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guerilla style documentary in a politicly sensitive country


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#1 ozkul dikici

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:45 AM

Hi everybody,
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.
Thanks
Ozkul
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:09 AM

1/3" video cameras have a good track record of shooting this type of material. It's usually when you start adding the accessories that you need for good sound that any camera tends to look less tourist and more film maker.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:15 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.
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#4 Brian Rose

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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.
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:31 PM

Well, if you want to look like a tourist,I'd stick with a high quality prosumer camera HDV with a XLR mic connector so you can put a longer cable say 8 to 15 ft that can be easily coiled and tucked away so it's inconspicuous and a nice 8 to 12 inch shotgun mic with fur windscreen , something that might look a little better than the average camera mic but not something that'll draw a lot of attention. Sennheiser, Audio Technica whatever. In your camera bag or pocket, carry an additional cordial and then if you need to get better sound, you pull the mic and hand it to you traveling companion/assistant who gets in closer and in an interview situation, a quick change to the cordial. Carry some standard filters Optical clear, Pola, ND 3, 6, 9 ect. along with any lens attachments for wide angle and telephoto if necessary and maybe a mono-pod that can double as a walking stick. MAYBE put a car shifter knob to make it look more like a cane or walking stick, so you can quickly unscrew it, screw it to the bottom as a counterweight, and put it on the camera in place of a conspicuous tripod or with the shifter knob counterweight in place use as a makeshift camera stabilizer.

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:

http://www.spyworld.com/

http://www.ggsmark.c...ore,product.asp

http://www.brickhous...m/spy-gear.html

http://www.spy-equip...ying-guide.com/

http://www.eyespysupply.com/

"Course that might open you up to espionage charges but they gotta find the stuff first and much of it looks like ordinary items. B)
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