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Looking for help on improving video with Nikon d750 shooting boxing matches
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Jun 5, 2017 05:43:12   #
jackcorbett
 
I shot this video at the Max Muaythai Stadium here in Pattaya, Thailand. https://youtu.be/hmxzafwqOfQ

The fights here are broadcast internationally on the Fight Channel. I am sitting ringside in the first row directly behind the Englishmen who are broadcasting worldwide in English. This is roughly 10 feet behind the ropes. In my last video of the fights here, my camera would often focus on the ropes or the men immediately in front of me. I had set my camera so that it would use all 51 focus points. This time, I set the focusing for AFC group mode using 9 focus points hoping I'd be focusing more between the ropes instead of locking on foreground subjects. THis seemed to work out a lot better. But I oftentimes tried AFC auto, which apparently uses 24 focus points in a broad rectangular pattern. My idea again was to focus in between the ropes at the boxers and referee. In live view video I set the camera at AF-F wide, although I also tried it in AF-F normal. I seemed to get the best results using aperture priority at a setting of 5 to 6.3. In the end I settled on 5.

I am using the Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens. I don't think shooting manual is a viable option as the fighters move fast at ranges of 10 to 35 feet away from me. Also when I find interesting subjects up in the stands or someone sitting right next to me there's no way that I can focus quickly enough in manual mode. I also bounce back and forth between shooting digital stills in video. When I shoot the stills, I think I would be getting the best results in shutter priority mode at about 1000th of a second. Also I think I'd be better off using a single focus point or the 9 point group mode.

When I first put this video up on youtube, I had the camera set using a frame rate of 60 instead of my normal 30. I then outputted my file at 1920x1080/30 p (10 mbps) as a Windows Media file This resulted in a file size of around 1.5 gig. Then I thought I'd try to output the file at as an XAVC mp4 at 3840/30p (60mbps). The file size grew from 1.5 gig to close to 9 gig. I believe in places the video is a bit sharper and the colors are more vibrant. In any case I replaced the smaller file with this much larger one.

Any ideas on how I can improve, especially with the focusing? Also, does my going to the much larger XAVC format at 60 mbps make sense?

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Jun 5, 2017 06:15:07   #
jerryc41 (a regular here)
 
Welcome to our forum!

Here is a very good eBook written by one of our members. Good price.

http://backcountrygallery.com/secrets-nikon-autofocus-system/

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Jun 5, 2017 06:47:27   #
kymarto (a regular here)
 
I am a professional videographer working in TV for 20 years. I have never and will never use AF for video. It is basically uncontrollable. Learn manual focus is my suggestion.

As to formats: sharpness will be the same at the same resolution no matter what your format, except that extreme compression can cause the video to become somewhat blocky. The main advantages of the larger file is chroma and luma oversampling, which gives you more leeway in color correction and grading. With modern codecs you should have no problems with bit rates of 35Mb/sec for HD. A bit rate increase of 6x seems rather excessive. I don't know how you are outputting video, but a good video editing program or converter should be able to output a much smaller file with decent quality.

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Jun 6, 2017 05:38:51   #
FiddleMaker (a regular here)
 
jerryc41 wrote:
Welcome to our forum!

Here is a very good eBook written by one of our members. Good price.

http://backcountrygallery.com/secrets-nikon-autofocus-system/

Excellent tip. Thanks, Jerry

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Jun 6, 2017 11:42:01   #
speters (a regular here)
 
jackcorbett wrote:
I shot this video at the Max Muaythai Stadium here in Pattaya, Thailand. https://youtu.be/hmxzafwqOfQ

The fights here are broadcast internationally on the Fight Channel. I am sitting ringside in the first row directly behind the Englishmen who are broadcasting worldwide in English. This is roughly 10 feet behind the ropes. In my last video of the fights here, my camera would often focus on the ropes or the men immediately in front of me. I had set my camera so that it would use all 51 focus points. This time, I set the focusing for AFC group mode using 9 focus points hoping I'd be focusing more between the ropes instead of locking on foreground subjects. THis seemed to work out a lot better. But I oftentimes tried AFC auto, which apparently uses 24 focus points in a broad rectangular pattern. My idea again was to focus in between the ropes at the boxers and referee. In live view video I set the camera at AF-F wide, although I also tried it in AF-F normal. I seemed to get the best results using aperture priority at a setting of 5 to 6.3. In the end I settled on 5.

I am using the Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens. I don't think shooting manual is a viable option as the fighters move fast at ranges of 10 to 35 feet away from me. Also when I find interesting subjects up in the stands or someone sitting right next to me there's no way that I can focus quickly enough in manual mode. I also bounce back and forth between shooting digital stills in video. When I shoot the stills, I think I would be getting the best results in shutter priority mode at about 1000th of a second. Also I think I'd be better off using a single focus point or the 9 point group mode.

When I first put this video up on youtube, I had the camera set using a frame rate of 60 instead of my normal 30. I then outputted my file at 1920x1080/30 p (10 mbps) as a Windows Media file This resulted in a file size of around 1.5 gig. Then I thought I'd try to output the file at as an XAVC mp4 at 3840/30p (60mbps). The file size grew from 1.5 gig to close to 9 gig. I believe in places the video is a bit sharper and the colors are more vibrant. In any case I replaced the smaller file with this much larger one.

Any ideas on how I can improve, especially with the focusing? Also, does my going to the much larger XAVC format at 60 mbps make sense?
I shot this video at the Max Muaythai Stadium here... (show quote)

Simple fix, when shooting video, focus manually!

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Jun 6, 2017 19:59:05   #
Bobspez (a regular here)
 
I think your focusing was fine. The sound was really bad. To get decent sound you need a separate sound recorder, then sync the separate recorder audio track with the camera sound track and mute the camera sound track in the editor. With the Adobe Premiere Pro editor you can zoom into the frame in the editor for close ups, or add slow motion. Since slow motion will also slow down the audio, you can loop the crowd sounds at normal speed and pitch during the slow motion segment. Also you could fix some of the blown out highlights in the editor the same as you would with still pics in Photoshop. Premiere Pro also works in the time line with the Adobe Audition sound editor. Adding EQ and echo to the sound in the sound editor, and equalizing the volume in different segments can improve the sound as well. You don't have to worry about the size of the video file because Youtube will compress it anyway. 60fps can make the video crisper, but you can also do the same by shooting with a higher shutter speed at 24fps or 30fps. As long as you shoot in HD (1920x1080 resolution) you will have plenty of frame to zoom into in the editor if you wish. 60fps has a different look than 30fps or 24fps. It's up to you to decide which look you like the best.

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Jun 7, 2017 06:37:34   #
jackcorbett
 
Many thanks for all your quick replies.

First--Jerry, I have followed your advice and have bought the book you have recommended. So far, I am really enjoying the author's explanations for focusing with the Nikon 750's many options.

Kymarto---Apparently the general consensus of professionals is to use manual focus as you are suggesting. I am reading Richard Harrington's book, "Creating DSLR video, from Snapshots to Great shots", and like you Richard strongly advises shooting manually. Richard claims using a loupe really helps with the manual focusing. With the Nikon D750 I can magnify the image in live view to more precisely set the initial focus but while I"m actually shooting the video I can't magnify what I'm trying to focus on. Richard uses a Zacuto Z-Finder. I'm finding loupes from other manufacturers at amazon.com such as Hoodman. What is your opinion about using Loupes?

Prior to shooting this last fight video, I even experimented in my condo living room with manual focus. I tried to remember what the ring dimensions might be. Then I set my tripod out at various points of my living room and shot experimental short videos using it as a focus point. I then used various f stops in aperture priority so I would get varying depths of fields. Then I'd check the videos to see what points in my living room were in focus and which ones weren't. I thought I might use say an F-8 when I got to the fight and if I set the manual focus to say the midpoint of the ring,that I might get the two fighters in focus either at the far side of the ring or when they were right up on the ropes 15 feet in front of me. But when I actually got to the fight and eyeballed how the distances would work out, I thought..."No way. I am too close to the ring and there's too much of a difference between my camera and the front of the ring compared to the camera and the far side of the ring to make that work out well."

Here's another fight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLrZQ_P7ucA At 5:44 into this video I suddenly noticed that my buddy, Big Daddy, was going crazy when the double knockdown occurred. I instantly switched from focusing long range to up close and personal and luckily the automatic focus locked right in. I don't think I ever could have managed to manually focus in time. However.......I've oftentimes practiced shooting video down at the beach at an outdoor restaurant we frequent. This is in low light. Here, I'll be in nearly perfect focus shooting distant subjects. But if I want to quickly pan my camera to the people at my table, I will oftentimes lose my focus and the automatic focus does not bring my close by subjects into focus. I will then have to adjust manually. So, you are right, the camera does seem to behave erratically in auto focus.

As to the sound quality. The sound level and acoustics at the Max Pattaya Stadium are almost intolerable. The Thai announcer speaks much louder than he should in my opinion. And the music's playing so loudly that the floor is shaking. It's also distorting to a painful level. This is not coming from my camera's internal microphones. I can lower the decibel level in my video editing program. I am using Cyberlink Powermaster 15. I can easily mute the background sound, and I can also edit it by bringing the Soundtrack into Cyberlink's Wave editor. I am not an expert with the audio by any means, but for example, I can lower the decibel level of the soundtrack, but the distortion is still there, and then the background sound of the fight ends up not being realistic.

No matter how proficient I could ever become, there's no way I can compete with the professionals doing video for the Fight Channel. So what I'm trying to do is to give my viewers the sense of actually being there, in the Max Pattaya Stadium itself. I've found in general that Thais, compared to Europeans and Americans, have a much higher tolerance for pure noise. In a similar U.S. stadium, music would normally not be played at such a high level of distortion. Here it seems very acceptable to a live audience that is over 90 percent Asian most of it Thai and Chinese.

I suppose I'm still hoping that the automatic focusing will work. This in spite of a good buddy's advice to me that the Nikon 750 has a mirror and that it won't work nearly as well as my Panasonic LX7 or the new mirrorless cameras now coming out, especially from Sony. So I will be paying close attention to the book I'm now reading about the huge number of automatic focusing options the Nikon D750 offers. But I keep being reminded that using manual focus is the only real viable way of shooting this type of video with my Nikon D750. I am being reminded not just by other people but also through many many hours of my own experimentation stretching over many weeks.

Another possibility that I've entertaining is upgrading from my Panasonic Lx7 to one of the newer Panasonic models. For example there's the Panasonic LX100. This model is about two years old. The camera only has about 12.5 megapixels resolution to my LX7's 10, but the sensor (a 4 3rds format) is much much larger. It has a normal viewfinder so one is not having to use an LCD screen such as I'm doing with Nikon's live view. There's also the new Panasonic LX10, which has a 20 megapixel resolution and (I think) a larger sensor (1 inch) than my Lx7 is using. For what they are these Panasonic are wonderful little cameras. Both the Lx7 and Lx10 use Leica 1.4 lenses while the Lx100 has a 1.7 Leica lens. My Lx7 is easy to stay on focus shooting video in low light situations. But on a good day my Nikon d750 will blow it away. And as good as they are, they won't begin to replace a good slr like the Nikon D750 doing digital stills.

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