I wanted to check in again as Media Buzz Online has been busyly away getting through the rough cut stage for our short film and also taking on a number of other projects all into a small time frame. But never the less i wanted to get this important post out to the inter webs and share some information and learnings as far as equipment goes that we used in this production. There were a number of items that were just invaluable to us which will come as no surprise to most but i wanted to detail a little more about how and why they were useful and not just expensive add ons.
I will highlight that i needed to have my equipment quick and easy to set up, move and pack away. I wanted to get shooting done quickly and efficiently as possible considering the borrowed help i had and the locations we shot in. This was no studio setup deal.
First up the Marshall 5" HDMI monitor:
This thing was invaluable for shots that were out of the line of sight. I did not find the focus assist accurate enough to be useful but the 2.35:1 crop marks and false colours were used all the time. It was interesting to note that the camera exposure check (half press) and false colours were actually pretty close when checking exposure. I know its not the highest resolution screen out there but it was more than great to work with and easy to pull focus during recording (as the 7D does not reduce the HDMI signal when you press record). The only downside was the monitor chewed through AA batteries very quickly so i kept it plugged into direct power where possible. The 5" size was a good balance between portability and vision i believe and with my more run and gun typical shooting style i would rather the less size obtrusive monitor.
CF PCI express 54 card:
This card was amazingly quick at ripping the data off my 16GB cards at x133 speeds to my macbook pro. I had previously had issues with multi USB card readers ejecting mid transfer and didn't ever want to risk that happening. I highly recommend one of these cards!!! Of course as soon as they ripped to the hard drive i had the time machine back up doing its thing and then a further copy went in the fire proof safe as soon as i got home.
Many shots where straight off the tripod to give that locked off "watching" feel knowing i could add motion in post where needed (more on this in my up coming editing post). The tripod was obviously invaluable for this production to get the right feel. For a first film i wanted to err on the side of smoothness rather than shaky cam which i factored into the story boarding and original idea. My theory is to use what you have until you can do or get more!
Genus shoulder rig, follow focus & matte box:
I hired a Genuis shoulder rig/matt box/ follow focus assembly for the look i required for the day scenes. In contrast to the "locked off scenes" I wanted a POV type feel to the shots and this rig was excellent. I was tossing up between mounting the marshall on it as well but used the offset design with my z - finder to work more comfortably outdoors. This was the first time i had used a shoulder rig and was really happy with minimal practise how easy it was to use and how great a follow focus is. This particular scene i know would have some lense flares happening so i used the french flag to good effect to control the flare and get what i was expecting. If you need something for a project and don't have it, hire it!
Love it. Buy it. No seriously its so cheap and lets you keep the shallow depth of field outdoors. It was very quick and easy to adjust (even had it on the lense inside the matt box when necessary). It's essential for those wanting to set up the best they can quickly!
Glide cam 2000HD:
I had borrowed this from a friend to use for once again a number of planned stylised shots. I found the only way i could use it was to just looking through the live view (which had a paper stencil to mark the 2.35:1 crop. It was very hard to see the focus outdoors in the sun and i planned to do the takes several times and review them immendently using my z finder. This got the job done combined with a little forgiveness with a stopped down aperture (f5.6). Yes it was tiring to use for extended periods of time and i can see why people buy the vest for heavy use!
5 in 1 Reflector/diffuser & LED lighting:
The only lighting used was a a 1'x1' 1000 LED day light balanced light panel which turned out to be an excellent light source and much more powerful than i had hoped. Quiet often i would use the 5 in 1 diffuser to soften the light further for the look i was chasing. The beauty of the LED lighting on this shoot was being able to move quickly between scenes and the batteries last 1.5hrs each and then also to be able to hand hold the light where necessary. One scene we did 30 shots in 4hrs and i could not have done that with any other lighting solution in the location we where.