My first “professional” gig as a filmmaker

A few weeks ago, a friend called me asking if I knew somebody to make a short video clip about her talking about a new aid-tool she had developed as a cohabitation and cooperation coach.

I told her I knew just the right guy for the job but he didn’t come cheap.

So, in exchange for a healthy salad and being mentioned as the creator of the clip throughout her network I drove to her office in Ghent.
Albeit she doesn’t see it the way I do I guessed doing this was an appropriate return gift.
Indeed, she offered me some free counseling a few months after Sweetheart, after almost 8 years, and in an emotional decision, dumped me. Her counseling helped me with what had happened and put it in the right perspective. This doesn’t mean Sweetheart is still haunting my dreams.

I took with me the SO-28 TD (28” diameter) Falcon Eyes soft lighting LED continuous lighting thingamajig and it’s tripod. The Boya BY-WM8 wireless lavalier microphone set and, of course, my Blackmagic 4K camera.

At her place, we talked things through. I told her I would start recording, wait a few seconds before clapping my hands, and then she could start talking.
The few seconds of silence I would use to clean up the audio from any noise.

She could see herself on the monitor placed just above the lens and I used the 12-35 Lumix at 35mm. I could have also used the Lumix 25mm f1.7 but I didn’t although it would have been a better choice.

I cranked up the ISO to 1600.
Placed the Falcon at 100% at a 45° angle slightly above her. I decided to let the natural light do the rest. An error of choice I only noticed later.

Everything went well and her 10’ was shot in 3 separate takes. No need to do retakes as she is a natural born and very confident speaker.

Everything sounded well in my headphones too.

I did not put my phone in silent mode and during filming I received a text message. Luckily the sound is hardly noticeable.
Also, I did not ask to put her phone in silent mode, but nobody called her. Maybe she had put her phone in silent mode before I arrived.

I noticed I wasn’t nervous at all and that is a good sign. I felt pretty sure about myself even if this was the first time, I filmed stuff like this.

Looking back, I made only one mistake and it took me quite some time to correct.
I relied way too much on natural light. So, during the sequences, I shot clouds passed in front of the sun not only darkening the frame occasionally but also changing the color temperature.

I solved this using layers in Davinci Resolve and fading in and out. Extra work that could have been avoided.
The sound quality was my greatest fear but the relatively cheap Boya wireless kit performed very well

Shooting with the Blackmagic 4K

I haven’t been shooting as much with this camera as quarantine rules rightly so still rule.

Besides, like a zillion reviews can be found on Youtube.

My needs are not that high so I shoot one step (12:1) above the highest compression rate in BRaw, 8:1. Still the files are huge.
One of the first things I ordered was a 6 TB hard disk to accommodate the files I shoot.

The dual ISO chart is crystal clear when you understand it and knowing about Ansell Adam’s zone systems helps a lot to understand the principle.

I bought the camera secondhand with a case, a handle, an external SSD Samsung T5 and a battery plate to accommodate Sony NPF batteries. So I have no issues when it comes to battery or storage.

But let the above be utterly unimportant. Because what really counts is the image quality.

When exposed correctly with the right ISO, image quality is simply unbelievable gorgeous.