making The Louise Log #31: How To Fake It

Electrifyingly bad news On August 21, 2010, the ninth of the fourteen shooting days for Season Two,

my utterly reliable crew of Deb Micallef, Nik Kundel and Mike Huson assembled early to get ready.

Leer Leary (l) and Tom Tinelli (r) do not double as crew members.

Leer Leary (l) and Tom Tinelli (r) do not double as crew members.

I was doing my Louise best to keep some electrifyingly bad news to myself and am only now, with this post, alerting my dear crew.

After shooting Season One in high definition (HD), it seemed obvious that, even though HD is inhumanly crisp and lacks all mystery, the decision to go with HD had already been made.  Yes standard definition (SD) looks more like film, yes it's more poetic, but no one is shooting it anymore, anywhere.  How would we ever get advertisers if we shoot on SD?

Getting Help: the Trojan Horse

It's possible that I'm one of the least techy camera operators on two legs and had decided to cover myself by a trip to J&R a week before the shoot. That way, an expert could look over the camera and give me a refresher tutorial on the darn menu.  (I love my Canon Vixia HD 30 but its menu organization with the 'joystick' and multiple levels of windows and buttons to access them is an ongoing mystery to me, dare I say 'nightmare'.)  At least this way I could leave the store with the camera set on HD so there wouldn't be any slip-ups.

The J&R guy was friendly and helpful and showed me how to switch back and forth. I was getting the hang of it.  SD...HD...SD...HD...SD  This is something I really should know-- and it's so easy!  Why was I ever confused?

So I guess you see where this story is going. I felt so glowy and confident after my timewith the expert, that the question of whether it was on HD or SD never again crossed my mind. We'd handled that problem. GAAAAAAH.

Picture 11

More bad news

After recovering from my Edvard Munch moment, I realized that, aside from the mess that this would cause in having HD for Season One (well, most of it) and SD for Season Two, that there was even worse news.

In video editing, it's very easy to crop the frame and make a close-up out of one person in a group shot.  When shooting HD, this close-up can look great, like it was shot to be a close-up. The same is not true for SD.

Picture 89

Faking it

In the first eight days of shooting, I hadn't bothered all that much about close-ups because I knew that we were covered.  Except that we weren't.  The good news is that there's something in final cut pro 7 called the 'sharpening' tool which allows even SD to be somewhat sharpened when your cropped frame (blown-up to be a close-up) is too fuzzy.  So Season Two was shot in SD.  

What'll we do for Season Three?  Do you have an opinion, a preference?  Please let us know in the comments below.

And stay tuned for more stories from the making of The Louise Log. We have fun!