Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canon Digital Feature Film Making, Found Footage Part 1

Canon Digital Film making, Found Footage Part 1

    I got a question after the last post and I thought that I would try to answer it a best I could in one post.
    Question; Can I use one of these Canon cameras to shoot a professional quality Found Footage movie.
    Answer; Yes.
    I have read about the making of Paranormal Activity and I thing that he spend too much on equipment.  These Canon camcorders with a few extra could have shot that film with no problem.  The good thing about Found footage movies is that people expect them to look like video.  So in the case of a Found Footage film you do not need to add a depth of field adapter for that complete film look.  While at the same time you can shoot in 24p and give it a film feel.  All you really need to do is add a quality lense (I am a fan of the Raynox 6600) and attach a quality microphone and you are ready to shoot.  
    I would suggest something portable to stabilize the camera, a monopod is a great little item to have in this regard. It can double for a pistol grip and fully extended it functions as a tripod.
    As far as lighting goes, they do make portable and or attachable lights for these cameras.  Plan your lighting set up well ahead.  Put down marks and make sure the lighting is as good as possible.  Even though it is suppose to look like a bunch of people running around, lighting is very important.  Cloverfield is a well lit movie.  You want a class in this check out the movie Rec 2. 

    More about sound.  Get a quality mic and if your can afford to look into getting a Juicedlink Audio Mixer/Preamplifier.  It will give you pro audio when connected to a good mic.  If you can not afford this maybe you can afford a Zoom H4 audio recorder.  They are mostly used with DSLR, but can be used with the camcorders. 
Even though you are doing Found Footage does not mean that underneath there should not be great production value involved.
    It takes a lot of work to make a movie look as if every shot was by accident.  In some ways you may find that the Found Footage film is harder to execute than a narrative film.  The lack of structure may present more problems that you realize.
    I am right now in the pre-production stages of one of these movies and we are storyboarding this thing to death.  You got to know every shot ahead of time if you are doing a horror movie.  You have to know exactly when and where you are going to foreshadow and then deliver the big fright. 
    It is easy to do this badly and hard to do it well.
    Now have a look at the trailer for an upcoming Found Footage movie that I am interested in seeing,Tape 407.

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