FVM articles

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tom hardwick
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

FVM articles

Post by tom hardwick »

In reality every article in FVM is a labour or love. We here all know the feeling of facing a blank sheet of paper and wondering what to write about, how to structure the article, who to aim it at, what photos to include, what theme to adopt.

So I do read FVM knowing that nobody's getting paid, they've all gone out of their way to present their thoughts in (hopefully) an entertaining way, and they've all given up a lot of their precious time.

So I shouldn't complain too much if I come across an article that's a bit of a jumble. If you run a B&B and don't charge anything, then your guests can't (or more rightly shouldn't) complain about the carpet needing a hoover.

Have you, dear forum readers, got articles burning holes in your heads? I'm working on my 127th right now.

Oh, and while I'm here, the Mustool digital microscope that I raved about in the current issue deserved its praise at the time. It's just that this week, at exactly 2 months old, it's dead as a dodo. I've opened it up, but it's just as the policeman said, 'Move along, move along. Nothing to see here'.
Ken Wilson
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:17 pm

Re: FVM articles

Post by Ken Wilson »

I thought I had missed something here. Tom is saying about articles in FVM and the fact that you/ we shouldn`t complain about them as no-one is getting paid? This sort of suggests that someone (or more than one someone?) has complained. Or am I reading this incorrectly?
The magazine is full of various articles, some of which will appeal to some people and some to others.
Although I have a room here filled with all kinds of equipment gathered over the years, I always maintain that I am much more a creative person than a technical one. I do have to handle and update video gear all the time, as I am doing right now with my PC expert man putting a new PC together but I only update computers and cameras when I have to. Therefore, some of the tech stuff in FVM goes over my head a bit, but I still read most of the magazine from cover to cover.
I always read your piece Tom as you probably know. But generally I love the "Making of..." articles more than chat about lenses and so on, but I know the magazine has to cater for all tastes. Not every film maker is interested in the same aspects of this hobby/ vocation/ pastime/ obsession and we have to cater for everyone.

I have just written my short autobiography for the next issue as requested by Mike Whyman, to follow on for the one by Willy in the latest FVM. So as Tom has suggested, I always have in mind who I am writing for and hope what I write interests people and I try to vary the subject matter each time, covering my experiences over the years making all kinds of movies. We are not paid anything to do it and just have the thought that we are sharing ideas, hints and tips, funny stories and so on with other like minded people.
For this recent piece I have tried to condense the history of my "Life in Film" to 3000 words and to include things I have never written about before whilst "skimming over" tales I have covered in previous articles in more depth.
Considering the magazine contains material which is all sent in by non professional writers, mostly it works well and there are interesting items written for each issue. To end I would like to add that I do prefer a paper copy as I spend long enough on here as it is.
tom hardwick
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Re: FVM articles

Post by tom hardwick »

Thanks for your thoughts Ken. I'm not saying anyone's complained, more saying I don't get feedback on my articles (or very little) so don't know if I'm hitting the mark or talking nonsense. But the mag is a good mix of filmmakers and kit-droolers, and in reality we all get along fine.
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Willy
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Location: Antwerp Belgium

Re: FVM articles

Post by Willy »

I always find your articles very interesting, Ken. I think we have something in common. We are creative and perhaps many-sided. We are not technofreaks. We are no enthusiasts for technology or for the technical complexities of a particular kind of equipment. Thanks to your stories in FVM we learn how to make films, how to overcome obstacles… What we can do to prepare a fascinating movie. That's very essential in our hobby. Of course, our editor Michael could not publish everything. I had written 17 pages about my eventful life as a filmmaker. I am very grateful to him. He selected the most important things for FVM. I guess that Tom is rather a technofreak. I am happy that his articles are illustrated with clear pictures. Some years ago he recommended a camera in FVM. I just needed one and I bought it. An HXR-NX5E. A fantastic one.

Yes, Ken and Tom, you are right. FVM is one of the best magazines in the world. But, I was also told that here was a complaint about the latest issue. I was surprised that such a big picture of me appeared on the front page. This picture was taken by a member of the local photography club. I had a vintage camera in my hand. Not good to stimulate young readers a criticaster said. Maybe he is right. The camera was made in Switzerland in the 60's. It is a Paillard-Bolex. I never used it myself. It is a museum piece. I started making films in the 80's. It belongs to my collection. Is it wrong to show museum pieces on the front page of a magazine? That's the question.

I look forward to reading your life stories, Ken, Tom, and ...
Willy Van der Linden
Ken Wilson
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Re: FVM articles

Post by Ken Wilson »

Thanks Tom.
Yes I think we do like to know people are reading what we are writing for FVM. From time to time, I do get an e-mail from a reader (as I have done this week as a reader suggested a new plot for a film) commenting on something I have put or asking a further question. This is why I asked for my e-mail address to be included at the top of the page. Feedback is so important.
Technology is a great asset to what we do, but so often something has flaws and doesn`t work as it should, which is so frustrating when I am trying to get on with the job of making a film/ video. This past couple of weeks we have spent so much time (wasted hours) trying to sort out one of my computers, Carol`s Apple I. phone and her Kindle tablet. Even those "expert" help chat lines seem to be baffled by technology.

Thanks Willy for your kind words and encouragement. We have been out and about today taking photos potentially to go with my autobiography. I don`t like having my photo taken, but it seems from time to time I am forced into it. Carol was my photographer and she clicked away taking numerous pictures to get a couple of images which made me look ok. We tried various ideas but I discarded the nude ones for FVM!!! So I have just forwarded a sample to Mike Whyman to see if any are suitable.
tom hardwick
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Re: FVM articles

Post by tom hardwick »

I think it's a good idea to include your email address Ken, as anything to make it easier for folk to get in touch has got to be a good thing.

In the September issue of FVM I tore into the Winait film scanner, listing its good and bad points. One reader had a question for me, but he had to be pretty determined, as his query had to go to Mike Whyman who then had to find the time to forward it to me.

It all turned out well in the end though, as the IAC member and myself have bounced all sorts of ideas off each other via email. Shame it wasn't all conducted through these forum pages though, as I'm pretty sure there are lots of members who have the same equipment and would like to improve its performance.

When is this forum going to give us instant image submission though? The hoops you have to dance through to get an image up here make me not want to bother.
Michael Slowe
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Re: FVM articles

Post by Michael Slowe »

Although I'm not a regular contributor to the magazine (last issue but one had me in), I am an avid reader and great fan. We simply MUST retain the printed copy, we Forum users agree on this but there is opposition as we know.

Willy, I filmed on a Bolex film camera, you are a newbie starting in the 80s, I predate your start by twenty years! All the discussion about kit is of course useful but it does tend to overshadow what's really important - the quality of the resulting production in artistic terms. One of my sons in law is a professional photographer with prestige jobs to his name, and he is constantly denigrating the camera that I currently use to make my films. It is a semi pro Sony aged about three years, and has the specs which ideally suit how I operate. He complains at the dynamic range exhibited by this camera and points out burnt out highlights such as sky. To my eye my pictures are perfectly satisfactory although he might have a point when it comes to sky. I point out to him that I've never had any comments along these lines, either from judges, audiences, TV channels or fellow film makers. It's the content and appeal of the film that really matters. Should I change to the new Sony FS6 which I have been debating with Tom Hardwick? Maybe slightly better pictures but what about better films?
Ken Wilson
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Re: FVM articles

Post by Ken Wilson »

Picture and sound quality are of course very important and we have come a long way since I bought my first camera (Super 8) in 1968. We have gone through quite a few film and video cameras since usually wearing them out or changing to a new model when there is a breakdown. Audiences notice very little, so it`s just us who fret about technical aspects. If you are happy with your camera Michael, I would disregard what your son in law says.

At the film labs where I worked for 35 years, we had to maintain the highest standards of course for TV shows and there was so much stress when we had a one frame mark or a "blob" which we would try to remove with chemicals and a Q-tip. There would be a court of inquiry as to how this had happened. But I can`t recall any TV viewer saying that the latest episode of "A Touch Of Frost" was ruined by some dirt (sparkle we called it) on one shot. It`s a question of perspective.

I enjoy your articles Michael so you should submit more of them!
I have written before in FVM that it`s content that is king. But as we said previously, there is room for all varied interests on here and in FVM as long as we are talking "film".
ned c
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Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Re: FVM articles

Post by ned c »

I must ask Michael Whyman to put my e-mail address with my articles. I do know that some readers visit the links to my Vimeo site. Ken; I thoroughly enjoy your articles as we meet the real world of amateur film making and thanks to Tom for the detailed tech info.

Michael; your son-in-law certainly shoots his stills in raw which makes use of the full dynamic range of a camera sensor and reduces the problems of blown out high lights and blocked shadows. The Sony F6 delivers a 15 stop range but only when shooting in raw which is an "unfinished" image and you have to make the color/contrast/brightness decisions so your edit software has to have the tools to do this and your computer must have the horse power to handle it all. There are of course other reasons for considering the F6 a very full featured camera. Raw is the image information directly off the back of the sensor before processing and it is possible your current camera can deliver a raw file via a clean HDMI output.

One way of reducing the exposure difference between foreground and a bright sky is to use a graduated ND filter, something I have to do here as the sky is brilliantly lit.

ned c
Michael Slowe
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Re: FVM articles

Post by Michael Slowe »

Ned, yes he shoots raw. I never want to do that, as you say, you have to have LUTS and all sorts of software to handle it. Nevertheless, might not the F6 shooting in 4K help with the highlight problem? It also has variable ND which is handy as it enables you to hold an aperture when the lens ramps as you zoom. Don't know, but I do know that it wouldn't help with better films, kit can't do that.
ned c
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Re: FVM articles

Post by ned c »

Using LUTs rather than manually color grading is very easy (certainly in Vegas Pro 18). I have used LUTs on the regular 4K output of my AX 700 to achieve a specific "look". I bought an inexpensive selection of LUTs and have downloaded various free LUTs; the range is amazing with some very useable and some truly bizarre.

I certainly agree that kit does not make better films and it is interesting that once a viewing is under way we quickly adjust to the image and concentrate on the content.

ned c
Peter Copestake
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Re: FVM articles

Post by Peter Copestake »

What are LUTS?
I had a bellows lens hood on my first Hi8 camcorder which took graduated filters but have never had such on digital models and am not adept enough to cobble up a support. I nearly always used them on landscapes here (E.Lancs) as the sky is rarely attractive.
Peter Copestake
ned c
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Re: FVM articles

Post by ned c »

https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-lut/

LUTs are a method of automatically color grading the image on the timeline during editing. LUTs are like FX and are loaded onto the clips just like FX. They can give a wide range of color grades to the image with the look of various film stocks and lighting. I can only speak for Vegas Pro 18 which has a specific FX for applying LUTs and the effect on the image can be seen immediately. There are some free examples available; relatively inexpensive collections and some very specialized collections.

ned c
tom hardwick
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Re: FVM articles

Post by tom hardwick »

Graduated filters are ok when used with big sensors (such as are used in your average DSLR) but are a bit of a no-no on the typical camcorder that use tiny sensors and very short focal lengths.

Landscapes are generally shot at the wideangle end of the zoom where the depth of field is so great, even when the lens is focused at infinity, that any imperfections on your filter (and there will be many) all serve to degrade the image quality.

This is exacerbated when you shoot into the light, so it's better to filter in post, I find. That way you have an undo facility only a click away.
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