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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich Harrington: Hi, my name is Richard Harrington. Robbie Carman: And I am Robbie Carman. Rich: And today we are going to talk about record limits, which if you are not familiar with them, really can turn around and just bite you. Robbie: Yeah, you know it's one of the things where I think for a long time people using traditional video cameras, where you put a tape in or even nowadays a card in have never realized this issue of record limits. Your record limits was only limited by how long your tape was or how the capacity of your car, what that was, but with DSLRs, even though you might have a 32-gig card or a 64-gig card, depending on the camera, the actual camera itself, also depending on the manufacturer, there are different recording length limitations imposed.
Rich: Yeah, and where this is going to really affect you is how long you can record, and that time can also vary for a wide range of reasons. We are going to talk about the technical and some of the legal aspects in a moment, but let's just talk about how this affects when you're out there shooting. Now first off, one of the things I want you to realize is that different cameras from the same manufacturer or even different firmware versions can have this limit set to different times, and one of the things that's weird is if I am on a Nikon camera by default, it counts down, it starts with the limit that you have and then starts counting backwards as to how much you have.
Some of the new one icons, you could turn that off, it's a menu setting, you can tweak it. On the other hand, Canons will count up, but it may not warn you. They finally started doing things like putting a little red indicator, but the deal here is that you have to plan for these, when are you going to take breaks? For example, you and I have shot some concerts together, big issue here, describe the workaround. Robbie: Well, the workaround is sort of staggering your coverage, right? If you're shooting a concert for example, knowing when to stop the camera, while other people are still recording. Now to be clear, this is not something that takes a lot of time, right? It's literally stop record, press record again and you sort of reset that limit.
So, when you are shooting by yourself with a single camera, it can be just a matter of a second or so. With multiple cameras, you sort of need to play in inside of that coverage. Now Rich brings up the idea of a concert. I also find this challenging for example for interviews. If you're recording an interview with the CEO of a company or a one-time only interview with a key subject, you need to sort of plan this and one of the ways that I have gotten around it is in between questions, real quick, stop, start and you sort of reset that counter, but it's something you definitely need to consider. Rich: Well, and that's a very valid point with an interview type workflow one of the benefits of doing that start/stop is that it's easier to find each question in the bin because what you don't want to do is, oh, oh, wait, hold that thought. You want to make the technology invisible to your subject, so they are not being affected by it, but you do need to plan for this, you do need to figure out what are the limits and let's just for a second also talk about this concept.
I think it was DV tape where people sort of got this mentality of just let it roll, storage is cheap, it's a cheap hard drive, just let it roll. I love short takes because when I go to work with my project, I work natively in Premiere Pro a lot, media management you really can't media manage camera native material. You can't just say, oh, trim this out, get rid of this. It's whatever was shot and so if you have these incredibly long takes, they take longer to look through, longer to find your clips, longer to locate things.
So if anything, there's times that I think the shorter record limits actually come in handy. I just want to make sure that people think about having just what they need and not more than they need. Robbie: Yeah, and this might be something that's sounds a little funny, but depending on what you're shooting, a DSLR might not be your best bet. If you need to record for 24 hours simultaneously for say a natural history or a nature film that you're doing, putting the DSLR in the field might not be your best bet. You might need to go for some other recording technologies.
So with that said, though Rich, I think that in the next couple of movies, we will give you some workarounds and we also tell you both sort of the legal aspects of this and sort of the technical aspect of why these recording length limitations exist in the first place. Rich: You mean it's not just to mess with me? Robbie: Well, with you it is, yes. Rich: Okay, we will be right back.
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