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Author Topic: suggestions of kit for documentary film making  (Read 3444 times)

Endeavour

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suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« on: April 02, 2016, 06:25:37 PM »

A friend has been asked to make a documentary film on the training & fitness competitions of a local athlete. They need to know what kind of kit they'll need (HW & SW)

they asked for my advice, thinking that I was into that stuff - but I never touch video, so dont have a clue
I was going to suggest a mac and final cut with a goPro plus a bigger video camera for the interviews and following the training sessions etc.

What would be a good camera for this kind of use? I assume some LED lighting bank would also be required.


They want to make it look as pro as possible (of course they do) but its really only going to be 1 person doing all the filming

any ideas gratefully passed on
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langier

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2016, 07:40:43 PM »

Put the time and effort into the person and not the equipment. Filming/video is a whole other beast compared to still photography and you have the added dimension of sound, a craft all its own, which makes up 50-90% of the finished product.

As to the tools, a good-quality video camera is probably better in many ways than an HD-DSLR. Good quality mics and lavs if you are doing interviews are a must. Perhaps even a digital recorder may be a good idea spending upon your project. PremierPro/FCP/ Devinci/Avid are the main editing suites I seem to know about with PremierPro the most common. Lots of fast or raid storage helps the process along since video can really bloat up files quickly. Multi-core systems with accelerated graphics and SSDs seem to help in throughput.

Going to 4K adds to the file bloat and then creates issues of needing more and more speed & storage. 2K isn't dead and may be just fine for your end product. However, 4K can be rendered down to 2K for better image quality.

Good film making takes a lot of effort, fine tuning, craft to make it good. It's not usually something you can pickup and learn in a few hours.

With the new(er) iPhones now doing 4k and are self-contained (editing and uploading software), may even be a better and more simple way to approach this without having to spend thousands.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 07:44:19 PM by langier »
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Larry Angier
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John Brawley

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2016, 05:15:05 AM »

It sounds a little like they're in over their heads to be honest.

You can't just "buy" the gear you need and expect to make something decent.

If I can offer one suggestion, spend all your money on sound.  People will forgive every visual sin as long as they can hear what your subject is saying.

JB
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Pete Berry

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 01:40:55 PM »

Here's an example of an off-the-cuff documentary for a friend who's deceased husband had donated a sailboat to be used by students at US Navy students at defense schools in the Monterey area. For the first 1:20 it shows the pitfalls of not having a lav. mic on the subject in the intro remarks by his wife in a noisy area, as well as not having a fill light or reflector for her backlit figure.

The remainder footage of testimonials and boat re-naming ceremony on the yacht club deck was more successful with both sound and lighting. Ideally, lav. mics on the several speakers, not available.

I used a GH4 shooting 4K downsampled to 1080p, a Pan. 12-35/2.8 lens, and an Audio-Technica 8024 mono shotgun /stereo on-camera mic in mono mode.

  (Be sure to select 1080p)

Pete
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 01:48:40 PM by Pete Berry »
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2016, 02:57:57 PM »

Kit - camera, wide lens, not so wide lens, (maybe a zoom to provide both) microphone, maybe wireless, headphones. Cut it all in a free copy of Resolve. Basically the cheapest handy cam that has headphone and mic jack.
--

But really to do a watchable project one needs a concept of how the project is going to come together.. and let me tell you this.. most edits start by laying down the audio sound track and then scrabbling for pictures to illustrate them.

To make something watchable kit is 10% of the problem.

One does not need a wireless mic per se. but if one plans to film speeches from afar yes one does.. but why not listen to the speech and then talk to the speaker and just ask them about the three interesting things they said.. no need to run to 20min.. Top Gear is 28 minutes and they get 3 stories from around the globe told no problem.

S
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 03:01:18 PM by Morgan_Moore »
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fredjeang2

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2016, 05:58:21 AM »

Hey Sam,
Bristol if I am correct is not far from good surf spots no?

It would be nice you shoot *surfing in the UK"
With some sex pistols track.

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Morgan_Moore

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 08:23:40 AM »

Well I used to live in Cornwall and put on my wetsuit and walk from my house.. so Bristol is not so close to the water any more.

The old days.. Cornwall and still photography.. http://www.sammorganmoore.com/sock-cam/

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fredjeang2

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2016, 07:28:26 AM »

Wicked!
We can surf in the UK definatly.
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bcooter

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2016, 01:12:49 PM »

Well I used to live in Cornwall and put on my wetsuit and walk from my house.. so Bristol is not so close to the water any more.

The old days.. Cornwall and still photography.. http://www.sammorganmoore.com/sock-cam/

I love that look Morgan.

BC

Don Blauvelt

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2016, 11:38:16 AM »

I would suggest they look at the Canon XC10, very versatile, especially if final product is HD 1080p. It records 4K UHD at both 29.97 & 23.98, on a CFAST cards) that can be down sampled to 1080P. It Records 1080p  @ 23.98, 29.97 and 59.94 on a (SDHC cards) that might be very useful for smoothing out motion.

 It has a fixed Zoom lens 27-273mm which is a pretty good range and can use * Auto Focus while recording video.  I think it has amazing ability to stabilize the lens when handheld, even at 273mm (I'm a very senior videographer, makes me look almost good.)

Zebra, Peaking, Color Bars & Tone, ND Filter. Compare the bit rate and color sampling to other choices.

I bought it for $ 1,999 and included a 64GB CFAST card and Reader.

The major con for me is having to use the included viewfinder unit when recording video.

Here is one review http://gadgetflux.net/canon-xc10-review/
 (done before latest firmware.)
Check out reviews done in late spring of 2016.

* Auto Focus speed has been improved with latest firmware update.

As has been stated here, Sound is very, very important. If they are not up to speed on sound equipment they might seek advice on this Sennheiser AVX Camera-Mountable Digital Wireless Handheld and Lavalier Set. There are many less expensive options, but this one seems to get great reviews about sound quality and ease of use.
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fredjeang2

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2016, 04:24:56 AM »

What is beyond my understanding,
When it comes to choose a system (and the word system
Indeed is the keypoint), is the disparity of them within a
Set. Or should we call that a mess?

But it is not uncommon to see every kind
Of gear sharing the same timecode....resulting in
Further complications when it comes to match the
Looks. IMO, this mess is unnecesary today because
We finaly have some rational lines within a same brand.
(For ex Red has now a mini camera that was laking in their line,)

So one of the points when it comes to choose equipment
For docu or any other style, is to stick with one brand system.
Same mount, same file looks, similar workflow etc...

Not only it saves space and weight but it saves time and hassles.

Practicaly, how it works? If you are on a budget for example, better you get
2 or 3 ebayed BMPCC with a set of Kiev16U that would cost you less than 200 they
Sell them always in a set of 3.
Those super 16 lenses are not the state of the art in optics but
They perform surprizingly well, better look (more organic-filmic) than
Canon FD style for 1/3 of the size and weight)  and as mentionned in this thread,
No one would ever notice a lack of image quality as long as your audio
Is fine and your story is interesting.  Also, they share the same thread diameter and so on.
You have 3 cameras with 3 lenses lengh from wide to tele for less than 2000, cameras
And adapters and ND filters included.
Each cam is now suitable for a particular focal lengh and you don't even have to change
Your lenses on set.
Same workflow, same mount, same filters diameters, same batteries, same everything...
As your files are the same, you don't need to finetune in post different cameras looks,
Wich is time consummer. Once you got your look, save as template and apply to
Everything. Consistency.
This ex can be apllied to any other brand that offers a wide range of
Equipment, then you upgrade confident within the same factory.

« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 05:05:41 AM by fredjeang2 »
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Peter McLennan

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2016, 09:40:59 AM »

"Sound is more important than picture."
A retired director/cameraman.
(me)
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2016, 01:36:55 PM »

I love that look Morgan.

BC

I guess it was a poor pastiche of some of your work :)
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2016, 01:41:54 PM »


Same mount, same file looks, similar workflow etc...



I don't think this works certainly with Sony.. FS7 A7 (8bit) FS700 all the logs seem to look different.

To be fair on sony my last job was FS7, FS5 and EX1, tomorrow Im shooting FS7, EX1. Mainly for doc shooting the sonies win on low mass, low data rate, builtin ND or whatever.
Here is my last effort with sony FS7 and EX1. (both have XLR mics onboard!)

And as said above. AUDIO is SO IMPORTANT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vic7w4OUlRI&index=1&list=UU2Aotf1m3_EAR3879H0PEqA



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fredjeang2

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Re: suggestions of kit for documentary film making
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 07:20:56 AM »

I have zero experience with Sony but read here or there comments from users
That point in the same direction as you do.

As for audio as the most important in all the chain, this has been commented
In LuLa from the very beginning (of the video section) over and over again.
I think nobody doubts any longuer of the importance of audio.
However and curiously there is very little imputs on the audio
Equipment. I often read "audio is the most important" without further
Information.

I wonder if it would not be relevant to create a thread exclusively on audio
Gears for video where people would share their experiences,
What works, what does not so well according to the budgets etc...

If it is that important it should be reflected here in a way or another.
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