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Old March 12th, 2004, 01:46 PM   #1
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Filming Lewis and Clark Trail!

Hey everybody, I'm 16 and was accepted into a program through my school to re-inact part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in honor of the 200 year anniversary. My school, Fairfield High School is the only school on the eastern seaboard that is doing this. So basically it is a big deal. We have already had a quick segment on NBC morning show interviewing one of the creators of the trip (a teacher at my school) and two corp members accepted.

Everyone who applied was accepted based on a certain skill they had that would contribute to the expedition. My skill is videography. This whole acceptance thing was about a year ago, and the trip is this summer, beginning in mid june and ending in early july. The whole trip is a one man production team, me. We have been trying to get support from various places to fund more equipment, but I get the feeling I will be suppying everything.

Basically, I have a GL2 which I will use to document most of the trip. I am really excited to see some of the landscape and can't wait to film those breath-taking sunsets over the Montana praries. To me, filming in the middle of nature with no civilization is something that I find to be amazing. Hopefully, this documentry will be my ticket to a good film school.

The trip, is about 4 weeks in the Montana wilderness and at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. There will be plenty of hiking and canoeing, which means dangers for my camera! I won't be given any special treatment as the cameraman and will have to work the same as the other members while shooting this trip. It is of the uptmost importance that I do a good job and produce something to show of this extravagant feat.

If you have read this far, you may be somewhat interested in my task. What I ask of you experienced patrons is this: What kind of equiptment is a must for this trip? I know I will need some good camera protectors, like a foul weather case. Also equipment in terms of lighting, i want to capture those night campfire scenes really well, because I know they will be important. If you have any information at all in anything you think would be helpful in terms of equipment, shooting, etc., let me know. Thanks!

-Phil MacDonald
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Old March 12th, 2004, 04:49 PM   #2
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Phil, Sounds like an interesting and worthwhile adventure! You definitely need a hardcase, for when your not shooting.

BTW - how are you going to charge your batteries?
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Old March 13th, 2004, 12:14 AM   #3
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Well I was considering a few things, one being just having many batteries for when we are actually on the trail, and another possibly having some kind of solar recharger. But that seems probably out of reach. 20 batteries here I come.
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Old March 13th, 2004, 12:26 AM   #4
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PLASTIC ZIPLOCK BAGS

Keep your stuff clean and dry, esp the tapes and batts.

Don't forget to take some personal stuff too!

What kind of room do you have for your stuff? Is there a budget?
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Old March 13th, 2004, 01:27 PM   #5
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At this point there isn't a budget for ME at least. I have to fund anything else I want to bring. What do you mean personal stuff?
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Old March 13th, 2004, 02:56 PM   #6
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Phil, I hope you were kidding about the 20 batteries?

A BP-945 costs roughly $45(generic), weighs 9.5oz., and has a "typical" recording time of between 3.5-4.0 hrs (according to the GL2 manual). So, 20 batteries would:
- cost $900
- weigh 12lbs
- give you less than 3hrs/day shooting time (on a 4week trip)
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Old March 13th, 2004, 03:31 PM   #7
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A long time ago ...

I traveled by car from Butte to Helena to Great Falls. One of the most memorable trips of my life.

The one thing I remember, though things may have changed, is this: where I live, if you missed that 7-11 on the edge of town, there will be another one a few miles down the road on the outskirts. There was a convention in Helena when I arrived there(!). I had to travel to Great Falls to get a room. Between Helena and Great Falls there was absolutely NOTHING. No gas stations, NOTHING except the most beautiful scenery I ever saw (till I went to Hawaii, at least). I even came upon real cowboys wearing chaps driving a real herd of cattle down the middle of the road. Just so cool. I also saw my first plateau.

What was kind of strange was a lot of the streets, creeks and other names were the same as here in Missouri. Of course, Lewis and Clark started in Missouri so I guess there must be some related reason.

BTW, the national Lewis and Clark exhibition is here in St. Louis right now.
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Old March 13th, 2004, 05:04 PM   #8
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Thats cool, I can't wait for my trip! Also to Ming, about the batteries. I was more or less kidding, but I do have to come up with some kind of plan. It won't be 4 straight weeks in the wilderness. We are staying at a native american reservation (with electricity) for about a week in the middle.
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Old March 13th, 2004, 11:54 PM   #9
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trip

Phil:

Sounds like a great way to spend the summer, and a good demo for your reel to school. Now if you really want the equipment, there may be ways to do it. If you are not tied into a specific agreement with any network/tv group or if you already have a deal with NBC it will be even easier.

It will take you some time and research but if you agree to provide some of this footage to them as well as you or members of your group will agree to do interviews at points along the way you can probably hit up a morning show news program and get all the equipment and tape you need for free. Many of them will lend you the equipment in return for access to the material you shoot.

A good place to start is the bookings deparment, tell them what you are doing (that the trip has already been covered on today show) and you are wondering if they would be interested. If they are once you start talking; make the pitch for gear. Ive had so many occasions over the past few years watching the nets especially Good Morning America and Today handing over loaner gear to story participants to get the video for their air. For them this is a great deal to send a camera crew along is over $2,000 a day (thats low end without a producer).

Just a thought but might be worth your time to look into. (ps I would also look for a waterproof bag to keep your shot tapes in)

Michel
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Old March 14th, 2004, 01:08 AM   #10
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What I ment by personal stuff is that focusing on the camera stuff is great. Just make sure to take some creature comforts. Extra socks, underwear and T-shirts. At the VERY least, extra socks. I know that sounds gross.

You could get great footage but hate your trip if you dont pack for yourself too. This way youll have the best of both worlds.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 01:29 AM   #11
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Filmed On The John Muir Trail

A couple of Years ago I filmed on the John Muir Trail out here in California. In regard to the batteries rember to use all manual controls on the camera(saves battery life) including turning off the sound when you dont need it. Sometimes with nature shots the picture might be all you are going for and the audio maybe to ambient sounding. Rember with camera equiptment your carrying a lot more weight than anyone else so get rid of all unnecessary weight. Put everything in a plastic zip lock .Have fun too!!!
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Old March 14th, 2004, 02:24 PM   #12
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for the campfire scenes you mentioned, try a car sun shade as a bounce card. theres ones that look like bubble wrap but are silver. plus you can use it as a sleeping pad. its not much but the more you have between your butt and that sharp rock you swear wasnt there when you set up the tent, the better.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #13
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I backpack and carry my equipment with me in mountainous areas and wading through swamps. One of my most important pieces of equipment is a pair of trekking poles. When I bring my video camera, I substitute one of my trekking poles for a monopod which works fine as a hiking pole / monopod. REI makes a trekking pole/monopod I've heard but a plain old monopod works - the one I used held up great in nasty conditions.

I used a smaller Sony video camera (I've never taken my Panasonic DVX100 into the rougher areas yet), I clipped it to my backpack shoulder strap using a large clip that allows me to release the camera and start shooting while backpacking. I use several sil nylon stuff sacks (they're completely waterproof) and use them to cover the camera in moist weather. They have a drawstring that can be cinched up tight. I also use these sil nylon bags for all my gear and food - keeps everything organized and dry. Remember, There's no such thing as a waterproof backpack - they ALL leak.

When using the waterproof bags or stuff sacks to store your camera, make sure you put some of those moisture remover packets with the camera. You can buy them at a local camera store. I lost my best shot ever in the everglades when I pulled my camera out of the stuff sack and since it was so extremely humid, the camera died and I couldn't get the shot. I should have had something in the sack with the camera to prevent the humidity buildup in the bag. After the camera dried out, it worked fine again. Lesson learned.

Make sure you don't overdo it with the gear. Go light and efficient or you'll be miserable carrying all the weight. Campfire scenes are very difficult.

Sounds like a great project and a lot of fun.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 04:52 PM   #14
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On the Trail

Thanks everyone for the help keep it coming!
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Old March 19th, 2004, 12:13 PM   #15
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Equipment Protection

Ditto on the waterproof soft bags. I took all my gear to Peru last year and it was raining and very misty at Machu Piccu. I modified an inexpensive rain poncho with a "porthole" made of card board, shaped to fit my lense hood. That way I was able to keep everything dry but keep shooting (just don't shoot up). I was able to get some amazing footage in situations that otherwise I would have had the camera put away.
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