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New Video Camera Technology = Quality & Value (Part 2)

A bass line throbs and light ephemeral strings tickle your eardrums. On screen, spectacular imagery sears your retinas burrowing into your brain.  Something, part astronaut, part trapeze artist, part condor leaps off a cliff and screams through a dazzling alpine landscape, as guitars scream and a beat throbs providing the cadence to an all out three pronged attack on your senses, audio, visual and emotional.

Just watch for yourself…

The message is clear.  “You can do this.  Its easy.   Its small, its affordable, you can be a hero. You can be a pro”  Its right there on the name of the camera.  GoPro Hero.

So you go out and buy a GoPro ready to bring videography to new heights when your attempts at heroic imagery are dogged by issues.

Take this example we found on YouTube.

Cool jumping fish but why does the video look so bland?

Where is the sound and the fury? Why does your family vacation look like a video of your family vacation and not the epic visual journey you were expecting? The answer is of course time and expertise. The adrenaline packed imagery you see is the result of many hours of labor, choreographed shoots, carefully selected music and a lengthy editing process.

Despite the democratization of video discussed in part 1 (click here to see part 1), the availability of tools does not guarantee the desired result. Tiger Woods’ golf clubs are available to you (well kind of), but you are not competing at the US Open. Its terribly unfair. You can record great video, but for the final product to look truly professional, you need the skills, and the equipment of a professional.

You need music. You need color correction. You need editing. You need a story.

So here is an example of a personal shoot I did on a recent hike in the Smokey Mountains.

It shows how color correction alone can make a world of subtle difference.

Full disclosure: This footage was shot with a Canon 5D which has a bigger sensor and a richer image than the GoPro. But the principles remain the same. The images on the right are straight from the camera and the ones one on the left are color corrected. In the color correction, notice how the greens are a bit greener, there is greater contrast and saturation to mimic the image our eys see, as opposed to the slightly washed out image of the camera produces. The difference while subtle, makes a big difference in the fit and finish of a video.

So, the the next time you pick up your camcorder, DSLR or GoPro and wonder why the output is not what you were hoping for, remember the video is not completed simply because you are done shooting.

About Julian Williams:

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to the recent royal wedding; Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.

New Video Camera Technology = Quality & Value (Part 1)

What once cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and labor to manipulate, has been reduced to a team of 2-5 individuals who can produce stunningly visual videos for a fraction of the cost.

That is the simple result of all the emerging video camera technology.

Allow me to get my geek on.

The digital Super 35mm chip based video cameras produce amazing HD images whose full potential is actually limited by televisions and other devices that display the images.

Thanks to cameras like the Canon DSLR line, the Super 35 Sony and Panasonic products, the innovative interlopers into the market like Black Magic and the ubiquitous GoPro, one camera shoots have spawned into three and four camera extravaganzas.

And the cameras are slight enough to all be carried in one case or a bag as opposed to a box truck. Lap top editing systems allow us to put stories together anywhere, a process that used to require a room full of equipment manned by multiple technicians.

What all this means for me the “film maker” is I can bring more fancy stuff to the table for our clients and their audience at a reduced cost, but more importantly, it gives me the tools to tell better, more compelling and dynamic stories. Those stories stand out in the vast river of moving images, and hopefully they stimulate the cerebral cortex instead of merely passing through.

(Part 2: Summary)

So, you bought a a GoPro Hero 3 but your video does not quite look like it does in the the official GoPro commercial. In Part 2 of this series, we will examine how to make these new technologies work or in some cases why they are not working as you might expect.

About Julian Williams:

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to the recent royal wedding; Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.