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Creating Video for Virtual Exhibitions - Advice sought.


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Despite the approval of vaccines, it looks like it will be quite some time before we can look forward to the Exhibition cycle re starting. In the meantime, quite a few of us will be approached to produce videos for virtual shows. Does anybody have any advice, tips or recommendations on how to produce these. I have had some success in the past but realise that things have moved on, especially the quality of images now produced. Is there a preferred type or spec for cameras, or is everyone using smart phones? 

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5 minutes ago, TheLaird said:

is everyone using smart phones? 

 

Many people are John and it's a good starting point without shelling out £700 or more on the sort of basic video camera I'd suggest. The same rules as stills apply where possible for best depth of field etc. The other main thing is to let the trains do the moving rather than the camera until you get well into the swing of it then consider image stabilization and gimbals etc. Some action cams can be put to good use but their weakness is in the close ups.

 

A big subject to cover but happy to help where I can plus we'd love to include you in a future virtual show if you wish. As you say, I think they'll be with us a while.

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It doesn't matter what you shoot on as long as the models are generally in focus. Tracking shots are tricky to keep smooth.

 

Audio is the tough one - the audience wants interesting commentary and it's probably easier to record this separately and edit the film around it.

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Thanks for your comments Andy and Phil. One other issue I have is lighting!  Some time ago I swapped the normal fluorescents for daylight tubes, 5.6 to 6K ish lumens. They work quite well for still photography but they cause the digital video cameras to flicker like mad. The iphone copes with it best but still does it in bright spots.  I'm thinking of changing them all out for LEDs, do you think this would solve the problem?

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1 hour ago, TheLaird said:

do you think this would solve the problem?

 

Maybe, maybe not = unhelpful answer.

 

It all depends on the lighting cycle frequency. This may be worth a read https://urbanvideo.ca/avoid-video-flicker

 

So, before splashing out on lighting in the shed have a play with frame rates and shutter speeds.

 

 

 

 

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Rather than swapping out all lighting just for videoing, given you chose your current lighting for playing trains, could you not invest in a single bright light to flood the area being filmed - would that overwhelm the light flicker from the daylight units?

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I've done a fair few videos of model railways and my advice is that a tripod is essential.

I used to use an amateur video camera now I use a standard Panasonic bridge camera on its video setting and find that it's better than the video cameras I used to use, for the money you get a better lens and a larger sensor, but the autofocus is not as quick. I have used the video setting on a smart phone and, providing there is enough ambient light, they work, but again mount it on a tripod.

Use the zoom as little as possible, zooming in and out is irritating to the viewer. Set the shot up and let the image come to you. Remember that focussing can be an issue and the longer the focal length the less depth of field you have.

Lastly, get down amongst the weeds. Panoramic crow type of shots are OK but try to get down to the sort of viewpoint that a railway enthusiast might see if the model was the real thing. Imagine yourself by the trackside or on a hill nearby and try to get that shot.

A couple of mine which I hope will illustrate the points above, please note that they are not in HD because of the bandwidth restrictions of the wifi at the time.

 

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On 10/01/2021 at 19:36, Mark Forrest said:

Any tips on what software to use when editing?

 

Mark, no recommendations as such but I started off using the editor that comes with Windows, I have been using Corel Video Studio for a few years now. Would be interested to hear what others are using.

 

Regards John E.

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26 minutes ago, TheLaird said:

Would be interested to hear what others are using

 

Adobe Premiere Pro here John but I'm not going to recommend it for your use simply because of the cost. However, picking up an older copy of Adobe Elements would give most of what most people are likely to end up using. 

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I use Pinnacle,  but it has a huge amount of functionality which I don't use and these require a very capable computer even though I don't use the software  to its full  extent.  Because of this I've stayed with v12 from 2009 rather than upgrading to the more recent versions. 

If I were starting again I think I might explore the downloadable apps and use the tablet.

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I am very pleased with VSDC which I've used a lot.  The free version is ok to start with but the paid version (about £20-30) per year is really good.  It's not perfect; you have to get used to a few quirks in the interface, but it's very good at opening all sorts of video formats and has loads of options for exporting the finished product.  It has a multitude of editing features.  With a little patience while getting started I'd say it's not hard to learn and there are many tutorial videos on YouTube. As with all video software, a reasonably powerful computer helps, but there are quite a few built in features which assist with improving preview performance etc.  
Not available for macs though - PC only.
 

Edited by Stringfingerling
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I spent a lot of money on Adobe Premiere Pro fifteen years ago and used it quite a lot, but it was pretty slow even on a PC I had built specially to Adobe's specification, and it also had some annoying bugs. I have a Sony HDR-HC1E digital video camera and got reasonable results, I think, which are on my Youtube Channel, such as:

 

 

However, technology advanced and I could not install my old Premiere Pro on the latest Windows laptop, and I can no longer download video from my camera, which requires FireWire. I know I can get a FireWire/USB adapter, but the download software does not recognise it.

 

So, I am now using Nero and my OnePlus 7T mobile phone. My new laptop renders video in a fraction of the time my old setup used to take. Results now are like this:

 

 

Sorry, I have not had the chance to video model layouts recently.

 

I have also invested in some LED photographic lighting with tripods, like these:

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Photography-Studio-LED-100W-Softbox-Continuous-Lighting-Stand-Kit-Photo-Video/373216798726?hash=item56e5746806:g:gTwAAOSw7cldXf2Y

 

 

 

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