Jobs and Documentary Work

I have been really busy as of late with freelance and otherwise, so let’s hop right in there.

As many of you saw in the last post, I have been working on a freelance editing project that has taken up a lot of my time.  At the same time, though, I have been assisting in filming a documentary with one of my former professors (Denise Bennett).  I don’t want to talk too much about what the documentary is about focusing rather on the interesting aspects of filming it.  If you would like to know more about the project, please visit Denise’s blog HERE.

There have been good and bad things during the filming.  Let’s start with the bad: As a budding videographer/camera operator/whatever you want to call me; I have made a few mistakes.  None of them are going to cause the world to crumble, surely, but they are embarrassing nonetheless.  I don’t have the footage to show you, but I can tell you exactly which moment bothers me the most.

We were shooting a two-person interview with three cameras.  One keeping a nice medium shot on the two subjects (being run by Denise) and two cameras set up for close-ups on the subjects on either side of the main camera (by about 45 degrees or so).  For some reason, however, I didn’t cross-shoot these cameras as I should have done.  If you don’t know what I mean, allow me diagram it.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 12.51.30 PM

Here is how I should have shot this scene.  As you can see, the center camera would keep them both in frame for a nice medium two-shot.  The two cameras on the sides would allow to catch both subjects open sides keeping them both turned in towards the camera keeping their faces in view at a pleasing angle.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 12.50.39 PM

This is unfortunately how I did shoot this.  Here you can see the center camera that Denise was operating still keeps both subjects framed nicely but the two additional cameras angled this way place the subjects too far at the profile causing a lack of depth in the shots.  Most unfortunate.

Though this is a horribly embarrassing moment for me, I don’t mind sharing it because it has been a good educator for me.  I do not think I will ever forget to cross-shoot a scene like this ever again because of the chagrin I feel thinking about this instance.

So, on to the good and not embarrassing things!

While setting up this last week, we realized that the curtains in the hotel room we were shooting in were probably the most ugly things on the planet.  To try and combat this (because there was no way to keep them out of the wider shot) Denise and I utilized bedskirts and throw blankets into the background using some good old fashioned ingenuity.

As it turned out, we were missing that most wonderful of grip gear: the C-47.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 1.12.01 PM

We scrambled for a solution and realized there were hangers in the closet that had the little metal clips on them for hanging up dress pants.  These became our C-47’s.


It looks like garbage from this angle, I know, but on camera from the right angle and the right focal point, these skirts and throws blend beautifully into the background.

What was even better was the fact that we had plenty of time and the right amount of space to get lights and cameras set up exactly how we wanted.  Because of that the shots turned out great.  Go have a look at Denise’s post about it HERE to see the close up shot from that interview.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment and follow the blog if you’d like to see more.  Also check out my Youtube page as I will post things there from time to time.



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