Afraid I'm out of my league... questions on better documentation at

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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old July 6th, 2008, 04:30 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Buffalo, NY
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Afraid I'm out of my league... questions on better documentation

I appologize if I'm putting this in the wrong place... and please move it if it is...

I've come across an opportunity to do personal documentation for an internationally traveling musician.

My problem is that most of my proir experience has been directing multi camera studio or sporting events on Canon XL 1S or Canon XL H1 s. and I guess I'm wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom that they could share with me... maybe a great camera choice... or an amazing portable lighting solution... or security systems? Maybe an interesting thought regarding recording to camera mounted hard drives? I'm pretty much able to write my own ticket, so I guess that my only considerations are relative portability (FREQUENT travel), durability, and ease of use...

well, I guess I'm asking for help with my homework. I'm really excited at this opportunity, and I want to make the best end product that I possibly can... but I feel kind of overwhelmed, since... well, this is much bigger budget and much higher expectations than I've ever worked with before... and I don't want to F it up with poor hardware choices.

so... please... help me.

--------------------my story----------------------
Media Study student at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo
Documentary / Real Time Graphics concentrations
Scott Blajszczak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 6th, 2008, 06:17 AM   #2
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Whats the overall scope of the project? Are you looking to cut together a series of small pieces to be used for promotional segments on a web page? Segments to distribute for broadcast? A short form doc? (15-30 mins say?) A long form feature length for sales as a DVD? A feature for distribution aimed at a theatrical release?

What sorts of venues will you be working? Small intimate nightclubs? Home studios? Large arenas? What sort of Musician are we dealing with, a solo artist or an artist with a ten piece orchestra?

Are you restricted by budget and crew size? Is this intended to be a one man show, or can you easily crew up to say, five people? What are your transport plans - all vehicular or lots of flying?

And finally DO YOU HAVE A SCRIPT? (Yes, I know its a doc, but you still start with a script.)

These are a FEW of the questions that would inform an answer, so help us out here and toss us a bone.

Without knowing any of this - here are my thoughts.

The XLH1 is a great cam, if you KNOW it, then you're already comfortable with it - that's a nice place to start. Can you afford TWO cams?

Portable light kits, run and gun interviews. I like the Lowel Rifa lights - they set up - literally in a snap, easy to transport. Nice soft lite for interviews. Add in a couple of small fresnels and you're covered. Standard ENG sort of light kit.

Sound is going to be absolutely crucial for this. Not just someone running sound for the interviews, but someone who can mic for an intimate moment of music, or mix/tap into the board at a concert. So I'd budget a sound man and his kit so you can focus on grabbing the shots and coverage.

IF you can afford to hire a DP, even better - leaves you to direct and interview - not worry about grabbing the shots.

I've produced a one-man Doc and it's a headache. It CAN be done - but it's a HUGE headache, and something, somewhere always suffers, as comprimises have to be made.
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