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LISTED HERE IS A SELECTION OF POSTS on various topics from members of our Yahoo Group

Feel free to email individuals for more information or go to info@bristolvideo.org.uk




Diffusion filter No.216

Those of you who came to the meeting where my Cameraman friend, Alex Hansen, gave us a talk about lighting, will remember that he was keen on the use of sheets of diffusion filter in front of some of the lamps he was using. This softens the light and often makes the resulting lighting more attractive.

The filter material which Alex demonstrated was No. 216 in the standard filter catalogue and Alex has very kindly donated a quantity of this filter material to the club for members' use.

Julian Baldwin



Acting for the Camera

Michael Caine - Acting for the Camera


The link (hopefully) takes you to a programme I first saw years ago. It runs for about an hour.

I found it fascinating then and I still do now. This guy certainly knows his stuff.



I've posted about this before, but Lightworks (A free cross platform fully featured editing system) is now available for MAC (beta version).  More details below:


Declan Smith


I’ve just downloaded the Pro version of Lightworks. It’s quite a complex activation process, especially if you’re doing it off line - I strongly advise watching the installation videos and printing out the download instructions first. No activation is required for the free version. However, the free version will only output to YouTube, otherwise it’s exactly the same as the Pro version.

Chris Challen



Problem with SXS cards

Provisionally booked to film gert big ships at Royal Portbury Dock this Wed and Fri. Would like to use latest camera but when I tried to format an SxS card it got to 78% then froze.

Anyone out there encountered anything similar?

Gordon  Young


I use a convertor MXM SDHC/XC uhs-1  It takes SDHC cards up to 64MBS.

I bought 2 SXS cards 50 mbs,at great expense then decided unless my films were going to be broadcast on BBC I would use these adapters and use an ordinary 64 GB card instead .

SanDisk SDSDU-064G-U46 64 GB Ultra 30 MB/s Class 10 SDXC Memory Card Then set the camera at 35 mbs and format.You can get advise on this from Visual Impact I bought these adapters from Proactive Media they are on the internet and will help you solve the problem you have.

You put the cards inside the adapters and then put the adapters in the camera where the SXS cards should go.

Diana Taylor





In case you didn't see the Gadget Show on TV tonight, they demo'd this tiny little quadcopter; little bigger than your hand, it features live, stabilised, 640x480 TV transmission to the screen on the hand-held transmitter, and can record to an SD card. Here's the spec:





New Super 8mm camera

A couple of interesting articles. Perhaps film isn't dead after all!  A new Super 8mm camera is on the way.  


Also, breathing life back into old cameras.  You may well be able to pick up older cameras on ebay, like I did, and use this sort of solution.  You can get a lot of camera for your money.




Good artiare still there.

This company offers all the pro stocks --  in super 8 form. All the stocks you see here are the same stocks I used to use as recently as 2008 in super 16. Great colour saturation and the company offers a package that will deliver the neg back on any format you wish.

If you want to learn to light -- no I mean REALLY light, then film is the way to learn the craft.





Green Screen

I am keen to understand what the specific issues you are having with the green screen footage.  When I tested them, they did appear to key very easily.  I am not familiar with Pinnacle, however, I have tested on Sony Vegas Version 8 (which is about 5 years old) and that seems to have no issues keying the clips (using the built in Sony Vegas Chroma Keyer).  In Sony Vegas you need to get the balance right between the low and the high threshold, and add a small amount of alpha blur if needed.

Generally speaking, editing programs are best suited to editing are not very good at green screen which is why there are specific programs designed for compositing, but having said that, you should be able to get reasonable results with the footage.  The recorded footage has been captured in a 10-bit 4:2:2 colour space which means that there is loads of colour information for the keyer to work with.   Most video cameras record at 4:2:0.  There were a few lighting issues, due to the mixed light in the room, so we couldn't get a perfectly lit green screen, and the backlight wasn't strong enough.

Below is a quick one-click key in Sony vegas with no colour correction or green de-spilling.  In this you can clearly see the straps from Lucy's dress still key nicely.

To make this better you would need to do the following:

1. Shrink the matte slightly to get better edges (this all depends on the tools in your editing program).

2. Colour match foreground/background.  Start by adjusting the contrast (this is easier if you temporarily make the whole thing black and white).

3. Next, match the colour tone (warmer or cooler) and saturation.

Optionally, to help sell the effect,, Add a shadow layer.  To do this, duplicate the green screen footage and put it between the main lucy layer and the background.  Next, alter the perspective so that the second lucy layer is on the table like a shadow would be.  Now darken this shadow layer to black, add a heavy blur to it and reduce it's opacity.

I hope this helps.

As for performance issues, then yes, this is Full HD footage which will require more from your computer system.  If you are using the MPEG files, then this will put considerably more strain on your processor as it will constantly be trying to decode the video files.  If you do down scale to standard definition, I suggest you first transcode the footage using something like MPEG Streamclip or similar, and do not use a lossy codec like DV as this will defeat all the advantages of the green screen footage.  Try and transcode it to a lossless edit friendly format that is compatible with your system.





Lavalier microphone for smartphones

Very interesting indeed!!




Lavalier microphone for smartphones

The smartLav is a professional-grade wearable microphone designed for use in a wide range of film, television and broadcast scenarios, or wherever professional quality audio is required in a discreet, portable format without the complication and expense of additional wireless equipment. With the smartLav the user simply mounts the microphone on the talent, connects it to a smartphone or tablet headset jack and records via the RØDE Rec app for iOS, or any other audio app of their choice.

By employing a high quality omni-directional condenser capsule the smartLav picks up sound equally from all around the microphone, allowing for versatility when mounting and ensuring a high degree of user-friendly operation.

A foam pop shield is supplied to minimise wind noise and vocal plosives (hard ‘b’, ‘t’ and ‘p’ sounds), as well as a durable mounting clip with in-built cable management.

The smartLav is compatible with any audio app that accepts input from the headset connection, however it has been designed to pair perfectly with RØDE’s RØDE Rec app for Apple iOS devices. RØDE Rec turns the user’s iOS device into a fully-featured field recorder, with a wide range of equalisation presets to suit various recording situations, in addition to professional editing functions and the ability to publish to SoundCloud and Dropbox direct from the app.




Duplicating a mono audio track

Can any one offer advice, please? Just finishing off a wedding video for a friend. Most sound was recorded via Sennheiser mono mike. I've chopped up all the scenes on the timeline and I now realise (late in the day) that sound is only from left channel. I can't duplicate sections of sound to create a right channel soundtrack because I seem only to be able to cut 'n' paste on the same track. I'm using Premiere Elements (the vanilla flavour, sawn-off version of Premiere) and fear it's not got a facility deep in its menus to just copy an entire soundtrack.

Any advice appreciated, especially by the beautiful bride . . .



Two options.

1. Does premiere elements have a mixer?  If so create a mono submix track then assign all your tracks to the submix.

2.  Apply the 'fill left' or 'fill right' effect to the offending tracks





Camera stabiliser(s)





It seems to operate in the same way as other stabilisers, by moving the CofG below the support.bThese haven't exactly caught on big. In this case, you go out of your way to buy a tiny, light, cam, and then double the weight and increase the size! It probably does the job of taking out a lot of wobble, but if I was looking for one I think I'd wait until they're in the shops and I could try one. And if you're thinking of using it for general use - the GoPro has a lovely screen which clips to the back of the cam - don't forget that the GoPro has no zoom, and the focus is fixed; it relies on a deep depth of field due to its small chip and lens aperture, and a wide field of view. (Mobiles might be the same).



I bought a Hague hand held stabiliser for camcorders some year ago.  It is OK but the benefits are modest compared to the hype, even after practice. I haven’t used it for ages - preferring tripods for what I do – but if you would like to borrow it to see how you get on with it you would be very welcome.  OK for following movement. As Pete says, they all operate on the same general principle of keeping the C of G well below the camera, and in the Hague model a simple gamble smooths the movement.



This works on a sound principle. From Steadycam downwards. This looks like a good, tidy little unit. What’s not to like. As for not catching on -- I think that depends on how often you get out and film. I have seen a wide variety of units in use. I think this will sell.



This looks like an interesting device but, as Stewart points out, there are lots of similar devices on the market and I think that they may struggle to sell any at the retail price mentioned of $350.  As a crowd funding investment it may not be a good move. If you were thinking of buying one I would certainly take up John W's offer of trying his model because these things are not easy to use successfully. As Stewart mentions, success is probably related to practice in using it but I have never met anyone who has had the time to practice sufficiently to get really good results.

There are other club members who have similar devices that you could probably try out too.



I've been using my monopod Manfrotto 562B (£120 from Bristol Cameras) as a stabiliser, and my camera is quite heavy, about 2Kg. I just extend the leg a bit until it feels 'right', I get very little rocking, and virtually no shake. The advantage of using this monopod is that it can extend to nearly 2 metres for 'crane' shots, with little extending feet for stability on the floor, ideal for seeing over the heads of a crowd.

Tony Orr