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Old May 6th, 2006, 10:07 PM   #1
Inner Circle
 
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Help For Filming A Very Important Day at Walt Disney World, Please!

I need help in making the best video I can for some very deserving people. A dear friend of mine contacted me last week to do a video for her best friend. Her friend’s daughter is dieing of breast cancer. She has 2-3 months to live, perhaps 6 at the most. The daughter has a husband and three sons, aged 2 ˝ to 12, and she wants something for them to remember her by, especially the youngest one, as more than just “The Lady in the Picture.”

They are arriving in Orlando on the 12th, and will be there thru the 21st. Walt Disney World has given them complimentary passes to visit to the park, including free admission to all of the parks and visits with three characters. They are comping my admission also and someone who helps me.

What I need at this moment is all the information people have on filming at Disney World. I am getting in contact with officials there, one is Mark Pulley, who is program manager and arranged for the passes. I will be shooting with my XL2 and know that it will stand out in the crowd. I may have to get an escort to go with me during the whole visit.

At this time, any information you can give me about generally filming there will be of great help. I may ask for more specifics later. This may develop into a documentary as vehicle to raise money for breast cancer research.

Thanks to all in advance, for any information you can give to me. I will be in your debt.

Mike Teutsch
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Old May 6th, 2006, 11:38 PM   #2
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Mike, what kind of info are you looking to get? I've shot there extensively while on vacations. Like what stuff not to miss, general WDW info, or doc shooting info?
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Old May 7th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #3
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Mike...

I'm not able to get out there but am willing to loan surplus equipment if that will help.

I have two lectrosonic packages available that can hang off the back of the XL2 if you have an MA100 or MA200 mounted on it. They're both VHF units. One has a plug-on transmitter which will work with a handheld mic if you need something like that. All of the units work on 9v batteries.

Also have an AT 897 with windscreen and shock mount that will work as an on-camera mic. The 897 does not require phantom power and will work with the Canon XL2.

I also have a Century 0.7x wide angle adapter which will fit a 16x manual Canon lens -- won't fit the stock lens, unfortunately. It would have to be sent back to Century to swap out the bayonet lock in order to work.

Terribly sorry to hear about your friend's daughter. My friend's wife went through a bout with breast cancer but she was lucky and survived. She's doing OK for now. Hope some miracle takes place and your friend's daughter does as well.

Aloha!
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Old May 7th, 2006, 06:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui
Mike...

I'm not able to get out there but am willing to loan surplus equipment if that will help.

I have two lectrosonic packages available that can hang off the back of the XL2 if you have an MA100 or MA200 mounted on it. They're both VHF units. One has a plug-on transmitter which will work with a handheld mic if you need something like that. All of the units work on 9v batteries.

Also have an AT 897 with windscreen and shock mount that will work as an on-camera mic. The 897 does not require phantom power and will work with the Canon XL2.

I also have a Century 0.7x wide angle adapter which will fit a 16x manual Canon lens -- won't fit the stock lens, unfortunately. It would have to be sent back to Century to swap out the bayonet lock in order to work.

Terribly sorry to hear about your friend's daughter. My friend's wife went through a bout with breast cancer but she was lucky and survived. She's doing OK for now. Hope some miracle takes place and your friend's daughter does as well.

Aloha!
Dean, the XL2 has the XLR jacks built in. There is no MA-100 or 200 for it. And, it can supply phantom power to the XLR jacks so no worries there.

Very generous of you to offer. Just shows what kind of top notch people we have on this forum. Was great to meet you at NAB this year!

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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:29 AM   #5
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I'm so sorry to hear about this Mike. I'm sure you can find the assistance you
need here @ DVi. It was great to meet you and Dean @ NAB!

If there is anything I can do to help don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,
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Old May 7th, 2006, 09:41 AM   #6
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Thanks all of you for your support. It was so great to meet you all at NAB, and I hope that we will keep in touch for years to come. You are a great bunch of guys!

I am concerned with sound for one thing. I have more than enough equipment, but not sure what to use. I have several Sony UHF wireless sets, and a couple of shotguns. Do I use the regular on camera mic or one of the shotguns? I have 7 people to try and cover and that will be tough. Those who will be there are: Lisa, her parents, her husband, and her three boys. This will be a video so that the boys, especially the 2 1/2 year old, will have something to remember Lisa by.

I have never really filmed in an open, uncontrolled environment. Everything I have done has been inside and controlled by me. I will probably stick with the stock 20x lens, and the 3x wide angle while at WDW, as I don't think I want to try going to a manual lens while running around everywhere. Should I try to drag around a tripod, use a monopod, or just go hand held?

If I get help and take a sound person with me, what is Disney going to say? I am going to try to contact them directly on Monday, but have never dealt with them and their concerns.

Anyway, just nervous about the whole thing and want to do the best I can for them. Thanks for your input and thanks for the equipment offer Dean.

Mike
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Old May 7th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #7
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Too bad there's few excuses for everyone to travel cross-country -- and from distant places on the Earth -- and get together occasionally. NAB is as good a chance as any. And the Peppermill is a good a place as any.

Hope to catch up with Chris, Rob, Mike, Dylan and the rest again next year.

Mike...

Much of what I do is run-and-gun, and I worked with an XL1s for quite a while so here's what I generally did:

Almost everything is handheld. If you can get an assistant to carry a tripod that's a huge plus for establishing shots. However, tripods can be bulky and clumsy, and a place like Disney World is quite crowded.

If not, then I generally use a monopod and/or find objects to brace against. Both the tripod and monopod are fitted with a Bogen Manfrotto 394 quick-release plate. With the flip of a lever the camera comes right off. No struggling. And it gives a positive lockdown and is very secure.

For the real action, I mostly shoot in-close, handheld, using a wide angle lens. It gives a sense of proximity and intimacy that brings the viewer into the situation. It also reduces shake and is a lot less critical regarding focus. And, best of all, it gets the on-camera mic closer to the subject for better audio.

Depending on the principals and situation involved, I sometimes shoot with two people wired with lavs. Particularly if they're going to interact with one another a lot.

If I shoot with an on-camera mic, I found out that a shotgun's coverage is often too narrow to cover people who are slightly off-axis or slightly out of frame. I stopped using the AT 897 and am now using an AT 4051a which works well when shooting a wide lens. Tonal qualities are very good and it's pretty sensitive. I fitted it with a Mic Muff fur cover for moderate wind protection.

That said, the Canon stock mic isn't terrible. With modest wind protection it has the advantage of giving you stereo coverage. The only caveat is it won't give much isolation when shooting individuals. That's where a shotgun or cardioid mic would do well. Also, with a shotgun or cardioid you have the option of running a mic on one channel and a wireless lav on the other. Perhaps keep your friend's daughter on the wireless lav all the time, and use a seperate mic on the other channel. That might be the most flexible solution given the circumstances. And the results are usually not bad.

When shooting with wireless mics, I'll set my wristwatch countdown alarm to warn me to swap batteries after so many hours. Especially if using rechargeables that tend to drop off suddenly.

If you can get a sound man, or even a second shooter, then it would be possible or even ideal to have that person roll whenever you do and capture images and audio from two additional channels via wireless systems. Nothing beats having discrete audio tracks for each individual. I wish there were an inexpensive multitrack recorder that would automatically slate off a camera. Equipment exists which will do one or the other, but there's nothing that will do all of that and still be inexpensive. Dang!

In the absence of a second camera or seperate recorder, the sound man could boom the second mic and get audio from several people, depending on what's happening at the time. If the principal is talking to one person, then moves to someone else, the soundman (using a boom pole and a wireless transmitter) can then cover that other person.

Sorry if this might be confusing. At least you have equipment options, and that's good.

During coverage, I try my best to pay attention to what's being said and done. I also try to catch little details along the way for cutaways. Signs to denote locations; close-ups of things they might be handling. And especially reactions to whatever's going on. It means a lot of whip-panning but those get cut out along the way -- another reason why tripods get in the way of this sort of coverage. They pan too slowly.

One other thing: This can get to be physically taxing. Stay hydrated and snack on something like Power Bars or trail mix bars regularly so that you're never feeling thirsty or hungry. Once those sensations start coming on it means that your body's in deficit, and it'll be hard to catch up.

Lastly, keep in mind this video is a personality piece, and not a formal portrait. So while the technical aspects may not be perfect, the most important part is capturing the individual's activities and reactions. To see and hear what she's saying is the main priority. Critically good color, exposure and tack-sharp images are second to that (important but not not more than the content itself).

Good luck!
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Old May 7th, 2006, 10:31 PM   #8
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I haven't looked at anybody elses posts in this, but what I think is important is a bit of commentary, with a lot of interaction between the family. That means it's their time, and you should be imposing on them by making them carry mics, etc. I think you should shoot with a shotgun on the camera for those close up comments from mom, dad and kids, but you need to capture those spontaneously, in most situations. When you finish, your edit, you will be blending the running commentary with scenes of them just having fun and enjoying their moments together-- and thats the way it should be. You have to be, for the most part, shooting documentary style, running and gunning, and adapting to the situation.

Frankly, you might want to lighten up on camera choices a little to, to make it less conspicuous. Maybe a Sony PD 170 or something like that to give you some low light advantage too.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #9
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I sure wish I wasn't tied up during those days, Mike. I'd fly out there and give you a hand.

One piece of advice you really don't need, but I'll say it anyway: If you're having fun, they will have fun, too.

You'll do a great job. :)
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Old May 8th, 2006, 12:39 AM   #10
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Mike, as soon as I'm done the shoot I'm working on I'm going to go into more detail, but...

For sound
1 channel on a wireless mic on her
1 channel on a shotgun mic on anyone (the kids) she is talking to. You can't cover 7 people, so get her on the wireless and keep the shotgun for eveyone else.
Be very aware of capturing ambiant audio at Disney, as it is spectacular. There is music EVERYWHERE. You can overlay extended tracks over montages of B-roll. You can shoot almost all the rides in slow shutter/high gain, and do it.

I would skip the sound person. Run and gun light and fast. This is their day and they won't be happy getting bogged down with any shooting issues. I'd almost suggest you going back for another day on your own for B-roll.

The most important part is not how well you capture, but what you capture; The ambiance, the feel, the rides, the magic.
I've actually started writing a guide to shooting in Disney but never finished it. When I get caught up with my current gig in two days, I'll send some to you. However, must get some sleep now.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 08:42 AM   #11
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Mike, if you have the time and resources to come up with a PA to go with you on this shoot, I think it would be a very good idea. Maybe a post in Helping Hands will turn up some leads? Best wishes,
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Old May 8th, 2006, 09:42 AM   #12
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Mike:

Reach out for Bravo. I bet he'd do it in a second. Also, ask this woman if she would like to be taken aside to have her videotape special, private messages to all of her family members, like a one-on-one interview where she looks directly into the camera. She may want to do that, especially with her children.

You're doing a good thing, Mike. God bless.
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Old May 8th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh DiMauro
Mike:

Reach out for Bravo. I bet he'd do it in a second. Also, ask this woman if she would like to be taken aside to have her videotape special, private messages to all of her family members, like a one-on-one interview where she looks directly into the camera. She may want to do that, especially with her children.

You're doing a good thing, Mike. God bless.
Hi Hugh,

Yes, I plan on the interviews and all. Still working on all of the details at this time. Thanks for the encouragement, and take care of that sweet lady!

Mike
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #14
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Mike, the 12th as in this Friday? What day(s) will they be at Disney?
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Old May 8th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Ellis
Mike, the 12th as in this Friday? What day(s) will they be at Disney?
The family is arriving on the 12th and will be in Orlando thru the 21. I am awaiting the final itinerary. Hopefully they go to WDW during the week, as there may be fewer people. Not sure yet how long the visit will last, as Lisa has good days and bad days. Disney will provide a wheelchair if needed and they go to the front of lines as necessary.

I just emailed the program manager about any restrictions and such, and I will await his response. I think I will ask them what day is the least busy!

I'll keep you posted.

Mike
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