Category Archives: Crew

Film crew; camera, lighting, sound and makeup

GoPro filming continuously for 5 hours solution

GoPro Filming the evidence

So part of the brief for a recent film project was to record continuously for up to 5 hours without the possibility of being able to change media or battery and with the camera left unattended for that entire time.

GoPro Hero 4 Black

GoPro Hero4 BlackOK this is an obvious choice, I could of used a DSLR but there would always be the risk that its desirability would make it too attactive to a thieve or the curious. Besides a DSLR in the hands of a 1st AC could be better purposed to capture B-roll for the main documentary.

All it took was a tiny bit of additional expenditure and a bit of creative thinking to come up with a working solution.

GoPro Hero 4 Skeleton CaseI bought a skeleton case for the GoPro, it cost less than £10 and worked perfectly for the job although the one I bought popped its catch just at the crucial time and almost caused me to miss the start of the event, in fact I had to delay the start until the camera was reinserted and secured.

The skeleton case is identical to the standard case but with cutouts to access the HDMI and USB ports on the right hand side. I needed this so I could attach a USB power source in order to run the GoPro for the entire event some 5 hours in all.

Power Supply

The original idea was to use a mains powered USB charger to supply the GoPro, which was fine for the internal filming but suddenly the brief changed and part of the filming was shifted to an external location in the middle of a field.

Portable Charger and Power SupplyThis in the end became a blessing as I dropped the idea of mains power and went directly to a battery option instead. The internal batteries on a GoPro from my experience depending on resolution used can be as little as 20 minutes so no way would that work for continuously recording 5 hours. For many years now I’ve used a backup portable charger and power supply for iPads and iPhones but I have found these extremely useful to have in the camera kit, this one comes with a built in torch as well.

Complete solution

The GoPro was fitted with a 64gb card and settings to maximise recording time, so 720p and narrow field of view. This gave a potential recording time of 7 hours of continuous footage. Now why didn’t I use a time lapse mode and save the worry of battery or card running out of power/space? simple the condition were set by the Guinness World Records and these state continuous recording and any battery/media changes have to be filmed/recorded separately, which of course we couldn’t do as the camera was to be unattended.

GoPro on standThe GoPro was mounted on top of a 3m Manfrotto lighting stand using a ball joint connection, with the USB plugged into the portable power supply that hung from one of the stands locking screws in a small draw string bag. With the stand at its full extension the GoPro was hardly visible and was certainly unobtrusive in it’s operation.

The Final Video

I’ve speeded it up because who really wants to watch 5 hours of people lining up to register and then being counted into the field where the World Record attempt was being held. Did we achieve the World Record? well it’s unofficial as I write this but yes we did 🙂

The Full Documentary

This is a work in progress of which this World Record was just a part, the final film will include the activities on the day with interviews with the organisers and the people working hard to eradicate Polio from the World.

The Arts Bournemouth a Documentary style promotional video

Starting with the brief

The brief was  to produce a short promotional video between 5 and 10 minutes long for the promotion of the Evening and Saturday Short Courses offered by the Arts University Bournemouth.

After Effects Animation

The client requested the addition of inspirational titles, which initially were just going to be static titles cross dissolving from one to the next, but instead I decided to create a short sequence in Adobe After Effects as I knew from experience it was something I could easily put together. Also it would look much more impressive as an intro rather than the alternative of a static title. Of course it is much more labour intensive and would take a few hours to design and create but I and most importantly the client thought the effort was worth it.

Promotional Video – full version

The production of the promotional video itself took place over several evenings and a Saturday morning, as we wanted to film the actual classes and interview tutors while they were actively engaged with their students. The film has a documentary feel to it, a mixture of interviews and observation (B-roll), which seems to work well. For the final version I worked with the client to decide what was important to include in the film and what additional pick up shots would be needed to promote the key features of the course and benefits of studying at the AUB, after editing the final film was just short of nine minutes long. This version is intended to be shown at events and in lectures to prospective students in lecture theatres. A short sub 60 second version was edited for upload to the internet for use on the short courses website and in online promotion.

The short version of the promotional video

While using some of the same footage, I have edited it to run at a much faster pace than the full version video and with a music only soundtrack. The short After Effects animation again appearing at the start and end of the short film showing the inspirational messaging and the inclusion of the final sequence, a call to action – contact the short course department.

Cameras and some of the kit used in the creation of the promotional video

The actual production took place over a few weeks on an evening and on the odd day basis, In all I estimate 3 days in filming. The cameras used varied depending on what was available and with the introduction of new kit.

My old but great Canon 60D was used at the outset for most of the filming in conjunction with a Canon 650D for both the interviewing and B-roll. The opening sequence was filmed on my iPhone 6 using the DJI Osmo, while only a short sequence of this footage was used in the final version of the promotional video, there are several minutes shot in several locations that did not make it to the final cut.

Canon C300 MK1Finally I shot some of the interview and campus footage using my Canon C300 with the trusty 24mm to 105mm F4 L and a newly acquired Tokina 12mm to 28mm F2.8

Sound came from a mixture of shotgun microphone recording directly to camera (Stereo) and shotgun recording to a Zoom H4N (Mono). The interviews were recorded to the external recorder with the microphone attached to a microphone stand positioned as close to the subject as possible in fact just out of shot. The stereo microphone was used to record general ambience as I wanted the sounds of the students rather than just a music track.

The Team.

This is going to be a very short list, I Directed, Filmed, Edited and Produced with 2nd camera and sound by BU student Will Pattenden.

Check out the courses

AUB Short Courses

Finding Alice

Finding Alice a short film produced by Smudgerhunt Film and in conjunction with Wolamywise Productions.
Berlin Fast Film FestivalBerlin Flash Film Peoples Choice Award Laurels

Finding Alice official selection for the

Berlin Flash Film Festival 2017

Production

Finding Alice has been almost 2 years in the making, having been shot in four locations. These include Inverness in Scotland, the Lake District, London and Dorset using very limited equipment:- My trusty Canon 60D, a Canon Powershot and my iPhone 6.

Geetha Anandarajan is cast as the main character Annie along side the other main character Joshua Ward who takes the part of ‘The Narrator’ or the voice and controller of fate.

Directed by Smudgerhunt Films, Nor Hazlin Nor Salam and filmed by me Ian F. Hunt as Director of Photography, with everyone pitching in with camera as required.

The film is from an original script written by Geetha and Hazlin, the short version was used to produce this film and there is the idea to film and produce a longer version in the future.

For now the aim is to get it out to the Film Festivals for 2017 season.

Finding Alice - Annie gets a sign

The Synopsis

Finding Alice tells the story of Annie facing a crossroad in life as she seeks for truth in a world of lies. Does she succeed or does she succumb?

Directors Statement

This film ‘Finding Alice’ serendipitously came together through a brief discussion I had with my writer about a woman’s lost of faith in a patriarchal structure. In Annie’s existential conflict, she began to lose the voice in her head she believes to be ‘the controller of fate’. We then see her attempting to escape His shadows, as she reaches back into the object that defined her childhood innocence in hope that this would help find her way to a new life, a life free from stigmas and dogmas. The irony is in fact, that Annie in the end realises that there is no escape and that she could only succumb to i’ the omnipresent voice’ which was expressed through a lifeless ‘dance of death’. ‘Finding Alice’ is a story about the loss of faith, hope and the desire for autonomy.

Stills from Finding Alice

Finding Alice - The book has been answered Finding Alice = The Mad Hatter found in London Finding Alice - The answer is in the book Finding Alice - Wolamywise Productions

DJI Osmo Mobile used for the first time

dji osmo mobile

First Use

First use dji osmo mobileJust completed filming on an action fight sequence, and for the first time made use of the DJI Osmo Mobile, which is a 3 axis gimbal stableliser.

Filming hand-held and getting a smooth shot is never easy and it seems to me that the process and kit is getting both more complex and heavier. I’ve filmed using the MoVi fitted with a Canon C300 MKI. While it’s a very impressive bit of kit particularly with the remote controller, it was heavy in use, too heavy for extended use and I would suspect that in long term use it is going to put pressure on your back. So while I love this piece of kit I’ve been looking around for something lighter and to be honest much cheaper to buy.

Enter the DJI Osmo Mobile, it ticks all the boxes, it’s lightweight and uses the camera you already have in your pocket, your smart phone. Mine is the iPhone 6 and in preparation for the shoot I purchased the Filmic Pro App.

Filmic Pro App

smudgerhunt film filmic pro appThe Filmic Pro App, which allows you full manual control of the camera settings on the iPhone and most importantly supports the DJI Osmo Mobile. Personally I found this App relatively intuitive to use, but I checked out the online manual to find out the how to use some of the more advanced features like rack focusing.

I had a few issues with the App during filming but I’ll go into that in another post but lets just say I nearly ditched using it during the project and just going with the DJI Go App which comes with the Osmo.

The DJI Osmo Mobile performance

The plan was to use the DJi Osmo mobile for the close up shots and for scenes where we planned to follow the action. First impressions were good, the movement was stable and smooth and the footage would not need any stabilisation in post production. This was promising and the quality of the footage from the iPhone was great, Filmic Pro lets you set the resolution up to 3K and to 50 Mbps, so my settings were HD 1080p and 50 Mbps.

 smudgerhunt film DJI osmo mobile setupThe link to the DJI Osmo mobile was a bit iffy and I needed to reset a few times but in use the setup is light, highly manoeuvrable and perfect for getting close to the action and places with limited access. Walking across an uneven surface didn’t faze this device and saved hours that would have been spent setting up track and dolly to get the same shots.

I’d not want to film a feature using this setup but for a short film this setup is perfect and I suspect with additional add ons like lenses with different focal lengths using the 35mm adapter/Image Flip and Anamorphic lenses like the Moondog Anamorphic 2.40:1 adapter you could have the perfect setup for a micro budget film.

Whats coming next? watch out for my posts on using Filmic Pro and Filming the short film ‘Fight or Flight’

BTS photos by Tim Way

BVE Show London Excel – What’s New 2016

BVE show was a good day out, nice to meet up with friends from the Industry and proved very useful for catching up with the latest tech. I found 3 things I must buy and 100’s of products to fantasize about owning. Interestingly I couldn’t find a camera that I wanted to invest in. BVE Show Atomos Recorder

Technology is moving so fast that if you buy today, its replacement is just months away. So the advice I’ve had from a Pro at the BVE Show is to buy something good enough for your everyday needs and hire when the project budget supports it. Most importantly and invest your money in the camera tech that doesn’t go out of fashion and makes the perfect investment, that is good glass and grips. Some of the products on my must buy list is the iographer, which is a iPhone/iPad camera rig with connection for cold shoe mounts for your shotgun microphone, led light etc. it also has 2 x 1/4 inch mounts for attaching to a tripod. The Atomos Recorder and Field Monitor also looked good for 4K recording on the run. Finally a really nice and very affordable pad light from Datavision, the LEDGO-E116C only £59+vat.BVE Show Panel Light

What I got from the BVE Show is that If I’m going to invest in glass it should be from one of the best manufacturers possible so in this case Zeiss wins my vote. I’ve looked at others and I already own a few and while some alternatives are very nice you know you will be buying 2nd best. Zeiss do a kit service through some of their distributors, you choose your lenses to go in a Peli case and get 10% off the total price. OK it’s never going to be cheap but this is a purchase that is unlikely to go out of fashion.

Looking forward to the next BVE Show early 2017, I wonder what will be on show this year. Will 8K Cameras be the thing or something else?

BVE Show Zeiss CP.2

 

Smudgerhunt Film – Ian F. Hunt Cinematographer

Ian F. Hunt Cinematographer

Ian F. Hunt Cinematographer & Director Of Photography

Ian Hunt has lived in the Bournemouth area for over 10 years, having moved from London. He is highly qualified, with Degrees in Digital Media Production and Electrical & Electronic Engineering and with a  Masters Degree in Cinematography which he completed in 2014.

Ian Hunt Cinematographer and Director Of Photography, Ian has worked on over 30 films, some still in production or post production and being targeted for festival submission in 2015 and 2016.

Ian has worked in professional Television and Theatre as a Lighting Engineer and International Project Engineer. Working on Lighting in TV Studios and Theatres in London’s West End Theatres, Europe’s Premier Theatres and TV Studios and projects in the Middle and Far East.

Employed as a International Projects Engineer Ian has managed teams of engineers building and commissioning TV Studios in Egypt, Jordan and Malaysia. Key skills in commissioning production and lighting systems and training crew and production people.

Ian is a award-winning lighting engineer/designer and has won awards for Lighting and Technical Theatre. He is also a occasional  writer and has had articles published in Film Magazines.

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Ian has knowledge and experience of working with a variety of cameras from DSLR’s including Canon 5D MKII and MKIII, Canon C100, C300, Red Epic and Arri Alexa. Ian currently owns his own Canon C300. He is also an experienced editor with key knowledge and experience using Premier Pro CC.

Ian is the  Cinematographer and one of the founding members of the Indie Film Production company, ‘Smudgerhunt Film’ formed in 2014 and now with several completed films currently circulating on the Festival circuit, One of which has been successful at 3 Film Festivals so far in 2015.

2016 is looking busy already with two short films shot and in post production and a 3rd scheduled to begin filming soon while Ian is expanding his Teaching experience. Ian occasionally teaches a Digital Film Production course at University. Watch this space for more details.

IMDB

Testimonials


Testimonials - DCC Coastal Walks‘Ian worked with us using his endless patience and inspiration to produce a beautifully shot and edited film, presenting a complex and inherently controversial project in a clear, interesting and visually captivating way’.

Suzanne Powner, Coastal Access Officer, Dorset County Council.


relayslogo - TestimonialsIan worked on a voluntary basis as a filmmaker for the South West’s Legacy Trust UK project, RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy for Arts and Youth Sport). He also worked alongside community projects which had been awarded the London 2012 Inspire mark between March and July 2012.  Ian is a motivated individual who listens to the client and works hard to portray the intentions and messages of their project. Ian dedicated a lot of his free time to assist in delivering a successful brief and I wish him every success with his future career.

Jo Gardner, RELAYS Cultural Coordinator, AUB


Bournemouth University - Free Your Fitness Project - sportBU Testimonials

Ian Hunt has worked on filming ‘Free Your Fitness’ sports activities over the last term. Ian has uploaded the videos onto YouTube and I was able to use the videos as part of a presentation I carried out to Sport England. The videos went down well with the Sport England staff and everyone from other Universities enjoyed watching the rewards of the work that Ian has carried out.
Ian was always on hand to meet when I requested him to, was happy to attend a variety of activities and carried out filming to a good standard.
I will be able to use the videos that Ian has done, for the future benefit of the ‘Free Your Fitness’ Project and would just like to take this opportunity to thank Ian for the filming that he has done.

Signed: CHRIS PAYNE Date: 20/05/2013 Chris Payne : Sports Activator – Free Your Fitness Project sportBU

Smudgerhunt Film – Nor Hazlin Nor Salam. Director

Nor Hazlin Nor SalamNor Hazlin Nor Salam

DIRECTOR/CO-PRODUCER: Nor Hazlin Nor Salam (MA in Film and Television Directing)

Nor Hazlin Nor Salam is a 33 year old filmmaker from Malaysia and has garnered her experiences in six commercial feature films and two episodic drama series in the Malaysian film industry as first, second and third assistant Director. In 2012 Hazlin was given the opportunity by Metrowealth Movie productions in Malaysia to Co-Direct, whilst also juggling the position of a First assistant Director on a Primetime Drama series. Hazlin also works as a freelance Video Editor and Videographer and have edited renowned Malaysian celebrity show reels.

Hazlin is also a resident acting-coach at Metrowealth Movie productions and also lectures part-time in a few Private Colleges on film theory subjects. Hazlin who has obtained a BA in Mass Communication, from Curtin University Australia Majoring in Film and Television, was awarded Valedictorian for Graduate of year 2004 and earned a high distinction in the Documentary Theory subject. Hazlin’s postgraduate studies in the UK at Bournemouth University are fully sponsored by the Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC) and she is currently pursuing an MA in Film and Television Directing. In realizing her dreams of becoming a film Director, Hazlin’s main objective is to produce an impactful film that is not only aesthetically pleasing, entertaining but also meaningful.

See Hazlin’s website http://norhazlin.com/

nor_hazlin_salam_logo

Panther Dolly and Track

Panther Dolly. Panther Twister DollyIn my previous post I talked about the camera the Arri Alexa, in this post and in part 2 I’m going to be looking at the Panther Dolly, the Vario Jib and Track.

The Panther Dolly (Twister Dolly)

This panther dolly has two sets of pneumatic tyres, wheels on each axle and these axles can act independently of each other or can be locked so that they both are steerable, meaning small turning circles and great manoeuvrability when used on the studio floor. To disengage the axle linking you just pull a small pin at each end of the platform to lock or release the axles. This is particularly necessary when using the dolly on a track, notice the smaller double wheels between the tyres, these are for running on the rails of the track. So the 3 options for the wheels are:- front steer, rear steer and round and round.

The panther dolly has a steering bar and a separate fixed pushing bar for pulling or pushing the dolly. This pushing bar can be adjusted for height/angle using the locking/release levers.

Panther Dolly side platformsFor this workshop we first fitted the side platforms, which sit between the wheels, extending the sides to allow for operators to stand/sit on the dolly.

The next jobs are to install the small raised platform at the back of the dolly and then the seat supports and then the seats themselves. There are two seats one on each side one for the camera operator the other for the focus puller in this configuration.

Bazooka, Rotary Adapter and Bowls

IMG_1982For this workshop the Bazooka the Rotary Adapter and the Bowl was already fitted. The Bazooka (That’s the central post that the camera is mounted onto) is height adjustable by turning the lever at the top anti clockwise being very careful not standing immediately over it as it is gas powered and rises under considerable pressure when the lever is released particularly if unloaded, that is without the tripod head and camera installed. There’s a bowl integrated into one side of the dolly platform for mounting a camera via a tripos head directly to the platform for low level shots.

The last job before factually itting the camera is to fit the tripod head onto the Bazookas bowl, being careful not to damage the bowl with the heads fixing screw. I noticed that the head had to be supported slightly above the bowl to allow for the locking nut to be threaded onto the fixing screw before fully lowering into the bowl. Finally it was just a case of levelling the camera head before mounting the camera and balancing as I described in the Arri Alexa posts.

Previous linked posts:-

#arrialexa #smudgerhuntfilm #filmproduction #videoproduction

Arri Alexa part 2

Arri Alexa Blog Post Part 2
In my previous blog post I covered some of the basics of setting up the camera and configuring it ready to start filming.

Arri Alexa, settings before filming

Arri Alexa on location

There are some simple things that should be done before actually starting filming. Firstly I’d start setting up the camera on a tripod raised just to the first extension.

The camera is quite tall so unless you want to lift this heavy camera above shoulder height start with the tripod set low. With the tripod I used in this workshop there is the ability to balance the camera. With this you can balance the camera so that it nether drops forward or tilts back without pressure being applied through the pan/tilt handle. To do this roughly balance the camera using the base plates, which are marked with a scale against a white marker.OCONNOR Tripod Head

There is a small fold away handle on the right side of the tripod, which adjust a counterbalance, rotate this until balance is achieved. For this workshop I found the mid 40’s (There is a small display in the handle assembly) was good for the prime lenses in the kit and upper 50’s for the long/heavy Zoom.

Arri Alexa on location

I’m going to state the obvious again , this camera is heavy and definitely not for the sole shooter (unless you are some kind of hero 😉 ), you need a crew of two and best if it’s three. We needed to move the camera between shots for this interview and this was certainly easier with two of us to manage the heavy lifting. BTW the Tripod is carbon fibre it’s the head that is all the weight.Arri Alexa on location

On location we decided to set the monitor to show Log C rather than REC 709 because of the high contrast natural lighting and to make sure we could make sure we were not losing too much detail in the shadows. In retrospect this did not really offer any advantage as it was much more more important to correctly expose for the actors faces rather than for the background detail. On an actual shoot I’d probably put up some silk to balance the natural sunlight with the shadow of the background or at least reduce the high contrast between the two. As you can see in the above picture the crew cast long shadows even though this was around noon. The only solution was to avoid anything other than mid shots, another solution would have been to use a longer lens and move the crew and camera further back.

Exposure and No ND Filter

IMG_1778As I mentioned before the Arri does not have a built in ND Filter that’s why when you see Arri Alexa’s they always seem to have a Matte Box setup to carry the filters as well as shield the lens from unwanted light. For this shoot we didn’t have an ND Filter to hand so we maxed out, closing down the aperture to F22, when ideally a 6x ND would have been perfect for this shoot to get that shallow depth of field. It is possible to modify/accessorise the Lens mount to provide ND filtering, check with Arri for more information on this.

Exposure and no Histogram

I’ve covered this before but it’s helpful to remind you that there are no Histogram or Zebras waveform monitors built into the Arri Alexa, which is not a major problem if the camera is feeding to an external monitor with these options.

The monitor we were using does not have these so there was a bit of guessing but if you slightly underexpose with Log C you should be OK but best to avoid over exposing the image in particular the actors faces. Arri Alexa EVF DisplayThe other solution is to usual an actual light meter and take a reading in front of the actors faces. So make a note book out a light meter and make sure you know how to use it correctly. The EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) has a false colour button which others some exposure guidance and I’m guessing with practice this maybe all you need to correctly judge exposure.

Next time I’ll be looking at ways of moving the camera using a jib and dolly. I might even try some shoulder rig if I’m feeling strong.

back to Part 1

Arri Alexa

Arri Alexa selfie
Ian F. Hunt

Getting Hands on with the Arri Alexa

I’ve used the Arri Alexa a few times now when the project justifies its use. It’s a big and heavy camera so not the camera of choice when setup time is short or certainly not when the project calls for hand held operation (I mean it when I say this camera is heavy – 7.7 Kg or nearly 17 lbs, and that’s without the lens and accessories i.e. Battery, Matte Box, External Monitor and any audio).

Batteries, well it is power hungry the standard battery gives about 20 minutes of filming/standby so turn it off when not actually filming.

Arri Alexa EVF DisplaySo that’s some of the negatives and things to consider when given a camera choice, but of course there is a good reason why this camera is the choice of professionals and that’s the quality of the image. Where other cameras you are always thinking about how you can achieve that look/quality of image, that cinematic look, this camera just does it so the DOP can concentrate on the composition, camera movement and focus.

Arri Alexa EVFSo it’s a simple camera to use, everything is manual, there’s no feedback from the lens (no aperture reading indicators no histogram/vector scopes, there is peaking but no Zebras) to the camera so what you see in the EVF is what you get. The lens mount is PL (Positive Lock) and I’m using Arri Cinema prime lenses in the main and a 15.5 to 45mm FUJINON Alura Zoom. Now when I say this camera is simple you would struggle to do everything yourself so I’d say the camera crew would need to be at least 2 person for operation maybe 3 to cover everything excluding sound.

Arri Alexa 35mm lens fittedDid I say it is a heavy camera? it really is so don’t expect to get away with a standard heavy duty video tripod, you need something more substantial than that to support this camera.

OCONNOR Tripod HeadSurprisingly the camera comes with a shoulder pad and a couple of hand grips for hand held operation but again I say you must be a professional weightlifter to spend anything but the shortest period of time working with the camera in this mode.

Arri Alexa MenuSetting the camera up for basic recording is simplicity itself just a menu button, buttons above each section and a rotary selection knob with push operation for selecting options.  My typical default settings would be Prores 4444 (yeah I know that extra 4 😉 ) and HD at 25FPS. Then just set the Shutter angle to 180 and White Balance to auto to start and then adjust the actual white balance between shots using a grey card. Native ISO is 800 so leave that as is unless you need to work in anything but optimum lighting conditions (Note there is no ND filters built into the camera). Keeping it simple use the Log C setting but if you have your own personal LUT you can import those. There’s an SD card slot for adding and storing personal settings.

I’ll go into more detail on actually using the camera in my next post and hopefully there will be a short video to go with it.