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Video Making Tips

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I'm certainly no expert when it comes to video and film stuff, but when watching other kendama videos, there's certainly been times when I've noticed small things that could have significantly improved the end result.  In general, here's a few obvious ones...

1.  Position the camera so that the trick can be clearly seen (unless there's some 'art-y' reason for doing otherwise).  Yeah, this should be obvious, but it doesn't always happen.

2.  Make sure that the kendama can be easily seen against clothing and the background.  Choosing a lighter colour ball can often help here.

3.  Again, to make sure things are properly visible, consider what's going on in regards to lighting and shadows.

4.  Think carefully about the location/background that you're using.  Lots of situations can work well, but others can be distracting.  Don't be afraid to experiment, but be prepared to say to yourself "no, that doesn't work".

5.  If you're going to use it at all, choose background music that matches or enhances the mood of what you do.  Kendama tricks often involve a lot stillness or 'freeze' positions, so consider that in relation to the music.  For juggling/manipulation type videos in general, it's usually best to avoid songs with lyrics, as this can be distracting if they don't relate to what you're doing or feeling.

6.  Think carefully about how you use single trick scenes.  That is, you start the camera, hit one trick, then stop the camera.  Yes, this is probably the most obvious and useful way of filming kendama tricks and there's nothing necessarily wrong with it.  Except, use this format too much and your 'edit' is likely to start looking tedious and predictable very quickly.  It's also a sign that the trick was maybe a one-off fluke, rather than something you've spent time learning to do*.  Using trick sequences is one way to avoid this, but I'm sure you can find many other ways keeping things interesting.

7.  When cutting from one scene to another, try make sure that each scene looks distinctly different.  Use a different background, change camera angles - I'm sure you know the sort of thing I mean.

8.  Think a bit about yourself - who you are or, perhaps, how you'd like to be seen.  Making a kendama video doesn't necessarily just have to be about documenting the technical process of landing a trick, it can be made to be fun to watch, too.  Things like style, emotion, surprise, timing and humour are all there to be used.   

9.  Finally, don't make videos that are longer than they need to be.

Hope this helps.  Please feel free to add more.  I'm sure that there's lots of things that I've missed.


* Maybe this doesn't matter.  I'm sure every video maker has done this, at least a bit, after all.  However, it's much more impressive to see a clip where skill cannot be questioned in this way - which tends to mean using sequences.

Good stuff, Guy. Stickied!

Here are some tips for compressing video:

Good tips, I'll try and add a few of my own as well...
10. Slow motion can be a useful tool for highlighting the more important or technical parts of a trick. It can also be the easiest way to make an edit unbearable to watch if it is not use correctly. When adding slomo parts make them short! Don't make your whole 20 second long tama grip sequence slomo, just cut the clip and slow down the short time that the Ken is in the air for that last two turn lighthouse (for example). Basically, use your discretion, when used correctly slomo can be great.

11. Cut your clips appropriately. I notice this most with the end if clips. Once you've hit the trick and maybe jumped in the air for joy it's time for the next clip! Don't include the footage of you sauntering out the side if the frame, grabbing a snack, checking your email and then finally turning the camera off. All the while we've been left to examine footage of the paint job on your backyard fence...

12. Don't use the same trick more than once! This goes mainly for beginner level players.  I know you're excited you just hit bird to spike for the first time ever, I was too at one point. Don't put 4 clips of you doing it in your edit though. That's just not interesting to watch. Pick the best clip of the trick!

13. They're called 'edits' for a reason! Put a little time and thought into the order of your tricks and the transitions between clips. A great way to give your edit some flow is to cut between clips to the beat of the music (try lining up that big spike at the end of the trick with the beat too!).

14. Intro and closing are key! Artsy shots to start an edit off are nice, but keep them appropriately long. As for tricks, it goes without saying that the best trick you do should usually be the last in the edit. Try to start with a banger as well, it'll grab people's attention and make them want to see what other tricks are in your quiver...

That's it for now. I was actually thinking about making a video about how to make a good edit sometime. If anyone on here follows kendama stuff on Facebook you'll know why. It seems there are more young American teens posting first edits asking for sponsorships than there are people actually watching these edits...

[edited for one small typo - Alex]

Bad Wolf:
Ah yes, great information!  It just so happens that i'm reading this while preparing to edit!

I'd like to add my two-cents as well:
When it comes to video quality in the modern world, I feel some people are obligated to shoot in 1080p, super hi-def.  That's how I was for a while too, but when in doubt...

A. If you're worried about file-uploading, go with 720. 
B. If you want to do some slow-mo stuff, try to go with a higher FPS. (60 FPS and up should do the trick.)
C. Shooting in 60 FPS also helps in the editing stage where it will give you "more room" in the cut n' chop stages of editing.

It's my first time doing any type of video recording/editing, so not too sure how credible my advice is, haha.  But these are some basic tricks I've learned from my cinematographer friends.  Hope it helps!


--- Quote from: Bad Wolf on 15 October, 2012, 09:53:26 ---B. If you want to do some slow-mo stuff, try to go with a higher FPS. (60 FPS and up should do the trick.)
C. Shooting in 60 FPS also helps in the editing stage where it will give you "more room" in the cut n' chop stages of editing.
--- End quote ---
But what if your camera doesn't shoot in 50p or 60p? If it shoots in 25/29.97 interlaced format (which most older cameras will do), then you can Deinterlace to get great 50/59.94fps footage. Here's a quick overview of how to do it on a Mac program. Other options will be available for other platforms, I'm sure.

(Tick the Double Duration box for smooth slomo)


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