Eibon Films Horror, Fantasy and SciFi writer / filmmaker and friend of the weird

5Dec/170

Things to get used to – import costs and a lack of manuals

As an aspiring filmmaker, there are two things that you have to get used to, if you want to be able to obtain the gear that you drool over in other people's social media feeds:

  1. Import costs: everything that I can only buy on the internet and not through an approved local retailer comes with an added random cost imposed by the tax office / csutomers. Joy! This usually means that your parcel is held hostage until you can pay the ransom, so that you can take it home. Because, after all, no Swedish hands had anything to do with putting half of my imported items together, but of course I'd be defrauding the Swedish government of money by not paying them for the fact that no bugger already legally imports these items and sells them within Sweden, right? And it's cheeky, because you're already paying a premium to ship the damn thing to yourself, and the seller gets to mark up your item in the currency exchange too. Now you have to pay a third cost and you have zero say in the matter. Fun times!
  2. A lack of documentation / manuals: Usually, such items either come with an incomprehensible manual (either in a foreign language or merely some dodgy sketches and no words at all), or no documentation at all. As happens with my latest purchase. This is ok when you can figure out from website pictures how to assemble and use your items. However, if something were to break, do you know how to ask for a replacement part, if you don't know what the parts are called? and if you break it through accidental misuse, then it's all down to you.

I bought a Lan Parte GH5 camera kit / rig (http://www.lanparte.com/product/info_45_itemid_483.html) for my camera and I love it. However, it really would have saved me some time and some head scratching to get a piece of paper with it / booklet that explains how to assemble it all! And it would have been great not to have to pay an extra 440 SEK in ransom, to take the item home.

Of course, now that I have this, I realised that I also need to order the camera shoulder rig (http://www.lanparte.com/product/info_45_itemid_493.html) and the follow focus... some nice early Xmas presents for the Swedish government....

PS - it's worth saying that no one has forced me to buy these things. However, when a local retailer failed to fufill my order for the 8Sinn cage and handle, and I couldn't find any other options, I decided to chance buying it abroad. Also, I bought it in the full knowledge that I could have been ripped off or it might have been faulty / incorrect. You pays your money and you takes your chances basically. Luckily, I was very well taken care of by HMI US (https://www.facebook.com/HypermediaINTL ). I just wish these guys had a local Swedish reseller. 🙂

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7Nov/170

I am an idiot GH5 user… but I’m not the only one!

So I bought V-Log finally for my GH5 camera - and that wasn't easy! (but that's another story - I've added at the end).  But how could I get it to work???

Why I am an idiot:

I followed every hastily written or edited instructional article and video I could find and none of it seemed to show me how to replicate what I was seeing in the pictures and videos - no matter how well written (like this one: http://www.4kshooters.net/2017/04/10/panasonic-gh5-how-to-install-v-log-l-footage/ ) . Because all of those videos and articles assumed that you were not stupid, like me - or assumed that you already had a level of knowledge, that you in fact do not... yet. Apologies, if you are not as stupid as me. Laugh at my idiocy! But here's where I went wrong when trying to access the Creative video modes...

So let me hlep you out and point out where I went wrong and many others, on forums and redit threads seem to also go wrong when trying to get V-Log working.

GH5Vlog21

See the Green circle above - enclosing the white mark - that is where you need to line up the items on the revolving dial, to activate the Creative Video mode (With the movie camera and M symbol) from the 'Drive mode dial'. And do not line it up with the 'One/off' button white line (enclosed by a red circle in the image above), as I was doing and many other users seem to be doing!

Then, if you've correctly installed V-Log, you will magicaly see it appear!

In my defence - I have not finished going through the manual. I bought my camera from a Swedish retailer and sadly only got Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish manuals. So sadly I am trying to work my way through an English manual which I only have in PDF format. So this is a classic moment where men should read the manual first, before trying to fudge their way through it, as I was very clearly doing! Had I done that I may have remembered the little white dot and not got it completely the wrong way around.

So it's great that I can finally play with V-Log and shoot my movie and carry out some pre-production tests!

Re getting V-Log - the saga:

Normally I try to set my default settings for camera useage and shop sites to English, because most people deliberately set the language of such sites to the regional default. My Swedish isn't yet good enough to happily follow technical subjects - although I can carry on brief conversations with barmen when ordering a pint. I found that I was unable to buy V-Log from the Panasonic UK website, as I no longer have a UK address. I couldn't order it directly from the Swedish Panasonic website either!  So I had to buy it from a local Swedish retailer.

The package then has to be issued by Panasonic and shipped to the retailer who then packages it up for you! This meant that I was waiting over two weeks for the activation code, from the point of purchase, as these retailers do not keep them in stock.

Then when it arrived, it was not sent to my actual address. It was sent to a random Post depot, where I had to go to sign for it, producing my ID and then receiving a ridiculously large and very light box. Said box, upon opening, reveals another box within - wrapped up better than you would wrap a piece of expensive glassware - and inside that is a small manual and a black envelope. Overkill indeed! See it all pictured below...

GH5Vlog

I appreciate that V-Log is expensive and highly desirable. And it is necessary to avoid people sharing the codes and trying to circumvent official channels etc. But surely they can find a way to mail you an envelope to your door? The average postie won't have a clue what the package contains... and god help you if you need V-Log in a hurry for an urgent shoot! You'd be better off borrowing it in advance to avoid waiting!

But no it's not a sustainable / environmentally friendly process and it will generate plenty of needless packaging...

 

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25Oct/170

Camera swap – time for 4K

Gear porn is a hard addiction to fight. Our desire to stay ahead of current trends in video production, to produce something that can hold its head up high in an ever changing media landscape is tough to keep apace. And I know, in that regard, that I'm an addict. And it's hard to deny the urges that stem from creative desires...

It's little more than a year that I've been playing with and trying to master working with HD video - namely 1080p. Trying to shoot for web delivery and produce videos that can hold their heads up next to the kind of visuals that we can see on the small screen. Although I am obviously not a professional cinematographer, in the traditional sense - as in someone that almost exclusively studies their craft and is hired to capture a marketable vision for others - I do hope that until I can get the chance to work with a professional, that my own visuals will hold up along side that of my peers. And until then master the pesky world of DLSR videography, at least to a point that i can be proud of the results. Currently, I'm not near where I want to be. I'm still a beginner.

But when I wanted to shoot a new film - and was deciding, during pre-production, what I was going to do with the film, I found that there was a little voice that kept talking about not doing the film in 1080p and trying 4K...

The use of 1080p is clearly waning. Now is the time for 4K... and then what? 5 or 6K? lol. No I won't chase every passing bandwagon. But I do think that 4K should be with us for a good while yet. So now is the time for me to invest in it and learn how to use it. My problem is that I don't currently have a computer powerful enough to handle 4K yet. So I'm waiting for Apple to sort their lives out and hurriedly release the new Mac Pros. It's been a long time coming and if they disappoint, I will have to jump to another PC manufacturer, after years as a loyal Mac fan, as they've already wasted enough time and ignored their pro customers long enough. So until then, I'm focussing on the camera - to worry about the edit later.

So why 4K?

4K (3840 pixels wide × 2160 pixels high) is a much bigger frame than 1080p (1920 pixels widw and 1080 pixels high). Even if you plan to release a 1080p movie, that bigger frame gives you plenty of options to crop creatively, to compose artful frames, that were better than that shot on the day. It also gives you more power to stablise unintentionally jerky shots in the edit. But it also future proofs your footage, assuming that 4K TVs become the new mainstream home viewing format.

So what camera have I chosen?

Z-PANASONIC-GH5-BEAUTY

It was a tough decision. I loved the ease of use, using my Canon 70D. And for vlogging, my point-and-shoot G7X MKII. However, Canon seem unwilling to solve the 4K riddle for their lower end semi-prosumer clientelle. I waited and they failed to deliver a good affordable 4K camera. Yes they've delivered what they call 'affordable' models in the C200 MKII and the C300 etc, but they're hardly affordable for people on lower budgets for anything other than as a rental. And I don't see much to like in their other DSLR range. So even though I love the way they do things and their glass, it was time for a change.

Now I loved what I saw in the Canon C200 MKII, the Panasonic EVA1 and the Black Magic Ursa Mini Pro. But if you buy those, then you still have to buy more gear to go with each. And you'd have automatically doubled your costs before you've even invested in storage to capture your footage on. I just couldn't justify the investment right now. Also those cameras are big. for my needs, right now, smaller is better. But in the future?...

It was a tossup between Sony or Panasonic, for me. Sony seem to have mastered the low light capability - something the guerilla filmmaker needs to deal with every day. But after using the RX100 MKIV and trying to Vlog with it and seeing how they p*ss battery power up the wall in minutes, I was not keen to invest in a more expensive camera that might have had similar issues. Also, their cameras tend to have a softer look that didn't quite do it for me. Instead, I went for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 - mainly because I heard much of the previous GH4 model - as a go-to for many wedding videographers and low budget filmmakers. They tend to bea bit more vocal about this camera than I tend to see in the Sony world. Having an active community to support you and advise you is key to me, as a learner. And I will just have to be creative when it comes to getting enough light.

The GH5 isn't cheap. Nor is it a simple proposition to switch format and then invest in new gear. Everything comes with a little risk. But so far I am happy. And before I committed to my chosen path I wrestled with the decision for a couple of months and did so much research that I felt incredibly depressed by the thought of doing any more.

For me, I was lucky in that I chose to switch at a time when my Canon gear, although it had depreciated in value, was desirable enough to give me a decent sum in a part exchange. So I had a good starting sum to play with. Then I waited for the new firmware update for the GH5 to come out - as there had been many criticisms of the camera on it's initial release earlier this year. And then I pounced. 🙂 At least it felt that way.

I purchased the body and then of course, unless you want to also invest in a speedbooster adapter, so that you can use your existing Canon glass with the different format camera - the GH5 is a Micro 4/3rds format - you then need new lenses. Lenses are not cheap - not if you want to invest in Pansonic lenses with inbuilt image stabilisation, so you fake a gimbal-like smooth moving shot. Although there are many cheaper 3rd party lenses that don't have that stabilisation - as well as 2nd hand lenses that do, but have dropped in value. Also, if you want to shoot in V-Log (a professional video codec that enables you to shoot in a professional format and then colour grade the footage later), you then need to buy the license key to unlock that pro format in the camera. The SD cards needed for that V-Log format at 4K are also very expensive, and have recquired SD card manufacturers to develop a new way of marking their cards, to guarantee that they can handle the footage. You need lots of them too, as 4K will eat up lots of storage in the shoot, nevermind the hard drive space you'll need when you take it into the edit. In short, I could go on with what I am learning, but it is truly dizzying to see how much other gear costs need to be factored in when building a kit - e.g. lights, sound gear etc. So I won't bore you any more. But suffice it to say that this camera, with a few more lenses will complete my basic kit and give me plenty to learn and keep me plenty occupied for a while now.

So far I've only had the briefest of time to play with the photo capability, to try out the new lenses and installed the new firmware update - I've purchased but I am waiting for the V-LOG key and have yet to put try editing any footage. But soon! First I need to go through the manual and play play play!

For now, my gear porn addiction is sated. Now comes the post purchase guilt and the need to shoot this damn movie. And then will inevitably come the post-production issues that I need to research and rehearse before the shoot. It never stops. Right?

Links:

Some video links that might be helpful:

GH5 Cinema Set-up & Tests: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0btY-irwawk

Panasonic GH5 - Everything I found out that you should know:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6O0XrHzGgk

Pansonic GH5 6 months later: https://youtu.be/N6BcaykMp88

4 Best Video Cameras for Indie Filmmakers in 2017: https://www.lightsfilmschool.com/blog/4-best-video-cameras-for-indie-filmmakers-in-2017-aec

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8Oct/170

Sickness is a time to reflect and learn

I had just penned a new short film script, one designed to be predominantly shot in one location for ease of production and shared it - and after very positive feedback from my good friend and creative partner Darwin - I was super keen on shooting the film and working out some of the gear we might need to be able to capture it, including some audio gear.... and then disaster struck. We had a death in the family; a very tragic and sudden death. And everything obviously went to sh*t...

...A while after this, when my mind was slowly turning back to creative things, and the days were slightly less preoccupied by grieving, and I was gearing up to let Darwin know that we would soon be back on to film, and then I got the flu - and even threw my back out again while coughing violently.

I have an atrocious immune system and I rapidly succumbed to filling up baskets with tissue, coughing up buckets of green slime and bemoaning anything that involved physical activity or concentration. But despite the illness, I find these things go through phases of creativity, from the random and less focussed to full blown acts of inspiration - where you can even forget your suffering, for a while.

First, it's watching films and shows that you've never had time to get around to watching from your sick bed. And reading the books that have been neglected when you're restive and can't decide on anything else to watch. Because you're too headachey and sick to do anything more challenging. And sometimes those inspire you to watch other things and they get your brain all fired up; and enjoying such visions can stimulate new or cause other dormant ideas to resurface...

Then when you're pumped full of cold medication, you start to contemplate what's lacking. For me it was thinking of camera and audio gear, thinking of problems with the structure of a feature script, worrying over how to bring my creative vision to life...

Until you start to heal, and some semblance of the former energy returns...

Having that time to think and a lack of energy to do anything else was invaluable. The dreams stimulated by the cold meds were a useful catalyst also.

I noticed a Martin Scorses Masterclass and the Shore Scripts Screenwriting course and signed up for both, taking advantage of the early sign-up pricing (after all I was too sick to go out partying and spend the money in real life, why not put it to use, right?) and even diving into the first lectures and doing the pre-reading. After lurking online in the web store, I eventually made it outside and went to the actual camera store (after heading to the pharmacy) and checked out the audio gear I've been drooling over and figured out what I needed.

I'm not entirely mended yet. But I am itching to get at it.

For now, I am enjoying the build up to my favourite holiday, Halloween. And taking part in a film a day challenge - 31 days of horror - #halloweenFest. And I'm working my way through the lectures and tasks... and I'm playing with the new toys and learning how to capture the sounds I think that I will need.... while revelling in the classic visions from master filmmakers. And I'm glad that even when I couldn't stand my own infected shell, and the fluids it kept emitting, I could still make use of the time.

I just need to shake this damn fever... and get back at it when I'm ready.

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14Sep/170

Soundscapes – Redux

a3379672351_16

Fans of synth soundtrack music, video nasties and 'the glory days of VHS' - please check out the excellent new album REDUX: https://videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram-redux

- The keen eyed will notice my name appearing in the credits - for a video ident I did for him (and what the album cover design is based on). Which I hope you will get to see soon.

- thanks Magnus (aka Videogram)! You're very kind.

I really like this album and it's great to write to. I can't wait to somehow persuade a film soundtrack out of him. (*sssh!*)

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16May/172

Still alive and well?

Hi - this is your absentee creative, back from the presumed-dead. I am very much alive, although very much still in work hell. It's a long story, but essentially to make up for a very slow year last year, we agreed to work ourselves into a potential breakdown in order to guarantee this year was profitable. But it comes at a cost. Such is the crazy world of working in my industry. We work while we can, as much as we can, to invoice as much as we can. But I think that the crazy late nights, every night and working weekends, every weekend, are now at an end. I even enjoyed an actual weekend this weekend! And I've planned a long summer break of creativity.

Soon I can return to editing the Vlogs, [potentially ignoring] this blog, and picking up my dusty film script to resume editing it / polishing it for circulation and submission, and releasing that damn short story already.

Elsewhere in my world... I feel a list coming on:

  • I've been working on a video ident for a musician friend, which gives me the opportunity to spend whatever free half hour I have (yes really, that little time free) to work on it - and hope to share it soon It's 15 seconds of After Effects motion graphic 80s video tape inspired goodness. We're just waiting for the key ingredient, the music, to be added to it before sharing it. - This task was to force me to dust off old and unused skills and see if I can still fumble my way around After Effects, since it's been updated. I can indeed! But I know I have much to relearn.
  • A script I wrote for Darwin Reina, is being filmed in Barcelona in July and has been adapted into Spanish. Yes this is dejavu, the production date changed, but it should be going ahead this time - DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE.
  • I'm about to release my 40th Vlog. Yes in one week I will have been vlogging for a whole year. And I will soon share my thoughts on the medium and what I've learned from doing it. I know they're just a bit of fun, but I feel good having created 40-somethings that would never have existed, had I never filmed them or done anything with the footage. One thing I can share now, they've been a great excuse to force me to ignore or suppress my grief, to get up and go out and experience life rather than lie in bed sulking, to try and capture a snapshot of it and bring it to life in some form for others to share. And I feel that I'm only getting started. If you want to check them out, you can find them here: VLOG PLAYLIST
  • I've been scripting constantly for work for 5 months - so I know I can deliver, come rain or shine, even when I feel like doing anything but, and more especially even if I can't share them with anyone due to non-disclosures.
  • I've done more real estate transactions than I would care to ever do again, all at the same time, to try and simplify my life! Yes that's not a typo. And in 3 weeks I will soon have a new home, with a proper writing studio again!

Anyway, enough of that. There'll be a real post soon... Thanks for stopping by!

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11Feb/170

Progress – what’s going on?

So, I have been busy. Here's a very quick update:

  • I've made it to one of my writing groups. This is great for motivation and I must make sure that I attend more of these sessions. Don't suffer in silence at home. Get out and see other creatives and talk about your work / share your work for feedback. It's the only time I find that people are willing to listen - when you're own friends and family are not - and will understand your issues.
  • A story I am planning to publish on kindle soon - as a one-shot - has placed in the quarter-finals in the Screencraft cinematic Short Story contest. This is great news. It probably won't make it further, as it's dark and violent and extremely gorey. But it's nice that it made it this far. More news on that when I know it.
  • I've been editing a feature script of mine - with a view to submitting it to writing board / job requests as a sample / spec submission.
    • The process:
      • I've already done the first pass read through, liked it, and was surprised by that.
      • I made notes, identified typos and areas that were unclear / didn't read well or needed more 'amplification' - on a printed copy of the script. It's just easier to do this all on paper.
      • I've worked through 40 pages so far, with a deep edit. This time it's mainly about clarity and amplification of emotions and subtext.
      • There'll be at least two more edits, focusing on different elements each time. More on that process later.

Unfortunately, now is the key period when work gets in the way of everything and I typically have to work 14/15 hour days. I would like to avoid this and stay strong. But we'll see.... I'm not whingeing. I know I'm lucky to have a good job. It would just be nice that it didn't frequently spill over into my private life.

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22Aug/160

Stockholm Zombie Walk

So despite being sick, I managed to go out and support the 10th annual Stockholm Zombie Walk. And I filmed some of it. I did make a colossal cock-up though and so fudged the crucial recording of sound. But a very kind and extremely talented artist agreed to allow me to use two of their tunes to improve what would otherwise have been a massive waste of time.

Click here to view the VLOG.

Many thanks to Videogram and Cineploit for allowing me this great musical honour:
Videogram.jpg

Click here to check out their music and purchase.

Although I sounded dismissive of the Walk in the video, I was just tired and testy, and urgently needed a beer and some rest. But I will do my best to take part in it next year. It was good fun. And I'm really impressed with the quality of the makeups that some people attempted. I also liked the creativity behind the strange types of zombies that people did come up with - and pleased to see a DEATHGASM Zombie in amongst all of the SUICIDE SQUAD Zombies.

I think I'm having fun with this Vlogging lark. I do need to get better though. And soon I will share some of what I've learned. What I have definitely benefitted from is getting back to being productive, to choosing to film something, or choosing to do something with footage I shot for no reason other than to learn about my new camera, and to finish the task. Too many projects have gone unfinished. The immediacy of Vlogging dictates that you get the material out there to be digested, and so certain compromises need to be made. It's invigorating to fail and to learn from it and even have fun with your failures.

Anyway, enough about me, thanks to the organisers and the Zombies who took part in the Walk and all of those who supported. It was a great day out. And thanks again to Videogram!

#szw10year

#stockholmzombiewalk

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20Jul/160

Scrivener for IOS is here!

Scrivener is here! It's finally here on IOS! Holy buttschnozzles of Awesome! 🙂

16200851-scrivener_ios-main_shot

Now I've blogged about Scrivener here before, and I think that the first time I ever blogged about it was when I first created this blog back in 2009, if not before - in other previous social media incarnations - and this won't be the last time I mention it or praise this fabulous writing tool. I'm also not alone in my praise of it! I'm always gushing over it and I've even put my money where my mouth is and gifted other friends of mine with licenses to it, to pay for it for them, so that they can experience the amazing new world of writing that happens when they start using it. (Take note: software packages are great presents for writers at Birthdays and on other special occasions. Hint Hint!) But I won't waste time saying why it's so good here. But you can search this blog and you'll find many posts about this hollistic writing tool. 🙂

Although I was an instant convert to it, upon my first usage, I was very quick to realise that I could be far more productive if it was in a more portable form - as my 15" laptops were always too heavy to lug around each day (due to needing the hardware for video editing). I even took to creating a Hacbook to put the theory to the test - and bought a small netbook and installed the Mac OS and Scrivener on it. I managed to complete an entire feature screenplay on it, while taking part in ScriptFrenzy; I wrote while balancing the Hacbook on one knee while writing on the way to and from work, and in my lunch hours each day. The Hacbook was small enough to write with on cramped trains and on small economy class airplane seats, even when someone in front is reclining! The only thing that was missing was having it on an approved Apple portable device that I could afford. The problems with the Hacbooks you see was that they were not approved and every software update meant a complete reinstall, so eventually it simply became obsolete. But I was still writing on that Hacbook right up until 2 years ago when I bought my first iPad! Once I had the iPad I tried various workarounds and replacement apps, but I was merely killing time for when the real thing would arrive, although I still love writing on the move.

And the fine makers of Scrivener were quick to realise the potential of their tool on such portable devices. The problem was that it wasn't a quick journey to bring that idea to fruition. In fact there were many posts on the Literature and Latte forums devoted to the progress of the development of the IOS tool or lack of. There were numerous false starts. But I'm glad to say that they persevered and now it is availble to buy: Scrivener - live on the Apple store!

I've downloaded it and it works fine. Although it was impossible to find on the Apple store, without the direct link (above). I'm sadly not yet going to put it through its paces on a working project, but I couldn't resist a little play with it to make my day complete. However, if I was in the right creative headspace for it I'd be planning my next feature film in it... in fact, I may just start noodling ayway - it's that tempting!

Please note: if you own the Desktop versions, you should have the latest versions in order to benefit from the syncing functionality. I've had problems installing the Windows update and still not cracked in after 2 attempts. But the Mac update was fine. You'll also need Dropbox to take advantage of the syncing your projects across multiple devices.

Anyway, enough of me prattling on. Check it out. I hope you'll thank me. 🙂

Here's some links for more info:

 

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11Jul/162

Of Vlogging and gadgets

So I've been busy. And it's been a fun kind of busy - which is good, because life really isn't fun right now. But I have been productive and tried to find excuses to stay busy and create something. So what if a little retail therapy is involved, right? So what if it is draining my bank balance? (Seriously, this sh*t can get really expensive!)

But - I have been busy, playing with iPhone videography, learning more about DSLR video and playing with my Go Pro. I've been doing it under the Vlogging banner - yes I now Vlog. It sounds like Blogging, but it feels more like flogging - as in a punishment; creating footage and waiting for someone to view it and like it or hate it. But it's great because you get to experiment and be creative, all without narrative restrictions. I've set a few restrictions of my own, merely to see what I can do with whatever footage I've collected. I'm terrible at it btw - at the Vlogging part. I just can't seem to get comfortable talking to and being on camera. Will I ever? But hey, it's something, right? And it helps me reach out my family and friends in distant climes and tell them what I'm up to. The other main restriction is not worrying about the perfect shot or the perfect anything - I am currently editing them all within iMovie, just to keep it simple and limit my choices. It's more about speed of the workflow right now, before I start worrying about colour grading and tighter edits. Until then I'm not worrying about dusting off Final Cut Pro or Premiere and After Effects again. And it's very much about the gear I'm shooting it with. Right now I am mainly evaluating what gear performs the best in the right situations and the ease of getting it into a finished video.

So for iPhone videography, I am using:

  • Filmic Pro - app to control exposure and white balance while shooting
  • Beastgrip Pro iPhone camera mount, both with DOF Adapter (for the cinematic look) and with the Wide-Angle lens
  • Rode Video Micro microphone / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic - for better sound
  • But I've also ordered the Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens Adapter
  • Joby Phone Mount
  • Joby Grip tight gorillaPod stand

For DSLR video, I am using:

  • the Canon EOS 70D - for amateur to semi-pro level filmmaking
  • Rode Video Micro Pro / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic
  • Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens - for Bokeh
  • Canon 10:18mm lens - for arm-length selfie mode filming
  • Sigma 50 mm f1.4 prime lens - for proper filmmaking, it's too heavy for anything else
  • Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom tripod

And lastly, for Go Pro / action cam footage (predominantly timelapses), I am using:

The keen-eyed knowledgeable types will notice that there's no fancy tripod or fluid head, for smooth panning and tilting, or other pro audio gear, lights etc. These are all other issues to resolve for more dramatic shooting. Right now, it's about speed and it's about getting the shot - as life is happening. That other gear will come. Of that I'm sure.

With all this type of gear, don't underestimate the shots you can get with an ipad, or an iPhone / smart phone or just with a GoPro / action cam. You don't need half of that other gear. It's just so easy to film with a Go Pro or a phone and get it right into your editing system. Trust your eye and whatever device you have with you just use it! There's no point to any devices or gadgets if you don't use them. The other gear comes in as soon as you start thinking about achieving different / better aesthetic / quality levels - but you don't need to buy it all now. Play and experiment and choose wisely. And always have one of your devices with you. The iPhone obviously wins out for always being with me, but the GoPro is also very portable and fits into a pocket (although is chunkier).

As soon as you add in DOF adapters and lenses you add a f*ckload of weight to your bag / carry around weight and the potential for grasping with and failing to focus, as soon as you deviate from automatic settings. In fact the DSLR automatic mode is great for Vlogging, and brilliant at keeping you in focus, but scary when you step outside of it, until you learn what you're doing. Again the iPhone wins out as long as you just use fixed lenses / the lens it already came with. As soon as you add the Beastgrip Pro to the iPhone you need a microphone, as the mount gets in the way of the phone's microphone, also - for any decent sound quality just don't rely on the built-in mic, and you need to preset the focus to ensure that you are in focus when talking to the lens. Add one mic on. If you do one thing, add a mic. You seriously can't rely on built-in mics for sound.

The GoPro is awesome. And you can get rid of the annoying fish eye effect in the free GoPro Studio app. Its timelapses and other modes are great - as is the ability to conect via Wifi to your iPhone, so you can see what you're capturing in real time, like a monitor. Also it's small, so you can leave it in public spaces and get unobtrusive shots. Covert guerilla filming is definitely more achievable.

Anyway, I could talk about this for ages. I'm still playing though and still learning. And I have a few more bits of gear to use first before I share more findings.

This is all going to help when getting back into filming dramatic material. Vlogging is about playing - for me anyway. It's about taking risks in a low risk environment and having fun with it. It's about forcing me to create footage and to edit it, quickly. It's about retraining my eye. And it's about relaxing. Soon this will pay off when shooting the next short film. More about that later. But join me, have fun, try it - and let me know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

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