Gearing up for a "film" project

posted by Jeff | Monday, February 20, 2023, 9:46 PM | comments: 0

I've kind of hinted at it, but I'm in the planning stage for a video project. It's getting closer to reality as I nail down some specific plans, and it's pretty exciting. So with that in mind, I've been obsessively trying to figure out how prepared I am, and what the gaps are in terms of my equipment stash.

The core and most important thing is a camera, natch, and I'm good there. I've had the Canon C70 now for almost two years, and as I said before, it has only become more capable. The hardest part about these cinema cameras is that they're just not as straight forward to shoot with as shoulder mounted cameras back in the day. You can rig them out with shoulder mounts, but the weight distribution is always entirely too front heavy. What I ended up doing is getting an Easyrig Minimax, which is this wonderful piece of Swedish engineering that suspends it from overhead, with the right amount of tension that allows you to move it up and down effortlessly. Keep in mind that this isn't a stabilizer, it's just something to relieve the weight. I have a gimbal as well, but it's way too heavy to use for more than 30 minutes at a time.

My lighting situation isn't great, but I have a brighter light on order suitable for outdoor and bright situations. What I still lack is a scrim for diffusion (inside or out) and various forms of negative fill control. I'm going to go with Diana to the fabric store and see if there's a cheap fabric that's dark enough to work, and then have her quilt it. I can clamp that up to some C-stands and be good without spending hundreds on solid flags. In the pandemic I bought some cheap LED panels, and they've been great for doing LEGO time lapses (and for just seeing better while doing anything at the dining room table), but they aren't bright enough for use in daylight situations indoors, let alone out. They're good enough for fill or color washes on walls, but not great as key lights.

Beyond that, my audio game is good enough with the DJI Mic set, and a small shotgun on-camera that I've had on two previous cameras.

I experimented the other day with using my R5 as a B-camera, and it turns out that it's really easy to match it with the C70 if both are shooting in CLog3. That's great because I can use it as a second angle for interviews. The shutter speed at 1/50th is close enough to 180º (i.e., 1/48th), but depth of field is challenging with the lack of ND filters. I can probably fake it if I put the long lens on it and stop it down to whatever. The 24-70mm f/2.8 looks generally amazing on the C70. Some day I'd like to compliment it with the 70-200mm f/2.8, but even with a recent price drop, it's still expensive. Assuming Canon doesn't abandon the RF mount, these should be the last lenses I ever buy, but it's hard to look at the cost as something that lasts decades.

I'll talk more about the project soon. This is my passion project this year. I'm really excited about it.


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