am working with a "cooperative" of young filmmakers and actors
who are making their first in a series of semi-improvised narrative features.
Our first effort is to be shot, over several long weekends, entirely in
a house or apartment and the story occurs during the course of a single
early-to-late evening party.
issues for now :
. We have our choice of Panasonic DVX 100's or SDX 900's (2 or
3 each). One wants to assume that these efforts will immediately be lauded,
lasered to 35mm and released in 10,000 theatres, but this is an unlikely
scenario. More likely they will show at festivals and on TV. Are there
any reasons not to use the 900's? I am assuming we will shoot mostly hand-held
and that the lighting will have to be suitable for simultaneous reverse
angles and thus not too specific.
. Sound. I am assuming one boom operator riding gain from the
boom and feeding all cameras simultaneously, either by wire, which might
be clumsy, or radio. Most sequences will probably be fairly static; i.e.,
2-4 actors sitting on a sofa or standing around the doorway to the kitchen.
Our improvisational method makes me think that more than a few repeatable
complex stagings may be beyond us, at least initially.
do you recommend?
issues for now :
We have our choice of Panasonic DVX 100's or SDX 900's
down choice for me would be the 900s. I wouldn't even consider the 100s
given the choice between the two.
hardwire is my first choice. Locked in a room I'd use one boom with distribution
to all cameras. Why make something complex with many mics wireless, etc.
The more you have the more that can go wrong?
We have our choice of Panasonic DVX 100's or SDX 900's (2
or 3 >each).
shot with both cameras, and there's far more to the 900. There's a lot
more sharpness, a lot more latitude, much better color rendition (especially
skin tones), and the 900 affords far more control over the look. If you
do, eventually do a film out, the 900 will look far better.
100's are great within the realm of mini-DV, but mini-DV isn't very great
in the realm of professional video, and I'd say the 900 is a shining star
within the realm of professional NTSC video.
down choice for me would be the 900s. I wouldn't even consider
>the 100s given the choice between the two.
it's going to be a largely handheld shoot, that alone would prescribe
the 900s. The image stabilization on the 100s might help - but even so,
arm fatigue will set in at a certain point. Narrative shooting is so much
more of a "hurry-up-and-wait" process than doc shooting -- you
want your shooters to be able to make it through rehearsals and X number
of takes before they have to start taking serious breaks at inappropriate
this is an amateur group it would be good to have someone on set who really
knows the camera cold and can keep its settings where they need to be
as the scenes and conditions change. Without auto focus, stabilization
or AGC you might need some "engineering" on set, in part to
maintain consistency among the cameras.
hardwire is my first choice. Locked in a room I'd use one boom with >distribution
to all cameras. Why make something complex with many mics >wireless,
etc. The more you have the more that can go wrong?
second that, too. If you're soft-lit for multi-camera coverage you should
have minimal boom-shadow concerns. Ideally the boom operator should acquire
a sense of the rhythm of the exchanges so s/he can start to anticipate
their boom movements. Mic MUST have a shock mount and windscreen.
your bass sharply below 100-150 Hz, too. And get that room as cushy as
possible. Sound blankets, pillows, carpeting, etc.,
would only use the AG-DVX100 if you were planning on doggie-cam type mounts
with the actors or some other type of unusual rigging where size was important.
Angeles based Director of Photography
Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
mentioned possible film out to 35mm. I guess that was partly in jest but
if so would shooting PAL not be a safer option? I know that creates all
sorts of problems in other ways but would pay dividends if/when you ever
transfer your gems to film.