Crash course in videography… Mobile Video Shooting


So I ended up getting a crash course in videography.  I have to do this video shooting of mobile devices to get performance numbers.  Rainer was kind enough to take some time out to explain a lot of things to me yesterday which without his help would have probably made my work ten times more difficult.

I changed a lot of what I did since the first time I did the shooting, which unfortunately means redoing some of the numbers so that everything is consistent.  Rainer isn’t the only one I would like to thank for helping me out.  I would like to thank Bob for his advice, as well as Clint for the automation and Spencer for his help.  Here is a list of things that made a huge impact from getting 9 set of numbers from 6 and a half hours to about 3 hrs or so.

1) Video shooting is now semi automated, thanks to Clint.  The location for the video tool is found here :

The phones are now rooted ( Droid Pro, Nexus S, Galaxy S II) in order to have this tool work.  (need it in order to kill the web browser process).  For any bug I encounter, I am slowly fixing it and doing pull change requests.  There’s nothing major so far in terms of the fixes I did.  Starting to learn to get used to github because of this part of the project.

2) Shots are done continuously as much as possible (Bob’s advice).  Stop starts not only wear down the camera a lot more in terms of overheating and such but it slows down the process for having to wait for the camera to be ready, etc.

3) The video framing is 640 x 480 using the Canon 60 D (Rainer’s advice).  I had tried to use a Sony DSC-HX9V to do the shoot, but I ran into issues.

a) The video shooting resolution for 60 fps can only be done in 1920×1080.  This means any editing that I need to do or any compression that I need to do or for that matter, moving the files are going to take a lot longer than something that’s 640 x480.  It’s a difference of a 20 gig file versus a 2 gig file.

b) The video format is a proprietary Sony video format and will automatically get converted to 30 fps from 60 fps in Final Cut Pro.  Yes, I could probably use some other program to convert the format to retain the 60 fps, but I would encounter problem a.

I did all sorts of stuff on my end to make sure that it wasn’t just me.

4) Removing the dependency that I had with Spencer.  As much as I like working with Spencer, there’s a sense of urgency for this project.  I don’t necessarily need him to do the post production when all I need to do is get numbers.  I purchased Final Cut Pro (for myself) as well as Compressor.  Spencer taught me how to do some of the video shooting myself (Not talking about the pro quality of stuff that Rainer and Spencer can do … but just enough to get the job done).  Without having to wait for the video files as much that cut down on a lot of time.  (Not to mention that I’m working with smaller file sizes now).

I had no knowledge of this material prior to late December when I was asked to take this over.  I don’t mind working with people and learning.  It was a pleasure and continues to be so working with these kind folks.   They helped me out making the time it takes to make the videos more manageable.  I now know a bit more about videography (thanks to Rainer), photography (thanks to Bob), and how to use the Canon 60D (thanks to Spencer).  Not only that the time to get the numbers necessary is now halved!

Filed under: mobile, Planet, QA