Current Happenings – July 2, 2012

Today I filmed some quick person-on-the-street type shots for an upcoming Obama related video series. The plan was to match footage that was shot in New York City a couple of weeks ago (I couldn’t attend because of a location scout). I really haven’t shot much video on my 5DMK3, or really on any DSLR ever since the FS100 came into the picture. But surprisingly, it went relatively smooth considering we had audio gear die on us.

The following are screenshots right out of the raw file from the camera.

It was supposed to be a very simple shoot: Handheld 5D, an external recorder, some quick lines, and then we’re out. What ended up happening is that our Tascam DR-100 (which I find to be a very reliable machine) went dead on us. That’s no fault of the Tascam’s, but because whoever borrowed it from the company beforehand (both XLR’s were completely kaput). At the last second, when all seemed to be lost, I thought, “Well, there’s on option I know of, we can go line-in.”

I started shooting on DSLRs (for video) during the wonderful age of AGC (auto gain control). There was no ‘line-in’ without cumbersome setups (Beachtek comes to mind), so everyone grabbed an H4n and created some complicated post workflows. With the 5DMK3, you don’t get the best audio in the world, but for quick shoots like the one I did today, it works perfectly. Line in (XLR to 3.5mm), monitoring out (3.5mm to headphones), and the ability to visually monitor levels and manipulate gain while recording. Anyway, it was my first time using audio in with the 5D, and it was a piece of cake. I’ll probably use this feature more in the future for low budget short films and commercials.

Current Happenings – June 13, 2012

So, a lot is going on right now. Location scouting for the feature I’ll be cinematographer on in July-August, Wander My Friends, went well last weekend. I’ve purchased some new gear for the shoot—the SmallHD DP4 monitor and Viewfinder, as well as the Redrock MicroMatteBox. Both pieces of gear (as well as the 4×5.6″ filters) have finally came in, and I’ll get a mini-review going soon.

Here’s my monitor set up for the feature: Onboard LCD that I’ll probably close for shooting, DP4 EVF set up for my primary shooting set up, and a larger (and cheaper) Lilliput monitor for the gaffer and others to check the frame before filming (and the producer/director to check out during filming).

The Redrock MicroMatteBox is for 1) Quicker setups (swivel feature for changing lenses but keeping my ND in the filter slots should save a lot of time and stress, especially with our tiny crew), 2) our small set ups might limit our grip work, so flagging off the sun on camera will become my primary defense, and 3) because it looks awesome!

And as you can see, there’s an ND filter in it (Naro Density). I never thought I’d say it, but I feel like my camera kit is finally complete.

I intend to upkeep a production log for the shoot, to give others insight into using the FS100 and other lower-end indie gear that I’ve got. Hopefully it’ll shed some light for those also looking to achieve a similar set up.

In the post-production world, the documentary I’m working on “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” is locking in the next couple of weeks, and after the DP gig I’ll come back to Florentine Films as a Sound Assistant. I also intend on finally publishing a lot of tutorials I’ve been writing, I just want to make sure everything is perfect so I don’t add to the lot of disinformation out there on the internet. Anyway, very exciting times!

KUA Live Shoot Highlight Reel

I don’t think I’ve had a day off from working for at least two weeks…anyway, this is what I shot yesterday. We did some interviews as well, but I’m really happy with how fantastic our props were. I love shooting lowlight scenes, and the FS100 really held up well (with a couple ƒ1.4 lenses, too).

This is for a documentary on a prep school’s 200th anniversary. This is a highlight reel of some live footage to be used for the 19th century scenes. Everything was shot on the FS100 under extreme lowlight conditions, with no color correction (raw files from the camera).