View Full Version : (More!) Advice sought about my doco..

03-02-2004, 06:58 AM
Ok, so I'm shooting a project that will mix between controlled lighting situations (formal interviews) and just about everything else - outside locations - often in wild parts of developing countries aswell as more "civilized" parts of the western world, sound and vision led cutaways, artsy stylized stuff (set up and unplanned), maybe music and performance aspects - ok, so just about a bit of everything!

We're after a really unique look and feel to match the stories of life - transformation that we're telling. Not looking to emulate, but very inspired by prouctions such as "One Giant Leap" and - on a grander scale - "Baraka".

Originally have intended to shoot in 25P (PAL) and with 16:9 Anamorphic lens. Possibility that will output to film eventually. Have high end audio gear, and will have minimum 3 head lighting for set up stuff(interviews) except when travelling light in countries such as India and Bangladesh, where I'll be restricted to 1 lightweight head + reflectors etc. Some of the time I'll pretty much be doing things single handed, other times 1 or 2 others maybe available to help.

Right, so....
*any tips, ideas etc would be much appreciated. I'm starting to get concerned that I might not get away with progressive all the time, but think that mixing up formats (60i etc) would not be good.
*Am having standard nightmares about filters with the anamorphic!(Budget already maxed on gear and so for now can't go full Chrozial style matte box, have checked out MatteBlox but not sure if available for anamorphic and if will take polarizer)
*Would love any suggestions on camera set ups, shutters etc, particularly regarding Progressive in different situations
*Any ideas at all would be great!

I'll stop hijacking this forum now and have a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up.

03-02-2004, 07:12 AM
you should be fine shooting progressive if you can score an on-camera light like a Varilux or a frezzi mini or something. In worst case situations where you're not permitted to use the light, just bring your shutter speed down (are you shooting with the "A"?) and keep the camera on the tripod. It will create extra motion blur, but if you're going for an artsy look with some of the footage, it will fit right into the patchwork.

And if that's really not a viable option, don't be afraid to shoot 60i. you can always use DVFilmMaker, Magic Bullet, AfterEffects, etc. to de-interlace it & make it 24p in post if you want. You'll lose some resolution, but again, if you're already combining aesthetic styles, it won't stand out.

As for the filters issue, i've never shot with the 16:9 adapter, so hopefully someone else can field that one.

Neil Rowe
03-02-2004, 07:39 AM
without a mattbox, ..you can clip 4x4 s in the lense hood of the adaptor, or simply make a little sleeve for them(like the filter sleeve from the matteblox) that you clip to the top and bottom of the lense hood

03-23-2004, 03:45 AM
Hey Mr Lewis...

Wanted to reassure you that I've found the DVX in 25P to be a very capable performer when it comes to documentary shooting in the manner you've described.

I'm just finishing an 8 part documentary series with situations not dissimilar to those you mentioned - various countries, highly portable kit (never enough lights!), run and gun, several set-up i/v's etc etc. On the whole it has been a very positive experience - I can't believe how long we agonised over using the DVX in progressive...

The overall 'look' of the series has more than made up for the small handful of situations where idealistically i would have prefered the touch more light sensitivity of Interlaced Video - it's exactly why we went for true progressive, though I will admit to having second thoughts prior to filming. When you get the chance to truly 'set-up', or even just when the sun comes out, it is beautiful...

There's really three pieces of advice I can give. First is that the build quality of the DVX is not 100% suited to high stress environments so you need to be quite vigilant, use covers and clears filters etc. For my two cameras I've gone through 3 Mic holder assemblys (vitally useful allowing K6/ME66 and a top light - get several!), had the record buttons fall off repeatedly, and noticed descernible loosening of the lcd screens. That's in addition to losing one Century .3 and getting sand/grit under the focus ring requiring a complete new assembly - but the shot was worth it!

The second is don't get too hooked up on achieving a finished look 'in-camera'. I've found that for the low light and gun & Run situations, getting the cleanest image possible (ie not using cine-gamma, setting detail to high, skin tone off, not using filters etc) has given me most room for manoevre in post. That, and I have a top quality grading artist who works magic...

Thirdly, and most practically, take fullest advantage of the programable scene files. I set up our cameras so that F1 was optimum for Sunny conditions, F2 for Cloudy, F3 for Night-time and F4 for Flourescents. I then set F5 to 50i and had it as an emergency - meaning that all the autos would come on and we couls be 100% certain of 'getting the shot'. Kind of a when-all-else-fails button. Though as of this moment I've never used it.

Keen to hear how you get on...