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Seattle Film Institute. Digital Video Intensive. james eaton. my promise to you. At the end of this class you won’t be afraid of digital video!. dv websites. Class website,

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digital video intensive

Seattle Film Institute

Digital Video Intensive


james eaton


my promise to you

  • At the end of this class you won’t be afraid of digital video!
dv websites
dv websites
  • Class website,
  • &
    • Searchable user forums dedicated to specific cameras, NLE’s etc.
      • Excellent resource for info, tutorials, more
    • Corresponds to DV, a print mag
    • Also has a print version
    • Retail site but has good basic DV info
  • Want more? Do a Google search for “digital video”
recommended reading
recommended reading
  • Digital Filmmaking 101, Newton & Gaspard
  • Lighting for Digital Video & Television, John Jackman
  • Five Essential Steps in Digital Video, Denise Ohio
    • Possibly out of print
  • Producing Great Sound for Digital Video, Jay Rose
  • In The Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch
    • A must-read for any filmmaker!
      • All are available at and fine bookstores everywhere
      • Also plenty of books on specific NLE platforms, products and software
class schedule
class schedule
  • Day One:
    • An overview of the DV production pipeline and workflow
  • Day Two:
    • 1st half: lighting basics & ---
    • 2nd half: Review, NLE, discussion
  • Day Three: We shoot something(s)
    • Keep the idea small
    • Division of labor
      • Director, camera, editor, sound, talent (more?)
        • Don’t panic, plenty of time for that later
  • Day Four: Edit.
    • No pressure, doesn’t have to be great
      • Doesn’t even have to be good. It’s the exercise that’s important here.


Broad price range in DV/HDV cameras

Panasonic AG-DVX200 & Sony HVR Z1U , the hot cameras today


~$5,000+ depending on accessories

Next year something else will be the camera

Plenty of DV models between $400 and $1500

You can make a movie with any of these!

  • Broad price range (mail order 10/28/05)
    • Sony HDR-FX1, $2599.99
    • JVC JY-HD10U, $2299.99
    • Panasonic DVX100A, $2299.99
    • Canon Optura XI, $849.99
    • Canon AR-400, $389.99
  • Fry’s, B&H Photo, Camera World…


Get to know your DV camera

Find the “gozintas” & “gozoutas”


DV specs are identical, the rest is marketing

HDV different from DVCPRO HD

Locate the buttons, learn the menus

Have no fear, shoot stuff, learn the quirks of your camera

Tripod v. handheld

Steadicam, monopod, cranes, remote rigs



Photo = Light Graph = Record

White balance and color temperature

Where are you shooting? Indoors, outside or a mix of both?

Focus, or you don’t have a shot!

Pros don’t rely on auto-focus or auto-anything

Progressive v. interlace, 24p v. 30i

4:3 v. 16:9, film v. tape, yadda, yadda…

time code
time code
  • Every frame of video has an address
    • 01:07:19:06 = 1 hr, 7 mins, 19 secs, 6 frames (Standard U.S. video is 30 fps)
  • Firewire = iLink = IEEE1394
    • Provides in and out (I/O) fiber optic pathway between camera, computer and other peripherals
  • High Definition Digital Video (HDV)
    • 720p/1080i via Firewire on mini-DV tape
      • Changing everything!
    • Sony, JVC, Canon & Sharp adopt HDV standards
      • NLE’s (Vegas, Premier, Avid, FCP) are supporting it.
    • Panasonic doing it’s own thing with DVCPRO and P2 (tapeless) media. FCP supports it.
production audio

production audio

Sound: It’s half the show!

The on-board mic probably sucks!

If you’re a serious filmmaker a decent mic is mandatory

$150 and (way) up

Shotgun or lavaliere, wireless or hardwire?

Depends on the situation

Easy to rent what you don’t have

Dedicated sound person

Movies have a sound department

Documentary and news crews may have a sound person

What if the sound person is you?

Test, playback -- then do it again.

Use headphones w/o fail!

production audio wild sound

production audio: wild sound

If working from a script, break it down for all sound elements

There’s a lot more than sync lines.

If shooting non-fiction get plenty of sound from the locations

Room tone, very important

Take the time to get :30 “ambience” on every set up

What other audio elements do you need?

General downtown bustle, office atmosphere, footsteps, car engine running from inside/outside the car etc. etc. etc.

Think how you want your scene to sound.

non linear editing platforms

non-linear editing platforms

For the Mac, a few choices

Final Cut Pro HD, $999 (Studio bundle, $1299)

Avid Xpress DV, $799

Final Cut Express, <$100

iMovie, free bundle w/Macs

For the PC, choices galore

Sony Vegas, $499 (my personal choice)

Bundled w/DVD Architect (authoring), $699

Adobe Premier Pro, ~$700

Adobe Video Collection, ~$1500

Premier, AE (lite), Audition (music), Encore (DVD authoring)

Avid Xpress DV4, ~$700

Vegas Movie Studio (Vegas lite), $100

Windows Movie Maker, free bundle w/WinOS

Plenty of others from <$100 to $10,000

Many offer free 30 day trial downloads! Try it.

computer for dv

computer for dv

For Apple folks…

Pretty much any Mac right out of the box!

Serious work needs a G4 or better w/latest system

For the PC: Minimum specs

500GHz Pentium/Athlon class CPU

Just say no to Celeron/Duron/Sempron

512Mb RAM (more is better)

60Gb system drive (keep apps and media separate)

80Gb media drive (more is better)

OHCI approved 1394 I/O card

Cards alone start ~$25

Some cards are bundled w/NLE

Windows XP Pro/Home

Forget Windows 2000, 9x or Me

platform agnostic
platform agnostic
  • I teach “platform agnostic” non-linear editing.
    • Based on the theory they all work pretty much the same with a timeline interface.
  • There is much more to editing than can be taught in this workshop
into the nle

into the nle

Firewire (Apple), i-Link (Sony), IEEE 1394 (Generic)

NLE controls the camera via 1394

Your computer needs 1394 card for video I/O

Hard Drive, minimum 7200 RPM

One hour of DV = 13Gb

Drives are cheap these days, recently purchased Seagate ext 300Gb HD, $149.99 300 Gb int $89.99 (after rebates) @ Fry’s (10/28/05)

Keep applications separate from the media drive

More efficient use of system capabilities

into the nle1

into the nle

Capturing is a simple file transfer from your camera to your computer’s hard drive, via 1394, using a capture application

A capture app will come with most NLE products

3rd party products are also available

5:1 compression happens in camera, no further compression is added by NLE

pre production planning

pre-production planning

Outline or treatment


What about non-fiction?


Requires a script breakdown


Casting, wardrobe, set, props, locations

Logistics of the whole thing

  • Shoot Video
  • Obtain Stock Footage
  • Shoot/scan stills
  • Obtain or Record Audio Elements
  • SFX, voice-over, stock or original music
    • Intellectual property issues
  • Text & Graphics
    • Develop a graphic “look”
post production
  • Import (capture) video into NLE
    • Firewire, i-Link, IEEE 1394; it’s all the same
      • 1 hour of DV = 13Gb of HD space
    • Import scanned stills, other elements such as sound effects (SFX), music etc.
  • Edit your show
    • Easy to say, hard to do
    • Movies are made in editing rooms!
      • Sum is greater than total number of parts
    • NLE is non-destructive
      • Experiment w/o fear,
editing hdv
editing HDV
  • Editing HDV presents unique problems
    • Difficulty with frame-accurate editing of GOP video
    • Requires an intermediate CODEC which ups storage requirements
    • Goes from 13Gb/hour to 40-50 Gb/hour
    • Other apps available to create proxys which, after editing, are replaced with the HDV material.
post production1
  • EFX in your NLE
    • Plug-in filters
      • Powerful tools to affect and enhance video footage and aid in storytelling.
    • 3rd party efx apps
      • Adobe After Effects Pro, ~$1K; Boris EFX, Graffiti, Red etc. $200 and up
    • NLE’s will continue to add efx features to entice upgrades.
post production audio
post-production audio
  • Did we mention it’s half the show?
  • Sweetening, EQ and mixing in your NLE
    • Multi-track
    • VU Meters
    • Plug-in filters and efx
    • Rubber-band mixing
    • Mono, stereo, 5.1 surround
    • Gotta have some decent speakers
        • 2.1 speaker set for <$100, 5.1 for $200 up
print to tape
print to tape
  • Always allow for rendering time!
    • Multi-layered productions and plug-in filters seriously add to render time
  • DVD, web, VHS
    • Web codecs v. bandwidth
      • Cable or DSL, you’re good to go
      • Dial up? Uh, not so good…
burn to dvd
burn to dvd
  • DVD authoring applications
    • DVDs can be easy with an intuitive authoring app.
    • Usable apps start at ~$500
      • Low-cost apps don’t allow much “authoring”
    • DVD+R, DVD-R, 4x, 8x, 12x, blah-blah-blah…

©2005 James Eaton Associates Inc.