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The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques, 2nd Edition



The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook: Real-World Production Techniques, 2nd Edition

Barry Andersson

ISBN: 978-1-118-98351-5 March 2015 480 Pages

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Learn to shoot professional-quality HD footage with your DSLR Camera

The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook, 2nd Edition is the expert guide to getting professional movie-making results with an HD video-enabled DSLR camera. Fully updated to reflect the latest technology, this updated edition provides guidance toward best practices and techniques that maximize results. Shooting HD video with a DSLR has many benefits — and also a few tricky drawbacks — but this guide gives you the insight and training you need to overcome these challenges as you learn what to anticipate, how to work around it, and how to fix imperfections in post-production. Award winning independent filmmaker Barry Andersson walks you through the shooting process and shows you what to do before, during, and after filming to ensure high quality results.

Most of today's DSLRs have the capacity to shoot HD video. This, combined with incredible low-light capabilities, shallow depth of field, and relatively low price point make these cameras an extremely attractive entry point for would-be independent filmmakers. This book shows you how to exploit your DSLR's capabilities to produce beautiful film, with step-by-step expert instruction.

  • Understand the limitations of DSLR video
  • Learn what to plan for before filming begins
  • Exploit HD capabilities to maximize the film's visuals
  • Produce professional-level, film-quality footage

With thorough explanations and expert instruction, The DSLR Filmmaker's Handbook, 2nd Edition is the training you need to start shooting beautiful HD footage.

Introduction xx

Chapter 1 Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking 1

Features of DSLR Cameras 1

Sensor Size 2

Frame Rates 8

ISO Settings 9

Features of SLR Lenses 10

Aperture, f-stops, and t-stops 10

Cine-Style Lenses vs. Photo Lenses 11

Types of Lenses 12

How Sensor Size and Lenses Interact 17

Focal Length Multiplication Factors 17

Focal Length and Field of View 18

Angle of View and Magnification Factor 20

Chapter 2 Gear and Recommendations 23

What Camera Is Right for You? 23

Decisions in Choosing a Camera 24

Best Camera For… 27

Manual Controls 29

Lenses and Accessories 29

50 mm Lens 29

Set of Prime Lenses 30

Trade-offs 30

Lens Brands 32

Lens Mounts and Adapters 33

Matte Boxes 34

Filters 35

Lens Accessories 38

Viewing While Shooting 39

Lights 44

Studio Lighting 44

LED Lighting 45

Hardware-Store Lighting 45

Audio 46

Mixers 47

Microphones 48

Slate (Clapboard) 49

Tripod and Dollies 50

Specialty Items and Miscellaneous 53

Camera Mounts 53

Follow Focus 54

Stabilizers and Handheld Rigs 55

Carrying Case 57

CF Cards and SD Cards 58

Batteries 58

Planning Your Gear Package 59

Low Budget 60

Independent Budget 60

Blockbuster Budget 61

The Next Three Things You Should Buy 61

Should You Buy or Rent? 62

Gear That Goes Together 63

Chapter 3 Testing and Custom Settings 65

Camera-Specific Testing 66

Testing ISO 66

Testing Exposure and Color 69

Testing Color Temperature and White Balance 72

Testing Frame Rate and Shutter Speed 73

Testing Recording Length Limitations and File Size Limitations 73

Testing File Formats and Codecs 74

Testing Equipment Interactions 74

Testing Lenses 74

Testing Filters, Hoods, and Matte Boxes 76

Testing Viewfinders and EVF 77

Testing Lighting: Color Temperature and Amount of Light 78

Using and Calibrating External Monitors 79

Testing Focus Pulling and Follow Focus 84

Remote Starting the Camera and Rigging in Unique Spots 85

Testing Camera Movement 85

Testing Off-Camera Audio 86

Testing Cables 86

More Things to Test 86

Using In-Camera Presets 87

Native Canon Picture-Style Settings 87

Changing the Camera Presets for Image Control 89

Customizing a Camera Preset 90

Creating a Unique Custom Setting from Scratch 93

Should You Bother Creating a Preset? 96

Settings That Prepare for Post-Production 97

Settings to Work without Post 99

Customizing Your Picture Style: Steps for Canon DSLR Cameras 101

Chapter 4 Cameras and Lenses on Location 109

Using Cameras on Location 109

Mixing Multiple Cameras, Makes, and Models 109

Powering Your Camera 110

Understanding Recording Time Limitations 112

Managing Memory Cards 112

Using Lenses on Location 113

Perspective 114

Depth of Field and Focus 118

Perceived Distance and Compression 121

Blur and Distortion 123

Sharpness 126

Image Stabilization and Vibration Reduction 128

Focusing 128

Methods of Pulling Focus 130

De-clicking a Lens 132

Zooming 135

Chapter 5 Camera Motion and Support 137

Camera Motion 137

Why Add Movement? 138

Restricting Movement 139

On-Screen Action and Position with Movement 139

Types of Camera Movement 139

Pan and Related Movements 140

Whip Pan 141

Zooming 141

Push-In 141

Pull-Back (or Pull-Out) and Widen-Out 142

Combined Push-In and Pan 142

Combined Push-In and Whip Pan 143

Circling 143

Dolly Moves 144

Tracking Lateral Movement through Space and Retracking 144

Moving or Tracking through Solid Objects 144

Pendulum Pan 144

Crane Moves 145

Movement with a Jib Arm 146

Planning the Motion 146

Blocking and Previsualization 147

Storyboarding and Diagrams 147

Rehearsals and Run-Throughs 147

Gear for Designing and Controlling Movement 147

Tripods 147

Monopods 153

Accessories for Camera Angle 155

Stabilizing Your Camera Motion 156

Why Stabilize? 156

Gear for Motion 158

Unique Movement and Support 171

Motion, the Edit, and Cutting 172

Chapter 6 Lighting on Location 175

Planning the Lights 176

Timing: When to Set Lights 176

Choosing Lights 177

Distribution and Shape 178

Color 180

Principles for Setting Lighting 182

Adding Depth and Dimension 182

Lighting the Entire Scene 182

Using Logic to Create a Natural Look 183

Reflecting Mood and Emotion 184

Setting Visual Priority and Focus 185

Types of Fill Light 185

Light Direction and Angle of Light 187

Types of Lights by Position 189

Key Light 190

Backlight 190

Fill Light 192

Illuminating the Rest of the Set: The Traditional Three-Point Light Setup 193

Light Sources and Ambient Light 196

Lighting for Special Situations 196

Shadows 197

Light at Night 197

Fire and Flames 199

Mirrors 200

Glare 200

Close-up Lighting, Matching, and Cheating 201

Lighting for Green Screen or Chroma Key 201

Managing Light 204

Diffusion 204

Bouncing 205

Blocking 206

Tools for Controlling Light 206

Light Quality 211

Changing the Quality of the Light 213

Picking Exposure 215

Chapter 7 Sound on Location 219

The Role of Sound 219

Hiring a Professional 220

Recording Sound with DSLR Cameras 221

Using an External Recording Device 223

Capturing Reference Audio 224

Using an XLR Audio Adapter 226

Wearing Headphones 227

Microphones and Key Accessories 227

Types of Microphones 227

Placing Microphones 230

Microphone Pickup Patterns 231

Sound-Managing Accessories 234

Planning, Setting Up, and Recording a Shoot 234

Planning for Dialogue 235

Recording a Shoot 236

Managing Sound on Set 237

Chapter 8 Organizing and Storing Data in the Field 243

Setting Up a File System 243

Labeling Equipment 244

Manually Setting File Numbering 246

Setting Up Separate Folders in the Camera 250

Understanding Current Types of Capture Media 253

Transferring Files from Capture Media to Hard Drive 255

Understanding Different Capture Formats 258

Backing Up Your Footage on Set 259

Organizing Data on Set 260

Managing Files on the Set 260

Arranging Your Footage 260

Chapter 9 Troubleshooting 263

Avoiding Problems: What to Do, What to Take 264

Emergency Items 264

iPhone/iPad Applications for Filmmaking 268

Planning for Sufficient Power 270

Shooting Problems 270

Rolling Shutter Dilemmas and Sensor Problems 271

Difficulties Achieving Sharp Focus 273

Chapter 10 Converting and Editing Your Footage 299

Setting the Foundation for Post-Production Workflow 300

Choosing the Right Hard Drives 300

Internal Hard Drives 301

External Hard Drives 301

Hard Drive Recommendations 304

Drive Speed and Cache 305

Backing Up Data 305

Choosing and Using an Editing Codec 307

“Format” Is Not “Codec” 307

Delivery Codec vs. Capture Codec 308

To Convert or Not to Convert 308

Online vs. Offline Editing 309

Codecs for Online and Offline Editing 310

Converting Your Footage 312

Editing Your Footage 312

Choosing a Nonlinear Editor 312

Organizing Your Footage in Your NLE 313

Chapter 11 Audio Crash Course 317

Syncing Your Audio and Video 318

Setting Up Your Editing Timelines Properly 318

Syncing Footage Directly in Your NLE 319

Syncing Automatically with PluralEyes 326

Unsynced Files? 329

Troubleshooting Out-of-Sync Sound 329

Automated Dialogue Replacement and Sound Effects 330

Finding Music 334

Chapter 12 Color Correction and Grading 337

Color Theory and the Eye 338

Subjective Properties of Color 340

Objective Properties of Color 343

Color Correction on Set: Outside the Camera 344

Multiple Light Sources and Color Temperature 344

On-Set Changes in Light 345

Gels and Filters 346

Sometimes the Camera Sees Things You Don’t 347

Color Correction Card 347

Single Camera Shoot vs. Multiple Cameras 347

Color Correction on Set: Inside the Camera 348

White Balance: Setting It in the Camera and Changing for Effect 348

Picture-Style Settings 351

What Is This Camera Shooting Anyway and Why Do I Care? 351

Color Spaces in Video and Encoding 352

Bit Depth and Color Depth 353

Compression, Subsampling, and Color 354

Post-Production Color Correction and Grading 356

Evaluating Footage 357

Scopes and How to Read Them 357

Primary Corrections 360

Evaluating Color 363

Secondary Corrections 365

Chapter 13 Compressing Your Film 369

Understanding Compression 370

Outputting Your Video 372

Creating a Self-Contained Master Digital File 373

Creating a DVD or Blu-ray Disc 375

Compressing Your Footage 376

Authoring Your DVD/Blu-ray Disc 376

Publishing to the Web 377

Chapter 14 Post-Production Looks 383

Primary Color Correction 383

Micromanaging with Regional Color Corrections 384

Secondary Color Correction 388

Creating a Hard-Hitting Action Movie Look 388

Saturation 388

Faux Lens Effects 391

Diffusing Your Footage 391

Applying Color, Filters, or Tints 394

Behind-the-Lens Fakery 396

Adding Vignettes 396

Understanding Grain 399

Making Genuine Film-Grained Footage 399

Removing Banding 402

Chapter 15 Workshops 405

A Brief Guide to Underwater Cinematography 405

Remember Where You Are 406

Bring a Flash, Ideally Two 409

Shoot Up 413

Buoyancy 414

You Need Two Lenses Only If You Have the Option of Changing Them Out 415

Focus. Not the Camera, You. 417

The Manual Method 418

Autofocus 418

Preparation before Shooting 418

Pre-Dive Prep 419

Histograms 419

Rigging a Car 421

Safety First 421

Interior Dialogue Scenes 421

Car Chase 427

Achieving That Cinematic Look: Ramping and Changing Frames per Second 431

Shooting in Slow Motion 432

“Rubber Arms” (or the Bending of Images That Shouldn’t Bend That Way) 432

The 180º Rule 433

Index 434

“…everything you’d want to know (technically) is present and correct. Written in a clear and easily digestible way.” (Amateur Photographer, July 2015)