Questions about stock footage making

CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
Hello, my science teacher recently pulled out some really cool elements that burn awesomely! I asked her if I could film some of them and she said yes! So on Friday I shall come brandishing my video camera a tripod and a black background. Just how exactly do I do all of this?
Since I'm filming it on a black background will everything work if you set the mode to add? Is their a special camera mode? Will this even work?
Anything else I need to know before I go and film it?
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Comments

  • Nate066Nate066 Website User Posts: 191
    Hello, my science teacher recently pulled out some really cool elements that burn awesomely! I asked her if I could film some of them and she said yes! So on Friday I shall come brandishing my video camera a tripod and a black background. Just how exactly do I do all of this?
    Since I'm filming it on a black background will everything work if you set the mode to add? Is their a special camera mode? Will this even work?
    Anything else I need to know before I go and film it?

    You will have to key it out using a luma keyer(Hitfilm Has It).

  • mark_emark_e Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    edited April 2014
    Hello, my science teacher recently pulled out some really cool elements that burn awesomely! I asked her if I could film some of them and she said yes! So on Friday I shall come brandishing my video camera a tripod and a black background. Just how exactly do I do all of this?
    Since I'm filming it on a black background will everything work if you set the mode to add? Is their a special camera mode? Will this even work?
    Anything else I need to know before I go and film it?


    Get a whole load of test shots to get the exposure correct first, you need to capture the different colours if you are not careful everything will come out white and clipped.  So set the exposure manually for what you expect to flare up that will underexpose the background but as that's going to be black that's ok  also set the white balance manually as well.  If I were going to do that shot I'd probably be thinking about setting WB to about 5000k so I knew what I had to work from keep ISO at lowest so ISO200 ish, manual focus prior to the ignition then play around with aperture and shutter speed to see what looks best but for when it's alight not before, higher shutter speed will give crisper results, lower will give more blury but you many need an nd flter as well as it will be bright.  
    Planning ahead will be key I would buy some matches and spend a good hour or so filming them burning with different settings and setups until you have an effect you like before you go on location make a note of the settings then get on to setting fire to the real stuff using them as a base to work from.
    Good luck, filming and setting fire to stuff perfect day :-)

  • AxelWilkinsonAxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,242 Staff
    Using Add mode would be ideal for that sort of effect.  Another thing you might try with the camera is using the Spot Light mode, if it has one.  Some cameras will have a mode specifically for filming live performance, where there is lots of black, and one really bright spot, and they adjust the exposure for the brightest areas of the image, so nothing overexposes.  Doing test shots as mark_e suggested is good, and I would do that too, but sometimes when you are filming something that will vary in intensity from one take to the next, its difficult to know where to set the exposure in advance.
    But manual focusing will be critical, else you will lose the beginning of each effect as the brightness appears and the camera searches for focus.
  • DanilothDaniloth Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 52 Enthusiast
    I'm no expert, but in case these two aren't obvious...
    I'd also recommend filming at the highest resolution/bitrate possible, and do your best to ensure you get everything in-frame, so there's no flame clipping at the top, or particles vanishing to the sides.  Again, that's ideally.
  • mark_emark_e Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    The other thing I thought of as well is if you are using a black background perhaps make sure it's not too close to the flame else it's going to pick up a lot of the light and won't be black any more so perhaps try with it a little way back assuming it's big enough.
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    Use the highest frame rate you can get. Even 60fps 720p is better than 30fps 1080p
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    My camera has an action shot mode for doing slo mo stuff... Like people jumping in water. I shall probably use that and set a custom exposure and b and w balance and focus.

    One I'm worried about is Iron. When that one burns sparks fly everywhere (it's used in the ground sparkle fireworks). How can I set the focus so that sparks flying aren't out of focus?
  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited April 2014
    Good luck! Hope you post an example or two when you're done and a brief explanation how you did it i.e. camera settings and placement.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    If you can raise your shutter speed and lower your aperture you can reduce motion blur and increase depth of field.
  • AxelWilkinsonAxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,242 Staff
    To clarify, you want to reduce your aperture size, which means increasing the aperture number.
    I would disagree about framerate being more important than resolution.  Higher framerates are good for making the effect look larger than it actually is, since they let you slow the effect down more.  But if the resolution isn't sufficient, then it doesn't really matter what the framerate is.  Ideally, shooting a higher framerate is what you want, but I wouldn't sacrifice resolution for framerate.  I can see how that would be a matter of preference though, based on the way each person uses their stock effects.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    Axel, thanks for clarifying the Aperture note: (Axel, if you see this, you can ignore the bit where I explain progressive vs interlaced footage and skip to the line in BOLD)
    Ooooh, here comes one of my really long posts on framerate and resolution:
    Ok--so... Not certain what camera you have, but I am going to use North American frame rates for this--European is a little different, but the principal is the same.
    First off, if your camera can record 1080P at 60 FPS, then just use that. ;-) Skip the rest of this post.
    Chances are your camera can record in both 720p and 1080p at 24 and 30 fps. There's a good chance that your camera can shoot 720p at 60 fps. There's also a good chance your camera can record 1080 60i.
    So---which to use for slow motion?
    Axel correctly points out that greater temporal resolution (frames per second) is most helpful when attempting to slow things down for scale: to make things look bigger, but that greater spacial resolution (pixels resolution/pixels per frame) will give more detailed images.
    So:
    1280x720 footage has 921,600 pixels of spatial resolution
    1920x1080 footage has 2,073600 pixels of spatial resolution.
    1080p footage has more pixels. Easy.
    But, let's assume you're shooting for slow motion: Would I want to use 720p, OR, if my camera lets me do so, would I rather use 1080i?
    When talking "1080p" vs "1080i" we're looking at progressive vs interlaced display formats. Progressive frames draw every line, top to bottom, in order, once per frame. Interlaced frames are a little different: Interlaced frames are split into fields. Each field is half of the full frame, drawing every other line during the first field, then drawing the other half of the frame during the second field (btw: SD footage is "lower field first." This means it draws lines 2,4,6,8, etc, then goes back and draws 1,3,5,7. HD interlaced footage is "upper field first," and draws 1,3,5,7 first, then goes back for 2,4,6,8. There was no smart reason to do this other than to make that transitional period when people had to mix SD and 1080i footage on a timeline a big pain in the butt.)
    But, even though interlaced footage is still clocked at "30" frames per second (ok, 29.97), it's still capturing each field seperately. This means that 1080i footage has a temporal resolution of 60 frames per second... at half resolution. (Btw, if you're watching old SD footage, like a DVD on a computer screen and you see "tearing" or "combing" of edges in fast moving frames, what you're seeing is both of the separate fields drawn at the same time--however this is compressing the temporal resolution, and you're seeing the movement between field 1 and field 2.)
    So--what does this mean?
    It means if your camera shoots 720p at 60 fps and 1080i, I'm going to suggest using 1080i.
    So--720p has a resolution of 921,600 pixels. A 1080i image can be seperated into slow-motion frames, but you'll lose half of the resolution, which makes your 1080i footage an effective 1920x540. 1920x540 is 1,036,800 pixels. Actually a higher resolution than the 720 footage.
    However, the possible key here is having Vegas or FCPX or another NLE. In Vegas, I can take 1080i footage into a 30fps timeline and get a super-smooth half-speed slow motion (at 1920x540). If I'm taking that same 1080i footage into a 24fps timeline I can slow that footage to 40% with perfect smoothness (60/24=0.4). Since Vegas works with interlaced footage, Vegas will interpolate the missing field, filling in the missing lines: Yes, it will be softer than full 1080p footage, but it's sill going to be higher resolution and sharper than upscaling 720p footage.
    However, if we stay in Hitfilm:
    The Line in BOLD for Axel:
    Hitfilm doesn't use interlaced footage at all---there are good reasons for this: interlacing is a pain in the butt and it makes several compositing tasks harder for a computer. When you import interlaced footage into Hitfilm it's going to treat it as progressive.
    I THINK that Hitfilm basically combines fields on import to effectively just  immediately create progressive footage. If so, this can yield the "comb" artifacts mentioned above, and you won't get the advantages of being able to properly slow 1080i footage directly in Hitfilm.
    Unless the software is still storing the individual fields? THis is my question for Axel--If I imported 1080 50/60i footage into Hitfilm, if I use the speed effect to slow it down by 50%, will Hitfilm extract and interpolate the individual fields, or will it just "step print" the field-combined frames?
    Anyway, if Hitfilm can interpolate the fields then shoot 1080i and slow it in Hitfilm. If you have Vegas, FCPX or any other NLE that can use interlaced footage, shoot 1080i and use that NLE to export your slow-mo footage for Hitfilm. If Hitfilm can't interpolate fields and you don't have another NLE, then you'll have to decide for yourself what's more important to capture between temporal or spacial resolution.
    Anyway, you do this Friday, so you should have time to shoot some tests according to the notes everyone has given you.
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    Ok I have everything official set up! First off my camera can do these
    1920x1080 @ 60 fps, 1920x1080 @ 24 fps, 1440x1080 @ 30 fps and 640x480 @ 30 fps.
    Based on tritem's thesis I am going to go with the 1920x1080 @ 60 fps... Right?

    I have the science room booked on Thursday (change of plans) and will practice with candle and flame tomorrow

    Now I just have a few questions!
    1. How far should the camera be away? I want it safe, but I also want it capturing as much light as possible. Non digital zooming on that one is quite powerful.
    2. Where will I find a black backdrop.... For the life of me I can't find one in my house.... Anyone know of a product at a store that would suffice? (Preferably non flammable)
    3. Should I film with room lights on or off?

    Then I need to find out the best settings for filming these include
    Exposure
    ISO
    Black and white balance
    Missing any?

    Thanks for all your help and guidance!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    Hmmmm....
    Camera distance.... How far back is the teacher going to make the students stand? That's a good indicator of safety...
    Black backdrop--no black sheets at home? In my experience, for black backgrounds they don't have to be quite as even as a greenscreen. Maybe a local grocery, office supply or electronics store will have some old boxes you can have. If you can get a box for something like a TV and slice it to open flat and spraypaint that sucker with a matte black, that should probably work. That's also going to be somewhat easy to carry and you can just clamp it up? That also gives you something more rigid than fabric? Bear in mind, cardboard is flammable, but read on.
    How far back should your black be? Well, it's kind of like shooting greenscreen again, so you want SOME distance. Maybe 6 to 10 feet? My guess is that 6 to 10 feet will also be the distance your teacher will have everyone stand back. Someone else might have a better idea here.
    Ideally, you should film with the lights off. Any room lights are going to get cast on your black background, and, of you don't have a proper BG you'll get some spill. Plus possible shadows from students, etc. The issue here being is it safe for you teacher to mess around with fire in a dark room. If the room lights have dimmers, maybe take the room lights down to about 25% so you can all see for safety, but have a nice dark room to shoot? If you don't have dimmers, but have multiple light switches, try to turn off half the room lights at least.
    White balance is tricky--the thing about burning elements is that you're looking for the different colors they burn, and, by definition, the color temperature of each element is going to be different. Go for either 3200 or 5600 (aka Tungsten or Daylight) and don't worry about it too much.
    ISO and iris settings? Well, I think your tests with the candle are going to help you there. If you live in an area where fireworks are legal, do you think you could get your hands on a couple of sparklers? Those are going to have varied flame colors and some sparks and would be a great test subject!
    Basically you're trying to film something that's very tricky to shoot. Dark BG, bright flame, try not to blow out the highlights. Even a company that professionally shoots these kinds of things for stock libraries is going to shoot several tests to get everything dialed in, so on Friday, no matter what you'll have to be prepared to adjust things on the fly. However, you're being smart and doing tests ahead of time, so you'll be getting a starting point.
    Do you know what elements are being burned? Something like copper or sodium is going to be relatively dim and saturated. magnesium is going to be the brightest white you'll ever see (Magnesium used to be used in old-style camera flashes). You should ask your teacher what's getting burned and observations on what's brighter and what's dimmer so you can plan ahead.
    YOu're going to show us some of your footage once it's shot, right? ;-)
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    With the background, bear in mind that if you're filming a super-bright element, all lights in the room are turned off and windows blocked, and have your camera's exposure set correctly, you might not even NEED a black background - everything except for the pyro is likely to be too dark to be seen anyway.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    What Simon and Tooshka say are correct, but aren't the pros shooting either outside in a. Parking lot at night, or in a very large warehouse space? A classroom demo is likely to be a smaller space.

    I would recommend trying to get a black background anyway. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Yeah, a small interior makes it tricky as the pyro is likely to illuminate the surroundings as well. The benefit of a warehouse or open space is that other surfaces are far enough away that the light falloff from the subject means the light never reaches it sufficiently.
  • mark_emark_e Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    I think everyone is in agreement it's going to be tricky to pull off  :D good luck, some great advice above don't get put off if it doesn't work this time around you might have to put it down as a learning experience but hopefully you get some usable footage!  
    If it were me knowing I had to shoot that I'd be doing so as much pre work and testing as I could to maximize the chance of success.  fingers crossed!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    What's your camera?
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    edited April 2014
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    Uh I started testing with a candle... And it didn't go well. The candle looked like a huge blob and I couldn't find exposure and ISO setting... Reading my manual but it is not to helpful. How can I make this work? Can I get it to the point where you can see the layers of the flame?
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    edited April 2014
    Finally, after much experimenting inside of my secret lab i finally got it!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAY
    I also used that as a chance to test blending modes... and i got this really awesome thing!
    [attachment=906:abstract.png]
    I learned so much about my camera today!
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    Good job! Evening well spent!
  • mark_emark_e Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out
    Finally, after much experimenting inside of my secret lab i finally got it!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAY
    I also used that as a chance to test blending modes... and i got this really awesome thing!
    attachicon.gifabstract.png
    I learned so much about my camera today!


    Nice one Caleb well done looks good, I find that's the best way to learn for me as well, have something I want to achieve in my head then figure out how on earth I do it!
    Good luck with the live shoot!

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Shooting unusual or extreme stuff like this is indeed a great way to learn how your camera works. It forces you to put everything on manual and set it up correctly - which is usually what you should do for every shot, but for everyday filming it's easy to rely on the auto settings. If you apply a lot of the technique and advice in this topic to your normal shooting you'll find you start to get better visuals there, too.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    Knowing your camera is so KEY to shooting effectively.
    OK, so I purchased a Canon XF305 recently--couple weeks ago I had my first job shoot--Shooting afke accident scene and jail booking for a "don't drink and drive" program--but this was a live demo, so we're talking about no retakes--so real setting up shots as such. We have 8 accident victims--two fatalities, 6 wounded, one arrested. Four police cars, two police motorcycles, Four ambulences, two fire trucks, two paramedics, the coroner, and they flipping "jaws of life" a car apart! Our lighting conditions are cloudless, with the accident vehicles being dark, with a white wall "behind" and the sun about 70 degrees straight up to the "right." TERRIBLE lighting for run n' gun (an hour before we had lovely fog and haze... it burned off :( ) Camera 1 stayed by the accident scene at all times. I'm Camera 2--I can get shots around the accident, but I'm catching the outskirts--fire trucks/paramedics/Coroner are "Left," Ambulances and a fire truck "Right." Both about 100 feet from accident site. So, I have a lot of running around, and I have a lot of turning my camera from full front-lit to full back-lit. Full manual on zoom, focus and iris. You'll see some of my shots later....
    I didn't realize that the Zebra 1 on this Canon is "Target-Value +/1 5%" i.e., if I have a target at "80%) Zebras show from 75%-85%. On my old Panasonics Zebras show target to 100. Since a viewfinder shade is out of the question when going from running alongside a gurney, rising from wheels to patient, I rely on my zebras--I aim for specular highlights on a caucasian to hit 80% (this gives me good skin tones and some headroom for background. Works well except for darker Africans--then you have to iris up a bit). Since my zebras weren't what I expected, on the first of the two days of shooting, about a third of my footage was overexposed--now, we're taking a 90 minute event to cut to a 15 minute thing, so I gave the editor what he needed, but the point is, I hadn't done my homework (learning my new camera, not treating it like the old one with different control placement), and I made dumb mistakes on a well-paying gig.
    So, the point of all of this is I'm glad you were smart enough to shoot tests and to ask for advice--as Simon noted, extreme situations are when you need to know your camera. My shoot above and what you're shooting on Friday are among the hardest types of lighting situations to shoot run n' gun.
    I do like the blend mode experiment, but I'd like to see a shot of your candle to see how you got your contrast.
    Oh, have you considered an ND (Neutral Density) filter? This is basically like sunglasses for your lens, but it gives you more options. Using an ND filter you could open your iris more if you wanted a more shallow DoF, or lower your shutter speed if you want more motion blur. Just a thought. :-)
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    A slight aside to Tooshka - one tip I've read in numerous places regarding Canon DSLRs in video mode is that you don't necessarily want to go for the absolute lowest ISO, as they can be noisier than some slightly higher ISOs. eg, ISO 160 is supposedly slightly nicer than the lower ISOs.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador

    A slight aside to Tooshka - one tip I've read in numerous places regarding Canon DSLRs in video mode is that you don't necessarily want to go for the absolute lowest ISO, as they can be noisier than some slightly higher ISOs. eg, ISO 160 is supposedly slightly nicer than the lower ISOs.
    With Canon DSLR's, I believes 100/160 is the "native" ISO of the sensor... Higher AND lower ISO's are manipulating gain, which is what can lead to increased noise. Add in that it's using line-skipping to downsample a 14+ megapixel image to a 2 megapixel 1080p image instead of interpolation, and you get even more prominent noise and moire.
    Nothing wrong with the T3i.My own research leads me to the T3i as beinging the "low" sweet-spot Canon, the 7d being the "mid" and the 5Dmk3 as the "high." The other models being underpowered/overpriced for their tiers.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,268 Ambassador
    Heck, I just picked up a T3i myself a few months ago. Body, two batteries, battery grip. $330 with tax and shipping.

    Sometimes some OT is ok. ;-)
  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    Started working on the footage! It is working great! I only wish i didn't cut off the sparks... cause sometimes i was not tilted correctly here are a few previews!  These are only highlights from the first half.
    [attachment=910:1.png][attachment=911:2.png][attachment=912:3.png][attachment=913:4.png][attachment=915:6.png][attachment=914:5.png][attachment=916:7.png][attachment=917:8.png][attachment=918:9.png][attachment=919:10.png]
     

  • CalebKCalebK Website User Posts: 435
    Maybe i can convince here to let me burn the sparky ones some more..
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