I had the most fun shooting these last couple days with friends than I have had in a long time. It was the best experience being able to work with professionals outside of my day job and doing something creative. Matt McDonald @TheMcDo is the mastermind behind these short comedy sketches that we filmed during a 2 day time schedule. He setup everything, organized everything, and even had a casting call with real actors who were more than happy to help out with his scripts. The crew was even laughing during each take when the actors pulled off each line written by Matt. I was really excited that I could be apart of this whole thing and that I could help with providing some production equipment to pull off the shots needed. After it was all said and done I think we all came away from this experience really happy to have worked together while making someone’s vision (Matt) come true. Now we wait for the final piece to see our work in a complete short piece.
As far as behind the scenes info is concerned I put 2 GoPro cameras to the test to see if I could capture our activities during production. Dealing with GoPro placement while also trying to DP the shots for each scene was sometimes a challenge as you will see in the video and images I provide. There were times that objects obstructed the camera view but was able to capture some of myself in the corner of the image. I was able to use my experience with my Glidecam to help with some scenes as well as my awesome Atlas 10 slider from Cinevate to help add some movement for some shots. We used some really nice Zeiss ZE glass which was either rented or owned by a crew member and we shot on Canon 7D’s which was my first time using since I own 2 Canon T2i’s. I have to say that this camera is definitely a step above of build quality and seemed way easier to balance on my Glidecam HD4000. I might have to upgrade someday. 🙂 Either way I am ready to work on more projects with any of these guys.
So, here is the video shot with 100% GoPro cameras.
And some pictures from the GoPro angles.
Finding a great deal on a great product is what I am all about. This brings me to my new Cinevate Titan Mattebox which I found on ebay. The only problem I see with purchasing already used gear is that it could be in not so great shape. But luckily pictures are provided that are actually of the product and you can ask questions to the seller if needed. This actually arrived and was in perfect condition with only a few scratches from obvious use which means the guy selling it found it useful too. The reason I picked the Cinevate Titan Mattebox was because it has some of the best features out there when I was researching for one plus all Cinevate products have an amazing build quality (Medusa which I bought earlier in the year). First, I love that it has a “swing away” feature so you can just open it up and change lenses on the fly easily instead of removing the mattebox first or the camera to replace a lens. It also has a magnetic catch to keep it closed when running around with it. The magnets are super strong and won’t let your mattebox open by accident. But if you are worried about that happening at all you can also use the small screw that comes with it to keep it closed. The filter trays both rotate 180 degrees but I haven’t used them yet since I am still waiting for my ND filter order. The carbon fiber rods are 15mm and I actually have taken them off the mattebox to use with my follow focus and Medusa cage. By doing that it makes the mattebox useless since you can’t attach it any other way. But I only had it taken apart for a few days in order to film some events with my new follow focus. Here is are a few pics of when I received my Titan Mattebox that I can’t stop talking about it and loving my new setup! Cinevate’s “Why a Mattebox” video is posted below to help explain the uses of a Mattebox with your dslr or camera.
I have always wanted to up my production value on my video shoots by getting a follow focus but haven’t been able to afford one. By researching multiple sites (www.cheesycam.com) on these follow focus units I have found that Gini on ebay makes a very reasonably priced one. It’s a single rod design and now has a reversible gear. In order for a follow focus to work you need 15mm rods but to get those under your dslr camera you need some sort of base unit with rod support. I chose Cinevate’s Simplis unit with rod support. They make the best quality products for filmmakers which will definitely last longer than other brands. Plus I personally like the look of all black accessories instead of splashes of color which could draw more attention to yourself when shooting at an event. I made a top handle based off of Caleb Pike’s video and design with a quick release plate, cinevate handle, and a friction arm I bought a long time ago.
And once I had my cinevate mattebox delivered I actually decided I needed my follow focus to work so I took the 15mm rods off the cinevate mattebox and used them with my Medusa base plate with rod support. This allowed me to use the lens gears I had purchased from Cinevate and my new follow focus while I waited for my shipment of the Cinevate Simplis unit. Here are some more pics of my temporary setup with my Zoom H1 audio recorder attached.
Update: With the friction arm you can’t have a battery grip and a Cinevate grip. I’m not sure about other grips/handles but the 11″ friction arm that I have won’t stretch over the camera with a battery grip. Just a small side note.
I am still in shock that I get to participate in creating a music video for a very talented musician and long lost high school acquaintance Chris Ely. The first music video I get to participate in is for his song titled “Lost Souls” from his Album “Can’t Stay for Long“. You can find his entire album on iTunes and Amazon for purchase. Now back to the first day of shooting this music video. We had a half dozen dslr cameras on this first day. They consisted of Canon 7Ds, T2i’s, 60D, and T3i from what I remember. We utilized my glidecam hd 4000, my new cinevate atlas 10, a pico flex dolly, and multiple Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 monopods for shooting this day. I have to say that all of these things helped imensely with the production value but ultimately it was the creative eye from all of the shooters handling their cameras that made each take worth every second. Also, the entire band was a joy to work with especially when they recognized our equipment and talked to us about it. It’s surprising how many people actually know about DSLR stuff and have an interest in it. The guy in charge of this whole thing is Matt McDonald who I met at my new day job editing corporate videos for Cisco here in SJ. You can also check out his website here. We will have another shoot for the storyline of the song Lost Souls at the end of March. After that the editing (all done by Matt) should begin and be pieced together for a cool music video. I can’t wait to shoot the rest of this and to see the final product of our work. It’s great working with such professional people doing fun stuff like this music video.
Here are some photos of the shoot which took place at Westgate Church. All photos were taken with my iphone so the quality isn’t that great. But it is what it is. Enjoy.
I now have in my arsenal of production equipment an amazing Cinevate Atlas 10 slider. This thing is built like a tank and smooth like butter when sliding anything I throw at it with my DSLR plus attachments. Even vertical mode is a sweet addition when wanting a different type of shot during production. I found this awesome slider on the one and only craigslist. You never know what you will get on craigslist from random sellers but this time it was awesome. I bought it off of a fellow Vimeo user (that I have been following for over a year) and wedding cinematographer Luke Goodman. Check out www.lukegoodman.com if you are in need of an awesome wedding cinematographer. He made the whole craigslist process easy for me to purchase this slightly used but in great condition slider from him. He said it was a little too heavy for all the running around during weddings that he does but instead would be going with something lighter for himself. As for me this was perfect because I have always wanted a Cinevate slider ever since they showcased their first Atlas slider a few years ago. I have a few photos here with my camera and slider in vertical mode. I had to lock down the tripod head pretty tight to keep it there but it wont budge once tightened and upright like in the photos. Pretty sweet for my future production shoots. Adds just a little more to some sequence shots.
Ok, so Cinevate is always coming up with some cool stuff for the big cameras and dslr’s out there but now they have come up with a really cool smooth running stabilizer for your iPhone 4 shooting HD or any small point-n-shoot. Check out this video for a demonstration of how smooth it is while walking around a crowded convention center.
I found what this product looks like but some of the features might be changing slightly. The price is also mentioned in the video which definitely seems reasonable for what this product can do.
Cinevate is a really cool and innovative company making really high quality tools for filmmakers. They recently posted a BTS (behind the scenes) video showcasing some of their equipment being used on a Nos drink commercial by Steve Chase who risked his life at the end of this video. Simply amazing work by the whole crew. Also check out cinevate.com and their “DSLR Core Package” which is seen in this video (without the top handle). One can only dream…..
I have researched a lot of different types of ways to enhance video in order to keep the viewer interested. 35mm adapters are becoming more available for the home video camera operator. There are also professional adapters that cost a lot more money but can give you a better video image. Of course it also depends on the glass you use on the end of whichever adapter you choose. There are a lot of lenses out there to pick from but the best ones usually cost a lot. Here are some companys that create these adapters. The list shows cheaper less expensive types on up to the best adapters on the market.
Check out www.vimeo.com to view sample work using many of these adapters. One of the best companies utilizing the brevis adapter is stillmotion. Also, check out Philip Bloom, Tom Guilmette, Casey Warren, and Steve Weiss. These guys either make great videos or just create great product for the prosumer videographer.