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MiniDV and the Big Screen

Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 9:43am

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Craig

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I have a question, and you can laugh if you want,
how well does tweaked mini-dv translate to the bigscreen?

What are the specs that the high end DV cameras have that the MiniDV cameras lack?

I'm just curious (and I'm well aware of what happened t the cat razz )

biggrin
Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 3:01pm

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Scuba

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Better lens.
3CCD chips.
bigger CCD chips.
Better mic's and such.
Better encoder.
Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 3:11pm

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Craig

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Does this mean that a MiniDV cam can't be used in the Big Screen senario or that it's just not as good?

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Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 3:38pm

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codec3

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Hi
IMHO
video transferred to film looks like...video transferred to film. I think what he was trying to say is that it is better now than ever before.
Myself, I think it is all in how you light the scene that is most important for getting great results on video. After I light it then I can tweek in AE or Media100 to get it closer, but video will never look like film. I think you could get acceptable results (BlairWitch) but to the expert eye they will know it is video transferred to film. BTW If you like I can email you some stills from a shoot I did last week...even though it will go out on TV, I will still try to 'make it' look as if were shot on film, so you could see the before and after shots of my post production technique.
codec3

[ This Message was edited by: codec3 on 2001-09-06 16:43 ]
Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 3:56pm

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Craig

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That would be cool C3

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Posted: Thu, 6th Sep 2001, 6:46pm

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Scuba

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Mini DV and DV use the same Codec only DV cameras have better quality.
This is depend on several factors but the MiniDV-DV diferance is only the size of the media used.
If you use a good camera like the Sony VX2000 that have good lens and 3ccd chip you will get a verry good quality.
BTW-the VX2000 also come in DVCam version.
Exacly the same model only diferant media and recorder inside.
Posted: Fri, 7th Sep 2001, 12:59am

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spotless

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Scuba's got that right.
The diff between MiniDV and DV is simply the lenth of cassettes used. DVCam is the next step up with the format (tape) able to store more information, quicker = better contrast and colour reproduction.

Digital BetaCAM is pretty much the top end of the video format. Its so good many 'TV films' and almost all programmes are filmed with it. Of course, these are shown on TV...

For the big screen, you gotta be using at least Super 16mm film (as used for 'Lock, Stock). Anything less and an audience can tell.

But whether you use video or Super 16 film, you gotta pay for the transfer to 35mm (the format cinema projectors use) and that will cost literally thousands.
Posted: Fri, 7th Sep 2001, 8:20am

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Craig

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This is cool - thanks.

Everybody's saying you'll be able to tell that it's video and not film - but Codec3 has altered the image in post to make it look more like film.
C3 - is this a way of doing it for the whole thing or is it just to add a little extra footage here and there so it's not noticable?

So I'm going with NO to MiniDV or DV cams and yes to Digital BetaCAM for the Big Screen.
But I'm saying YES to MiniDV or DV cams for TV/video production. - obviously the lens' and lighting and sound quality needs to be good on a MiniDV.

Thanks for the last comment Spotless.

biggrin

_________________
If you can't beat them, ARANGE to have them beaten!

[ This Message was edited by: Craig on 2001-09-07 09:20 ]
Posted: Fri, 7th Sep 2001, 9:05am

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Scuba

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Not Cheap but there is a plugin for premier to give a video a "film lokk".
Posted: Fri, 7th Sep 2001, 1:05pm

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codec3

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Hi Craig.
Yes, I apply the effect to the entire piece.
What I do is (of course) light the piece in the shoot as well as I can. I edit the pieces to final cut in Media100 (or you can use your app) then export it into AE. Within AE I do three things. 1) Apply a CineLook preset...usually a Fuji35mm. This changes the density, saturation and adds a nice grain to the project. I usually have to decrease the amount of grain in all 3 channels. 2) Outside of the CineLook plugin I'll also adjust the levels and 3) I'll readjust the saturation. Since my spots usualyy run side by side with stuff that IS shot on film, I don't want anyone to know I am shooting on video. The reason I do use tape is that it usually costs 5 or 10k less, depending on how much footage we I shoot. Then there's the transfer to tape at a lab in Dallas, plane fares, hotels, etc. This 'filmlook' can be done other ways, too, but the plugin is nice
codec3
Posted: Sat, 8th Sep 2001, 2:31am

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spotless

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I use very similar filters and plugins to alter the aesthetic of the video I shoot...

But no one can impress the importance of decent lighting too much. Theoretically, if you light a scene well enough you wont need to alter it in post - and that will always generate a crisper look. Filters, by their nature, will degrade the resolution of your footage; much lower resolution being the main diff' between video and film. So don't rely on them too much.

Also, 'film-look'? My advice is that if you need to match footage shot on one of the DV formats to film stock footage, then try; but it is a bloody hard job (condolances Codec!). Otherwise, don't bother trying to make your footage look like something it isn't, you can't really hide the format you use. Get it to look like EXCELLENTLY made video and you'r on to a winner smile

If you have your heart set on a big screen presentation of your work, though, think about hiring a video projector. The picture quality is not as good as we would like, but it does go some way toward that social-event, shared-experience vibe you get at the cimema.

I've had a couple of low buget premieres organised for me for two of my best shorts at local cinemas using video projectors. Its not only a MASSIVE laugh and an excellent excuse to get drunk, but also a good op' to invite 'important' people to come along (whether it that girl you fancy or someone who could find you a job). A great way to congratulate yourself on a good job, well done.

[ This Message was edited by: spotless on 2001-09-08 03:48 ]
Posted: Sat, 8th Sep 2001, 8:11am

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Scuba

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Film look by it's nature is less Quality then Video.
Especialy if you are using the new Digital formats.
Posted: Sat, 8th Sep 2001, 9:37am

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ppm

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Hi,

I am not sure this is of any interrest but Spike Lee is doing (or has done) a film using DV camera. Have a look there:

http://www.bamboozledmovie.com/

Also if you can read French you can have a guy explaining how he is actually doing his film:
http://www.projetshadowgirl.com/

And still in french a list of site dedicated to film made with DV
http://www.dvforever.com/links/pages/Films/Longs_en_DV/

Hope this can help smile

ppm
Posted: Mon, 10th Sep 2001, 9:40am

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Rotting Bob

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Ok in general video is not as pretty on the screen as film. It has a much more uniform grain that runs in diagonals across the screen whereas film is more random giving a much more aesthetically pleasing and softer look, especially once blown up to cinema size.

However as for all this 'people who know can just tell when its not shot on film' how many of you wrote in and complained about the image qualities sudden deterioration halfway through The Phantom Menace when Lucas tried out the new Sony digital cam (slightly better even that DigiBeta), or that Dancer in The Dark was not a beautiful looking film or that Momento and Timecode were not great films. The digital revolution is definately comming. The only things standing in its way at the moment are the initial outlay for the top, top end cameras and a certain degree of snobbish nostalgia towards film on film.......... Woah that was a bit of a rant weren't it.

If you add to this the amount of money that can be saved on storage and editing in post production if the film is on digital and the advances being made in digital projection then if you ask me the digital revolution is comming my friends....although it's not quite here yet and despite everything that I've just said I do think that it has some way to go.

Oh and if anyone is slightly interested I've got another long schpiel on this subject at http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk just go to Events then to Digital or Die the Future of Cinema and check out the review.... I've got other things their too if you can be bothered to poke around nothing interesting really just a few reviews and stuff but if your board.... Oh and the Digital or Die debate gave ALAM some good free advertising time too.

[ This Message was edited by: Rotting Bob on 2001-09-10 12:24 ]
Posted: Tue, 11th Sep 2001, 3:16am

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codec3

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Hi.
This is a great string.
Lots of good info.

I am so excited about the promise of dv as a media that I want to write some more!
Already dvcam images are approaching the middle threshold of still cameras with resoultions of 1600x1220 and the ability to record to dvd discs or mpeg on the fly. Oooyeah.
Progressive scan and all that such...
The hd format (when brought to prosumer level) will give us all something to agree on. So does hdtv.
Still fascinated with the tangible differences between film and videotape.
err...Photochemicals are my life.
Tape is not a photochemical. It is also not a bad alternative.
Films, when holding in the hands and looked at an angle will show true 3d depth in the emulsion layer,,,one can actually see in the the effect of light exposure onto a layer of chemicals. Hell, you can even scratch 'em and paint em. You can expose only certain parts and multiple expose others!

Videotape is a bianary transfer.
I relys entirely on a lens (like a film camera) and a ccd. Therein lies the rub.
A ccd??? What's that?
I've shot with digital betacams that accept a flash card, kinda like the PS2 memory card, that has a bit that will tell the camcorder to lay like it was shot on 16mm.
Cool camras, however.
You don't need a 30k camcorder to make your footage look just fine. You do if you wanna shoot it through light and make it 20 feet tall and 60 feet wide. That whole scenario kinda...changes things.
Make your video look like it was shot on film. If you know where to look!
I've broadcast minidv many times and I always try to shoot it like film, AND I always use computer software to make it look more like film.
Rendering and storage Question....
Ever set up a 35mm comp in After Effects and looked at it in terms of resolution? Me too. It takes 9 frames (or is it 12) of ntsc resolution to equal one frame of 35mm. Hmm, now if I can get a camera with more resolution, say a hdcam, it would take less 'frames' to equal 35mm.
Someone might not even notice the switch if they didn't know what too look for.
Another rant, but take the time to understand light in terms of how it reproduces (umm, and light is used for reproduction of images more than any other physical property) your images. Then you should be fine.
HOWEVER as an artist/photographer, being able to adapt an imaging system to ambient light (something film excells at and video does not) is imho the ultimate challenge.
codec3
Posted: Tue, 11th Sep 2001, 7:42am

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Scuba

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DVCam uses Exacly the same codec as DV and miniDV. The diferance is that it record on a wider track on the media and the media turn in faster speed.
This resoult in less frames being droped and higher overall quality.

CCD is the chip inside the camera that do the actual capture of the picture. Good camerac have 3 of them and the bigger the chip is the better the camera.
For example I am usinf a Panasonic AJ-700 that have 3 ccd chips at size of 2/3".
Posted: Fri, 14th Sep 2001, 1:44am

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spotless

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This IS a great string...
Its great to see so many people with such passion for what they do. I'm not sure if others spend this much time discussing the details of their work! There again, no need to be smug; they would probibly accuse us of being obsessed wink

In case anyone missunderstood my standpoint, I do not mean to sound snobbish. And I deffinitely did not imply any medium local to tape is inferior to film. They are different, is all. Sure, film will boast a finer grain (image quality) for a long time to come, but you pay through the nose for that advantage. DV is the ONLY format I use for all the reasons outlined by others above. The problem I have is when people feel inferior 'cos they use a tape format and not the more 'respected' medium of film.

I do NOT mean anyone here feels that way - the feeling I get from the comments above is that story is all important. I agree entirely - this is the 'right' and healthy attitude in my opinion. It was this sentiment that I was fumbling for before!

Spotless.


Perhaps this is not the place for this, but I don't care and am going to say it anyway:

My most sincere thoughts are with anyboby affected by the unspeakable and evil tragedy in New York. God bless.
Posted: Fri, 14th Sep 2001, 2:22am

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codec3

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Hi spotless.
Thanks for continuing the thread...I happen to find that if I don't discuss the details of my work with others, it is harder for me to learn anything new.
smile
I really love to learn. I learn basically because I am seeing something new for the 1st time, and there is always something new floating around in here.

Minidv tape lets me do things so easily...and is fast becoming an acceptable media for distribution.

I never felt inferior because I had to shoot on video and someone told me film was better, but I also really enjoy shooting on film. I find it more of an event but otoh everytime I shoot I consider it an event.

Minidv tape for me is better because it is soooo easy to shoot and acquire. Same with still dvcams.

Minidv tape for me has a resolution more than adequate for broadcast...but I am always looking for ways to improve my image quality, usually in terms of lighting, focus, framerate and transfer resolution.

That's key I think...always seeking to improve.

Like you said before it really finally comes right down to the story, and as always, it's usually the story that kickstarts us into doing things.

Thanks for the last line, too spotless. imho veryone has been whacked on the side of the head with a 2x4...hard and unexpectedly...
codec3
Posted: Fri, 21st Sep 2001, 1:27pm

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codec3

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Hi

http://www.dvformat.com/cgi-bin/getframeletter.cgi?/2001/08_aug/features/wakinglife.htm

is a nice article that deals with some dv to film discussion

codec3
Posted: Tue, 9th Oct 2001, 9:32pm

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codec3

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Hi

http://www.dvdinsider.com/news/view.asp?ID=3187

is also a nice short read on minidv for dvd distribution...codec3
Posted: Wed, 10th Oct 2001, 12:03am

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Hob

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Hey guys, why not just use both to their best advantages. This way, you can achieve the best of both worlds.

The fact is, Digital Video is DEFINATELY here to stay. This is so much so, that the Motion Picture Academy is in the process of creating a new separate category, recognizing this new format of film-making.

Also, ALL of the footage for George Lucas's second "Prequel" of the Star Wars saga was shot this way. This in turn, saved Lucas several millions of dollars in time alone. Not to mention, it also meant less money spent in processing film, only to turn around and scan all the footage into computers anyway.

Granted, no matter how much you manipulate video, it's still video. But, why not use that to you're advantage, rather than seeing it as a hinderance. No matter what format you use to shoot your masterpiece, if the content sucks, it's a moot point.

So, spend your time writing a good script, (WITH a good plot), and shoot it, to the best of your ability. When and if you can do better, do so then. But, until such time, use the facilities that you have acess to, and push them to the limits of their best qualities. You'll be very surprised at what you can acheive, with a little ingenuity!!! wink
Posted: Wed, 10th Oct 2001, 2:05pm

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spotless

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Amen
Posted: Wed, 10th Oct 2001, 2:12pm

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The Great One

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Testify, my brother.
Posted: Wed, 10th Oct 2001, 6:17pm

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Rotting Bob

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I don't know how many of my English bretheren managed to catch this but last night at about midnight Channel 4 ran a reasonably informative fourty five minute program called "Power to the Pixel" about the role of DV in the film industry and how much power it gives the home user. It had lots of cool director type people such as Mike Figgis (Timecode) talking about how important they think DV is to the industry and how Hollywood isn't really responding to it etc. I think everyone will be pleased to know that they generally were saying the same kind'a stuff that we've all been propsing throughout this string. Power to the people I say.
Posted: Wed, 31st Oct 2001, 9:10pm

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anonymous

Well there's a few things that make film a much better deal than video. (If money is no object.)

First, film is continuous tone. It has a much higher resolution than video has. As video technology improves it will get better. This means that resolution of the original (film) being higher, will provide a better image quality. A video camera that offers 1000 pixels is only equal to the NTSC resolution of 500 lines, becauase each set of pixels (2 pixels) are required to make a single "Line" in broadcast TV. So video isn't even as good as it could be for many analog TV displays.

Second. Video has a much lower contrast ratio than film. Film is closer to 100 to 1 contrast. The human eye has 110 to 1 contrast. Video only has 30 to 1 contrast ratio. In photographers terms there is 2 or 3 stops more exposure (read leaway to make mistakes in lighting and exposure) than with video. This results in recording far more of a range of contrast (light and dark ranges) on film than on video. This means that parts that are "blown out in the white" or so dark to fall off into a black useless image on video can actually be seen on film. So film allows greater errors in lighting the scene. When film images are transferred to "digital editing software systems" like After Effects. Each color has to be digitized using some kind of pixel method and the color range that After Effects offers is 24 bit color. However film records more than 8 bits of color levels per color on it, so the extra color information is thrown out inside even After Effects color correction and compositional tools. High end film editing color systems record and process at a higher color depth than even the $2,000 After Effects program can do.

Finally if you look at the interlace artifacts of video (when it's being used in an interlaced manner not progressive recording), you'll notice that video is "smoother" and to some that means it's more realistic as it's recording 60 fields a second. Each field being half a frame at double the frame rate of aproximately 30 frames a second. (Actually slightly less for NTSC). This means that video seems more FLUID and follows motions. Also grabbing a still from a video image in motion will often show these motion artifacts that occur if you use both fields, because the image moves and you'll end up with two images within 1/60th of a second.

Film on the other hand records at 24 frames a second (most are at that standard speed anyway). And that means we have an image appear and disappear (with a black frame in between each frame flashing on the screen) 24 times a second. This gives a slightly different feel and look to the film being played, because it's more like a flip book, with entire (high resolution) pictures being flipped up on the screen at 24 times each second. Video on the other hand shows a more continous image with 60 images being put onto a tube. Now LCD displays and film look methods can cause some of these artifacts to be artificially introduced, but these don't totally give the poorer resolution and contrast video the true look of film, it just aproximates the "film look". There are plug ins for After Effects and some film procesing places that will give you a "film look" for your video.

If you watch some effects of lighting, like light of a campfire and other light flowing through translucent veils of material on some costumes, you can see that there is a lot of subtle imagery that is often captured on film, both in image quality and contrast, that video just cannot capture yet.

As time marches on video will eventually replace film. My guess is were about 10 years away yet before it will be affordable and close enough technology wise. We are still at least 12 times below the quality of film for the discriminating viewer.

Greg
Posted: Thu, 1st Nov 2001, 11:45am

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drdespair

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The main difference lies in the hardware, but not realy on its performance side. Dont forget that DV is a standard.. thus all DV's whether Mini or not have to stand up to it to be considered DV. As people said Mini-DV is realy the same as DV, in reality the only difference is the size of the tape. (mini-DV was created to the news industry to be a more poratable DV solution) The encoding is the same (more or less .. it realy dependent on the quality of the electronics in the system). The quality of the signal is not the same... most (all) professional cameras use 3 CCD chips, each one is responcible for processing its postion of the image aka(one does red, one does green, one does blue.. or contrast, saturation,.. etc) The resolution of the CCD comes into play.. but not to a great extent since the resolution of DV standard is set.. so.. in most cases 800,000 pixels is MORE then enough to get a decent picture. (D1/PAL res is only 414,720 pixels).
So.. overall.. not a large difference.. the other thing that a lot of time is forgotten.. is the lighting, the reason most professional DV stuff looks.. well professional.. is because the people who did it used lighting to its fullest, you can give it a try your self.. take you mini-DV camera.. and record some stuff at home with normal lighting and you will see that resolution suffers and there is a hell of a lot of video noise (thats the chips loosing the ability to get part of the lum nessesary to keep a solid color) Then go out sometime at ether before or after mid day.. on a clear day.. and try fillimg the flowers and people.. you will see a great difference.. almost like the footage was shot with another camera.. and then think that even on sunny day the film industry still requres a tone of back lights, key lights, shadow removers and a load of highlighting to get the job done. So instead of basing a few thousand on buying a semi-pro camera.. take some lighting lessons.. that will give you more quality then an extra two CCD chips.

D.
Posted: Fri, 2nd Nov 2001, 4:57am

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codec3

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yeah!
and if you can get your hands on a 12k or two it won't hurt much either!

right...controlling the image input is as key 2 filming moving pictures as it it stills. Make it look as good as you can...and you'll be leaps and bounds ahead.
Just don't over^underexpose your source!
codec3
Posted: Fri, 2nd Nov 2001, 11:40am

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The Great One

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Unless you want to for a particular aesthetic, of course... wink
Posted: Sun, 4th Nov 2001, 5:54am

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anonymous

You will probably think this is diumb but are there any free programs to make your video look of higher quality. I have an analog hi 8 sony camera. very bad picture. any suggestions?
Posted: Sun, 4th Nov 2001, 10:51am

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The Great One

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You can't put quality into rough-lookin' footage. You can play around with colours/brightness/contrast in post with most editing software but this affects the purity of the picture. My only advice... use a DV cam. You can hire them by day, if you cannot afford to buy one straight away. Your analogue camera is still gonna be useful when scouting locations, rehearsing, working out shots, creating animatics etc...