Shooting action and interviews... at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 14th, 2003, 07:49 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 14
Shooting action and interviews...

Hi all,

New to the forums here. Excellent resource. Truly amazing. I wish I had found you guys sooner. Anyway, I have some general questions for those in the know. I am going to be shooting some footage of soldiers in action in July. We have a GL2 and I am buying an XL-1S. We have no audio equipment other than stock. I am the only one on the team that has any shooting experience, but my experience is with features. I need advice. I would especially appreciate advice regarding documentary shooting, shooting in Russia, and camera specific advice. Many thanks in advance,

Brad
Brad Doan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2003, 03:59 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I did some searching for you and found that following threads that
might be of interest to you especially regarding your SAFETY
and shooting in difficult conditions:

things not to do when filming in a war

shooting demonstrations

filming in africa

audio suggestions for safari shooting

I'm sure some other people will chime in with more direct
comments on your questions.

Good luck and be safe!
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15th, 2003, 11:56 AM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 14
Thank you for your reply, Rob. I don't think we will be in any danger, as we are going to be in a relatively "safe" area, but then I guess there really is no such thing anymore. <<Hopefully not my "famous last words"...>>

I read the thread about Africa even before you linked it. Great info in that one. This site is truly a tremendous resource. The audio thread was very informative as well.

I would love to hear from some of you documentary guys. Any tips about how to compose shots, conduct interviews, capture action, etc. We are planning on composing for 16:9. Are there any real drawbacks to this?

I am also curious if any of you have advice about how to get a documentary to TV. Is the festival circuit the best way, or should we try to affiliate with a production company?

Any advice will be very much appreciated.

Brad
Brad Doan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 01:52 PM   #4
RED Code Chef
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Holland
Posts: 12,514
I'm replying to this to hope a few people will notice it that didn't
previously....
__________________

Rob Lohman, visuar@iname.com
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

Join the DV Challenge | Lady X

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | Buy from the best: DVinfo.net sponsors
Rob Lohman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 04:22 PM   #5
Rextilleon
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pleasantville, NY
Posts: 520
well you will be facing the eternal problem of having your microphone mounted to your camera and thus limiting the quality of sound that you can get. I am not sure what you are shooting but it sure would be nice to have a boom operator handling a decent microphone. It would also be nice to have some lavillers (wireless lavillers) attached to principle subjects during important times. We all agree that good sound is critical and you wont get it by using the mic that comes with your camera, mounted on your camera. You need to get it off the camera and as close to your subjects as possible. I recently shot a documentary and in one of the scenes I had three guys strolling through the WTC site discussing the day---I had two of them hooked up with lavillers (the third didn't want to say anything) and it worked out well. Again, I did everything on that shoot and would have loved to have had a soundperson---but it was last minute and I couldn't get one.

If all else fails, get yourself a decent directional mic (people seem to like the Senheiser's for DV) and get as close as you can to anyone who has anything critical to say.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
David Mintzer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
Brad...

These interviews were shot with a shotgun mic atop my XL1. Didn't have a soundman nor lavalier available at the time. The key was using a wide lens and getting in close. They're both in military situations and will probably be similar to what you'll encounter.

I normally rig lavs and, if I'm lucky, will have a sound guy handling a boom. The key is to get the mic as close to the source as possible. Shotguns only isolate the source but don't really "pull it in" like a telephoto lens.

http://starbulletin.com/2000/06/21/news/story5.html

http://starbulletin.com/2000/07/03/news/story3.html

Click on the "online video" links to see the clips. Compression at the time wasn't so good. RealPlayer versions probably look the best.

Use the XL1s guidelines to help compose for 16:9 while shooting in 4:3. That'll give you the option of going either way in post.

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
Dean Sensui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 05:20 PM   #7
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 14
Thanks to Rob for bumping this.

David, thank you for your advice. A friend of mine is going to hook me up with a shotgun and possibly a "short range omni" or something like that which he said is good for gunfire in a shooting range type environment. I wish I could get a hold of some wireless lavs, but I can't find anyone willing to let me take them to Russia. Go figure.

Dean, that footage was very encouraging. Great job. Sound quality wasn't bad at all using the cam mounted mike. I have the added advantage of shooting my subjects speaking Russian for an English-speaking audience, so if the sound is total crap I can dub rather than subtitle. I am fairly confident the camera mounted mike will be adequate for ambient gunfire and distant (heh) explosions. Those guides in the XL-1s for 16:9 are fantastic. The last feature I worked on we shot with two XL-1 (no "s") and we ended up putting scotch tape on the viewfinders and field monitors to help with composition. Less than ideal. I really want to go 16:9, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Can any of you offer advice for getting this sort of thing produced? Is it best to put something together for the festival circuit or to approach production houses?

Again, thanks guys

~Brad
Brad Doan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 07:42 PM   #8
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Go down to the Phoenix PD and talk to the community police folks. Tell them what you are going to do and ask them if any officer will loan you a ballistic vest to take with you or sell one cheaply. New ones start around $400 so $100 will probably get you one that has lots of life left in it (so to speak). Most have more than one and a slightly older model is better than a thick T-shirt if you catch one.

BTW, you don't have have someone firing at you to get hit. A bullet or fragment can bounce around like silly putty. Some of them have enough mass and velocity to inflict severe wounds. Even at a gun range.

Also get and wear safety glasses. Make certain you can read/see the viewfinder with them on.

Get a few of the filter bottles or straws that will darned near allow you to drink out of a cesspool and get safe water.

If you can afford one, a Shure SM81C is ideal for gunfire. Not only will it survive the experience, it will give you some accoustic details of the sound that other microphones cannot. It is not an omni but at gun sound frequencies, anything is.

And get an environmental cover for your cameras. Or at least a large roll of Saran Wrap so you can cover them most of the time. And spare UV filters because you will probably damage at least one. Did I mention dust-off or better yet, one of the plastic-tipped rubber bulbs for blowing dust off the lens and nooks and crannies.

Small tool kit that will allow you to remove the tape door if you need to superclean the heads or transport or remove a stuck tape.

Equipment manuals. LED flashlights. Self-sealing Baggies. Gaffer tape. Paper tape to seal the camera seams. Hoodman eyepiece covers for each camera so sweaty eyeballs won't fog up everything. Cammo Space Blanket. 50 feet of dark Nylon cord.

I just did a short documentary where I used experienced college student shooters. For the sound folks, I used an AT 835B microphone in a Light Wave Supermount with one of their shorty wind covers. Even in 30 mph gusts, there was no wind sound. The shock mount kept handling noise out of the sound even with somewhat inexperienced sound techs running along building tops and hospital corridors.
Warning. The rig looks like some wierd weapon made of a giant black Q-Tip. Easy for anyone to use. Just point and shoot (so to speak).

I do a lot of work with the local PD. There I use the AT835B or a Sony microphone from a DSR-300 on top of my PD150. Works very well all things considering. I'm not interested in distant work anyway in those situations. My camera is in their or a suspects face.

For really tight quarters, I use a Sony PC110 which works wonders in cramped situations and places where I want to one-hand the camera (like around a corner when someone is threatening my safety). This is on the theory that I'd rather have a hand shot (no that is not a pun) than the rest of me.

Another trick is to flip the LCD viewfinder back flat against the camera body and then shoot sideways. Much less threatning and actually much more stable. Sometimes I even rotate the camera 90 degrees and shoot with the left side of the field of view on top. It's easy to rotate the video back around in post.

Think of taking a sandbag with you for camera support. Easy to fill when you get there and just as easy to empty.

Remote control for each camera. Let's them take the risks while you hunker down.

I'd not use the wireless remote on a battlefield. They are nothing but an IR flashlight that people with vision boosters can easily see. If you wonder what I mean, point the remote at your camera and look at the business end of it throught the viewfinder. Bright blinking light, isn't it? Kind of a shoot me, I'm being illuminated by a target designator kind of light.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 20th, 2003, 08:24 PM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Almost forgot one of the most important things or two..

Make yourself a medical kit. A super First Aid kit that also includes lots of over-the-shelf drugs plus any perscription drugs you may require. Vicks or Vaseline is probably hard to find. As are band aids.

See your doctor and dentist before you go. Ask your doctor for a couple of prescription items for an emergency. A better-than-asprin pain medication. A antibiodic that will be effective against typical things you can catch over there. And a bottle of Tirpin Hydrate with Codene or something similar. Coughing is a great way to attract unwanted attention.

Check with the Russian consulate (may be LA) and see what they say about taking prescription drugs in. Should be OK but better to be safe than in a Russian jail.

Get your equipment listed by serial number on a form you can get at the airport. Best to get that filled out and authenticated before you leave.

Now you have to fill out a form to get back into the US. You can get it from the Immigration Web Site. Do it before you go. Check on any possilbe problems when you return from Russia. And don't go to a country where the US Gov does not allow you to go.

And a box of prophilactics to protect equipment. I think the Russians call them Preservatives or something similar.
__________________
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
Mike Rehmus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2003, 06:45 PM   #10
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 14
Mike,

All good advice. The unit we will be with is going to provide us with vests and helmets. Their vests are capable of stopping rounds from assault rifles, so its probably best to use what they give us, as police vests are only good for 9mm-.45 cal.

For tight spaces we are bringing a GL2. I will look into getting the mics you recommended.

You made some excellent suggestions, particularly about the wireless remote. Most Russian and old Soviet NV gear is passive and set up to detect infrared, so using the remote would probably be suicide.

I think the wife would kill me if I told her I needed to take a pack of condoms with me ;).

Thank you for sharing this info with me. I really appreciate it.

~Brad
Brad Doan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 21st, 2003, 07:03 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
Brad...

Wireless equipment in foreign countries could be a problem, depending on what their frequency allocation is. Someone else's signal might interfere with yours and that could be bad. If your signal interferes with someone else's that could be even worse. So going hardwire isn't a bad idea. There's also the option of using a seperate recorder and syncing the audio tracks in post. You'll have to slate your material carefully to make life easier.

For the shotgun mic I was using a Sony ECM 672 with a Lightwave windscreen.

By the way, are you covering a training mission or is this actual combat? It might make a difference on what you bring along. Hearing protection, glasses and sunscreen are good for starters in either case. And the CamelBack water systems are really handy if you're out in the field for extended periods of time.

As for production, I'd guess you mean post-production editing? If so, then it might be cost effective to acquire the equipment on your own. Prices of hardware and software have come down tremendously. It works if you're a capable editor or know exactly what you want. Otherwise it helps to hire a facility that can deal with the technical details.

If you decide to do it on your own, a basic editing setup would require a computer, editing software, some sort of TV monitor to view the material and a pair of decent neutral-sounding speakers. The camera could act as a "feeder" deck but you'll need to minimize stressing the tape transport with too much tape shuttling.

Since you're shooting in DV all the transfers in and out can be done via Firewire.

A G4 Mac with dual 1.24 GHz processors can be acquired brand new for about $2700 and that includes a DVD burner with iDVD (which works quite nicely for burning DVD videos). Add a large ATA drive and additional RAM and it'll be all set for the editing process. No additonal cards or hardware is required if you're not going to output the program to anything other than DV tape. It'll all be handled via firewire, including deck control.

If you need component video inputs or outputs then you'll have to get a card to provide those.

For software, get Final Cut Pro. It's another $1000. I believe that if you hook up the XL1 via Firewire, and the XL1's composite video to a monitor you can actually view your work on a standard NTSC monitor.

Not sure where you're located but if you can find an actual Apple store then that's the best place to get the best information. One just opened here in Honolulu and what I saw was very impressive -- equipment that actually functions and is operated by people who actually know what they're doing (and care about what they sell).

Margins on Mac hardware are slim so prices via mail order or anywhere else are nearly the same. If you can get the hardware from a local dealer that would help when you need service. I would suggest getting drives and RAM from other sources as Apple tends to charge a premium for those things.

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
Dean Sensui is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:11 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network