/ What equipment: Making a film

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Jamie Simpson - on 10 Jan 2017

Hello!

I would like to make a small series of films for my outdoor company. I really dont have an idea what equipment to use. A few of the participants on the courses use Gopro and I have seen some good results, although they all seem to have a very wide angles. A year ago while ski guiding a guy filmed us with a drone and other equipment and I got the feeling it was heavy kit and really really expensive. Excellent results however.

So what equipment for short films on a budget. I would imagine you would need a camera for stationary activities, one for moving and then editing software?

Any advise to get me on the right track.

Key word as always: budget
Post edited at 10:10
1
Oujmik - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:
You might have to say what your budget is and what you aspire to in terms of quality. Also, do you want to film yourself or will you have dedicated cameraman etc.

If you don't mind actually holding the camera you can get decent (but not professional quality) results with a compact camera with good video performance. This is the cheap-as-chips option and I find it works really well for ski-holiday videos. I use a Sony HX50V but I'm sure there are better things available as this is few years old.

Cheapest option for near professional quality is probably an SLR camera with a steady-cam. They can struggle with fast moving subjects though so it really depends what you're filming.

Edit: BTW, GoPros etc have extremely wide angles in order to capture your whole field of view but also because they don't have any optical image stabilisation, so a narrower angle would be intolerably shaky. This is where the compact camera comes into it's own.
Post edited at 12:08
estivoautumnal - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

If you want a professional result, use a professional film production company. If you want a film that looks like it's go pro on a stick quality, use a go pro. However a professional film will not be cheap. A one man production company filming over 2 days with 2-3 days editing will cost up to £2k, less if you can find a keen student. May be worth getting in touch with a local uni/college running filming courses and see if any students are keen. I'd budget £500 for a student for the same time. Note that most students don't have their own kit so make sure they can access it.

Don't underestimate the editing. A good editor can make a decent film from average footage. An inexperienced editor can make a mess from the best shots. Sound is very important, consider using external mics.

You will need royalty free music, or similar. Banging a local band's thrash metal tune on a poorly filmed video may have worked in the 90's but won't today.

Determine how important a film would be, then pay accordingly. However just remember, a crap film will get people clicking the 'next' button faster than no film.
The Lemming - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

I asked similar questions last year when I wanted to make small films of friends at work doing a Charity Project.

I learned loads of stuff from the advice given to me. You will find out loads of useful tips from those threads where I asked from filming tips.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=640641&v=1#x8292681

The best thing I learned was to focus more on capturing good sound. Sound is more important than capturing footage.
1
Jamie Simpson - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to The Lemming:

Thanks for the thread link. Tried searching before but found nothing meaningful. So thanks for the link again. Some great advice.

I was thinking about buying a new camera and see some cameras DSRL and mirrorless cameras can shoot movie at high quality / or good enough quality. What are peoples thoughts on this?
The Lemming - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

>
> I was thinking about buying a new camera and see some cameras DSRL and mirrorless cameras can shoot movie at high quality / or good enough quality. What are peoples thoughts on this?

How much are you willing to spend?

Do you want a camcorder or a camera that records video as well?

And how professional do you want this project to be?
rallymania on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to The Lemming:
> The best thing I learned was to focus more on capturing good sound. Sound is more important than capturing footage.

if you are doing any kind of audio other than just a music track in your final video then this bit here is massively important... do not underestimate sound. bad sound will kill your film... why do you think cinema's have amazing surround sound systems? because the audio is really really really important.
galpinos on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

I think it would help people if you say what you mean by "a short series of films".

Do you effectively want some short (2/3 minute) films to show what the company does/what's involved in the courses or more than that?
jethro kiernan - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to galpinos:

second that, you will need a audio in plug on the camera so you can supplement the usually crap microphone on the camera with an external microphone such as
https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Camera-Photo/RØDE-VideoMic-GO-Camera-Microphone-Black-Red/B00GQDORA4/ref...
Indy - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

As has already been asked.... what is the budget? Red Weapon or iPhone?
George Fisher - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:
This was shot entirely in an iPhone 6. Edited in iMovie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE6o7Def0bY
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to George Fisher:

> This was shot entirely in an iPhone 6. Edited in iMovie.


Beautifully put together and edited. Looks 100% professional.
Jamie Simpson - on 11 Jan 2017

To answer the questions:

Budget: On one side I have nothing and on the other side if I get a grant together, possible a more prof production including several outdoor companies in Valdres, Norway. For example: Husky tours, climbing courses, beautiful panoramas of Valdres in winter cloths.

But now: I am trying to make a serious of short 2 - 3 min films to highlight techniques, for example digging snow pit, or making a belay from ice screws or crevasse rescue. These would be used to help explain techniques during evening sessions the day before the real thing.

Lastly a promotion shorties, explaining the company, its ethics and goals.

It certainly want be washed out, wobbly action, with audio in an echo room.

George Fisher - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Not my work I should add. My business partner does all that. He does work in the lighting/imaging business so isn't exactly a novice but he's not a filmmaker.

Amazing what you can do with a phone though.
Gordon Stainforth - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to George Fisher:

Well. full marks to him. Anyway, he is a filmmaker. Puts many people's work to shame.

George Fisher - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I'll let him know you said that. Thanks

The Lemming - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

> To answer the questions:

> Budget: On one side I have nothing and on the other side if I get a grant together, possible a more prof production

I'm just a punter and my audio and video is on a shoestring.

For audio I chose two products by Rode. One was a stereo microphone that captured sound from all around me. I like this as when I'm on holiday I can pick up the ambience and atmosphere of what is going on around me.

If you wanted to drown out the background noise and focus the sound on who is speaking then a shotgun type microphone is probably for you.

I also have a small microphone that can be fitted to a person's collar, just like TV presenters and News Readers. This little microphone can then be either connected to your camcorder/camera to capture sound.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Camera-Photo/R%C3%98DE-Stereo-VideoMic-Pro-On-Camera-Microphone/B007HYVMY...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Camera-Photo/R%C3%98DE-VideoMic-GO-Camera-Microphone-Black-Red/B00GQDORA4...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rode-VIDEOMICPRO-On-Camera-Microphone/dp/B00YAZHRZM/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-in...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rode-Smartlav-Lavalier-Microphone-Smartphone/dp/B00EO4A7L0/ref=sr_1_1?s=mus...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/R%C3%98DE-SC3-iPhone-Accessory-Black/dp/B00L6C8PNU/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-ins...

If you plan on capturing any sound outside then I suggest that you buy one of those furry covers to go over the microphones. They may look silly but they do kill the wind noise that will destroy any sound that you capture. Rode make them for their products. Don't forget to get some for the little mics that pin to clothing. They are a Lav mic.

As for capturing the sound, you have many options however some of the cheapest do a good job, well for my ears at least. One option is to use your own phone and buy an app called Rec Forge 2

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dje073.android.modernrecforgepro&hl=en

Another option is to get an audio recorder where you plug your microphones into. These are as expensive as you want. I chose a cheap and light recorder. It may be cheap but it captures good sound, provided you keep it in WAV rather than MP3.

It comes in Version 1 and Version 2 with a ten pound difference. The only difference is the firmware update and more than likely what you buy will have the latest firmware anyway. So why pay the extra tenner just because of marketing?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H1-Handy-Recorder-Matte/dp/B0144JHW4E/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments...

As for video capturing, then Smartphones do indeed capture good footage once you work out how to keep them stable. Gimbals are the best bet here for handheld on the move shooting.

Don't discount GoPro's either just because they have wide angle lenses. I have a GoPro 4 and it can have its angle settings reduced from fisheye to normal telly viewing scales. Admittedly the GoPro does not have a screen but this is not a problem because you can connect it to a Smartphone and use the phone's screen to compose the shot infront of you.

And, like the phone's video capabilities, once you remove the camera shake then the image quality is breathtaking. Gimbals are your friend here as well. I have a Gimbal and love it for its smooth capture of footage.

This little video was taken with my GoPro and a Gimbal. The sound isn't great as I used the GoPro microphone. In my defence I hadn't got a scooby about how to capture good sound at that point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSW0bLiENlM

This video was captured with a Mobius camcorder I got direct from China. Its smaller than a box of matches.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Sports-Electronics-Gadgets/Mobius-Action-Camera-1080P-Sports/B00GT2B4R6/r...

And some footage when connected to a gimbal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVpuMklJXk&t=45s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMPuBD2BMcY&t=7s

If you want to go down the road of camcorders then you get more bang for your buck. This is because camcorders have gone out of fashion which means that they have to pack in a lot of tech to get people to buy them. When I started my little movie project last year for my friends at work I eventually plumped for a Sony camcorder with image stabilisation. The camcorder had a gimbal inside it and was amazing to watch the
lens wobble around inside the camera housing while it was filming. The images were stunning. Its a shame that I did not have a 4K TV to watch them. I chose a Sony AX53 as it had just came into the country and had loads of whistles and bells such as 4K and loads of manual settings, which most importantly included sound quality.

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/categories/products/sony/ax53-4k-handycam-camcorder-97668/show.h...

If you want to keep costs down, then either consider a trip to eBay for a second-hand version or choose the model before it called an AX-33
http://www.jessops.com/online.store/categories/products/sony/fdr-ax33-4k-handycam-camcorder-96677/sh...

However, and this is the bit that blew my little mind after I bought my camcorder, which I was exceptionally happy with, the camcorder had the exact same size sensor inside it as my GoPro 4 camcorder. Aggggg

Those GoPro's pack a lot of tech into a tiny device. However they are not the only action-cams on the block and just because they are expensive does not mean that cheaper action-cams can compete with them either. Check out the Techmoan site for a review of cheap action-cams.

http://www.techmoan.com/blog/category/action-cameras

Later on in the year I got all giddy and sold my camcorder and went mirror-less. This got me an image sensor considerably bigger and allowed me to continue with my photography. I was able to sell my camcorder and dSLR camera+lenses and replace it all with a mirror-less camera. Did I make a wise move? Who knows but I'm enjoying the steep learning curve.

If you do decide to pony up and buy an expensive mirror-less camera make sure that it has the ability to continuously record. Quite a few mirror-less cameras and dSLR cameras have a recording time limit of something like 30 minutes because they over heat and have to cool down before you can continue shooting.

In my humble opinion a camcorder with a small image sensor will only show its weakness when shooting indoors in poor lighting. If you have good lighting indoors or you are outside in daylight then you would be hard pressed to spot the image difference captured by a smaller sensor.

Making movies need not cost a fortune, but skill and artistic talent is priceless.
The Lemming - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

I finally found what I was looking for. This you-tube lasts an hour but may be the best hour you spend watching you-tube this year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGbj4FSiGl4&t=2s
The Lemming - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

Here is another Youtube I found interesting and helpful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLr7dMldhojjSW2fCGvprs-w
Jamie Simpson - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to The Lemming:

Thanks for the extensive reply. Some really interesting links and information. Bit of reading now
ipfreely on 22 Jan 2017
In reply to Jamie Simpson:

You can make an ok film with just a simple camera, i just use a go pro, the hand help shots are a bit shaky but the mounted & Arial shots work. these are just a few bits I've done for myself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNy6jwpSyqA&t

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOyV4l2-g1U&t

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rddmPakmwWo&t=65s

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