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Techniques for Independent Production
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Old May 26th, 2007, 02:08 AM   #1
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A Few Questions

Okay last year I got signed to direct my first big (not budget) movie. Now I've got a tons of questions but first I will start with I do know. We will be shooting the movie with the Canon XL-H1. Along with directing I will probably do the editing myself with Adobe's Production Premium on a Mac. Being that this is the firist feature film/movie I've been askekd to worked on I don't have any of the production accessories to go with the camera. I have weighed theh pros and cons to renting vs buying and right now one of the producers is opting for us to buy rather than rent some of the equipment because we have other smaller projects we could use the equipment on. I've worked on a few small projects but nothing on a featre film level. I am in the midist of setting up a budget and plan for the shoot and post production. Now for the questions (forgive any ignorance)


1) Tripods.

Are there any real differences between the various brands for video tripods to justify buying one over another?

We are looking at a Glidecam camera crane for some shots.

2) Audio

In Camera with a shotgun microphone like Sennheiser or with a recorder like Marantz or Fostex?

3) Lighting

What lighting packages would you recommend?


Any other tips, tricks or ideas are welcome
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Old May 26th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #2
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...
1) Tripods ... Are there any real differences between the various brands for video tripods to justify buying one over another?
Strength, stability, and smoothness of motion of the head when panning and tilting are very real differences. A good, solid, set of sticks with a quality fluid head well matched to the weight of your camera will be very expensive and worth every penny.

Quote:
2) Audio ... In Camera with a shotgun microphone like Sennheiser or with a recorder like Marantz or Fostex?
Where the audio itself gets recorded - on the tape in the camera or on a separate recorder - is less important that is getting the microphone positioned properly. Dialog recording needs to have the mic up close to the talent and getting it there should be your first consideration before everything else. Even shotgun mics are intended to be used between about 24" to 48" or so away from the subject. On-camera shotguns are almost never appropriate for recording dialog for that reason - the best place to put the camera for the shot is hardly ever going to be a good place to put the microphone for decent sound recording. IMHO, shotguns should be considered specialized tools for specific circumstances such as high noise level outdoor locations or run-and-gun news gathering where sound quality is secondary to getting the breaking news story. The mainstay mic for the majority of dialog recording in most feature mixer's kit is usually a hypercardioid such as the Schoeps CMC641 or less expensive similar 'hypers' from Audio Technica or AKG among others. Before you think about recorder, etc, options, your first order of audio business should be to acquire as a minimum a decent hypercardioid mic, shock mount, boom pole, wind protection such as a furry or a zepp, a portable mixer such as a Sound Devices 302, perhaps a mic preamp/headphone amp for the boom operator, quality headphones with good isolation (Sony MDR7506 is a very common choice), and a breakaway audio snake cable to connect the mixer to the camera and provide headphone returns and other connecting cables as required. Oh, and make sure you hire or train a boom operator and sound mixer to be part of your crew - sound is important enough to deserve its own dedicated personel, far too important and demanding to be left for the camera operator to piggyback on top of his other duties - he needs to focus (pardon the pun) on framing, focus, and camera moves. If truth be told, audiences will forgive occasional slips in picture quality but they will NEVER forgive marginal sound.

The decision to record single system in-camera or double system to a separate recorder is driven largely by post-production workflow issues and regardless of which way you go, all of the audio gear mentioned would still be used.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by David Kirlew View Post
I will probably do the editing myself with Adobe's Production Premium on a Mac.
I know that Adobe has announced Premiere is coming back to the Mac, but Not sure when it will be available. Isn't shipping yet:

https://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/sto...moid=RWTS&nr=0

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Adobe Production Studio Premium
Product Overview
This product is only available for Windows
Not sure what your time frame is, but I would hesitate to use a new, untested NLE for a big project until it's been out there for awhile and has the bugs shaken out...
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Old May 26th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #4
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Thanks Steve for the audio advice. Boyd I believe we are a while off as we had several major delays in the script writing. Currently we are well over half way done on the script, but because of my lack of experience handling a feature film, I thought I'd ask the questions earlier rather than later. We probably won't begin shooting until at the earliest September but there's a greater chance it will be later than September. That will give the team enough time to test and troubleshoot Adobe Production Premium on the Mac.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 04:48 AM   #5
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Getting good sound is by far the hardest thing to do on set, I suggest recording to a seperate device and keep the on camera mic running for sinking purposes in post. We use a mac laptop with an Mbox and a senheissr me66 and i have a Tascam DAT as a backup as laptop batts run out quick if you don't have a socket close by. Steve is right ,More important than the sound gear is the person using it, its skilled work. Best idea is to let your sound engineer worry about his equipment and make sure he communicates with the camera crew.

Andy
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Old May 27th, 2007, 11:55 AM   #6
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Are you shooting in addition to directing? I'd hire a seperate DP so you can concentrate on the overall image, performances, etc.

Lighting, grip and electric is usually determined by the DP.

heath
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