I'm in the same boat where I too have a new camera and struggling to get to grips with it. I think you are on the right path. Just take some footage and try different settings. I've learnt quite a bit recently from watching some videos on YouTube about manual settings. If you type things like "DSLR filmmaking", "aperture settings", "depth of field" etc. in YouTube's search box you'll soon discover some informative videos and learn new things to try with your camera.
ps. Not sure how powerful or otherwise my computer is. I've had it for three years so not that new. The spec. is:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.80GHz
Nvidia GeForce GT 430
so it may indeed not be all that capable anymore. We'll have a better idea tomorrow after the post-render viewing tests!
Thanks for that advice. I will render some of the samples of footage to a more compressed format at some point tomorrow and report back with my findings!
I think the raw files (which I think are AVCHD/ H.264 .mov files, out of the Nikon D5200) have a bit rate of about 24MBps. I think if I stick them through Lightworks (my editing software) and then export them, they come out as H.264 MP4 MPEG-4s with a bit rate of 8Mbps, so a third of the bit rate compared to the original footage.
It'll be interesting to see what comes out and how it looks.
Thanks Guy. I've done six tests so far, all with choppy movement. I tried two pans at ultra slow panning, took about 15 seconds to pan one side of the view to the other. And two pans at "normal" panning speed (as you've described), still slow-ish, and two at slightly faster. All were chppy/ jerky.
Tried with 24fps and 1/50 shutter speed, 24fps and 1/100. Also tried 60fps at 1/60, 1/125 and 1/250. All were choppy.
Upshot is, it doesn't seem to matter what frame rate I use, what shutter speed I choose (even at the rule of fps=1/double for shutter speed) or how slowly I pan.
I must be doing something very wrong somewhere!?
Thanks for the link to Vimeo Nikon D5200 Group, Guy. I've watched some of the videos and they're really good, cinematographically speaking.
I've now done the further bit of testing. I rendered the footage into a lower bit rate version MP4 through the editing software and then I played and compared the exported file to the original camera file.
You were right! The rendered footage is smoother than the raw footage. It's still a bit choppy, but not as bad. Based on what you've said, I am guessing that, if I had an even better pc spec., then the footage would be completely smooth.
So the jist of all this is that there's no need to worry if footage is choppy - it's just a reflection of the power of the pc rather than a fault with the footage itself.
Thanks for your help.