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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.
Robbie: All right, Rich, so our first exploration into information in slates, let's go digital. After all, I am not a big fan of analog. I got rid of my record player a long time ago, and it's just amazing to me with all the devices that we have, like iPads and iPhones and various phones and slates and that kind of stuff, the applications and tools that are out there to really help you get a lot of information when you are on set and on location. Rich: I have got an app called DSLR Slate, there is another one called Movie Slate that has a lot more features with audio recording, but it's pretty straightforward.
You see there we have a lot of metadata, and the big deal here is you want to populate these, each of these are a field. So it's asking for things, and let's just walk through. Robbie: Sure. Rich: ISO speed, so you know what the sensitivity level, the aperture, the shutter speed, well, all of these things are going to give you information about how the shot was made. And, well, you are often in a color situation. How do you use this information about the acquisition side to really affect your judgment when you start mixing shots together? Robbie: Yeah, well, it lets me sort of know things like what the exposure was of the original shot.
If I am seeing noise in the shot, I'm going why, why am I seeing noise? I can look at the slate information and go, oh ,it's because they shot at ISO 3200 or something similar like that. So having that information is good. The other thing that I really like about sort of the slates here, the digital slates is that I can also look at information about things like the camera. So for example if somebody shot with a camera that was shot Log for example or shot Raw or something like that, I can be informed about what's going on in the creative decisions that I need to make. Rich: And one of the things we got to do is we look through this is we want to fill in as much information as possible, making sure you actually get the scene name, the take number.
Now people think this is going to really slow things down, having to do all that, but once the slate is open, these slates are intelligent, there's little lock icon right below there, if I unlock that, I could easily just push the up arrow to advance through the different take numbers and you see there that it's going to go to the next take or I could unlock the scene, we'll just close the slate, go back to the scene number, tap on it, and it's fully editable. So I could just go back, but the take numbers are very easy to enumerate, and that's important. You want to get a unique take number wherever possible.
Robbie: And I think you made an interesting point, the DSLR slate does this as well as some of the other apps that are out there could help you with this is that they can sort of automate the process for you. So if you call a scene take 1, the next time you open the slate, guess what, it's going to be take 2 and so on and so forth. So it is important to kind of get to a sort of common naming scheme, of how you are going to call things, what you are going to call the camera, what you are going to call the scene, the take, and so on. But a lot these tools will sort of help you automate that process. Rich: One of the things I like about this is some of the extra metadata that's actually generated by the device itself.
Remember, in this particular case, I have a satellite connection. If you are going to pick up a slate, an iPad, a tablet of any sort, spring the extra money to have the cell data connection because what's nice is, is that the clock on this is set by the satellite. So theoretically, even if you've got multiple people shooting and they can't all see the same slate, if they take out their device and they're on the same cell network or really any cell network, there's a really good chance you are going to have a perfectly accurate way of shooting. So maybe multi-camera shoot, not everyone could see the slate, but they can hold up their own slate on their phone and get it synched.
Plus we've got great fields here for things like GPS data. I'd love having that info. So when we go ahead and I'll just open this slate, I'll hit Start and let's just turn the volume up for a second, so you hear the beep. Rich: Counts it through and does the flash. Well, you probably couldn't see all of that info, but during the editorial stage, you just advanced through with your left and right arrow and you could see all that by parking on the frame. Robbie: And Rich, one of my favorite features about these slates is the time of day, time code functionality, really makes it easy to figure out what time of day you are shooting.
Rich: And just make sure you take the time to set the device up correctly, along the bottom or in your user preferences are going to be the frame rate that you're using, so you are going to want to choose that, so the frame rate of the slate matches the frame rate of the camera and that will just make it that much more accurate. Now this is really just a fallback position, but synchronicity is important, knowing when a shot was shot is important, knowing where it was shot. The big thing at the end of the day is what happens if you have to go back and reshoot? Robbie: Absolutely. Rich: Or what happens when you take shots from two different days and need to combine them? Knowing time of day is a huge help when it comes to things like color balance.
So I can't emphasize enough, get it for this, you have got it on your phone, I have got it on my phone. Robbie: Yeah, and that's a great point is that there is a lot of different slate apps out there, you need to sort of experiment and try different ones to figure out which ones you like best. Some of them are free, some of them are few dollars, some of them are maybe $15 to $20, and I found in my own personal toolkit I have pretty much every one that's out there, at least available for iOS. And I like certain ones, I like certain features of other ones, so depending on what I am doing, I might use one or the other, but it's good to experiment with the different options.
Rich: When we come back, we are going to take a look at analog slates and talk about the fallback method and we still have up to come some alternate strategies on synching for those of you doing a sync sound workflow.
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