For the past three weeks, I have been tagging along to Harley and Adam’s productions, as well as Gareth’s (classmates) practice and final filming sessions for his FMP in the woods. He has chosen to use the Panasonic camera which meant I was able to try it out more, as we hadn’t been able to use this camera too much during college due to it being quite new and expensive. As I plan to use the same camera for my own FMP, it was great to get a feel for the menu, settings, layout and how it copes with lighting and other equipment. This includes a few different tripods, mounts that come with it and a slider. It was great to gain experience with the camera and has made me feel a lot more comfortable in handling it.
The main reason I have chosen to film with the Panasonic is the flexibility it has to adjust the settings quickly, like the ISO and aperture. The other option I had been considering was using the Sony video camera. Unlike the Panasonic, the Sony is usually better for productions such as documentaries, where the camera would often be moving a lot, rather than being fixed to a tripod or other mount; it is good for this due to the great stability, making the footage less shaky. The Panasonic is better adapted for stationary and mounted shots due to it being a DSLR camera, suited for photography, which is what I am looking for. There are a few downsides to using the Panasonic, including being more aware of the movement of the camera, preventing unstable or wobbly footage, as the only way to correct this would be using a stabilisation effect in the editor I use (Premiere Pro); another aspect I need to keep in mind is that the camera is quite heavy, especially when the external monitor is connected to the cage. I am prepared to limit the hand-held shots and be careful how I hold it, always making sure there is someone with the camera.
There is a certain shot in which I will be using a small tripod, angling the camera down, which will cause the setup to be imbalanced and create a risk of the camera falling over. This would both skew the the shot and likely harm the Panasonic itself. To prevent these things from happening, I will be asking one of the crew to hold down the tripod, which should be necessary, especially because of the heavy monitor attached.
Further, this Wednesday I have helped film ‘live lounge’ style music videos after college for second year sound engineer, Ryley Fountain, hosting the band Undersky. Adam (friend on my course) had contacted the student to help out, with Gareth and I volunteering too, acting as the visual director as he decided on the types of shots he thought would work best as well as the equipment we would need to be using. I helped out to visualise the shots Adam wanted to set up, and all three of us were stationed on separate cameras, with various planned movements. We used the JVCs for the main three shots, with Adam mainly being handheld, moving around the stage and general area, while Gareth’s camera was set on a slider and focused more on wide shots to contain all the band members that could be cut to easily in the edit. I had the responsibility of capturing close ups and slow zooms of each member, with the camera set on a stationary tripod in one of the corners.
The band ran through five songs, around two to three times each. The lighting was already arranged and programmed by Ryley, changing from solid blue, red and white light, to occasionally flickering blue patterns on top of a solid red wash. This made it really interesting and gave it almost a boost in the video when the songs came to their bridge or chorus. The artistic and specialised lighting looked great but did cause some trouble when it came to the exposure of specific areas of the stage, with some spots looking somewhat underexposed and difficult to see, however the four camera angles (including the GoPro behind the drummer) gave Adam some leeway when it came to editing.
I feel like this has given me great experience with a new type of genre (live music lounge) that I hadn’t had before. Working in a music-based environment with a band and sound engineer from outside of the class was something different, exposing me to another field within film which has been interesting to try out, especially as the multiple cameras and continuous filming through a song, including changing angles and zoom, were elements not looked into previously.