Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Talking about Cameras

                Talking About Cameras

    Thank you for returning to my Blog. Trust me we will get our digital feature film made.Each of us who continue all the way to the end of this road will become filmmakers. I will not promise you that you will be great, but I can promise that you will have the tools necessary to finish a project.
    Let’s look at Cameras.  We are going to be looking at a great many cameras over the next few weeks.  For some of you it will be heaven and for others it will be a long trip.
    There are tons of information on digital cameras both online and in books. Begin your search here, but I strongly suggest you look everywhere for the answers that you seek.  Also keep in mind that your next camera is just that.  It is your next camera, it will not be your last nor will it be your only camera.  You will learn from it and grow with it, but you will move on as technology offers us newer and better options. There may be that one camera and or one rig that is your go to rig.  As in if my life depends upon this shoot I am going to use this rig, but you have to start somewhere.
    That is where the good and bad news is. You are going to experiment with many cameras and you are going to work with many people along the way. You are going to love some of what is to come and there is going to be times where you will be seen running and screaming off into the night from a set that you have lost control of.
There will be days where and when you believed that everything went perfect only to find that your camera let you down and that entire 16 hour shoot is unusable.  Be prepared. Grow a thick skin and accept that life is going to be very hard. You may come out the other side to fame fortune and glory, but in the beginning it will seem like ten things go wrong for every one thing that goes right. Most things are difficult in the beginning, but this is why most people never make it beyond the beginning. Like in the movie Carrie people are going to laugh at you, they are going to laugh. They will constantly tell you that you can’t do it while they are sitting around perfecting the art of accomplishing nothing. It will be easy to give up. It will be painful at times to go on, but if you do get up everyday and go on the rewards are truly beyond your wildest dreams.
    Where we are going to start is with the basics.  The Canon hv series of cameras and the added depth of field adapters.  We are going to look at each camera and hopefully at least one short film shot with each camera.  You will find the short films here or in our trailer park.
    This next video is a solid intro to the Canon hv 30 and what exactly is a dof adapter.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Canon filmmaking, Sound Advice

        Canon Digital Feature Film Making, Sound

    Quality sound on a low budget film is the thing that is most overlooked and it is the thing that is most likely to indicate to the viewer where you are an amateur or a professional filmmaker.
    It is a interesting thing to believe that your audience will forgive bad lighting much sooner than they will ever forgive poor sound quality.  You are a pro now and you are going to have to learn about sound as you have about lighting. Depending upon your shoot it will not be that difficult.  Let’s look at the basics.
    Both camcorders and DSLR have built in microphones.  What I strongly suggest is that you forget about them.  The camcorder mics are barely usable and the DSLR microphones are junk.
    You are going to be buying audio equipment.  Here are the two basic microphones you will be looking at.  The Audio-Technica ATR-6550 Video Camera Condenser Shotgun Microphone.  A nice little microphone that can be plugged directly into most pro-sumer quality camcorders. It retails online in the fifty dollar range.  You can then attach it with a mount to the top of the camcorder or fit it to a boom pole. 
    If you are using a DSLR then I would suggest a Rode microphone.  There are a number to choose between and I suggest you do your research before selecting the best one for your needs.  This microphone will mount nicely on a DSLR as well as use with a boom pole.  The problem here is that you will still be recording sound in camera.  I could live with this as far as the camcorders go, but not in the DSLR cameras.  You will be needing a separate recording device.
    As far as the separate recording devices go I have two basic options for you to look at as a low budget film maker.  Both of the microphones that we have talked about can be connected into a Zoom H1 audio recorder.  This is a nice little piece of equipment which retails for around one hundred dollars.  It will give you a good quality sound recording on a low budget.  If you have more money upgrade to the Zoom H4.
    To step up in price and quality I would personally suggest spending the two to four hundred dollars that it will cost to get a JuicedLink DT454 DSLR Audio Solution. The term audio solution is perfect for this piece of equipment.  Combine this with your DSLR and a quality microphone and your audio problems will be a thing of the past.

    This post has been just the beginning of our talk about audio.  We will be re-visiting this subject soon.  There are many more devices to use with both the DSLR cameras and the camcorders, but I thought that I would give you a quick start here.
Now I will include videos on the subject to show rather than tell.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DSLRs, The Canon 7d, The Basics

    DSLR the Canon 7d, The Basics

    Time to talk about cameras again. Today it will be the Canon 7d.  This camera exist in the space between the low priced Canon HV, Vixia camcorders and the T2i. It will retail for somewhere between one thousand and fifteen hundred dollars.  This is a world class piece of machinery.  It can compete with the big boys on almost every level.
    This is one tutorial where I could go on and on about all the things that can be done with this camera or I could hand it over to this fantastic tutorial about the camera. Understand this before you run out and go get one, the camera is a part of the process. The camera is not the begin all and end all of film making.  If you do not have good lighting, great sound and a great script then your film is going to end up looking like crap.  Learn all you can about your camera before buying one and then come back and learn the basics of film making here.  This is not going to be done over night.  You are not going to learn it all and be ready to shoot in a week or two.  Film making takes months if not over a year when you first start out.  As you get better you will get quicker, but for now try to teach yourself patients.
    One more thing before the tutorial begins, if there is anyone out there who has used this equipment and has a story to tell, I am looking for guest blogger.  Drop me a message if you want to add a post.  If you want to write about sound or editing I can almost promise that you will get into the blog.
    Okay here is a 40 plus minute tutorial on the Canon d7.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Canon Digital Filmmaking, A Changing World

Canon Digital Feature Filmmaking, A Changing World

    More and more film makers are coming to the conclusion that digital is here to stay. The time of the classic film maker who went to film school and learned to cut film is all but gone now.  This kind of film making is here to stay.  It is not just because it is cheaper to shoot digitally on the production end with these little Canon cameras, but it is cheaper on the distribution end as well.  Movie prints cost thousands of dollars, while the type of films we are making can be downloaded into a theater’s digital projector.
    If you have started down this road you are now on the cutting edge of a revolution that will be evolving for many years to come.  The technology that you will be learning to use over the next year or so will be important when it comes to becoming an independent film maker.  I would like you all to understand this, you will be learning to use tools.  Tools are great, but at the end of the day a tool is only as good as the person using it.  A hammer and tool kit in one persons hands gets a picture hung on the wall after the tenth try while in another person’s hands they can build a five bedroom house.
    The little video I have included is a Hollywood pep talk about the state of digital film making and how it is taking hold in the industry.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Canon Digital Feature Film Making, A Parking Story

            Canon Digital Feature Film Making, A Park Visit

        This is a short post to remind all of you that we have added a Trailer Park. Visit our trailer park when you find the time.  There you will find trailers for feature length movies shot using different Canon cameras from the Canon Hv series, through the Vixia series and on to the DSLR cameras such as the T2i, T3i, D7 and 5D Mark II.   Some of these films you will find familiar and some you will be shocked that they were actually shoot using these inexpensive cameras. 
        The soon to be released Act Of Valor was shoot using mostly these cameras.  The movie La Casa Muda, remade and soon to be released as Silent House was shot with the Canon 7d.  So please visit our trailer park and tell me what you think and if any other movies should be added.