Sunday, October 18, 2015

Putting a system in place for filmmaking

Finished the solenoid actuator bracket late last night after a marathon two-day build - got hours of video to edit down to a montage that will go live today or tomorrow. And learned lots of lessons about how to do filmmaking right (and wrong).

Notes I jotted down during the shoot:
  • Never use the GF3 when you can use the GH2
  • Go to the extra trouble to do each shot right - don't get lazy and end up capturing crap shots.
  • When going in for a closer shot change to a different viewing angle as well.
  • Move camera around a lot - you don't want an entire film shot from a single viewing angle.
  • Be creative with camera angle and lighting.
  • Use B camera to capture incidental stuff to fill in the story.
  • Shut off music while filming - otherwise you'll need to replace the entire sound track. 
  • Don't sing or whistle or say dumb stuff while camera is rolling - see previous item.
  • Clean up areas that don't look good. Clean them thoroughly - dust, cobwebs and dog hair will show up clearly in HD.
  • Make SURE camera is properly focused!!! And make sure it's recording.
  • Look at the lens - don't look at yourself in the monitor! (when shooting yourself)
  • Pull battery before it's fully discharged and pop it in the charger - have 2 fully charged ones always ready to roll (or 1 charged and 1 charging). Also have spare memory cards close at hand. Need to come up with  system to temp mark batteries to show if they're charged or discharged at a glance. 
  • Always transport memory cards in protective cases.
  • Before hitting record button, always check time remaining and battery life.
  • Always double check that every shot from the card has been transferred to the computer, then clear the card, and always format in camera as soon as the card goes in. 
  • Don't sit and watch footage as it transfers - let it do it's thing and get back to work.
  • Have card already in computer before opening Final Cut or it will crash. Always save project after importing new footage.
  • Final Cut is pretty stable while rendering or exporting - you can hide it and use the computer for other things. But it's very unstable while ingesting footage - don't try to make it multi-task at that time. 
Man, shooting live action stuff is a huge hassle compared to doing stopmotion! Just the sheer volume of material you need to capture and whittle down - I filled up an external hard drive that had over 300 gigs of free space!! I've ordered a much bigger hard drive for this, and I definitely need to learn more about how to set up a Final Cut project and work with the files, delete what you don't need as you go etc. 

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