Public Attention When Shooting on A1 at DVinfo.net

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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old December 15th, 2008, 12:14 PM   #1
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Public Attention When Shooting on A1

A few months ago I moved up from a cheap crapcorder [sic] to an A1, and from this forum I was only generally aware of the increased attention that others have received when shooting in public.

Nowhere was this manifested more comically (to me) than during a parade I shot over Thanksgiving. Years ago I mounted my cheap camcorder on a cheap tripod right on the parade route, and spectators filling in couldn't care less: they bumped me, they sat on the tripod feet, and crowded my feet. I couldn't move an inch, and the footage in many spots evidenced the constant jostling.

This year, I shot from the same spot on the parade route with the A1 on my nice Libec tripod with a shock-mounted shotgun microphone, using headphones. This time, spectators jockeying for front seats gave me TONS of room, and one guy constantly (and thoughtfully) checked with me to see that he wasn't blocking my shot.

But the funniest icing on the cake was a young mother and her kid who plopped down close to my area. Through my headphones (I was looking away at the time) I heard the mom say to her kid in a stern voice,"See that very expensive thing up there? Don't bump it!"

Have any good ones?

-Steve
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Old December 15th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #2
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But the funniest icing on the cake was a young mother and her kid who plopped down close to my area. Through my headphones (I was looking away at the time) I heard the mom say to her kid in a stern voice,"See that very expensive thing up there? Don't bump it!"

Have any good ones?
I was shooting on a cafe terrace and set my camera on the sidewalk. We put someone in charge of pedestrian traffic so they could stop people from walking in front of the camera while we did quick shots, but it was hardly needed as people naturally stopped and politely waited until we nodded and smiled at them.

The cafe owner also had a lot more business than usual on that day from people who wanted to know about the shoot but didn't want to disturb us.

Oh yeah, one very pretty young woman gave her card and headshot to the grip, thinking he was the director. I shoulda worn my "director" cap. ;-)


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Old December 15th, 2008, 11:02 PM   #3
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I've noticed that when I shoot, I get some people who will respectfully wait until we're done to cross the path. Others just stand of to the side and just gawk.

But the ones that bug me the most are the ones that are oblivious to everything and walk into shot or me or try to do the "Hi Mom!" thing thinking they're on TV.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 11:21 PM   #4
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When I was shooting "The Ring of Fireflies" at the Valley of Fire people who had driven all that way to take photos of the scenery, were instead taking photos of me setting up the camera....LOL
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #5
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I certainly notice these effects from the public but the camera has no effect on the paparazzi. They regularly walk right in front of me to get pictures for their newspapers.

It makes for an interesting relationship!

Ian
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Old December 16th, 2008, 05:31 AM   #6
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I usually get a few questions a day but i was on the mtn one day filming skiing. I had my Jib Crane up there and my skiers were lapping a certain spot. I turned around at one point and saw about 30 people watching us.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:43 PM   #7
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Shooting my nephew's high school football game, I had one parent come up to me and - assuming I was shooting for a local news crew - ask what channel they had to turn to to see the footage.
It gets better. At an away football game, I was told I'd get a better view up in the press box. I informed them that I was shooting for personal use only, and that I was not a member of the press. They still let me up in the press box...and on the sidelines. :)
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:29 PM   #8
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I certainly notice these effects from the public but the camera has no effect on the paparazzi. They regularly walk right in front of me to get pictures for their newspapers.

It makes for an interesting relationship!
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When covering a royal visit recently I found the photographers (who were admittedly there by invitation of the council press office) were very courteous and were careful not to get in shot. The scrum (scum?) that surrounds major events is a different story - every man for himself - and that goes for the women too.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #9
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I was shooting video in another town at this beautiful park. There was an elderly couple sitting on a bench watching us. When we finished the shot we started to move to another location, walking by the couple. The man asked me what news channel we were from and "jokingly" I said, FOX news. I was laughing when I said that and they both laughed with me so I assumed they knew I was just kidding.

A few days later I heard that people in that town were talking about how FOX news was at their park that weekend.

-John
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:58 PM   #10
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Well yes I agree people take you more seriously with the A1 but it's not always a good thing as I realised when shooting in Toxteth, Liverpool recently - all I can say is I was glad I was not on my own and had a car to get away in. The camera does look very cool and EXPENSIVE!
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:20 PM   #11
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Well yes I agree people take you more seriously with the A1 but it's not always a good thing as I realised when shooting in Toxteth, Liverpool recently - all I can say is I was glad I was not on my own and had a car to get away in. The camera does look very cool and EXPENSIVE!
Well don't leave us hanging! What happened to you? Camera-hungry thugs?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Well don't leave us hanging! What happened to you? Camera-hungry thugs?
Yes indeed. Fortunately nothing serious happened in the end - but some dodgy scallies immediately homed in on my friend and me asking what the camera was worth, getting far to close, jostling us and looking menacing: (in very strong scouse accent) 'what's that you got there la?' etc. A violent move seemed immanent (I've been mugged in the area before so should have known better!) so we made a rapid exit. Got some good shots before we were noticed though. I suppose my point is that a cheaper (looking) cam can be an advantage in some places. But I wanted gritty urban material so you have to take your chances.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #13
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Sadly California Isn't the Same

That's awesome that your A1 draws so much positive attention. Here is the LA area where Movies, TV Shows and Reality programming is everywhere it works very much against you at times. Have a cop see you and you are explaining it is a home movie to avoid a ticket. People will get in your way, will yell at you for being in the way, and can be quite hateful. Now sometimes you get a crowd of Hollywood people who will bend over backward, to find out how they can be in your project, no matter what it is. I've worked on the small home movie for myself all the way up to working on professional TV shows and films, and people can be really nasty to the main source of cash flow in this town.

Hell the bigger your camera is here, the more they notice and noticing isn't a good thing most times, unless you are interviewing tourists on Hollywood Blvd or something.

It is awesome that the rest of the world still gives respect to professional equipment and those using it.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 01:35 AM   #14
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In Disneyland Paris in October, I found I could use an HV-30 without attracting attention which will not surprise you, (my family refused point blank to let me take my A1 - just as well) but I could add a monopod, support bracket and Sennheiser G2 on-camera receiver to the HV-30 and still not get a second glance. However, the minute I started to wear headphones, then the "A1 effect" described here kicked in. I might as well have had a shouldermount camera, soundman with boompole and a producer with a clipboard. Don't tell Ty Ford, but I ended up not monitoring the audio a lot of the time so that I could fit in with the crowd. The oddest thing was that in shops, even although one or other of my kids was quite obviously tooled up with a radio mic with bodypack fully in view, people noticed it but didn't react.

The other trigger to attracting attention was anything grey and furry on the camera, so no shotgun outside.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; December 17th, 2008 at 01:41 AM. Reason: A1 connection
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Old December 17th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #15
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A couple of weeks ago I was hired to shoot our town's Christmas Parade. As this is held at night, and wasn't going to require HD (they wanted to produce a web video), I left the A1 at home and used my PD-170. Now the 170 is a smaller camera than the A1, but still "pro" looking. Everywhere that I went, people were asking me if I was shooting for the evening news. There was a guy there from the local station, with a shoulder mount camera (including a large Channel 6 News logo on it). I think that I got more attention than he did.

The cool thing was that every time I pointed the camera (with a light) at the crowd, hundreds of people started waving at me :).
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