Shooting & Editing Video – A Photographers Journey

My venture into the world of video started in 2007 when I took a filmmaking workshop at the San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking. The 5 Weeks Workshop introduced us to the process of filmmaking. I took the workshop to learn more about filmmaking, and how to become a better visual storyteller. In the workshop, we learned the fundamentals of using a video camera, introduction to storytelling, writing scripts, storyboarding, producing & directing, sound recording, and video editing. We used a Sony HVR-Z1U that recorded to DV mini cassettes and also recorded audio internally. My favorite part of the workshop was learning how to write scripts, create storyboards, and video editing. We learned video editing using Final Cut Pro 6 – this was the industry leading editing software at the time. Our final project was to use all of the knowledge we learned in the workshop to create our own short film.

After the workshop, I purchased a Canon Vixia HV40 because it used the same recording format as the Sony HVR-Z1U. The Canon Vixia HV40 worked great for a camcorder, but had limitations. When Canon introduced the the 5D Mark II in 2008 with video capabilities, it was a game changer for photographers. We had a DSLR camera you could dress up to function like a cinema camera. The only problem for me was trying to edit 5D Mark II footage in Final Cut Pro 6. Final Cut Pro 6 software did not evolve along with technology. I could no longer use it with the latest Mac Book Pro, so it was time to look for another video editing software.

Since I was already using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, I decided to try Premiere Pro for video editing. It turned out to be a robust editing software and integrated well with other Adobe programs, like Audition and After Effects. The Lumetri Color panel in Premiere Pro reminds me of using color adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw. Overall experience with Premiere Pro was positive, it edited footage from my 5D Mark II and Canon C100 Mark II smoothly. Unfortunately all good things comes to an end. In 2019, I purchased a Mac Pro to edit Canon C300 Mark II 4K files for a video we were shooting about car racing in the Bay Area. To my disappointment, Premiere Pro could not handle the 4K footage or proxy files. My new Mac Pro was configured to handle editing 4K footage, but the whole process (editing, rendering, playback) was painfully slow in Premiere Pro.

I looked into DaVinci Resolve before – but at the time it was not a robust video editing software. When Blackmagic Design took over the development of the software, they slowly built it into a powerful editing software. I tried the free version and automatically fell in love with it. Just like Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve Studio have sections for audio post production, motion graphics, and color correction. The Color Page is hands down the most advanced color corrector for color grading. Editing footage from my digital cinema cameras with DaVinci Resolve Studio have been very smooth.

Just like digital photography, when you upgrade your camera, you might need to upgrade your computer, then you might have to upgrade your editing software to work with your new computer. It’s the same with video, a never ending cycle of constantly upgrading.

There’s a steep learning curve if you want to shoot video or learn more about filmmaking. Doing a workshop or taking a video course would be smart to understand the process better. There’s a lot to learn and you need to take baby steps, but it’s worth the journey.

Below is a short video shot in 2010 with my Canon 5D Mark II and re-edited in DaVinci Resolve 18. Film Convert Ilford Delta 400 LUT was applied to give the digital footage more of a film stock look.

White Dragon: Part One

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