Tag Archives: Zacuto

Director’s notes… David speaks!

Dave with co-writer/producer Phil

Wow. I have started to breathe again. Bit of a week, bit of a stiff learning curve. Thought I would share a few techie points before I get down to the really important elements of film making. Like performance, story and sleep.(Sleep being the most important according to Alan Parker-thanks for that gem, Lee)

Couple of things regarding the camera:careful in low light. What looks good on the viewfinder may not work on the big screen-we have seen some issues with noise and may just have to work around. I have just disabled “Highlight Tone Priority” to see if that will help…whatever the heck that is….

Also-using a Marshal HDMI monitor-BEWARE. Don’t believe the lovely bright image. We ended up turning the brightness down and down and down, to give us a more realistic idea of brightness

Monitor issues?

Monitor issues?

levels (you shouldn’t really rely on monitor, anyway. When you have a DP who wanders round with what looks like a STARTREK Tricorder pressed against his cornea for 24 hours a day, you have someone else to point the finger at when it all looks like a black cat in a coal shed at night…….). Actually it has been a real test for us, as most of this film is set in a blind man’s house at night with the lights turned off. Sorry, JC!

DONT think you can use the camera for long without using a proper support rig-the type of camera shake you get from holding the camera body alone is not pleasant, unless you want to simulate a POV from someone with St Vitus Dance. Don’t forget what looks like a small amount of shake on the little monitor can look like a 7.6 on the richter scale on a big screen.

"LOVE the camera"

"LOVE the camera"

Over all, though-love the camera.Repeat- love the camera. When 24p firmware hits us, I will be dancing for joy, but even at the crazy crazy crazy 30p, the image of this camera is great.

TJ with the Canon Eos & Zacuto rig

TJ with the Canon Eos & Zacuto rig

We are off to shoot a bit of “action” tonight, where our ‘Marley’ gets accosted by a couple of louts. Should be fun. Gonna miss our camera op TJ, who was a joy to work with. Still, I do have my third eye, John Craine, whose initials could be quite appropriate for the miracles he is able to perform. Going to operate camera tonight (I was relegated to Steadicam op for the week of principal photography.) Do need some more time in the saddle. Directing is all very well, but there just aren’t enough buttons……..


Introducing…the camera!

(Blog from Dave Armstrong, Director)

“Ok. So I thought I would get one of these finished daily. of course I didn’t count on quite as much excitement around the Eos.
The damn thing is even better than chocolate  (and if you know Dave Armstrong, you know that’s a very rare thing for him to say! -Ed)

Alright, apart from cooing over our chosen camera, there were a couple of other things to sort for the film (not to mention recording six new tracks in the studio, taking several meetings, and getting gooey over Stu & Andrea’s  baby Lexi- Mr EOS came in very handy getting some really lovely pics of Lexi too).

The camera is a work of art and, bless their little Canon socks, they only threw the video capability in as an aside.

Donna - a still from video

Donna - a still from video

We have worked on a few test shots now (you can see lots more on our flickr feed) and the amazing thing is, you don’t seem to need any light at all to make the thing work!  The low light capability of the Eos is amazing and hopefully will help in our decision making process in the amount of artificial light we need to throw at a scene.

It is also a joy to be working “full frame”again and being able to get our shallow depth of field back is a thrill. After working with broadcast 2/3” cameras for so long, I feel like locking them in a cupboard and throwing away the key (sorry, Sony).

Of course buying the camera wasn’t enough. We have three lenses now, too – 2 zooms and a lovely 50mm 1.4. Forgotten how nice it is to shoot with just a 50mm. And a kind soul from fab local indie label Ballagroove Records has offered to lend us a couple of additional lenses too. Think we’ll take them up on the offer.

But the camera and lenses are actually the cheaper part-the support system and monitor are now on their way.

Zacuto Sniper

The ultra sexy Zacuto Sniper

We have gone for the Zacuto Sniper. I had looked at cheaper options, but we need something that just works and will last the course. Unfortunately, still cameras are not ergonomically designed for hand-held video work. You just cant keep them from the wrong type of shake, so a support it is. And a follow focus. Glad we got John Craine on-board.he is doubling as our focus puller. Without a follow focus we would struggle.. Oh, and the z-finder that attaches to the back of the canon viewfinder. Then there is a Marshal monitor and a mounting kit for the monitor.

ENOUGH about the toys. We also have a story to tell. Thats what its all about really. All of these tools are just there for one thing:to help tell that story. We sat for a read through last night with a few of the crew and it really help clarify a lot in my mind, as well as remind me that this film-making lark is quite a challenge.

Great crew, though. looking forward to working with them.  Lots to do, lots to plan. Just a week til rehearsals and still so much to do.

Read through/Production Meeting

Read through/Production Meeting

Keep making a mental note to make mental notes-the list goes on
matte Box
HMI light
Coat stand
clearance for music & trademarks
can we smash a full wine glass?
photos of our “john”before he was blind

need I go on?