This is DIY Filmmaking…

543039_268451073250929_263799937049376_548773_560689892_n-copy-2-1I just came across a few photos of me filming and thought that these pictures could give somebody a good idea of how simple filmmaking really is.  As you can see, there is no film crew on location with me.  A video camera, a decent microphone and a computer along with a good story is all you need to pack a movie theater if you are willing to learn.  The top photo was my first day filming on my first feature DIY documentary.  I learned something very important that day.  You can see in the photo on top that I have the standard foam mic cover on the microphone.  When I got back to my home office that night where I edit, I heard an annoying wind sound in some of the footage that I filmed.  So I went to the B&H website and ordered a Rycote Softie Windscreen.  You can see the new windscreen on the photo below.  It cost close to a hundred bucks, but it was the best hundred dollars I spent on the whole documentary.  Keep that in mind if you are doing a lot of outdoor filming on your doc.

Incase you are wondering, the camera I am using in these photos is a Sony HVR-Z7U that costs around $5,000.  Please understand that you do not need an expensive camera to take high quality video.  It was an older camera but it had great HD quality and XLR inputs for a high end microphone.  And believe it or not I shot my entire doc of about 120 hours on digital HDV mini tapes.

More important then the camera, I used a MKH 8060 Sennheiser shotgun mic.  It was expensive, it cost about $1200, but it records amazing sound.  If you can’t go that high, look at Sennheiser’s lower end shotgun mics that run between $200-$400 and always remember sound is very important.  I remember when I talked to the legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles after he watched a rough cut of the film he said to me…”before we talk about the movie, I want you to know that the sound on this film is fantastic.”  A couple of years later, Bill Jersey, another great cinema verite pioneer said pretty much the same thing.

I shot the entire film with that mic with great sound.  I never had to stop a person to put a lavalier mic on them nor did I ever have a person holding a boom mic over their heads.  This is what I’m talking about with this blog, simple filming that is unobtrusive but captures your story as truthfully as possible with high quality.


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