Lenses aren’t just about STILL imaging anymore… ‘Convergence’ has changed everything.
Today’s dSLRs are not just for still images. Video is fast becoming a very important part of the many reasons to own a dSLR camera. For both professional users and amateurs, video is crossing over and converging with still imaging more and more.
Aside from traditional photographers, many video specialists are adopting the dSLR as their new platform for video. Commercially, for video blogs, training films, documentary films and websites, video is becoming a MUST. In the non-professional arena, for family events, vacations and school reports, not to mention backyard filmmakers, never has the opportunity to produce high quality “movies’ been easier or cheaper. Couple that with all of the musicians producing songs in basement studios and trying to compete by making home made videos, and then posting them on sites like YouTube, the competition for both music and videos is heating up every day.
Tamron’s own Andre Costantini’s dSLR based documentary film on Brazilian artist Bel Bora has received great reviews in several top film festivals this year. His video blogs and “Two Minute Tips” for Tamron have been popular with Tamron-usa.com visitors for the last several years.
And so, I get my baptism into dSLR video.
About this video shoot…
Last year, I was called on to create a CD cover and publicity shots for the musical artist Emmanuel. This year he wanted to produce a video for his upcoming song release (4Wallz), so he came to me again. Of course, money for production was very tight and the competition for attracting an audience is fierce, but he still wanted high technical quality and strong artistic content.
He called the song: “4 Wallz”. It is a tale of loneliness and isolation.
So, we did the shoot in a basement storage room that was 6’ wide and 20’ long, and a spare empty bedroom. We shot it all in one afternoon, based on Emmanuel’s own shot plan. The props were a pad of white sheets of drawing paper and a couple of marker pens, and E’s keyboards.
(Note: I am including in this post a few stills from some of the scenes.)
Lens selection was very important in this shoot because we were working in VERY tight spaces. Light placement and movement were severely restricted. So, with an APS-C sensor camera, and the kind of scene-filling body area we wanted included in the frame, very short focal lengths were required.
The equipment we used was very simplistic: I went to the shoot with my Tamron SP 17-50 and my SP 10-24mm ultra-wide-angle zoom. As it turned out, I used the 10-24mm on a Canon 7D body for about 80% of the shots. I also took along a good tripod. A second 1080i video camera for incidental (“B” roll) shots with individual effects used in camera. A set of $35.00 work lights (3200 degrees kelvin color temperature) from Lowe’s for lighting the main scenes shot in the basement. The apartment room scenes were lit mostly by available light, with a little fill from the work lights, so we needed fast aperture glass.
The way I shot it:
1) I set up the main scene, the song narrative, in the basement planning the visual to lip sync to the song track in postproduction later.
2) I mounted the camera on my Feisol tripod,
3) I used the work lights to light the main scene. From about 10’ away and with a 24” wide spacing, they produced a wide even pattern with some dimensionality. I focused manually, turning off the AF function on the camera body.
4) I did no zooming on this shoot, relying on scene “cuts” and short segments to keep interest.
The second scene set up, in the apartment room, was also shot with the SP 10-24mm. I worked mostly across or against the light to get dimensionality in the scene. This scene is the metaphoric view of the frustration of loneliness and isolation many young people feel (so no lip sync was needed).
We edited interspersing the two concepts back and forth to tell the story directly and in metaphor.
We further forced the isolation through the use of stark black and white.
In addition to Emmanuel, we drafted a very talented portrait and music photographer from NE Ohio (Kirsten Baker who appears as “the girl”) and Emmanuel’s younger brother Martin (to represent “the young man”). Tremendous support was provided by Chad Scott who ran the second camera. Emmanuel learned Apple’s Final Cut software to do the edit. You will be able to catch the final version on YouTube or on www.icreateEnt.com, Emmanuel’s site.