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Thread: New camera and new video editing software

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    Default New camera and new video editing software

    Hi guys.

    Until now I've been using a Canon Ixus 990 IS, which is a compact camera that I bought for stills, but turned out to make surprisingly good 720p video. That set me on a path towards shooting video instead of stills, which I hardly do anymore, and when I do I just use my phone.

    On my last steam train chase back in April I realized that the time had come for a better camera, so I sold most of my large scale rolling stock in order to afford a new video camera (and some N scale stuff). Having narrowed down a short list of potential cameras, I ended up with a Canon, a HF-G40.



    This model does full HD and not 4K, but since I am mostly shooting for YouTube, that is enough for me. For some reason I've had Canon products for a long time, both analog and digital SLRs, the compact and now this. It's not that I deliberately went for Canon this time, but I do trust the quality, and somehow the features always seem to fit my needs.

    With the camera I got an external mic and a monopod for improved stability while "running and gunning" on a train chase. I had picked a mic without batteries as I don't want to suddenly find myself without sound, but I missed the fact that this camera doesn't provide power for an external mic. DO'H!! I'm still happy with the mic selection, though, so I'll rig some kind of small box for a pair of button cells. When I get some experience I can always upgrade.

    This Sunday was my first real outing as a friend invited the guys over for the inauguration of the back yard loop on his large scale garden layout. I'd had a go railfanning the local intercity main line with the camera a few days before, but I don't really want to talk about it. Suffice to say the step up from a compact to a prosumer camera is a fairly tall one.

    Here's the result of my efforts Sunday. All things considered, I'm quite pleased with it



    One more novelty is that for editing the video, I've switched from iMovie to Blender. I've dabbled with Blender on and off, but never more than just getting my feet wet. This time I took the dive and had a go at editing the entire video. And i must say I am not looking back. The learning curve is steep and you have to know some basics about video, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite nice to use.

    iMovie is great for stitching video clips together and adding some basic effects and such, but it's a bit rough. With Blender you get total control over every aspect down to the individual video frames. The thing about Blender is that it's really an animation program that has a sequencer for video editing. That means that every property of the video can be animated right within the program. I didn't go nuts this time, just some basic crossfades, but I scratched my head for a while about how to fade the sound of a video sequence. It turns out you animate it. Yes, it sounds crazy to animate sound, but really what happens is that the sound level is animated from say full volume to silence in the time from frame X to frame Y, effectively fading the sound.
    The sound volume is simply a property like all other properties, and all properties can be animated.

    I'm so looking forward to trying out all kinds of cool effects (without drowning the video in it of course).
    When you open Blender for the first time you may feel like you're being asked to fly the Millennium Falcon, but fortunately you get a lot of help from YouTube, where users have uploaded tons of tutorials to learn from. I especially like this guy who explains things in a way that I can understand.

    Best regards
    Jens
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    Very nice video and layout also. I've always admired garden RRs and wished the season for it was longer here up North. Wondering tho... how the heck does he get the lawnmower into all those areas that are surrounded by track? Does he have lift outs?

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    There is a level crossing on the front yard loop for wheelbarrows etc. but as for mowing the lawn, it's one of those autonomous robot mowers, I believe. It ducks under
    Last edited by SteamPower4ever; 7th Jun 2018 at 02:30 AM.
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    The geek in me keeps wanting to learn Blender, but for now iMovie is more my speed as a rank amateur/beginner with too much time sucked up by everything else I’m doing. I hear (and see) it’s a pretty fantastic tool, though. One thing I’d like to be able to do is blur things out, like faces or license plates. This is really tricky to do well in iMovie especially if the face/plate/etc. moves in the frame. Does Blender allow for that?

    That’s a pretty awesome garden railroad.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    I'm pretty sure Blender will allow for that, but I have no idea how I'd go about it. A black bar overlay would be straight forward, but blur? But again, I'm sure it's possible.

    Blender gives you fantastic liberty to do things, but the flip side (kind of) is that you have to do it by hand. In the sense that you need to tell it what to do and from where to where. Now, that sounds worse than it actually is once you get going.
    Suppose you could make some kind of blur overlay and multiply it into the video. Then if the "bluree" moves, you'd animate the blurry spot of the overlay to move with it. Something like that.

    You could have a practice go with a some copies of your video clips and watch some of the YouTube tutorials just to get a feel for it. I for one am not looking back, but so far I settled for doing crossfades and simple text overlays.
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    Your video looks great.

    I never realized Blender had video editing capabilities...I only really knew about the 3D side of it. I was a senior 3d artist for 10 years making games. I just might have to check it out some day soon again and see how it's all developed over the years. Its been a few sense I checked out what blender can do. If ya ever get the chance check out Adobe Premier or After Effects, they aren't free like Blender. But a monthy subscription to just one of them isn't to bad $ wise and the learning curve isn't to rough compared to Blender (blender is on the step side of learning compared to other 3d apps). I personally prefer After Effects for all my video stuff...but I am partial to it cause I do mostly motion graphics and graphic design for a living in big pharma now. Per the camera...You'll totally enjoy the new Canon. I have had my G30 for the past few years and just used it to film some workout videos for a company my wife is starting. The canon handhelds are really good and I totally recommend them.

    BTW, 4k is still a novelty resolution to most people. Not until the video standard raises from full HD do ya have to worry about it. And its still gonna be a few years before we get close to that happening.
    Seanifer

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    @Seanifer
    You bet I will enjoy the new camera

    My goal was to make myself the weak link of the tool chain and I dare say mission accomplished. Now I can learn and improve as I go along, and neither camera nor software will let me down for a while.

    I have been looking at the various $$ software packages, and being on a Mac, I would probably go for Final Cut Pro rather than the Adobe products. Also, I understand that iMovie has improved lately, but I haven't bothered looking into it as I stopped upgrading the OS some time ago as the newer ones bog down my old computer. I'm happy to find that Blender is less of a resource hog than iMovie during rendering of the edited video. I'm feeling comfortable using it, and while the learning curve seems steep, I am well on my way up it - and it's free, so for me it's a win-win-win case.

    And I agree - 4K may be the next step in the evolution, but it's still just a novelty.
    Sure, many new TVs are 4K now, but I don't see any reason for using it myself. It requires more memory and processing power, and I don't want to upgrade my computer right now if I can possibly avoid it.
    Quite frankly I can't see the point unless you have a really really huge screen. Full HD (1080p) looks absolutely gorgeous on my 46" TV, so why bother with 4K now?
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    I read an article somewhere that talked about pixel size vs distance vs the human eyes resolution. It reached the same conclusion. Unless your screen is massive or you sit very close, you can’t see the difference anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    One thing Id like to be able to do is blur things out, like faces or license plates.
    Here you go

    https://youtu.be/_06cWLUZ_Bg
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    Final Cut Pro can do anything you need, but had a moderate learning curve. I’d recommend one of Apples freee intro classes if you go that route.

    IMovie can also do more than it seems, again a class or book can really help.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicknell View Post
    Final Cut Pro can do anything you need, but had a moderate learning curve. I’d recommend one of Apples freee intro classes if you go that route.
    Thanks, but my route is more likely to lead towards a different OS, which is why I'm happy with Blender for now. I'm not saying I'm actually going the leave the Mac, because there's still things I like and the ol' iMac is still working, but I like having the option, and with Blender I have now found my most important software tools free and cross-platform.
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