Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Getting Decked

The portraits of a place assignment made me step back and realize something that I never quite noticed before. Something that probably annoys a D.P. to no end while on a set. Something that has probably destroyed projects, torn friends asunder, and laid waste to entire civilizations.

I think I might be too specific.

Kind of to the point of absurdity.

While I was shooting Decked with Matthew, I noticed that I was trying to control the camera too much. I mean, he was the D.P. after all, there's a certain amount of trust that needs to be given to them (unless they've shot utter crap for you in the past, in which case, why do you even have them back there in the first place?). I don't think I gave him enough breathing room when we first started the shoot proper. As time went on, I began to notice this, and started backing off some. There were a few takes where I told him to just do what he thought would look good.

And whaddaya know, I ended up using a good number of those takes.

I also fed my habit of letting the camera surprise me with this project as well. Some of the B-roll that I shot, I just stuck the camera in a spot that I thought would make something look good, pointed it at the subject, and went with it. No super precise framing, staging, or blocking. Granted, I wouldn't suggest someone shoot a whole production this way, but I do love keeping things simple and being pleasantly surprised for a few takes before going back to the strict stuff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Preferences preferences preferences

I'm really bad at remembering specific names to all the different kinds of equipment out there, especially when it comes to cameras. Why do model numbers have to be so complicated and hard to remember, geez. Although I guess telling someone you plan to shoot with a Sony electronic-video-camera-model-thing-that-uses-tapes-and-has-a-record-button would sound kind of lame.

Anyway, all of that aside, I do have a preferred camera of the two we've used in class. I won't beat around the bush, it's the JVC. It may be "prosumer" and not "look" as good to onlookers, but if that's the reason you want to get into film making, well, there's too many of you already.

There's about an equal number of pros and cons with the JVC, the most notable con being the fact that there's only one ring that shares focus and zoom that has to be toggled (WHY). But the overwhelming pro, for me, is the complete lack of tapes. I mentioned that in my last post and my mind has not been changed in the week that's passed. Having all my work on a small, easy to lose, sensitive tape doesn't help with my overwhelming video production paranoia at all. And while I guess you could argue that the cards the JVC uses are just as easy to lose, there's still better in my eyes. Plus, I don't have to keep buying another one when it gets full. Oh man we are living in the future huh.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Q: What are your filmmaking goals?

A: Hey I'm glad you asked that. Lemme give you about a 250-300 word answer!

I dunno if this is true for everyone, but I tend to jump around constantly between what I want to "specialize" in with my film "future". I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to direct because I thought all I had to do was watch people act and tell them if they're good or not. And say things like:

When I got to high school, I started making short videos for more or less every project I was assigned, whether it was an option or not. I saw it as an easy A, and my teachers always agreed because they saw it as novel.

(I'm pretty sure I passed a few classes because of this)

Once I graduated High School, I got an internship with a production company. I was basically given all the simple but time consuming aspects of the projects that no one in their right mind would want to make a career out of.

However, I did enjoy the few editing assignments I was given, which mostly consisted of little music videos for "community events". I guess you have to do all the less interesting stuff before you get to do the slightly more interesting stuff.

So yeah, I realized I liked editing then too. And here I am, in my [censored] year of college. I guess what I want out of the advanced production class is to become a more competent director, and to strengthen my editing abilities (which sounds like something you'd read on a resume).

Q: What are your learning goals for this course?

A: Well Mr.Syllabus, I guess I'd say I want to figure out all these new fangled fancy cameras that you have to hold with more than half a hand. My class got to use the PD-150s a good bit in my previous production class, but I really really don't like dealing with DV tapes. I always felt like the decks would eat them and laugh at me as it spit out all of the work in my face.

The newer cameras we're getting to use, mainly the JVC, seem much more promising and I can't wait to use them on the projects.

And by that I mean school assignments. Not like.... government funding housing. Just clearing that up...