I last posted on this forum when I was on the market for a new camera and I decided to go with the C100 Mk II. It has presented a huge learning curve for me, which is good I guess, but I find that filming with this beautiful beast is a great deal more complicated, and sometimes my footage not as good, as filming with the simple little Canon T5i Rebel or my HFG20 camcorder where everything was basically automated. I’m determined to overcome these comparisons as I’m sure the problem is user-end.
Anyway, I’m in the middle of one big project (a documentary mini-series about a research team developing computer simulations to understand religious violence) and in pre-production on a smaller project (a short documentary about a Buddhist monk who survived the Rwandan genocide and now teaches trauma healing) and I have questions about frame rates.
On the miniseries (computer simulations) I started out filming with the Canon T5i Rebel and occasional iPhone, both of which are filming in .mov format with a frame rate of 29.97p. I never really thought about shutter speed or white balance, but the footage generally looks good. I got the C100 MkII for lots of reasons and I don’t regret it, but I really need some help. Usually I film in the US, where I bought the camera, and when I started using it my shutter speeds were in multiples of 1/60 with a starting frame rate of 29.97p and a system frequency of 59.94Hz in an AVCHD format (the guy at the store recommended it).
My last shoot with the computer guys was in Greece and I took my C100. I was advised by a camera guy I met there to switch to 23.98fps and put on cinema lock for a “more cinematic look.” So I have a project that is combining different frame rates now, and I don’t know enough to know if this is a problem, but I’d like to know if I should switch back or stay steady on. I’ve learned the hard way about having to accommodate for halogen flicker in the US at 50Hz and outside the US at 60Hz and to match my shutter speed in the corresponding multiple. But I’m wondering about which frame rate I should proceed with. And for that matter, which file format, system frequency, and bit rate. Going forward, I will continue to film these guys in Norway, the USA, and the UK/Ireland, in mostly classroom settings and controlled interviews, with some outside b-roll.
Here’s the work-in-progress project link: https://vimeopro.com/jennlindsay/simulating-religion-project
Likewise, I leave Wednesday for Uganda and Rwanda to film this Buddhist monk and I’m not sure what are the ideal system settings. In Uganda I’ll be shooting some controlled interview settings, a lot of classrooms and meditation/ t’ai chi sessions, and in Rwanda more street b-roll and informal interviews.
I’ve read a lot about how 23.98fps is a good “cinematic” frame rate. On the other hand, I’m not shooting cinema style–my style is very run-n-gun, documentary, Vice news, get the story above else. As I read more, it seems that 60p would be the most ideal neutral frame rate that allows the most leniency for end-delivery, whether on the web or broadcast in the US or outside the US, but I understand that file size gets really big at that point?
I know my settings should tie to my workflow and deliverables:
* I edit and do color grading in FCPx. For media management, to get ahead on keywording, I liked being able to label my camera files and locations prior to importing but the AVCHD format wont let me do that.
* For audio, I use Plural Eyes to sync camera audio with what I record on my H4N Zoom, usually a combo of room audio on RodeLink wireless lapel mic input.
* The computer miniseries will most likely live on the web in Vimeo. Out of the computer project I also aim to cut a much more focused 55-minute doc. The big dream is to sell it to a Science Channel, Focus, Discovery, etc. So I need to choose specs that have a lot of flexibility in end possibilities.
* The Buddhist monk doc, I hope, will go the traditional festival route. I want to try and dream big with it since it’s a beautiful story and I aim to do it justice. So I want to make sure all my settings are in the right place–and yet, honor my fast moving style and not lose story and picture adequacy in favor of “cinematic” production values that are not feasible for a one-man band / run-n-gun doc.
I hope some of the geniuses here can advise me accordingly. Thank you so much.
It all comes down to the look you desire. 23.98 is like shooting for film/cinema it is how features are shot at 24fps. 29.97 is a NTSC frame rate standard for US TV in the SD days– think sports and soap operas.
What look do you want? If you are shooting for the US market and go to Europe, I would probably still shoot at 23.98 not 25 as you would have to do a PAL conversion to NTSC after. I understand you had flicker issues, but if you shoot with tungsten in Europe or even a LED panel you wouldn’t have this issue. You just have to be aware of the lights lighting your scene.
shoot in 24, the easiest to conform to anything you need. if you need slow motion, record in 60 since 60 to 24 is the mathematically best algorithm. for web fps does not matter but anything else than 24, 30 or 60 would judder a little. international cinema is 24 and bluray is usually 23,98 world wide.