Talk About: The Chorister Video (Part 4)

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The Equipment

I really wanted to complete this project on my iPhone. Really.  That would have been amazing.  Unfortunately, that’s just not possible with all of the needs.  It is impressive what’s being done on the camera we carry in our back pocket these days.  In case you missed it, Unsane was filmed on an iPhone 7 by director Sodderbergh and that went to the theatre. I’m not Sodderbergh and I wasn’t expecting my video to go to the big screen, however, that’s just awesome. An entire episode of Modern Family was filmed on iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks in 2015. 

What you can do with just your phone is amazing.  With ADR you can even go back and recapture the sound. I didn’t have time for all of that.  Editing was just not going to happen on my phone.  

iPhone 7

I used an iPhone 7 for all my sound recording.  This was either placed beside the actors, held in the hand of an actor, placed in the pocket of an actor, or put in the middle of the group singing. Thanks to sound synching, I was able to match things up pretty well.   This worked out so well, that in the future I will have people airdrop me their voice memos and use more phones.

iPad Mini

My slate app worked real well on my iPad Mini.  This is roughly the size of your average slate and is easy to move around. Not having a PA for slating, either my camera person did this with the camera on a tripod or I did it and set it down somewhere near where I was filming and where it could not be seen by the camera. 

iPhone Xs

My iPhone Xs brought me early adopter to the Cult of Mac glory. All video was shot on my iPhone Xs. Thank goodness for the Apple event coming just at the start of the semester and cell phone companies allowing you to spend about a billion dollars a month to finance a phone on your plan. I shot in 4k using the ProMovie Recorder App with no complaints.  The high quality dual camera on the rear of the iPhone allows for some pretty impressive video.  The app allows you to access both the telephoto and wide angle onboard lenses. For close up shots, we used the telephoto lens to add that extra close feel.  A great majority of the film was shot with the telephoto lens.  

I did debate buying an extra lens kit, but in the end didn’t.  I would love to try another movie out with a lens kit. 

MacBook Pro Retina 13 Inch (Late 2013)

Trying to stay as mobile as possible, My MacBook was my grunt tool.  First and foremost, editing with limited hard drive space and RAM blows the big one. It worked, but it was unpleasant.  Anyone wanting to help me upgrade my MacBook, we can totally have a conversation.  Don’t be afraid to use what you have, just know that it will be a little more time consuming and frustrating. 

Storyboard, prop list, communication, and editing all happened primarily on my MacBook.  You can do this with what you have.  This poor baby has nowhere near enough hard drive space for anything and only 4 Gigs of Ram because I can’t upgrade it. (Side rant: soldering ram to mobos is the work of Satan and done across too many computer manufacturers.  I can’t afford to upgrade my rig every couple of years and have you ever tried to Facebook on a computer? Ram whore.  Don’t even ask about Adobe products.) 

I’m an Apple (clearly), but that has a lot to do with between programming and all of my graphic design/video work – it’s the industry standard. I 100% believe you can do everything I did on your Android devices and Microsoft Computer. I’m not 100% sure about a Linux rig because I don’t know what their answer to Premiere Pro is. 

UBeesize Phone Tripod with Remote

I purchased this tabletop tripod with bendable legs and bluetooth remote on Amazon for under $20.  It’s actually quite nice for the price.  The legs do bend, though I don’t think you are going to wrap them around anything.  Feel free to try! 

The mount for your phone will come off and allow you to add it to a full sized tripod, so if your sticks are big, you are good to go. It also allows for swivel so you can go from portrait to landscape and tilt to 90 degrees. The legs can be placed together for a fat monopod/selfiestick style grip which isn’t full gimbal capabilities, but pretty darn nice at the faction of the cost of a gimbal for your phone. 

Because the legs bend, you can absolutely curve them up to be handles for two hand stabilization.  Neat trick my young friend noticed, by bracing the third leg on her breastbone, she got even more stabilization power.  She went handheld for a large portion of the shoot.  In fact, the B-roll footage that was shaky was taken without the stabilizing tripod action. 

This is the conclusion of multi-part series on the making of my video, “The Chorister“. I am getting nothing from the items mentioned in this blog post.

–Lady O

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