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Africa - NDs, UV, polarizers etc


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#1 Matthew Oaten

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 01:42 PM

Hi,

I'm shooting a documentary over 2 weeks in Africa mid march. I'm the sole camera. I'm taking a 5D and a 7D for back up. As someone who's more used to the studio environment I was after some advice on filters that would make my life easier in this climate. I have an Arri 4x4 matte box, currently in my filter bag I only have ND's, would taking other filters like UV, polarizer, grads etc be beneficial? Any essential tips from people who have shot in this kinda location before? I can't wait to get out there but I really want to do the best job I can, so trying to plan and research now while I have the chance.

Thanks,


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:03 PM

Africa is a big big place, and a lot will depend on where you go. I was in west Africa shooting (Senegal) on the XDCam and though I had filters I didn't much use them. I'd want to keep a UV filter on the lens at all times to protect it from dust and grit. In addition I'd recommend ND grads for certain. I'd bring a .9 grad if it's the only one I could bring. Pola is useful as well and an ND set is also useful. You may also want to look into FLB filters for florescent lighting which was very prevalent in night urban environments where I was. Depending on how and where you're traveling it might make sense to travel lightly. Also, be prepared for spotty power on occasion, and perhaps invest in a solar powered back-pack to help keep batteries for the camera and/or laptops charged. We lost power for a few days in Senegal and we lost shooting after our batts died.
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#3 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:04 PM

You don't mention what exactly you're shooting in Africa, but I would absolutely take a polarizer and some grads as a minimum. Depending on how much landscape shooting you're doing, I might consider some antique suedes or coral grads.
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:22 PM

Where in Africa ?
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#5 jason joseffer

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:30 AM

Hi. Not exactly sure where you are shooting in Africa, but I can offer some advice based on my doc experience in Haiti. Haiti is a hot/humid country which created many over-heating problems for the 7D. I ended up wrapping the camera in white plastic and later keeping it shaded during interviews via an umbrella. The umbrella was a huge help. Of course, a set of ND's and Pola is very useful/necessary. Hope that helps. -jason
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#6 Matthew Oaten

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 04:55 AM

Apologies, Africa is of course a huge continent....! I'm in Tanzania for a week, then Kenya for a week. It's for a charity so i'll be in under-developed areas, sometimes remote, and they want a fairly cinematic feel and want lots of the baron drought ridden landscapes, dead animals etc, but also interviews with locals, and shots of the aid work that's going on. Thanks for all you comments so far,

Matt
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:15 AM

Honestly, i'd just shoot it as it is. Control your exposure, yes, but the continent is so beautiful, even in it's poverty, that I don't think you really need to add too much in front of the lens.

Don't forger your malaria meds and try to get some mosquito netting and something with DEET.
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#8 Matthew Oaten

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:46 AM

Yep, it was more for technical reasons than aesthetics - I know that the director likes his shallow DoF so the NDs are essential, and probably a polarizer to get a bit of contrast into the sky. It's just that i've probably never worked with that much light coming into the lens so just wanted make sure that i'd be covered. I'm all vaccinated, malaria tablets ready and armed with DEET....!

Honestly, i'd just shoot it as it is. Control your exposure, yes, but the continent is so beautiful, even in it's poverty, that I don't think you really need to add too much in front of the lens.

Don't forger your malaria meds and try to get some mosquito netting and something with DEET.


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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:48 AM

Don't forget eyebrows ect for the matte boxes to keep glare off as best you can.
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