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FIELD MONITORS SUPER TEST ANSWERS We reveal the true picture on the latest portable viewing devices

Part 2: Pro audio capture

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR

Expert advice to put your subjects at ease in front of the camera

Conferences: 11-16 April 2015 Exhibits: 13-16 April 2015 LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER

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The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers WINTER 2014 £4.99 @ProMoviemaker

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A DROBO MINI WORTH £285 See page 22

SPECIAL REPORT

STATE OF

THE ART The biggest IBC show ever reveals the latest gear and technology STARRING AJA, Sony, JVC, Blackmagic and more!

SHORT CUTS

Expert tips for producing your first short film

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CONTENTS

WINTER 2014

SPECIAL FEATURE

8 IBC NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Direct from the exhibition floor, we summarise the most exciting launches and updates from IBC2014.

FEATURES

26 C  AREERS IN VIDEO

We discover the merits and demerits of positions on the payroll from three in-house filmmakers.

34 FOCUSING ON FICTION

Having made a successful transition from photographer to filmmaker, Victoria Grech discusses the process for making a short fiction film.

ACADEMY

46 DIRECTING YOUR SUBJECTS

Lorraine Grula imparts some expert advice to put your inexperienced subjects at ease in front of the camera.

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54 LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION DOP Audrey Aquilina talks us through the key lighting considerations for shooting on location.

60 S  OUND DECISIONS

Expert Matt Bell continues his series on capturing pro-quality audio and tells us what aspects simply can’t be saved in post.

67 MOVIE MATTERS

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Our team of industry experts answers your questions on subjects from streaming to stabilisation.

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GEAR

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ON TEST: SONY A7S

Andrew Reid puts the revolutionary Sony A7S through its paces and sees what this 4K-capable CSC has to offer to filmmakers.

83 TAKING THE RENTAL ROUTE

We look at the benefits of renting gear with two start-to-finish case studies on the process of hiring.

89 FIELD MONITORS

We test out three field monitors at varying price points from Marshall Electronics, Sony and Atomos.

96 BUYERS’ GUIDE: MEMORY

Gavin Stoker gives us a round-up of all things data storage and advises what filmmakers should be looking for from their memory cards and drives.

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CASE STUDY IN-HOUSE VIDEOGRAPHERS

CAREERS IN VIDEO

WORKING 9-TO-5

Self-employment is common in the world of videography, but it isn’t the only way to get involved in this profession. We talk to a range of inhouse filmmakers who have discovered the benefits of life on the payroll WORDS ZENA TOSCANI

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ith video touted to be the future of content marketing by 2017, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are hiring in-house videographers in place of outsourcing to agencies or freelancers. In fact, a recent study in video marketing found that 68% of companies who utilise video are now creating their content inhouse. While investing in kit and staff will cost a company some considerable capital, it’s likely to pay for itself pretty quickly when you consider that corporate projects are often charged in the

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region of £1000 per minute of finished video – great news for employers but more concerning for the freelancers who would be otherwise earning those figures. As companies begin to take their video production more seriously, so should freelancers hoping to make the move into one of these potentially lucrative salaried positions. To help discover what it takes to go from contractor to colleague, we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly with a group of filmmakers in the midst of successful careers in videography.

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IN-HOUSE VIDEOGRAPHERS CASE STUDY

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CASE STUDY VICTORIA GRECH

T FOCUSING SHORT FILMS

ON FICTION

Having successfully moved from photography into filmmaking with a series of commercial projects, Victoria Grech is now negotiating the steep learning curve required to move into short fiction films WORDS TERRY HOPE PICTURES VICTORIA GRECH

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hose making the biggest splash when moving from stills to movies are the ones continually pushing and challenging themselves, and although there are the inevitable setbacks and occasions where the comfort zone can seem an awfully long way away, this sink or swim approach is perhaps the quickest and most effective way to learn to reach it. Victoria Grech is a prime example of someone never content to stand still, and her relentless desire to discover more about filmmaking has seen her continuously testing her limits. She’s come out a little battered but with her skill set and reputation enhanced and with more of the experience needed to thrive in her chosen sector on board. Her latest dive into the deep end saw her take on the production of an epic

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four-minute trailer for a projected feature film, problem solving as she went along and relying on her team. True to the nature of personal projects both budget and time were eye-wateringly tight, but Victoria was convinced that she could come away with a demonstration film that everyone could be proud of. “The first idea I had was loosely based around the idea of working with a real lion,” she recalls wistfully, “but eventually this distilled down into doing something that went against all traditional advice: I decided I would set out to work with children and animals.” What Victoria had in mind was a fantasy story with a touch of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe about it, complete with evil witch on horseback, lots of mist and a sense of menace. Then Linda Johnstone, a friend, happened to mention

that she might be able to arrange for a pack of 16 Ridgeback dogs to come along and suddenly another element was in place, one that would give the trailer its name: Battle for the Ridgebacks. “I had three child actors to play the main parts,” says Victoria, “and they were amazing, seeing as none of them had ever acted before. I also had another actress to play the part of the witch, and with Linda’s help, we managed to source a horse for the day. All of the actors needed costumes, and my mother and I were working on these, spray-painting them to get the look and feel we wanted. I had started a Pinterest board to express my visions and look for the film, and this helped with styling and prop ideas.” Victoria had a large support team, from her regular second cameraman Paul Cook through to sound, behind-the-scenes

IMAGE Victoria Grech sourced and created the costumes with the help of her mother, using Pinterest to create a mood board to gather ideas and styles.

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ACADEMY DIRECTING YOUR SUBJECTS

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DIRECTING YOUR SUBJECTS

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA

Very often the person appearing in front of your camera is inexperienced, even terrified, so it’s your job to direct them and put them at ease. Lorraine Grula shows how to handle the situation WORDS LORRAINE GRULA

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f you get the chance to work with professional on-camera talent then it will certainly make your life as a filmmaker so much easier. I’ve always admired folks who could waltz in front of a video camera and be commanding, yet personable and enjoyable to watch all at the same time. It’s certainly not an easy thing to pull off, but the real pros make it look effortless. Naturally, of course, in the real world there may be many occasions where you’re not working with professionals, whether you’re shooting a corporate video or maybe wedding guests talking to camera. So what do you do if your on-camera person has no experience? They could be nervous and unsure. The lights might be making them squint and sweat. They have no clue what to say or what to do with their hands, except to flail them about like a scarecrow in a storm. Even worse still, they might stand there like a granite statue and mumble their words incomprehensibly. Set against all of this it’s your job to guide them through the shoot and to come away with a video production that’s every bit as

good as if you’d worked with an Academy Award winning leading actor. So what’s the trick to achieving that seemingly impossible task? Having worked in the TV news business for about 20 years and having in that time convinced literally thousands of people they really did want to be on TV, plus freelancing in the corporate video world for about ten years beyond that, I can promise you that the most important thing you have to do is to calm their nerves. First step is to assure them that your number one goal is to make them look good. They have to trust you and be willing to let you and your camera be in ultimate control of their destiny as it relates to the final video product. Think about how scary that could be. They can only let go of their fear if they trust you have their best interests at heart. Needless to say, working in a journalistic as opposed to a PR capacity makes a huge difference in how far you can go in assuring that corporate CEO you have his back. But no matter what the exact situation, if they trust you, they will be able to let go and give a natural performance.

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ACADEMY AUDIO WIZARD

PART 2: RECORDING SEPARATE AUDIO

SOUND DECISIONS Continuing his series on the intricacies of recording professional standard audio, Matt Bell looks at the most crucial aspects of audio capture and considers the things that simply can’t be rescued in post-production

ILLUSTRATION KATY BOWMAN

WORDS MATT BELL

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AUDIO WIZARD

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ollowing on from our exploration of the concept of audio for video productions in the last issue of Pro Moviemaker, plus our general look at the tools of the trade for this area, I’m now going to move on to take a closer look at some of the most crucial aspects of audio capture from the perspective of a stills photographer exploring DSLR video for the first time. So many of these basic aspects of audio production are akin to the focus or exposure settings that experienced stills photographers will already know all about, and these are the kinds of things that can’t easily be rescued in post-production. In the last issue we considered the fundamental approaches to audio capture when using a DSLR to shoot video. The final option we considered was an increasingly popular one amongst DSLR videomakers: that of using a stand-alone audio recorder (or indeed multiple recorders) to capture different audio sources outside the camera, and then marrying the visuals and the separate audio recording(s) at the post-production stage. As we concluded, this approach might not seem attractive to traditionalist stills photographers who have been trained to capture their images in-camera if possible, but some degree of post-production is needed anyway on all but the most basic of video material, even if only to edit, add titles and credits and so on. Ultimately the relative simplicity afforded by the external audio recorder approach to audio capture is regarded as a worthwhile tradeoff by many DSLR videographers. Moreover, complex audio layering, such as that employed in professionally shot films or documentaries, requires detailed post-production audio mixing and

assembly of many different sound sources anyway (for example, background ambience, special sound effects, music, voice-overs, re-recorded dialogue and so on), so you could argue that such an approach is taking you further along the road to professional video production techniques. Experienced film sound recordists, like Chris Watson, David Attenborough’s favourite audio engineer, are used to looking at the sound available at a given filming location, whether they’re working on a TV programme, documentary or feature film, and breaking it down into multiple sources. For example, if you are filming an Arctic snowscape you might incorporate the sound of ice creaking, wind howling over the frozen landscape, footsteps crunching through snow and the cries of sea birds, to say nothing of any dialogue, music or voice-over material that the finished scene might incorporate. Old hands will make separate recordings of each, and assemble the results rather like an audio collage in postproduction. The advantage of this approach is that the relative levels of the various sounds making up the whole can all be changed with respect to each other during editing as required. While this approach demands much more time in postproduction than capturing all your audio live on your DSLR, the results are much more controllable and professional. Photographers comfortable with carrying out post-production work to get the best from their images are unlikely to object to this way of working, and may even favour it. Certainly, if you regularly shoot in Raw format and are used to layering together multiple tripod-shot exposures to enhance the overall dynamic range of your imagery, there will be nothing to trouble you in a conceptually similar approach to audio post-production.

“While this approach demands much more time in post-production… If you regularly shoot in Raw, there will be nothing to trouble you in a conceptually similar approach to audio post-production” WINTER 2014 PRO MOVIEMAKER

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GEAR SONY A7S

SPECIFICATION Contact: www.sony.co.uk Street price (body only): £2099 Sensor: 12.2 megapixel CMOS full-frame Viewfinder: XGA OLED LCD: 3in; 921,600 pixels File formats: Raw, JPEG, XAVC S, AVCHD Max resolution: 4240x2384 Shutter speed: 30secs-1/8000sec ISO range: 100-102,400 Autofocus points: 25 Autofocus system: Contrast-Detection AF Memory: Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo; SD, SDHC Connectivity: HDMI micro connector (Type-D), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD, 4K still image playback, Mass-storage, MTP, PC remote Lens mount: Sony E Aspect ratio: 3:2 Shooting speed: 5fps HD movie mode: 4K Live view: Yes Dimensions (WXHXD): 126.9x94.4x48.2mm Weight: 446g

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Sony A7S Sony has set out a clear intention to challenge strongly in the burgeoning filmmaking market, and its latest A7S model is picking up some serious plaudits. Andrew Reid takes a look at its high-end set of features WORDS ANDREW REID

There are certain cameras that you suspect have the potential to be game changers the moment you get your hands on them, and Sony’s videofocused incarnation of its A7 series, the A7S, falls firmly into this category. After just a few days with the camera I was convinced that it was the best consumer model the company had ever made, and although it does feature a few cons alongside a considerable list of pros there are some remarkable features included that really will serve to get the serious filmmaker excited.

In case you’re wondering what the ‘s’ suffix for this particular A7 stands for, it’s sensitivity, a reference to the fact that the A7S offers an ISO capability up to 102,400, expandable to a nigh-on crazy 409,600. This amazing low-light performance is allied to a full-frame sensor megapixel rating of 12.2, which some might consider a little on the low side in this day and age, but it’s all part of the trade-off offered by this camera’s bespoke set of features, and you won’t find too many filmmakers worrying overly much about that particular number.

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SONY A7S ANATOMY SONY A7S

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ABOVE The A7S’s feature set makes it a force to be reckoned with in the filmmaking market, offering professional touches that rival more expensive offerings. BELOW Already in the hands of pro users, the compact but capable A7S has attracted attention and complimentary remarks.

The Sony A7S is designed to be ultra compact and yet to still offer the functionality and performance of a full-size HDSLR, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Despite being a compact model it still comes with a full-frame sensor (1). Although this only offers 12.2 megapixels of resolution it’s super sensitive - hence the ‘S’ in the name - and has the ability to offer ISO speeds up to 102,400. On the front of the camera you’ll find the Wi-Fi sensor (2) and an AF illuminator/self-timer lamp (3). At the top of the camera (4) you’ll find the front dial, and there is also an equivalent rear dial. These allow you to change the settings required for each shooting mode with immediate effect.

Other headline features include the fact that the camera comes with the ability to output 4K via its HDMI port to an optional external recorder, namely the Atomos Shogun, which will add another £1000 or so to your initial £2000-plus body only price, and it does this without the need for line spinning or pixel binning. It also comes with some really professional touches that, in my opinion, put it somewhere between the FS700 (street price £6600) and the F5 (street price £12,000) in terms of video performance, which starts to explain why I’m so excited by it. One of the neatest touches is the provision of S-Log 2, a $3800 upgrade just a few years ago on the Sony CineAlta F3, which is a gamma function that can reproduce the entire tonal range captured by a CCD or CMOS imager. This is something that’s amazing to see on a model in this price range, and it really does work on this camera to deliver enormous dynamic range without the usual artefacts and banding we’ve seen with flat picture profiles before on DSLRs. The image once graded is silky smooth at the native ISO of 3200. What grain there

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The back of the A7S is simple and straightfoward to negotiate. One of the most important controls is the menu button (1), from where you can access a wide range of camera and custom key settings. The 3in 921,600 pixel monitor (2) is designed to fold out in one direction to give you a better angle to view from. Other controls that can be found on the rear of the camera are the AF/ MF/AEL switch lever (3) the FN/ Send to Smartphone button (4), the control wheel (5), the playback button (6) and the C3 (Custom 3)/delete button (7). At the top of the camera you’ll find the rear dial (8) and the C2 (Custom 2)/Enlarge button.

The top-plate of the A7S is likewise uncomplicated and easy to work around, and will be familiar to anyone who has previously worked with a DSLR. The main control up here is the Mode Dial (1), with all the usual settings that you’d expect. Moving to the right you then encounter the Exposure Compensation Dial (2), which will give you a maximum of three stops of over and underexposure very quickly and simply, and next to this is the C1 (Custom 1) button (3). The Multi Interface Hotshoe (4) is a proprietory hotshoe introduced by Sony two years ago to replace a previous assortment of other hotshoes used in the past.

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GEAR BUYERS’ GUIDE

MEMORY KEEPERS DATA STORAGE

Shooting Full HD and now 4K video is undoubtedly going to mean that you’ll need a bigger hard drive. You’re also going to need fast writing/reading memory cards and a workflow solution that’s as slick and streamlined as possible, suggests Gavin Stoker… WORDS GAVIN STOKER

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he words ‘data storage’ may not be ones to quicken the pulse, but get your solution wrong – or inadvisably opt for one that is inadequate for purpose – and those very same words are enough to make the blood boil. With this in mind, we’re exploring the available devices to cope with all that crystal clear yet data heavy video that shooting Full HD, or now 4K clips, is going to generate. That means

getting your data chain correct; from initial capture to editing of footage and eventual storage and safekeeping, taking in everything from Secure Digital cards and pro grade XQD media, to SSD and HDD devices. Fortunately we’ve come up with suggestions to safeguard and store those precious files, to demonstrate why memory matters and prevent a creative meltdown on your patch.

MEMORY JARGON BUSTER SSD: Solid State Drives (SSD) offer significantly increased transfer speeds over HDD and all without the need for moving parts, therefore decreasing the chance of any wear and tear incurred merely through operation. Another advantage is that data is retained even when there is no power present. Yet another plus point is speed; SSD drives are faster and more reliable than simple USB flash memory drives. HDD: Unlike an SSD, this is a traditional spinning – ie. moving – hard drive. Hard

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disk drives are essentially metal platters with a magnetic coating storing your data. There will be one inside your computer. RAID: No, not a snatch and grab exercise, but Redundant Array of Independent Disks, a data storage solution that combines multiple disk drive components, storing data in different places on multiple hard disks to improve performance. READ AND WRITE SPEEDS: As one might assume when we’re talking about data, the read speed is how long it takes to read

something from the drive – so how long it takes to access whatever data is on it. The write speed is how long it takes to save – ie. ‘write’ – something onto the drive or disc. The higher the numbers quoted in terms of megabytes per second, the faster both these processes are. USB 3.0: The third and latest version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard for the computer community. It supports data transfer rates of up to and over 5GB/ sec, making it perfectly suited for devices handling heavy data loads.

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BUYERS’ GUIDE

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Profile for Bright Publishing

Pro Moviemaker Winter 2014  

Sample issue of Winter 2014 Pro Moviemaker magazine

Pro Moviemaker Winter 2014  

Sample issue of Winter 2014 Pro Moviemaker magazine