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Archive 2012 · Video with D600
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Video with D600

I was asked to do a video shooting for a guy giving a presentation and I have never done video before. I was honest with the guy and told him he would better be off with someone more experienced in this but he insisted and he said that I should at least give it a try.

Now I am not going to ask you how to direct the video or about other technicalities but rather which lens to use, D600 settings, aperture, Manual focus vs. Auto focus, ISO, etc... Please if you have any useful information or tips I appreciate it. My setup:

Nikon D600
Nikon 28-300
Nikon 50 1.8G
Nikon 105 2.5 AIS
Sigma 12-24

If you have lens suggestions please let me know since I have time to buy a lens for the shooting.


Nov 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Avi B
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Video with D600

105 2.5

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:05 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Video with D600

hijazist, You probably don't need to buy any lenses, just on the limited information you have provided. Obviously the 28-300 will give you the most flexibility. There is no way to know ISO or aperture without knowing how much lighting is available. If you are shooting off a tripod, I would use manual focus. I don't know if your 28-300 will stay in focus as you zoom in and out, but you might have to rack focus if you want to zoom during shooting.

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:47 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Video with D600

Thanks for the suggestion I will be using a fluid head tripod that I can borrow from my university so that would help a lot. I guess I will use manual focus since the 28-300 hunts a lot with AF and I'll keep a small aperture to have better fluid focus transitions. I also think the D600 will take care of ISO.

Avi B the 105 2.5 is a great option but scary for me because it demands better composition and control of depth of field and I am not qualified to do that yet in video lol... Especially if I want to get shots of the audience

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:58 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Video with D600

The 105 wouldn't require more DOF control...just stop down. It will be the easiest of all your lenses to focus accurately, and will provide a decent working distance. You don't want to be all up in the presenters business while he does his thing.

I would be more concerned with the audio side of things. What I would look at doing, to avoid spending an arm and a leg on mics, is to use a pocket digital recorder placed on his podium or what have you, and sync the audio/video later.

Nov 14, 2012 at 01:37 AM

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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Video with D600

It's all up to what you want to cover, and how far away you want to be able to stand.

Tele lenses are perfect for this - as long as you can solve the sound problem in some appropriate manner. I almost always remux an external sound recording into the video unless I'm shooting handheld. Remember to ask for a main mic mixer recording if the presentation is amplified.

105mm >> 15m distance will make you cover about 2.5m image height.

If you can get back to about 25m, that's easier as long as you're not to low - then audience moving around can mess everything up. You need about 200mm to cover 2.5m height in 16:9 from 25m, 2.5m is a tall person with some head- and foot room to spare.

Don't worry about the 28-300 sharpness at 200mm - it's much, much better than what the video signal can resolve - even wide open. The problem is distortion. The pincushion can be unsettling at anything from 60mm and up, and the barrel distortion at 28mm is so strong that it borders on a comic effect. If you don't find that disturbing, use the 28-300 - but only over ~45mm.

Otherwise If you can find it, get an old 75-150 F3.5. The zoom will be awkward (push-zoom), but you're not going to use it anyway... For more reach, try a 70-210 F4.0 E. Both can be found for about 50-150USD in very good/mint condition, and they are more than good enough to cope with anything in video - unless you need smooth zooming that is...

If you need smooth zoom, You need to look at a two-ring zoom that doesn't refocus on zooming. That rules out almost all newer Nikkor zooms. The 70-200VR1 is the latest and greatest usable for video.

Whatever you do, don't try the DX crop video option for "more reach"... It's an abomination.
Shoot at the aperture you need to get low ISO, but avoid stuff like F4.0 in bright sunshine and so on... If you get a still image at ISO200 1/60s then you're spot on for most documentary stuff. If you get 1/800s - stop down a notch or two. If you get 1/5s - reach for a faster lens...

Lower the "contrast" setting in jpg/video in the camera a bit, push back in post. Record 1080, downscale to 720 in post (the signal isn't even close to 1080 in reality, so often you get better total image quality from the same encoding bitrate at 720p than you do at 1080p). Remember to tap on/off in a short break before your 30 minutes of recording runs out...

Well, a few pointers at least...

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Video with D600

You have to constantly be on a shutterspeed of !!1/50!!! for 24p and !!!1/60!!! for 30p.
I would recomend to use lenses with VR if you are working off tripod, and keep it under 150mm to avoid shaky footage.
As said above:
- Contrast down 2 notches
- Sharpness all the way down
- saturation down 1 or 2 notches.

I would use the 50 1.8 and 28-300 all the time.
If you have low light but want more tele but with less dof, use the 1.5 crop factor in video (still gives the same amazing 1080p video).
I would also use a Gopro or a second camera to record an other view. (to keep it less 'boring').

Nov 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Video with D600

playerofwar, Good advice

I use my AF-S Nikkor 28-300 for HD1080 at 30fps Video inside and out.
It is only in extreme low light that I use the 17-35 or 28-70 at f/2.8
AF-C, AF-ON button used as needed (AE-L/AF-L).
Manual: F/5.6, speed 60s, ISO adjusted as needed.
I find ISO up to 3200 to be just fine and even 6400 useable.
I can zoom with that f stop no problem.

AF is a lot easier and more accurate for me even when using an external HD monitor.

Nov 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Video with D600

@Playerofwar such great advice, particularly the distance part, thank you so much

@playerofway: I will see if I can borrow a camcorder for a second angle. That's a great idea!

@RRRoger: The presentation will be indoor during the day so I guess that will mean low light but not extreme. When you mention AF, does that mean I need to use AF-C so the camera would Auto Focus every time I lose focus? I am sorry I am not familiar with video auto focusing...

Nov 15, 2012 at 01:37 AM

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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Video with D600

In the advice on using different cameras for another angle.

I've found using different cameras resulted in different video quality in lighting, white balance, and sharpness to be seriously impacting between cuts during editing reultin in some creative techniques to try to hide the differences in video footage.

Even with using same cameras, differences in camera position where lighting was totally different such as a shot fom behind a speaker perspective were also challenging.

An excellent suggestion to use stand alone device for picking up audio is also key. I've found that nice crispy quality audio is 80 percent the juice in the editing of visually bland stuff like documentary or public speaking events.

Don't just give away the audio recording task to just one device either. I use a Marantz PMD661 with XLR input ability attached to a Rode NTG-3 mic at the podium. You could then attach a wireless transmitter to the subject (or podium) and transmit that back to your camera position at the back of the room/hall plugging into at least one of your channels letting the other channel pic up stuff at omert´┐Ż location or from some other attached mic. Also place a audio recorder somewhere in the facility to record ambient audio which could also act as a master audio.

Get there early and record several minutes of the location with no action or "quiet room" recording. This could serve as the audio track base between two distinct clips where audio is very distinctively different even when not speaking because ambient sound change because of audience noise.

Only well organized locations and cooperative staff result in being able to acquire audio fom in house pa systems unless well planned in advance.

Get stand alone interviews of key note speakers either before or after the event. Ask them there full name title spelling and a contact email tel no in case you need it, on camera - written down stuff gets lost.

The one on ones That change the dynamic of the recording of the event from more than just what took place before the audience. In fact you could get a better condensed version of the event using interviews and then use the video of the event as secondary cut material. This is your challenge back in edit.

Also get audience interviews to. Take a few good quality photos during the event.

Check your date time on all recording devces video/stll/audio so you can archive the raw material properly.

Try to use some kind of video slate or just a piece of paper or a flyer of the event with names, date, and location info. Shoot it along with other information like street signs, building addresses, buiness cards so the reference material follows the material to the computer instead of getting lost in your bag.

Emphasis is on audio quality. Use a wind screen - don't just settle for the foam. Get mini dead cat versions that can be slid over standard mic size. May need a couple for podium as well as lapel, and ambient recorders.

Use a small digital camera in back of room placed high "the cathedral looking down from a rear balcony shot" as a master coverage backup for awkward cuts during broad based action such as when speakers enter the room, or audience assembly, and when the event comes to an end and every body starts to leave. Just let it roll the entire event.

Get a friend to roam around with another camera "or you do it" after locking cam 1 on the podium shot to get remote in action shots of audience faces and questioners.

Be ready for any awards or other on stage presentations. Take charge and have them stand, look, or arranged properly. They know your in charge and want to get a good shot. They can blame it on you for "hamming it up" during a group photo vs them looking like a self promoter for wanting to organize a group.

On and on and on. Can't over per-produce your event. Previsualize the event and anticipate the activity, action to mentally story board the action so you can be there before it happens.

Like at a birthday party - at some point you know the cake is going to be brought out with the candles lit (maybe you can get back into the kitchen while they are lighting it, and cover the bringing of the cake into the party area shot from behind), the birthday song is sang, the candles are blown out, a speech is given (adult) or applause and laughter. etc. - Where will you be at that moment? (way in the back? Or at a key strategic position because you did you mental homework?)

Nov 15, 2012 at 04:54 PM

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