Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Exploring Video Recording of E-M5 Mark II

I am very, very new when it comes to video but that does not stop me from doing it. I studied my past video recordings which I have done (with numerous cameras, E-M10, E-M5 and E-M1) and there are many shortcomings which can be improved. No, this has nothing to do with the cameras' capabilities of recording video, it was due to me, the user's almost non-existent experience and knowledge in making a good video. 






The list of issues, or items which I wished I have done, or did differently:

1) White Balance
I have always ignored the white balance and recorded the video footage based on the camera's auto white balance. Though the camera got it right most of the time, I have fallen victim to the mindset of shooting RAW in stills, "if something is wrong with the white balance I can always fix it in post-processing". This does not apply to video, since I do not have a RAW footage, nor do I intend to do extensive post-production for video at this stage (of learning). Hence, I must start to pay attention to the white balance settings

2) Focusing
I usually left the setting to default of whatever the camera chose, and only to regret halfway through recording! I record music live performance most of the time, there will be movement of the singer/performer, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much. As much as everyone recommended manual focusing for video, I, choosing to be lazy, decided to use either single focus or continuous focus. The good thing about the E-M5 Mark II is the ability to change focusing points in the midst of the video recording, simply by touching the LCD screen.

3) Not having a Tripod
Oh wait, this issue was solved with the introduction of 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the video


4) Exposure accuracy

As I have mentioned numerous times, for my noob video attempts I have relied on Auto, all the time. I often get over-exposed and under-exposed results, which have been disastrous. It is easy to blame the camera for not giving me what I want (I am starting to think 90% of people who complain about the camera simply complain because they expect their cameras to read their minds and feed them exactly what they wanted), but the simple truth is, if I put in just a little effort and attention in making sure I get the right exposure before recording, I would end up with a much better result. Ironically, I am often very strict when it comes to getting everything right before taking a photograph, not sure what went wrong when I was shooting video. 

5) Sound Quality
I do not shoot video often, but when I do, usually the main purpose is to record live music performance. In order to get good framing for the video footage, I do need to position myself considerably near to the stage. Consequently, I will be standing extremely close to the loudspeakers, blasting the deafening tones away, perhaps, just a few meters away from the recording camera. Many times, I get decently recorded video, but when I previewed the audio, whatever satisfaction that I had shooting the video just went down the drain. All distorted, all clipped and piratically unusable. The microphone built into the cameras were never meant to do good job at challenging super loud environment, and I was foolish to expect good results. Even the E-M5 Mark II, after lowering down the recording levels, though I avoided distortion and clipping, I did not get good audio quality that I desired. After all, what good is recording a live music if the audio basically sucks?

My solution? I brought along a Voice Recorder. I work in Olympus. I simply grabbed off an LS-12 Voice Recorder from the shelf and put it to work.




Last weekend I was lucky to be able to catch Ariff AB performing live at Agenda Lokalism, happening in NU Sentral, KL. 

For this session, I adjusted the white balance manually (auto white balance overcompensated the warm tones from the tungsten light, causing ugly bluish tint), I used Manual Exposure (due to the strong backlight from the bulbs, the metering went underexposed) and I recorded the audio separately via the Voice Recorder. The only item I left out was focusing, which the camera did a splendid job 99% of the time (that 1% error margin is accepatable to me, since I am not delivering this to any clients, and no consequence whatsoever if I screw up, this is purely learning and experimentation). 

So here are the videos I recorded!!

Check out Ariff AB's music!
Youtube Channel
Facebook Page

ARIFF AB - AMIE



ARIFF AB - THE JOURNEY MAN



ARIFF AB - THE LAST FLIGHT



There are many things that still can be improved, I know. But hey, nothing beats learning while enjoying great live music!

8 comments :

  1. Hi Robin, nice post. I love covering events like this with 2 cameras. I would put my old GH1 on a tripod front and center. That leaves me free to roam around with my GH2 using a legacy MF lens. I do need a tripod with the GH2 to do those manual focus pulls for the transitions. I would also take plenty of B-rolls to add to the mix in post. The GH1 has most of the safe shots, but it also acts as the mic (cause it is close to the speaker) for the sound track. https://vimeo.com/101811282

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  2. Hello, Robin, a couple of questions for you about sound (which is a problem for me also with video!) --

    -- You mention you recorded sound separately with the LS-12; how did you sync the sound file to your video? I have tried using the automatic sync function in Adobe Premiere Pro, but it seems to drift out of sync during long videos.

    -- I noticed on my new E-M 5 Mk II that the Movie menu (custom function I) has a "PCM Recorder Link" setting. About this, the manual says, "Set to [On] when a digital voice recorder is connected to the external microphone jack as an external microphone" -- but gives no explanation of what it actually does! If the "PCM Recorder Link" setting provides enhanced functionality with Olympus recorders, then that would be a good reason for me to buy an Olympus recorder for video use rather than some other brand.

    Thanks for any info!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ranger 9, I synced the music manually (not too difficult, since I did not do much, I just had to sync ONCE for the whole video. And I have no idea how that PCM Recorder link works. I am equally as clueless!

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  3. Robin, I really enjoyed watching all 3 of your videos, and listening to Ariff AB's music. I checked on Amazon.com and could not find any of his music there, and if I had, I would have bought a CD!
    The video looks very fluid, but the focus seems to change a lot. You said that you were using manual focus, so it leaves me wondering if you were changing the focus points by using the touchscreen, or was the camera doing that all by itself?

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    Replies
    1. The camera was doing it by itself, but as I mentioned I should have done manual focus. It was on C-AF, and I changed the focusing area by touching the screen (as Ariff moved around).

      I am not sure if there is download purchase version option available for Ariff AB, but let me check with him.

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  4. Hi Robin, i have one simple question.
    During video recording in manual mode, can we adjust apperture and speed on the camera ?

    As i have tried this with canon 5D mark II.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Robin, i have one simple question.
    During video recording in manual mode, can we adjust apperture and speed on the camera ?

    As i have tried this with canon 5D mark II.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete