guerilla style documentary in a politicly sensitive country
Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:45 AM
I will be shooting a short documentary in a politicly sensitive country and it will be shot in guerilla style. I have couple of obstacles ahead of me therefore I need help from whoever can. First I do not have any kind of luxury to take any equipment with me(I absolutely have to look like a tourist not a filmmaker). Sound is important if I use any kind of DSLR would i have sound quality problem? If I use separate sound recording device(which can only be a little digital recorder) would I have sound sync problem?(clapboard is not permitted but can be made by me) As of lighting I am thinking couple of little LED flashlights and small pice of silk would solve my close-up lighting problems(I can't even take 1x1 barfly with me). If anyone has a different camera recommendation other than DSLR, which can relatively looks like a consumer or maybe even semi-professional camera, please let me know. Also recommendation for practical ways of recording quality sound(such as brand of a nice digital sound recorder) and lighting the interviews other than my idea will be highly appreciated.
Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:09 AM
Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:15 AM
Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:24 AM
I'd go small HDV camera, quality isn't as interesting as a DSLR, mind you, but it's a lot better suited for a documentary shoot and has a built in mic.
Ditto on Adrian. The DSLR is the latest toy for DPs, but hardly suited for an entire production. You need to make so many adaptations, especially audiowise, to make it practical, and all this goes against what you're after. For doc work, especially guerrilla style as you say, a file based camera is rather impractical. You need to be dumping footage and backing up, and that just means more gear, unless you are bringing a ton of CF cards. Tapes are safer and more practical.
So I second the suggestion you get a Sony HDV with a nice stereo mike. It'll have everything you need, and it still is small enough and has that consumer look that you won't attract attention as you run and gun.
Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:31 PM
For on-camera lights, something battery powered and removable, perhaps LED, that your assistant can hold and maybe a short, collapsible fish pole with a simple clip mount for the mic that he, or perhaps better, she as a couple traveling is maybe less conspicuous than 2 males which might be more threatening, can also hold. Other things I'd bring is a set of the silver car window shades with a white backing. They look perfectly innocent but can act as a reflector, flag or even a rain cover in an emergency. MAYBE also a piece of Styrofoam packing from a stereo receiver or something that you can use as a reflector and toss away if there's any heat. I think I'd also wear cowboy or dingo boots so you can stash tapes in case the authorities decide to confiscate your footage or possibly an empty cigarette pack. I'd also train myself to shoot while nonchalantly holding the camera down at my side as though I were just watching what's going on, not filming it making sure the indicator lights are covered or turned off.
I'd also have a second camera to copy tapes to every night so in case you're raided, you can have the copies stashed elsewhere and in case your camera is confiscated or destroyed, you'll have a backup. Maybe a trick bag, purse or briefcase that the camera can be put in with a remote start that you can clandestinely shoot with in areas where any camera would be grounds for arrest or may otherwise endanger you. There is also actual spy equipment that might be useful to you, you can purchase om line or at least here in the US, in shops that carry such equipment:
"Course that might open you up to espionage charges but they gotta find the stuff first and much of it looks like ordinary items.