Huge MAHALO to the crew at The Box Jelly for being an awesome host for our November HDSLR Hangout event Tuesday night!
It was awesome to have so many new people come out and chat about what they’re doing and learning.
We had directors and editors…
Agency creatives and account executives…
People who operate helicopter rigs,
some who shoot on Red Epics,
and many other producers of video content.
Thanks to everyone for making it out. And keep an eye out for our next event happening soon.
We had a few fun toys to play with, but one of the crowd favorites by far, was a handy little Manfrotto shoulder brace that I pair with a Manfrotto 577 Quick Release plate system. This little setup really helps stabilize hand held shots and even more so when used with a Zacuto Z-Finder or other view finder. Having the quick release plate allows me to go from handheld to tripod in seconds.
Check them out here:
Lately, I have been asked to shoot a bunch of projects one-man-band style, so I have had to adapt my technique and setup as such.
In an industry where professionals spend decades mastering a singular craft, a one-man crew is responsible for all aspects of production. Though I would never call myself a DP (Director of Photography), sound engineer or lighting director, I am tasked with each of those duties when I shoot a solo project.
When operating alone, it’s always important not to over pack. Rather than bringing a bulky jib or slider, consider utilizing a panning shot or a monopod push to add subtle motion. Having less tools often forces you to be more creative with your film making strategies. Like a golf swing, everyone has a unique shooting style and technique, so it’s important that you figure out what kit works best for you and your project.
It’s always a good idea to have a shot list of “gets” (the shots you absolutely need in order to tell your story effectively) written down on a sheet of paper or index card. This is exponentially more important when shooting with a limited time window. I use my iPhone for everything, but I find it’s much faster to pull out a sheet of paper than to navigate to a digital list.
A few months ago, I traveled to Hawaii Island with Civil Beat (a local investigative news site) to shoot a few feature stories and this is the travel kit I brought:
One of the features that is extremely helpful when shooting video with a DSLR like a Canon 5DMKII or MKIII is the ability to move around your critical focus area while zoomed in. This feature allows you to punch into your image to check focus and adjust the target area without having to reframe your shot. Currently the C100 only allows you to magnify the center of your frame which forces you reposition your camera every time you check focus. This is particularly annoying when shooting in fast-paced, run & gun situations. But this will soon be resolved with the new firmware update that is slated to be released in mid November.
Another exciting feature that the firmware update unlocks is the ability to navigate through menu settings via the on-camera buttons. Currently, in order to maneuver through the menus and alter a majority of camera’s settings, the joystick on the grip handle is the only option. This will be a welcome feature especially for those who prefer shoot without the side handle and rather enclose the C100 in small cage like the Redrock Micro Ultra Cage.
The firmware also unlocks the ability to shoot at 80,000 ISO, enable “Record Lock” and adds some peripheral lens corrections. There are also firmware updates for the Canon C300, C500, XF300 and XF305 which you can read more about on the Canon site.
Back in the day, camera technology didn’t shift all that often. Aesthetic choices were often determined by film stocks and lens options while camera bodies remained the same. With the advent of digital cameras, film stocks were replaced with fixed camera sensors which are now the determining factors for resolution, color reproduction and the general “look” of your motion capture.
As with everything technology based, cameras are getting cheaper and are being replaced by newer, smaller, and better models at a ridiculous rate so it’s a really exciting and potentially confusing time to be a camera operator.
It is often said that today’s cameras are simply tiny computers with lenses attached and this new Black Betty 2k Camera makes that abundantly clear with it’s built-in Mac Mini. This is the first camera that will allow you to shoot, edit finish your project without the need for another computer. What a concept.
The video production market in Hawaii is highly saturated with DSLR shooting videographers and filmmakers. I am one of them. Because many of us use the exact same tools, our final products start to have a similar look and feel to them. In an attempt to differentiate our film(s) from others’, we often start looking for “better” (aka more expensive) gear.
The inevitable question that every shooter asks is: “What camera should I buy next?” Many assume (myself included) that somehow, owning an expensive camera will attract clients with higher budgets. Does this rationale sound familiar: “If I buy a R3D Epic, Sony F5 or Canon C500 I’ll be able to take my production to the next level. I should also be even able to rent it out to bigger shops and recoup some cost…”
I came across this great video on chasejarvis.com featuring a video by Ramit Sethi that addresses the question “Should I buy that expensive camera now?” Ramit goes through some of the misconceptions of buying gear when starting up a company and focusses on what clients are really looking for.
Every camera has its strengths and weaknesses. I have been shooting primarily with video enabled DSLR cameras over the past few years mainly due to the cost to image quality ratio. Current DSLR cameras generate terrific looking compressed HD movie files and can be purchased for a very low starting price. They are able to achieve that highly coveted cinematic look due to their large sensors and the ability to shoot at the traditional film frame rate of 24 frames per second. Many world renown cinematographers still use DSLR cameras for personal and professional projects alike.
In 2012, I decided to purchase my first large sensor camcorder style camera the Sony FS100. One of the main disadvantages of using a DSLR camera to shoot video is their lack of high quality audio inputs and tiny form factor. The FS100 offered a solution to both of those problems while offering many other video benefits like: 1080/60fps, peaking (focus assist), zebras (exposure assist), histogram (color assist), longer record times…
It has been a tremendous tool for those features alone, but the camera does have a few shortcomings as well. Because it is a sony camera and I own primarily Canon lenses, all my lenses needed an adapter to work properly which added size and heft. It also isn’t the most ergonomic camera I’ve used, but the camera produces very nice images.
I recently decided to purchase my next camcorder style camera the Canon C100. The C100 is equipped with the same 4k sensor as its slightly larger and much more expensive cousins the Canon C300 and C500. It includes built in ND filters, top handle phantom powered XLR inputs and is ergonomically very easy to work with. I haven’t had the chance to go shoot much with it yet, but here’s a quick frame grab from the 24mbit AVCHD file that shows off the dynamic range and resolution of the camera. What you don’t see in these images is the thick haze that was covering Honolulu.
Click on the images to view full size.
Berad Studio’s“Heroes” TV Commercial produced with Anthology Marketing Group for Pearlridge Center’s 2012 summer event has been nominated for two Pele Awards this year.
1. Special Effects
2. People’s Choice
The People’s Choice category is being determined by Facebook “likes” so if you have two minutes to spare, please follow this link: VOTE HERE
to visit the Pele Awards Facebook page. Click the “LIKE” button bellow the video and “SHARE” the video with your family, friends and colleagues.
The Awards show and dinner will be held at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel Saturday, April 27. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone bedazzled and looking rad.
Berad Studio recently teamed up with Techy3 Design Studios (Hilo-based wedding video production company) to shoot “Refined by Fire” on Hawaii Island (a.k.a. The Big Island). One of the tools I knew would be helpful was a jib. However jibs are traditionally large, heavy items, not easily packed in a suitcase.
Within the last year, light, travel-friendly, cost effective jibs/cranes have exploded into the video production market, targeted directly at small video production companies.
Using a jib allows you much more range of motion than you have with a single tripod. It extends your camera’s reach and rotation both horizontally and vertically allowing you to affect the paralax whereby making camera moves much more dynamic.
Companies like Cobra Crane, Kessler Crane and Glidecam have great sturdy options to choose from, but none of them offered an option portable enough for me to hike through lava fields or up mountain trails with. (At the time of my decision making the new Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler was not announced) When I was preparing for our Big Island shoot, I knew I wanted a jib with us at all times, so size and weight were extremely important when deciding which jib to choose.
The jib that caught my eye was the Trapezist by LightCraft Workshop. I had seen tutorials on Vimeo explaining how easy and light the Trapezist was but it wasn’t until I received the package from UPS that I knew just how portable this would be.
Just like any production tool, it takes some time to figure out how to assemble, balance and use, but once you’ve mastered the technique, it’s an amazing piece of gear to own.
I’ve used this jib for both professional and personal work and I highly recommend it.
Check out this quick montage of shots we captured with the LightCraft Workshop Trapezist Jib.