How true RobGrauert, about


How true RobGrauert, about lack of basic know-how. There is no easy way to good quality video, and background knowledge, including how to set ‘preferences’, tweak compression systems to best effect. and indeed what systems can be relied upon to deliver ‘what’, is vital. Besides which, a nodding acquaintance with ‘Virtualdub’, compositing, shot-logging and other skills won’t go amiss either. Six months ago, I quit the video club I had belonged to for the previous three years, due to exactly the video incompetence which most posters have described above. Their monthly competition was, to put it charitably, diabolical, and the footage screened, an insult to those expected to sit down, view it, and put it into a ‘pecking-order’. In a club which prided itself that ‘competition-improves the breed’ my three years of membership had seen it’s productsget steadily worse, not better. I cringedat the prospect of them sending exchange programmes overseas, due to the much higher standard of the programmes from Australia, South Africa and other sources, wehad seen.Yet, I made myself hugely unpopular by pointing that out, because in their smug, and uninformed complacency, they thought they were doing ‘great-things’, and still do, for that matter. I didn’t have the heart to point out that what I had said was mild, compared with my appraisal of my own efforts, upon completion. Unless we adopt an analytical approach and regard our own efforts with a detached objectivity, I don’t feel that we have earned the right to sit in judgements over the efforts of others. If we are going to set up for ourselves, external references, we might be well-advised to abandon the cultural incestuousness which applied in this group, and look to more ‘global’ influences, for benchmarks, I feel.

Mostmembers of that club, have years more ofvideo experience than I do, but while they ponderwhich camcorder button to press, and half of them cannot produce anything worthwhile from their editing equipment,(many of which are an expensive, dedicated-computer based system called a ‘Casablanca’), because they have not taken the trouble to master it’s ideosyncracies. Meanwhile I haveheard so much talk about the fact that ‘this-or-that’camcorder, new onto the market, will ‘do-it-all’ for you, now. The word I would use, in private, at that revelationis an expletive, and I won’t use it here. As an ex artist and tutor, I am acutely aware that what turns a ‘good’ video, into ‘great’ video relies upon,an adequate camcorder and other equipment. The missing aspects, and especially securing visual impact, uses many tricks from the artists’ stock-in-trade, ‘hard-against-soft’, differential focus,overlapping planes, effective use of ‘thirds’, good compositional balance (almost as a reflex), juxtaposition of complementary colours and so-on. What you need to add to the ‘mix’ is some colour grading skills, adjustments of contrasts to secure evenness across your entire production, and matching to the correct colour-format, since the rapid uptake of 16:9 LCD and similar television equipment has made the screen images into a ‘whole different ball-game’. As for my ex ‘button-pushers’, most of whom remain friends, there would be no point in sitting them down in front of my own best stuff, (and I’m re-working some of the ‘worst’ of it currently), because they wouldn’t be able to see the difference,and so, I have spared myself the ‘aggro’. (And please note, I haven’t even mentioned their audio yet).

And, just in case youhave the ‘wrong-impression’, I will go far out-of-my-way, to assist anyone who has first made a genuine attempt to rectify the matter for him/herself. As for the rest of the ‘dead-wood’, who needs it?

Ian Smith,

Dunedin, New Zealand.

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