I have 2 videos of my Boracay trips captured using my Canon HV40. One was taken last December and the other just a month ago. I could say that I really did learn a lot from my mistakes in the first video. Where I am undecided though would be in the aesthetic quality of using 24p or 30p which I’ll be explaining further.
Boracay trip December 26 to 30 (shot in 24p)
The biggest problem that messed up the quality of my videos then would be my fixation for bigger aperture. I set my cam to aperture priority to 1.8 the whole time being fixated to the fact that his might mean more light coming in and more “bokeh” or shallower depth of field. The mistake here is that I allowed to camera to choose the shutter speed for me. Apparently, shutter speeds work entirely different from cameras as compared to camcorders. I learned this the hardway. The rule of thumb, supposedly, is to use a shutter speed setting that is twice your frame rate. So ideally, I should have used a shutterspeed of 48 but instead the camera chose for me so in those bright sunny parts the camera bumped up the shutter speed up to 2000 thus creating doubling of images of sorts and undesirable choppiness.
I also had an annoying problem with the gain or the camera bumping up the exposure to compensate during my lowlight shots. At the time, I didn’t know how to avoid this simply by using this feature in my cam called “cine mode” (supposedly made specifically for filmmaking type of shots) or by using the exposure lock trick where I would point the camera at a really bright object then lock the exposure while at 1.8 aperture so I can choose my shutter speed to what I want it to be without the graininess of the gain in exposure.
All in all, I hated it. I have so much footage that I don’t want to use. I mean, they’re decent but I just don’t want to lower my standards. With today’s market coming up with a lot of DSLRs and even point-and-shoot cameras with really awesome quality videos, I still want to be able to unleash the potential of my camera and show its power and competitiveness to the world. I’m very proud of my camcorder. I love my camcorder.
Boracay trip Februrary 18 to 21 (shot in 30p)
And so when I cam back, I was determined to correct all my previous mistakes. I’ve also decided to just go for 30p to be safe and have smoother shots. I made sure I would be using 60 shutter speed or use cine mode at times when 60 shutter speed wasn’t appropriate. I even added a letterbox (the two black layers on the top and bottom of the video to seemingly change the aspect ration and make it more “film-like”). I even followed Vimeo’s recommended compression settings. Evidently, as you watch the video above, you can really see that the quality is better. At the end of it all, though, I wish I can take it back and use 24p instead.
I have made a strong case against 24p and why I don’t like it and how it’s trying too hard to become “film-like”. Although I’ve seen a lot of people who use 24p combined with masterful color grading that really makes their shots look so film-like. When I use it though, it feels like it’s trying too hard. The digital-ness is still too prominent. On the other hand, if I don’t use 24p, I feel like my shots are too smooth and overly digital; that it doesn’t have that artsy fartsy feel of 24p. Somehow, I’ve been indoctrinated to have this inclination for 24p. Most hobbyists and professionals in the field of video production that I know would feel the same way.
At the end of it all, experience truly is the best teacher. Reading the manual of your camera and messing around with the different settings can really unleash a lot of its potential and sometimes even surprise you at what it can do. Right now though, as much as I love my camera, I wish I had a half a million pesos to spare so I can buy a full frame DSLR with a bunch of awesome rigs and lenses just so you don’t have to hear me rant about all these problems of trying to maximize the quality of my videos using my lovely but consumer-grade camcorder.
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