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DECIDING WHAT TYPE OF CAMERA TO BUY FOR YOUR FILM PROJECT
Deciding the type of camera or cameras to buy is simply a matter of taste and what you as a freshmen film producer is trying to accomplish. DSLR and 4k cameras with optimum zoom capability seem to be the 'rage' of today.
Back when I broke into the business I identified what my needs were first and then proceeded to determine the best
cameras that would help me get the shots that I wanted. Since I knew there were going to be a lot of 18-wheeler interior
and exterior scenes to be shot I opted for the GoPro HERO 4 which was the rage back then. I also knew I wanted to film
from multiple camera angles so I also purchased two HD 2k cinematic cameras.
However..if you choose to buy two or more cameras check to ensure that the focus is the same in all the cameras.
My experience was just that..two cameras..one with perfect focus and the other that needed to be sent back to the
factory to be re-focused. This is NOT a situation that you want to be in especially if you are on a timeline and need to
begin filming right away.
By the time my second film project rolled around I ended up selling the bad camera and just used a single camera for
all of my shots. It may have taken a little longer to film but I could rest easy knowing that all my frames had the exact same focus. Just something to consider if you plan on buying more than one camera when you really don't need to.
With this purchase I never had to be worried about myself or cast members tripping
over cable runs on the set. With this little rascal one can mount it on him or
herself or on a tripod comfortably far away from any cameras or cast members.
I also found that I had more control over audio input characteristics and settings
via the recorder instead of having to make these adjustments in post. As you can see by the image I decided to purchase the Tascam DR-40 which for me worked liked a dream and really saved me a bunch of headaches that I endured on my first film project. Never..ever record audio directly to your camera.
MIC PLACEMENT FOR SUPERB AUDIO FOR YOUR FILM PROJECT
He said never..ever record directly to the camera..TOO LATE I was already at the end or had completed my
very first major film project. Why did my film producer friend warn me about recording directly to the camera? I had a nice fancy camera with two XLR inputs I did not see what the problem was. Then I began to
recall a few close calls that I and my cast members had tripping over audio cable and almost tipping over
very expensive camera equipment. Believe me when you are recording with two cameras the audio cables
can provide a costly hazard. And of course as a novice film producer you NEVER want to record audio directly
to the internal mic of your camera. If you really want to turn fans and potential fans away from your film
project then record audio to the camera's internal mic. YUCK!
Of course if your camera has XLR inputs you as a brand spanking new film producer would never do this.
Having never attended film school nor taken any film courses or related courses I had to learn the hard way.
Fortunately I was able to identify the audio mistakes that I made and took the appropriate and necessary
pain staking hours to go back and correct them. A lot of these headaches would have been avoided if I had
purchased a portable audio recorder. At the start of my second major film project I did just that.
Twenty or thirty years ago starting one's own film production company would have seemed like a huge undertaking. However with the innovations in technology and the coming of the digital age and the
internet what once seemed like a huge mountain to climb has now been reduced to a mole hill.
Anybody who has the tech savvy, a burn to learn and the talent to create can be well on their way to
fulfilling and rewarding career in the film industry.
The basic gear that one will need no matter the size of the company that one has in mind is a camera,
a portal recorder and lights. Of course a budget will need to be thought out and put in place as well.
I started out with a pretty big budget that was earned from the profits from my trucking business and
I was pretty much at liberty to spend as much as wanted based on those profits. With that said I located
a local film production retailer and I purchased 2 digital cameras (Canon XA-10) LED lights (Refurbished)
and a GoPro. I did not purchase a portable audio recorder until my second film project.
Another item that one might consider is to lease office space/studio if one plans to have long term use
for a studio and if one plans to interview and audition cast members. On the other hand an office/studio
is not needed if the film producer does not plan to use the studio for filming and interviews.
Depending on where one lives..one can research and find film production companies or studios who
frequently rent their spaces on an hourly or daily schedule. I have found this to be the cheaper and more
economical of the two based on what your needs are. That is pretty much it in terms of getting one's
film production off the ground and running. I hope this little bit of information helps an aspiring, blooming
and entrepreneurial film producer who is looking to make a big SPLASH in the big POND of film producing.
As my mama used to say, "Son, experience is the best teacher" and with that said that leads me into my next topic
which is proper mic placement for superb and professional sounding audio that will bring your film project to LIFE!
As a film producer first time out and youtube university educated I felt I was on my way having started my own
film production company and on location every weekend. I watched lots of youtube tutorials on proper mic placement
for superior sound and I even invested in a top of the line shot gun mic to achieve these ends.
My only problem was that my mic placement was too far away from my subjects in many shots. My thinking was since the mic was so sensitive even at a far distance and my subject's voices sounded clear coming through my headphones I just knew I was good to go. Add to that I did not have to worry about the mic being accidentally dropped into the frame.
When it came time to edit those scenes and I really needed good quality audio...it just wasn't there. No matter how much I tweeked this and compressed that my mic placement decisions had come back to haunt me BIG time and there
was no way around this. With that said..I had to bring in some cast member to overdub their scenes in order to
correct the problem.
Did I learn from this horrific experience? Well..at the start of my next project your boy made sure that the mic was
placed to all my subject's mouths as close as possible without the mic getting caught in the frame. In the majority of the cases I opted to place the mic underneath my subject's mouths instead of over the top of their heads. Some prefer
the latter but as for me underneath provided me the sound that gave me superb audio without having to to much to
fix it or enhance it in post. Some 'kats' prefer to use 'lav mics' for certain scenes but I found that even for those type
of scenes the shot gun mic worked and sounded the best for me. To each his own as they say.
HOW TO START A FILM PRODUCTION COMPANY
AUDIO RECORDING BASICS FOR A PROFESSIONAL FILM PROJECT
In the cases when I am filming an interview I tend to lean toward
the hand held mics. I have just had good experience with them in
the past and I am very comfortable using them. I do own a lavalier
mic setup but the audio just does not compare to the audio quality
of my handheld dynamic mics. Perhaps if I were to invest in a $400.00 lavalier mic system my thoughts will change.
As for now I am sticking with the handhelds.