PDA

View Full Version : Can something creative and moving be shot with the Nikon D90? If so, how?



timmytimetravel
09-25-2008, 05:51 PM
So, I was thinking of shooting something creative with the D90. I could shoot it with a few different cams with dof adapters, but I am sold on at least trying something creative with it to highlight it's strengths.

I do want a high quality result, so I am worried about the weaknesses. Most of them look like they can be managed. In the last few weeks people on this board have worked around most of those weaknesses. Some revolve around tricking the camera out of modes, some revolve around shooting styles.

So here is what I want to achieve, i'd love any suggestions for considerations to make sure its not wasted. I'll do some testing in the next few days, but I'd like to save some time and get a good base starting point.

1. Low light. Many shots will be dusk or indoors, as that is a forte of this unit

2. Guerilla to some extent to highlight size versatility. I'm not going to setup my kino's, or wire up people with 5-6 lavs and boom it as well. Max probably one to two lavs, and one boom. Preferably just one boom.

3. MOVING SHOTS. I've seen plenty of killer footage on tripods. I'm almost tempted to ban the use on the shoot, and max use a nice monopod. I'll probably give in and put it on a tripod for some really key scenes, but it's not the focus of this. I want some really well done moving shots. If it looks crap though, It will end up on the tripod rather than suffering.

I'm open to using a steadicam flyer, or a figrig, or a stabli-x which is what I have to work with.

I'm not into shakey handheld unless I am shooting blair witch, and there is so much of it out there on the d90, there is no need for more.

4. One piece of glass, maybe two. Part of this exercise will be doing it on a budget, as I believe that is another strength of this camera. Nice to inspire film students to pickup a $1k body and a piece of glass and produce results like their 16mm in their class!
I suspect I am going to be using the 50-300mm f4.5 that is turning up today. i got it for $600 shipped, and that is affordable for a 1 size all lens, but still sharper than the stock zoom. When I find myself with no light though, I am prepared to put on a 50mm 1.4. Again, affordable lens, great low light. It's going to be hard not to pull out the 85 or 135 or 300 etc for nice low light closeups, but hey. I'll inject some light if I need rather than use a bad full of lenses that are not as "budget"

5. Lighting, as little as possible. This is where i might compensate and throw in a little litepanel led. Wont break out the 1ft, just the little fella. Seems so far the camera responds to a little light very well. Maybe only in the situations where I have to turn off cfl's or other lights where I could get banding, or for little eye highlights instead of laborious post if the shot needs it.

6. Sound. Need to do some tests. I have not seen a windshield yet for the inbuilt mike, though I found it surprisingly good. It would especially be great for self-gorilla docu's as it picks up the shooter nicely as well. I would love to cheat and hookup the 744t, but I might pull out the old 2 channel zoom recorder to keep with budget idea.
I could take a audio timecode injector, and tape an earbud to the mic to avoid clapping etc, but I have no idea if it will make it safely into post at the correct framerate... Clapping is pretty intrusive though too for guerilla. Bit lost here as the best way to do this. I could cheat and run the sound into another camera, with audio TC and lay it down on the 744t but kinda cheating... Camera flash to sync multicam
Easy option of course is to just make the thing soundtrack heavy, and very limited dialog. Or dialog where I can clap is fine, but in the club just adr it in post maybe, cant see another cam on tripod not getting knocked around... Again might just have to be that with a camera flash.

Ideas here? We almost need a sound thread. With no mic jack, and mono audio most of the clever beachtek etc ideas and audio tc, go out the window... Anyone found good ideas here yet?


7. Post. Here i am willing to play a bit if required, maybe just fcp and magic bullet looks depending on the genre of the thing. Nice to make it look all blockbuster with one button, again, affordable and easy to use. But really don't want to turn it into, "well of course it looks good with that much post! " I'm not no vince guy :) So I know I am only going to achieve so much based on the location and shot, and not a team of gaffers with me. (ok maybe one ) :)

Working around weaknesses.

1. No pans! Only tracking...

Awaiting eagerly the results of a gyro test here. If it's really awesome might rent if it makes all the difference, and then buy later if it totally transforms this thing more than any future firmwares or red special sauce is going to. Generic and cheap enough to use with other cameras.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=147916

Does anyone know if all / any of the really amazing moving footage for the d90 and canon were done with gyros? You'd have to assume so to some extent? Yes? No?

2. Watch out for fluorescents. I don't think it's been definitively answered yet as to if other lights are causing banding, it is for someone in the UK. Will use the small litepanel or recompose as necessary.

3. Watch out for strong diagonals and no striped shirts! Unless someone has found a way to do this easily in post yet? The jaggies might kill it.

4. Locking the exposure. A must it would seem. At least on auto once it has exposed for you. It would seem the jury is still a little out here. In good outdoors light, its not going to bump the iso or shutter to detriment. We are talking low light here though. There is talk of concern that if not allowing the camera to auto expose a single chance of underexposure (likely on a moving shot) will cause excess jpeg compression..
It is not acceptable though to have it bumping exposure up and down on the shot. So... ?
Secret sauce low-light? I dont think I have my head around this enough yet to try it.
Has anyone got feedback on this method vs any others?
http://d90movie.blogspot.com/

The 2nd secret sauce for guestimating the iso and shutter, then locking it in... I'm kinda down with that. People's experiences here?

There is also talk, (think it was Drew) of upscaling and downscaling to help out here.. Anyone? Works?

This is not really a big list so far. I am sure there are more weaknesses people have found I should look out for, or have really nailed down the avoidance of noise and exposure difficulties.
???

Inspirations.

Negative inspirations

Would welcome any links to posts of video, where obvious things to avoid are shown, especially where there is a way around / managing it.

Positive inspirations

So far, the creative ones I can find which have either a story or some moving shots is principally :

Drew's spiderbrace footage.

http://www.vimeo.com/1693053

Matthew's scene rehearsal footage

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=147704
http://www.qmediasolutions.com/guest/CAMERA_TESTS/P_DAY_test_prt2_h264.mov

I kinda want to put the two together :)

I welcome any other posts, people have found so far of good moving shots, or good creative storytelling with a d90. There has to be more out there. Its been a few weeks!!! :)

After reading that Vince has compared the low light capabilities of the canon to the XHA1, I know that megapuxels isn't where that is at. It's sensor size. (ok and maybe compression :) ) I cannot help but think this d90 is more than capable of producing something xha1 like if handled correctly!!

Am I wrong?????? Why? What are the killers above I've missed that cannot be carefully managed, or that managing them is not going to do enough?

Maybe the person to really ask is Drew since it looks like he has an XHA1 and a D90! :) Seriously, if I could produce from an DOP perspective anything half as good as "Late" here by Drew out of the D90, I will be overjoyed.
This is a serious inspiration to me :) (and yes I know it was not shot on a d90. Hence the test, if it was, aside from doing some steadicam tests, I probably wouldn't even try, I could feel safe with the knowledge its been done, before i can recommend it to anyone or pull it out on a shoot for some b cam or cutaways. )

http://www.vimeo.com/1277704

Likely shooting scenarios

Not necessarily the story, which will take precedence. And something creative is not "just a bunch of cool shots" but likely shooting conditions / locations to give an idea of the attempt in case it leads to any more "watch out fors"

1. Shots from the steadicam vehicle mount out of the back of a pickup truck. Someone running, and maybe also hopefully with a longer lens catch them on the sidewalk. Its legal to ride in the back of pickup trucks in Hawaii, I want to try it guerilla and see how much trouble I get in :) One little D90 is far less obtrusive than my 3ft hd200 loaded with dof adapters. I'd like to cheat and get some production value from unsuspecting tourists on the sidewalk downtown... :)

2. Shots from the steadicam by foot for most of it. Whilst I could follow later with spiderbrace, stabil-x etc, I want to get the most stable footage I can, even if the rig its sitting on is not budget. I don't want to do dolly, and I don't want all static shots, and I don't want to be setting up lights. Whilst I know all of that is going to be required to really make it awesome, I am hoping for mostly awesome with 1/3 of the shooting/setup time.

3. Shots inside a club/bar at night. This I am really keen on. I'm thinking monopod and or stabil-x (cheap shoulder flip out). I can pretend I am doing still shots for a local rag or something, and people won't freak out like they will if I rocked in there with the steadi. Again, guerilla. Might get some actors / standins to fill in the close scenes to avoid "hi mum" waving, but hopefully still guerilla, and much more likely with the d90's size. Sound here might start to be a problem, and that's why I'm allowing myself at least one lav (or a visual part of the story with no dialog, but depending might come off unnatural).

4. Dusk shots and nicely lit night area.. In there somewhere, nice lights. Not going to do too much post, nor much lighting setup, so thinking of as much beautiful natural lighting as I can squeeze in around the story.

5. I've a real hankering to do some overcranked slomo. The hd200 can do 60f 720p, use dof adapter. If I can match them I'd really like to throw some in, but then I cannot say it's all d90. If that is the only thing that makes it look good, then that's not saying the right thing. This could up being a separate project. It's just a really nice idea to combine the two. The day a nikon/canon dslr hits 60p with low light. OMG. We are going to see some creative stuff, and cheap music videos just got a lot better all of a sudden :)

So, should I, shouldn't I ? :) Depends a bit on story of course, but I was thinking more action/drama given all the steadicam stuff. Few hot chicks and some gunplay in there for fun :)

Anyway, probably long enough post. I've got a lot of only half thought out ideas in there, as it is good to stimulate debate...

Last thoughts.

If you know of something that's been shot creative on the d90 all the way through post, that handles moving shots, dialog, lighting etc. Please let me know. I am mainly doing it to test the capabilites, if's its been done, I would probably at least use another cam I know I am not going to have the compression / rolling shutter issues with, and only interject it for some stuff, happy to see someone has done it.

All comments good and bad, ranging from stupid idea, to cant do it, to why wasting time of course it can be done ; all welcome. Especially ones with technical bits of goodness that can be a starting point :)

Cheers

Park Edwards
09-25-2008, 06:06 PM
I really cannot read all of this...can you sum it up into 3-4sentences?

Spybreaka
09-25-2008, 06:27 PM
Haha Car3o at the tl; dr. I got halfway through and... NO I will read this dammit. It sounds interesting :)

Spybreaka
09-25-2008, 06:36 PM
- Gyro stabilisers: No I don't think most of the good footage is using them. I found that with using a good smooth pan tripod (Velbon DV-5000) that I had NO issues whatsoever with jello-cam. The only thing evident is the rolling shutter if you pan too quickly against vertical lines.

timmytimetravel
09-25-2008, 06:56 PM
I really cannot read all of this...can you sum it up into 3-4sentences?

Heh :) Me want secret recipe to turn $1k camera into red one or at the very least be at firmware v1.9 or model v3.2 and have all bugs ironed out.. oh wait... no need for detailed questions :)



- Gyro stabilisers: No I don't think most of the good footage is using them. I found that with using a good smooth pan tripod (Velbon DV-5000) that I had NO issues whatsoever with jello-cam. The only thing evident is the rolling shutter if you pan too quickly against vertical lines.

Ahhh cool. For jellocam, I guess i am thinking about steadi tracking shots though, not planning on too many pans.. So if not going to be as solid as a tripod for a pan, a handheld steadi shot could still benefit from anti-jello gyro? Or do you think it only would affect pan's and not a tracking shot...?

Re rolling shutter, again, more affecting pans, (swivel from one point), or moving laterally across (think dolly going sideways).... I'm guessing rolling shutter will probably be an issue that gyros won't help in a tracking shot. More to do with the speed of the pan or tracking shot than the steadiness of it, so just adjust moving speed, and dont point it at a fence ? :)

Thebes
09-26-2008, 12:22 AM
I think it would be a mistake to only use 50mm or longer lens(es). 50mm on this is still a slight telephoto. If you are set on the 50-300, you might consider a 28mm or 35mm prime at f2 or faster.... these can be AI lenses and need not be very expensive. Avoid "pre-ai" aka "nai" lenses- these may fit but can damage a switch on the body unless converted.

Handheld can be done with practice and you can pull focus doing it. Hold the left hand under the body with fingers extending enough in front to manipulate the focus ring. have a strap firmly around your neck. Push out firmly with the right hand to push the body away from you- watch your thumb on the AE-L button, its easy to hit it if you're holding it right. Tuck your left elbow down against the SIDE of your chest. This does put the screen a little low, but I end up with more stability than I've ever felt with a handheld camcorder, and I don't get the jellovision. Not too Blair Witch, but definitely not floating either.

I've only used the on camera mic for syncing sound. It picks up too much handling noise when pulling focus etc. For a guerrilla style sound system I've got a iRiver ifp-850 (there are many similar models) which is so small I can gaffer tape it to stuff, probably even to a good hotshoe shock mount that fits on camera. Not an elegant sound rig but it has adjustable levels in the menu system and you can monitor sound with headphones while recording. To sync, just snap your fingers or something and sync the external waveform to the built in audio's.

timmytimetravel
09-26-2008, 01:32 AM
I think it would be a mistake to only use 50mm or longer lens(es). 50mm on this is still a slight telephoto. If you are set on the 50-300, you might consider a 28mm or 35mm prime at f2 or faster...


You are right. And even saying it I was worried about masters. Trying to kill too many birds. When it comes down to it, even most of the steadicam stuff needs to be 50 or less anyway. Was only after it to replace all the long lens's with one cheaply, and do a fast switchoff from steady to say tripod without changes lenses. Thats ridicoulous. Ill put the 28 or 35 on the steadicam, and leave the 50-300 ready for a single lens for the monopod or tripod. Should still be a quick changeout with a slide plate.
Only way you are going to shoot that lens long on the steadicam is with gyros.

"
I end up with more stability than I've ever felt with a handheld camcorder, and I don't get the jellovision. Not too Blair Witch, but definitely not floating either.
"

Wow, going to have to try that. I tried briefly today handheld with the 50-300 that just turned up, and I just cannot seem to counter a gait. Maybe softer sneakers :) I'll try your technique tomorrow.. :) Thanks

"
I've only used the on camera mic for syncing sound. It picks up too much handling noise when pulling focus etc. For a guerrilla style sound system I've got a iRiver ifp-850 (there are many similar models) which is so small I can gaffer tape it to stuff, probably even to a good hotshoe shock mount that fits on camera. Not an elegant sound rig but it has adjustable levels in the menu system and you can monitor sound with headphones while recording. To sync, just snap your fingers or something and sync the external waveform to the built in audio's.
"

Nice solution! Will rig up something like that for the daily attachment!

I wasnt talking quite that guerilla though, still want to boom it or lav it and the boom op could wear the iriver or zoom recorder or whatever, just need a method to sync.... If the boom guy is meters away and pointed at the scene, he's not going to pickup my finger clicks. And clapping in front of the scene is so not guerilla :)

Hang on, neither is a boom... Ok. lets say a lav.. Hmmm... maybe talent lav comes back to the iriver/zoom recorder, with a second feed on me?

I'm talking myself into wearing a sound mixer with two lavs and boom already... bugger...

I could feed a lav to my wrist and wireless it to the boom guy! That was I can even have a running production commentary... "Beam me up scotty" "click"

I guess outside, clapper and boom. Inside a club, lav to me, and lav on me to pickup finger clicks when I do it in front of the lens...

I think I just became my own script supervisor :) Hah!