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My first feature, being shot on 7D. Advice.


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#1 Tom Sykes

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 08:38 AM

Hey Everyone,

As of the coming Tuesday I will be DPing a feature for a Masters student at my University.

It's being shot on a 7D with a bunch of equipment, I myself am an undergrad student at the Uni and this is my first feature as DP and to be fair, I'm absolutely crapping it due to nervousness.
Which is expected as it's a lot of responsibility, but at the same time, i'm looking forward to it.

Here is a list of the equipment I have at hand, although it isn't majorly specific, it a general insight into what I'll be using.


Tracking
Rode Kits (NTG-2 Microphone)
Rifle Kits
Large Reflector
Redheads
Marantz (PMD661)
Manfrotto 503 Tripod
Manfrotto 128rc Tripods
Manfrotto Dolly
Los mandy Tracking
Kino
JVC Monitor
Gullivers
Canon 7D Kit
Blondes
Arri Lights
Jib
Boom Pole (BMB2)
BNC (20m)

The gels I have acquired for the shoot are, various ND gels, and Full and Quarter strength CTB.

In terms of what I'm posting,

I would be horrendously appreciative if anyone can share any opinions they have or any advice you could give me, I know you havent got a lot to work with in terms of information, I can reply to any specific questions, any advice would be valuable and appreciated on my behalf.

Any links I can read also?

I want to make it look, as always, the best it can be, and anyones input will be invaluable to me.
This aside, instead of also asking for advice and stuff etc, To make it less of a formality;

Does anyone want to share any stories/information about their first features? It would be an interesting read and hopefully make me feel a bit less out of my depth, I believe/know I can pull it off, but it's just a nervousness thing and don't want to mess it up.

Thanks for any help and for reading this,

Look forward to hearing your responses.

Much appreciated,

Tom.
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#2 GrahamRobbins

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 02:55 PM

Hey man good luck I Just recently wrapped a 50k feature film shot on a 7d. My advice don't stress yourself out to much it will show in your work. Take a deep breath and just get creative. Micro budget stuff can be really fun. because less equipment forces you to get creative with the available light and learn to make it work for you. My experience with the 7d and the dslr's is that less is more, so really make that practical lighting work for you. Also I will say that a feature film is a marathon not a sprint, so the key is to lock down your look for the film and stick to it. Remember to have fun thats huge I mean your shooting a movie whats not fun about that! Hope you knock it out of the park!

Good luck,

Graham Robbins
www.grahamrobbinsdp.com
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#3 Phil Connolly

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 05:47 AM

Good luck with it - I def shoot some tests with the 7D make sure your happy with the focus pulling challenges it presents. On a micro budget feature the main challenge is working fast enough while keeping the quality up.

You don't have any large lights so the sensitivity of the 7d will help you out.

I'm guessing your at Staffs Uni - so you could also have a look at using their HPX-500 - perhaps not as cinematic as the 7D, but if you schedule is tight it might be faster to work with and you'll have less focus pulling mistakes.
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#4 Tom Sykes

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:41 AM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the response, I'm not as worried anymore, just gone through the new draft of the script. which is very funny, and it's making a lot of sense shot wise in my head, which is good.

It's a shame i've not seen the locations yet, I have a gist of what they look like as some i'm quite familiar with, but the rest is literally news to me.
It will be an interesting shoot to say the least.

In terms of shooting, I'm not 'trained' on the HPX-500, even though I have used them before, they need a written note from a supervisor to get one out, so that's more or less a no go really. I've got my 60d as a backup for any difficult angles and a trustworthy assistant who lives with me, although again this won't eradicate any focusing issues. Gonna have to learn the hard way I guess.

Thanks again,
Tom.
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#5 Chance Shirley

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:00 AM

My advice: be aware of the camera's limitations, mainly the aliasing and rolling shutter problems.

To minimize aliasing, I tend to avoid fine patterns (especially in clothing) and keep focus as shallow as the scene and shooting circumstances allow.

To minimize rolling shutter issues, I try to keep the camera either on a tripod or some kind of weighted shoulder mount. I've also heard that the Canon image stabilization lenses can help with this issue.

That said, the Canon 7D (and 5D and 60D and T2i) is an amazing camera for the money. Good luck with your project.
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#6 Sam Koopman

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 05:09 PM

Totally agree with everything stated above.

From working with the Canon T2i and a few other HD-DSLR's I think the most important thing would be the lenses you use. You stated you had the 7D kit? I'm assuming you mean that you only have the kit lens, which is good but if I were you I might look at renting some more expensive lenses. You will definitely be able to tell the difference. Just make sure you know how each one looks and feels before going into your shoot.

Another tip is to take advantage of size of these awesome cameras. You can create some cool stuff in small spaces, etc. with them.

Good luck!
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#7 Tom Sykes

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 05:32 PM

Hey,

Thanks guys,

We've got a really nice kit, it comes with the Canon 50mm f1.4 USM as standard, and then we have 3 Zeiss Planar ZE 1.4's (35, 50, 85mm) and my Canon 16-35 f2.8L II.

Zacuto VF and Follow Focus (which has a little play :( ).

The only thing is i'm trying to shoot the scenes as flat as possible, because the style isn't going for that 'really' shallow look everybody is obsessed with, more along the lines of Lubezki's Burn After Reading, as this is a very similar script to that film.

Saying this, the locations are really bare because it is low budget, and looking at the rushes from today, some of the shots are awful as the locations are so damn plain, yet some shots are really nice, tomorrow's location should be better I think.... at least I hope ha...

As long as I get some stuff for my reel and make it look as good as possible, I can't do much else so... The luck i'm gonna need haha :P

Tom.
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