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Fuzzaboom -- A Youtube Kid's Show

DerpSandwich

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Well... i wouldnt recommend those super cheap ones they sell on amazon for 10 -20 dollars... i hear they cause image issues. I honestly feel that i went a bit cheap with the tiffin... but i , like you, was tired of spending even more money...lol... it sucks doesnt it... you buy one thing and need to buy a dozen more things for it all to work...

cc
I hear you brother, it never seems to end! Too bad some things you just can't cheap out on. I've been learning that over the last year, and I'm glad, because now that I've allowed myself to invest in the show I've got a pretty good-looking product. The old me would have scoffed at the money I've spent.
 

crazy chris

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I hear you brother, it never seems to end! Too bad some things you just can't cheap out on. I've been learning that over the last year, and I'm glad, because now that I've allowed myself to invest in the show I've got a pretty good-looking product. The old me would have scoffed at the money I've spent.
Absolutely!! We are also lucky to live in an age where a 1000 dslr puts out a better looking product than the first season of sesame street. lol... imagine if we had to pay what they paid for equipment.

cc
 

DerpSandwich

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Absolutely!! We are also lucky to live in an age where a 1000 dslr puts out a better looking product than the first season of sesame street. lol... imagine if we had to pay what they paid for equipment.

cc
Oh my gosh you're SO right! The things we've got available to us now are just unbelievable. The fact that I could start even a simple a show like mine and potentially distribute it to the entire world for only a couple thousand dollars is just insane. It's a great time to be in the entertainment business, that's for sure!
 

Buck-Beaver

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I think the video is pretty good, especially for a first time!

The technical problems you're having with picture quality are not because of your camera, it's because you're not using the camera's settings and exposure controls properly.

My suggestions:
  • Ditch the blue/green screen for now. As you've discovered, keying fur is really annoying and since you're working with a plain backdrop it's unnecessary. You can buy a roll of photo backdrop paper for around $30 and it will work great.
  • Use fewer lights. You seem to be having trouble with overexposure and you don't need six lights to light a simple two puppet set-up. A key light, a fill light and a light for the background should be plenty for something this simple.
  • If you still think your lights are too bright you can try bouncing light from them on to your subjects using sheets of white foamcore. You can also try using diffusion paper in front of the light, or a neutral density filter on the camera to reduce the amount of light reaching the camera's sensor (honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a situation where it was necessary to diffuse soft boxes if the camera's exposure was set correctly).
  • Watch Tom Antos' YouTube tutorials. They will teach you everything you need to know to get started with DSLR filmmaking, including how to best set-up lights and use exposure controls.
Both of the cameras you have can produce great video if used correctly. Generally, you should shoot using a flat picture style, then grade your footage in post production. That creates more work, but it also gives you more control.

I suspect shooting RAW on the T3i with $2,800 worth of incredible lenses you will produce better images that what you'll get with the $2,800 XF100. Also, when the XF100 is obsolete in a year or two you can still use your awesome lenses on the next camera you buy.

Also, just FYI, one disadvantage of the T3i is that it records in .mov format, which is a bit lossy and not ideal for shooting green screen or blue screen elements. The XF100 is probably a much better camera if you keep using green/blue screen.
 
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DerpSandwich

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I think the video is pretty good, especially for a first time!

The technical problems you're having with picture quality are not because of your camera, it's because you're not using the camera's settings and exposure controls properly.

My suggestions:
  • Ditch the blue/green screen for now. As you've discovered, keying fur is really annoying and since you're working with a plain backdrop it's unnecessary. You can buy a roll of photo backdrop paper for around $30 and it will work great.
  • Use fewer lights. You seem to be having trouble with overexposure and you don't need six lights to light a simple two puppet set-up. A key light, a fill light and a light for the background should be plenty for something this simple.
  • If you still think your lights are too bright you can try bouncing light from them on to your subjects using sheets of white foamcore. You can also try using diffusion paper in front of the light, or a neutral density filter on the camera to reduce the amount of light reaching the camera's sensor (honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a situation where it was necessary to diffuse soft boxes if the camera's exposure was set correctly).
  • Watch Tom Antos' YouTube tutorials. They will teach you everything you need to know to get started with DSLR filmmaking, including how to best set-up lights and use exposure controls.
Both of the cameras you have can produce great video if used correctly. Generally, you should shoot using a flat picture style, then grade your footage in post production. That creates more work, but it also gives you more control.

I suspect shooting RAW on the T3i with $2,800 worth of incredible lenses you will produce better images that what you'll get with the $2,800 XF100. Also, when the XF100 is obsolete in a year or two you can still use your awesome lenses on the next camera you buy.

Also, just FYI, one disadvantage of the T3i is that it records in .mov format, which is a bit lossy and not ideal for shooting green screen or blue screen elements. The XF100 is probably a much better camera if you keep using green/blue screen.

Thanks for taking the time to give me some feedback! I really appreciate it!

Unfortunately ditching the chroma key isn't an option, as it's the only way to actually have multiple characters onscreen at once. I have been thinking about getting some backdrops for when there's only one puppet featured in a video though.

The thing about the lighting is that I've tried all sorts of combinations. I've had exposure issues with many and with few, though my image quality and the evenness of my key improved greatly when I bought more. I'll clarify here that two of my lights are exclusively lighting my backdrop, leaving four for the subject. But you're probably right that I still have some learning to do in this regard. I do need to look into getting an ND filter. I've always wanted to try reflectors too, though there's a frustrating lack of space in my studio. But yeah, I do need to fiddle with exposure and stuff more.

I've heard that you're supposed to shoot a flat image and grade it later from basically everyone, though I suppose I'm just not great at grading yet. I feel like it doesn't matter how long I sit down with a clip; I can never seem to get it even a little bit close to the brilliance picked up by my t3i. Mostly it's the blues--it's like nothing I do makes enough of a difference. It starts out flat and it ends up just a little less flat. But again, I probably just need more practice.

I tried doing the RAW thing with my t3i, and I just couldn't make it work. I've got some decent class 10 cards, and I could never record more than a fraction of a second at full resolution without it cutting out. And even if I could get it to work it sounds like a huge nightmare of bizarre formats and converting and workflows and I can't even decipher most of what people are saying when they talk about it. It seems like these days DSLR's with a whole bunch of lenses and extra equipment and software are what people are choosing over camcorders, but at the moment it all seems a little beyond me. One of these days I'll probably have to make the switch. But right now I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, which is why I caved and bought the XF100. It isn't perfect, but that resolution is gorgeous, and if I can just get the color thing sorted out I'll be set for a while (even if it is obsolete after a few years, haha).

Thanks again for chiming in. You've encouraged me to play with my lights the next time I'm in the studio. :smile:
 

Buck-Beaver

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Unfortunately ditching the chroma key isn't an option, as it's the only way to actually have multiple characters onscreen at once. I have been thinking about getting some backdrops for when there's only one puppet featured in a video though.
I understand. That is a bit of a problem. What about using a split screen technique though?

I've heard that you're supposed to shoot a flat image and grade it later from basically everyone, though I suppose I'm just not great at grading yet. I feel like it doesn't matter how long I sit down with a clip; I can never seem to get it even a little bit close to the brilliance picked up by my t3i. Mostly it's the blues--it's like nothing I do makes enough of a difference. It starts out flat and it ends up just a little less flat. But again, I probably just need more practice.
Colour correction is tricky, I suspect that you're not getting the look you want because you either not using sophisticated enough software or possibly not using the right techniques. There are a ton of really good tutorials on how to get good colour on YouTube (look up a site called "No Film School", they've linked to several of these).

I tried doing the RAW thing with my t3i, and I just couldn't make it work...It seems like these days DSLR's with a whole bunch of lenses and extra equipment and software are what people are choosing over camcorders, but at the moment it all seems a little beyond me.
Something you have to decide is what you really want to do. If you want to be a puppeteer or filmmaker there is at least a five year learning curve before you get the point where you're really good. Not to say you can't do both at the same time, but someone primarily focused on performance and puppeteering will usually always become a better puppeteer than someone who splits their focus between the two skills and vice versa.

I think a camcorder is a really good choice for someone who primarily wants to be a puppeteer because, as you say, it's easier to work with and you can focus on performing. A DSLR or another camera with interchangeable lenses is probably a better choice for someone primarily interested in filmmaking because it opens up more artistic and technical possibilities.
 
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DerpSandwich

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I've considered split screen, though that would only work for certain videos, as sometimes the background is important to the performance. Or at the very least it's nice to switch it up. I plan on making more animated backgrounds.

You're totally right about the performer/filmmaker thing. I do really want to get more into filmmaking overall, though I suppose I am going more on the puppeteer side for the moment. Maybe after I get a good chunk of content out there I'll start wanting to experiment and expand. I do want to do some non-studio stuff with my XF100, so at least I can learn a little, though I know it won't be quite as useful as learning on a "real" camera. But right now I guess I'm prioritizing the content.
 

Buck-Beaver

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BTW, for green screen / blue screen lighting tips watch this video:

 

crazy chris

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I love it when a great thread like this is abuzz with activity on this forum... it seems to be a ghost town a lot of the time... such a shame considering the puppet community is growing and growing.

cc
 
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