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docz_gal
05-01-2005, 05:47 PM
Hi all, I'm a newbie about to shoot a no-budget documentary w/ the DVX100A, ideally in 24pa, at various locations in Latin America & Europe, and it's a 1 "woman" crew (me, myself & I!) :laugh: . I've been checking the boards but haven't seen this specific question asked/answered -- forgive me if I'm wrong! :shocked: -- but I'd like your advice on the absolute bare minimum equipment I can get away with & still have a professional-looking product that I can eventually transfer to film for festivals, etc.

I'll be shooting mostly in cities, both indoors & outdoors. (Certainly humidity & heat will be a concern when I'm shooting in Guatemala & Mexico). Mainly talking heads/interviews, intermixed with some action shots, etc.

I want to travel light, so I thought I'd get a lightweight tripod (Tommy at EVS recommended the Libec THM20), an on-camera light & an on-camera shotgun mic, and that's pretty much it (I already have a lav mic for sit-down interviews). Do you think I can get away with just that, esp. the light? What else should I take with me without being bogged down w/ excessive weight?

THANK YOU, ALL!!! :kiss:

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 05:49 PM
no-budget=no equipment... could you elaborate?

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 05:55 PM
Well, what I mean is, no outside funding -- so far all strictly self-funded!!! So want to spend as few $$ as possible at this point! :)

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 05:56 PM
For sound: What is the point of a shotgun mic? Ambiance? What?
For lighting: What are you trying to achieve? Just illumination? or, something beautiful?
Would you know what to do with more lights if you had them -or- could you learn quickly?
For storage: Backpack? What?

I have been on several in-the-middle-of-nowhere-by-yourself doc shoots like yours and have
really had to think hard about this kind of thing.. Would be glad to help....

Also, DVXUser Isaac Brody did a lot of this sort of thing last year..
maybe he could chip in some kind words.

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 06:01 PM
The shotgun mic: when I can't use the lav mic's -- shouldn't I be using the shotgun? What else are my options to make it sound ok?
The lighting: I'm still learning about lighting, but main thing at this point is to be able to do it quickly & efficiently & still make it look good on screen -- most of my "interviewees" prob. won't have too much patience to sit around & wait for the right light, right sound, etc.
Storage: yes, backpack, carry-on/duffelbag

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 06:04 PM
I like to use a Mid/Side Stereo microphone instead of a shotgun for ambiance. You can do alot more
in sound editing when it's recorded with a M/S mic instead of a mono shotgun. They're $$, though.

You could always use lots of lights.. though power and portability are always a concern.
Perhaps a small bounce kit (like the collapsable Photoflex stuff) would be helpful.

I like the Miller solo tripod with a DS10 head.. very lightweight..
I've never seen the Libec you mention--I'm sure it's very good as well.

I'm a complete mattebox/filter freak.. I think you would definitely benefit from at least
having a Tru-Pol polarizer, a 0.6 Neutral Density graduated, and maybe a warming filter.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 06:07 PM
The only problem I see with a single light mounted on a camera is that it looks like the 6 o'clock news.

I don't personally like that look. There is quite a bit you could do with that single light, though,
along with bounce boards.. though this is a discussion for the lighting forum here.

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 06:09 PM
FWIW, a camera, tripod, and a mic or two is plenty of gear.. I'm coming from the perspective of
being a perfectionist with the suggestion of a different mic and more lights.. Ignore my comments..

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 06:14 PM
Thank you, Wells, your suggestions are great! I'm a perfectionist too so it is hard for me to make the necessary concessions to the realities of money & portability! :(

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 06:15 PM
By the way, where can I find that tripod you suggested?

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 06:21 PM
anywhere..

MattC
05-01-2005, 06:51 PM
For talking head lighting I would recommend one Lowell omni light and a reflector for key and fill and a Lowell pro light for a hair light. Perhaps another omni for lighting the background. Make a couple of cookies out of some foamboard for the background. Get an extra stand for the reflector. Setup= bounce the omni into the reflector for a key light and open the barn door on the omni a bit for fill. Depending on how you position the reflector you can get a soft beautiful look or a high contrast look (good person, bad person). You can make a homemade dimmer for the hairlight, which works very well. We did a number of these setups in Walter Graff's lighting class and they came out exceptionally well.

Matt

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 08:24 PM
Thanks for your suggestions, Matt. Do you think these lights will still be portable enough for me to be able to lug them & set them up on my own?

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 08:27 PM
Lowell kits come about as small as you can kind.. They're dense and heavy, though.

Here's an idea:
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadcastvideoexamples-30bucks.html

Sirius_Doggy
05-01-2005, 08:32 PM
Miller solo tripod with a DS10 head.. very lightweight..


TRUELY awesome tripod (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=293493&is=REG) - but for a "no budget" project, probably out of your price range.......

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 09:05 PM
Lowell kits come about as small as you can kind.. They're dense and heavy, though.

Here's an idea:
http://www.film-and-video.com/broadcastvideoexamples-30bucks.html

Just read the article & it's quite interesting. One question: it mentions the fluorescent "flickering" is not a problem shooting video -- do you think it would still be ok shooting in 24pa?

Alexa
05-01-2005, 09:44 PM
Thanks for your suggestions, Matt. Do you think these lights will still be portable enough for me to be able to lug them & set them up on my own?

you will not be able to lug a cam, tripod, and light kit---very far. something has to be on wheels, or you need to nix something. or you need a backpack. well, take that back, depends on what you put your camera in. that is a lot of gear to manage, lose, possibly have someone run off with a piece or two.

go for the lightest, sturdiest tripod system you can buy. if you need help on that, i can look up something.

if you really need to pare down, lose the light kit. do all your interviews in daylight, well positioned? and use reflectors, etcl. other light modifiers.

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 10:25 PM
Thanks, Pooh. A very difficult decision about the light kit. On the one hand, I know how essential lighting is. But on the other hand, like you said, would mean a lot of pieces for me to lug around & keep track of on my own. As for the tripod: the Miller that was recommended is way beyond my budget. The Libec was recommended by EVS because it's dirt cheap, but I haven't seen anyone recommend it in any of the posts. What would be a better alternative?

galt
05-01-2005, 10:48 PM
For reflectors, check ebay for those 5-in-1 collapsible things. They can be VERY cheap if you have a few weeks to keep bididng, and are superlight/portable and can be used for lots of situations, reflection fills, blackouts, or diffusion. You can recruit someone to hold it for you, so no stand needed. But having some clothespins or a spring clamp or two MIGHT come in handy.

Don't forget a voltage converter or two and lots of batteries.

thisiswells
05-01-2005, 10:54 PM
batteries are a genuine concern with an on-camera light.
how do ya power the thing? how long will it last?

Alexa
05-01-2005, 11:11 PM
I have this and love it. I have bigger, fancier tripods, but prefer this. i am always in a hurry, too. and will not use a heavier tripod because I can't.

http://www.evsonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=503755BK


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=272836&is=REG

if you will be doing lots of big pans, scenics, go for the 503 head. if not, the 501 will be just fine.

if you can get these legs, go for it: ask someone like Tommy to find it for you., though it might be more expensive, I wish I had them now. 2 lb difference between the 755 legs. 2 lbs , not seem much, but can be the diff. if everything counts.

http://www.manfrotto.com/product/templates/templates.php3?sectionid=81&itemid=1975

if I could only use ONE light in the world for an interview, I would bring a lowel rifa-55 ( preferably with an egg crate, okay if not. then all you need is your light stand, rifa, extention cord.

or, you can get an on camera light ( like a sony light--search that ), diffuse it, and put it on a flash bracket, so it is not "straight on" your subject.

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 11:37 PM
For reflectors, check ebay for those 5-in-1 collapsible things. They can be VERY cheap if you have a few weeks to keep bididng, and are superlight/portable and can be used for lots of situations, reflection fills, blackouts, or diffusion. You can recruit someone to hold it for you, so no stand needed. But having some clothespins or a spring clamp or two MIGHT come in handy.

Don't forget a voltage converter or two and lots of batteries.

The reflectors: you mean the "5 in 1 bounce light reflector disc"? You're right, very cheap ($40)

Voltage converter: thanks for reminding me!!!

Batteries: yes -- but they also add up in weight!!!

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 11:39 PM
batteries are a genuine concern with an on-camera light.
how do ya power the thing? how long will it last?

I was wondering that too. Does anyone know how long these batteries will go before losing power?

docz_gal
05-01-2005, 11:43 PM
I have this and love it. I have bigger, fancier tripods, but prefer this. i am always in a hurry, too. and will not use a heavier tripod because I can't.

http://www.evsonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=503755BK


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=272836&is=REG

if you will be doing lots of big pans, scenics, go for the 503 head. if not, the 501 will be just fine.

if you can get these legs, go for it: ask someone like Tommy to find it for you., though it might be more expensive, I wish I had them now. 2 lb difference between the 755 legs. 2 lbs , not seem much, but can be the diff. if everything counts.

http://www.manfrotto.com/product/templates/templates.php3?sectionid=81&itemid=1975

if I could only use ONE light in the world for an interview, I would bring a lowel rifa-55 ( preferably with an egg crate, okay if not. then all you need is your light stand, rifa, extention cord.

or, you can get an on camera light ( like a sony light--search that ), diffuse it, and put it on a flash bracket, so it is not "straight on" your subject.

Thanks for your suggestions, Pooh. I'll see if Tommy can find those legs. As for the on-camera light, that's what I was initially thinking, though it does have its drawbacks like Wells previously pointed out -- BTW, do you know how long the battery's good for for the on-cam. light?

galt
05-02-2005, 05:09 AM
12 volt Bescor 5lb lead acid battery, good for 35 minutes with 100watt light, 80 minutes with 50 watt, right off the box...

docz_gal
05-02-2005, 06:54 PM
Thanks. Thanks to all of you who have responded so far -- you guys are awesome with your wonderful suggestions!!! :kiss: :thumbsup:

Rush
05-02-2005, 10:33 PM
Hi docz-gal, also ask Tommy to demonstrate the Kata Panda backpack for you. I have the same one, and it helped on many occasions, primarily because it doesn't "look" like a camera is in it. Very incognito :thumbsup: .
http://www.kata-bags.com/Item.asp?pid=253&cid=67&perentId=1&ProdLine=1

As far as on-cam lights, the PAG C6 battery is 2.25 hrs. with a 20W bulb. I hve made one battery last for an 18-hr EPK by switching it on only when needed. AK7ATM's are a bit heavier but $100 cheaper. I like the PAG because it never heats up (Composite body with a 6V battery system)
http://www.evsonline.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=1001

I agree that CF legs are much lighter, however in your case they may offset due to the additional cost (usually double). 2lbs. makes a HUGE difference on your back, but it also dents the pocket book. It took me a long time (2 yrs) to finally afford the Solo DV sticks, but now, can't imagine going back.:laugh:

I agree with Pooh about the Rifa 55, our most commonly rented soft light. It folds down to small, and can fit anywhere. Get the 44 for more portability. I have a 55 myself, and the light is gorgeous. I use it for digital photography all the time.

Remind Tommy to ask me about the DVXuser discounts for all this stuff.:cheesy:

Duct Tape Films
05-03-2005, 06:51 AM
I do a good deal of one man band - run & gun type of stuff, mostly BTS/EPK docs for feature films, and political docs. Both of these situations can at times dictate that the presence of another person running sound would be simply impractical, so you make do the best you can with lavs, and camera mounted shotguns/lights, etc. For cold shoe mounting gear I would suggest the adapter by NRG, can be a little unwieldly but it will raise your light & mike up off the cold shoe a little bit. For a light, I cannot express just how satisfied I am with Lowel's iD light - it's dimmable, and you can use filters & barndoors, etc. with it. Also if you get a seperate small 3-point light kit for sit-downs with Lowel Pro's you can use the iD's accessories interchangably. For mikes, the Azden SGM-1X is really inexpensive, can deliver, and moreover, can take some abuse, oh, and if it can't take the abuse, at $100, it's more or less replaceable. As far as lavs go, I use Audio-Technica, again, great workhorse. If you are going to have specific featured subjects, you may want to hook them up with a wireless. If you're going to be a one man (er, woman) band, you will certainly want some kind of shoulder mount, like DVRigPro or a Mighty-Wondercam, etc., you will find it indespensible, and will lend your shots more weight. I would pretty much reserve the tripod for sit-downs & establishing shots. (BTW: The Libec is great, I have one, LOVE IT, ditched my Bogen for it - believe it or not) Hope that helps....

FatDaddy
05-03-2005, 12:34 PM
I go without lights. This year went to India and Malaysia for three weeks, to much stuff to travel w/lights. I get use to lighting with natural light and/or finding a room with natural light. Using shade (or creating it) opening up the iris and a good DOF looks great. Did a dozen interviews on this last trip and only one inside (window light). I bring a reflector for fill.

Best place I spent money on this last trip was mattebox and filters. I have the Azden for on camera, a wireless package, Sony hardwire lavs, a couple xlr's, small bogen tripod (501 head), headphones, plenty of tapes and JL's bigger batteries and I am set.

I shove it all in one bag (minus tripod) and I am set.

Next trip: some kind of stedicam...

seunosewa
07-06-2008, 07:42 AM
@FatDaddy: I'm guessing you use the VX2100 or the EX1?

FBAS
07-13-2008, 09:30 AM
Lighting that you can take with you in a backpack, that's hard, but you could take two power cords with E27 sockets and a bunch of lamps for it (like halogen 250W or fluorescent 30W). Take some aluminum foil, some blackwrap and a clamp, and you can at least bring light levels up with very small and light equipment.

A 50W on camera light can be very helpful, but you need a battery belt. Don't forget a whole selection of gels for the lamp, you want to be able to dim it down a lot or gel it for daylight.
With a little practice the on-camera light doesn't have to look bad. The 6o clock news look that somebody mentioned only happens when a) there is no other lightsource (but then without the light you'd be totally lost!) or b) you don't use the on-camera light right. If possible it should only be a fill with no hotspots and no visible edges.

IjabaFilms
10-14-2008, 09:42 PM
Your camera.

Seriously. I filmed while spending 3 weeks in Germany and Ireland last year. I had my DVX100B. I did bring a few tripods and a light and never used them (carried around my heavy tripod for nothing). Just used the camera and it's onboard mic and produced a nice looking travel doc with some good editing skills (color correction, etc.).

That is the minimum IMO. But if you can fit a little more then go ahead.

*Your camera and everything you need for it of course (batteries, charger, tapes, etc.)