Old Faithful

OpenSource - Web Series

Wow! Since I began film making I have seen a lot of changes in formats, cameras, computers, and overall gear. My first camera was a canon hi8 camcorder. That was around 1996. I never used it much, but I had a camera. Now I’m writing this thinking about the camera I’m using to shoot OpenSource with, for the first half of season one, my trusty and dusty sony hvr z1u. When we first began shooting, i was using my canon eos m, with magic lantern. The images look great, except I had a slow read card, and miss-set the audio record function, no audio recorded. But of course your favorite guerilla film maker recorded vocals on my handy dandy h1. But some of that was unusable when we shot on a bridge on bankers hill (wrong time of day). I shot there before with great audio, I guess I was lucky, because this was an extremely noising day, with or without headphones. And the setup of the Canon eos m, took a bit of time to set each frame right. This was not getting it. One of my other weapons was my old iPhone 5. I like the full HD images from this phone in sunlight (always shoot in sunlight), but the battery life sucks. I’m not sure but I think it’s a dud. So disappointed, but we keep shooting with it, but mainly only pictures now. So I needed a run and gun camera, that can record good audio and produce great images in sunlight. I literally tripped over the answer. I need to clean the living room. I hurt my knee, while looking at an old friend. My sony hvr z1u. This is a throw-way-way- back camera. Mini DV tapes, but does shoot HDV. Since it is an older camera there were/are a lot of tutorials online, on how to use this camera to it’s full film making potential. Plus this really played to my strengths. For those who don;t know, I cut my teeth shooting CIAA and ACC sports for many years working at local TV stations in Raleigh-Durham. Shooting, running and gunning with a camcorder is what I do. This felt right, and it slimmed down the amount of gear I was bringing, since I was using a shotgun mic on the camcorder to record audio, and using the cameras stereo mics. This camera is not good in low light, but I always brought it to the low light shoots anyway. But shooting with this camera also sped up post production, because my laptop still has an old 800 port, that I use to directly import video from the z1u. Speedy process. I have been able to get decent DOF. I’m not sure if this is this cameras last hurrah are not, but right i’m grateful, for old faithful.

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