Thursday, June 23, 2011

I will be shooting Alison in Wonderland with three cameras for both cost-saving strategy and a unique aesthetic, it will be the first of my films where depth of field will have heavy attention paid to it, I barely knew what it was in my early years and didn't think much of it even during Red Riding Hood and Dream House, I didn't really start experimenting with it until The Magic Forest and the results were mixed. For Alison I will be using my longtime companion the trusty Canon GL2 , the low budget yet impressive Canon EOS Rebel T2i and the high quality HDV Sony HDR-FX7. I just did a shooting test comparing the cameras' quality and depth of field. The subject is a prop made for the Hatter scene, Michelangelo's 'Gayvid'.
The first camera is the Canon GL2 which I've been using for years. It used to belong to Neil and has been used to shoot such varied projects as Dream House, the famous Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise, No Place Like Home, The Magic Forest and both interviews with T.F. Mou. Depth of field is difficult to do with DV but not impossible. WIth the GL2, you can get shallow depth of field with a low f-stop/open iris, long lens and a camera positioned at just the right distance, it's pretty darn spiffy for a DV camera. It will used here to shoot behind the scenes B-roll footage mainly but also a variety "point of view shots" with a very wide lens for the movie proper. It's lower depth of field capability and resolution make it good for a somewhat jarring, low-fi effect like you are suddenly switching to the literal visual perspective of a character under a lot of stress.

Now next up is the Sony HDR-FX7, a nice Sony HDV camera I was able to score second hand for only $1500. It is by the far the most detailed and crystal clear visually of the cameras and its color reproduction beats the GL2 (this shot isn't the best example, the white balance is a little off). However, the depth of field disappoints, it's no better than the GL2's really, though the focus got much shallow as we got more zoomed in. This will be used for the film's moving shots and also some coverage shots.

 Last but by no means least, is the Canon DSLR Rebel. It is by far the most visually pleasing of any of the cameras and its color reproduction is to die for. The colors are accurate and vivid and the focus is soft and lovely. It is a little bit less visually detailed than an HD camcorder, but that isn't entirely bad, it makes the image all the more "film-like". The camera is not good with movement and especially hates zooming, so that's why I bought the HDV camcorder to largely supplant it. It will be used for static close-ups mainly where shallow depth of field is most important and also for some very detailed and picturesque wide shots, you know, any shots I want a "35mm film" look to. Sadly it is also the most expensive of the cameras to shoot on, it records onto SD cards which are fairly costly and don't hold much video. It also needs a "higher class" card to run smoothly which all the more expensive.

And here is the second and newest of my production diaries. I promised one sooner but I have been madly busy. I am even busy than I was during Black Sunshine's post! See things down to the wire, see more of lurid props being hammered out and meet the Cheshire Cat in the magic of HD! This is looking like it could be shaping up into something worthwhile I'd say, It seems poised to follow in Little Red Riding Hood's foot steps but then run an extra lap ahead of it.


Neil said...

A couple of these should hold at least an hour at 1080. If you have a laptop, you can always bring it to shoots and dump footage from one card while you shoot on the other, if you even need to shoot more than an hour on one shoot.

J.L. Carrozza said...

Thanks Neil,

I will definitely have to "dump" my memory cards at some point, probably after every few days of shooting.

I like to have multiple copies of stuff, especially hard copies, archived in case of hard drive failure which seems to happen to me every few years. I suppose I can store the footage on an external harddrive or even burn it to DVD.

Anonymous said...

The FX7 is a superb little camera capable of doing everything you need it to do should you just take the time to get to know it as well as you do the GL2. Here is a good place to start.

Good luck with the film.