and often treats video with mild disgust.

    Videography, on the other hand, is less focused on cameras, and more on tools and techniques dedicated to that task.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  14. Really?

  15. Sorry. I can't resist adding more PUNishment.
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