Hi, Danny here, Captain of Industry, Head of Mainland (& Offshore) Operations, Chief Resident & President of Studio Say So. I want to share a little bit about our experiences shooting the Sports Medicine program for Florida Hospital.
A few exciting things (for us at least) that I want to share…
1a. The concept & scale of this project (and how we tackled it without a big team or huge budget).
1b. How we go about integrating with a large client (who handles a fair amount of marketing and creative work in house) and “becoming part of the team.”
2. some techie cameraphile thoughgts on our first chance to shoot on the Canon c300 and Zeiss Cp.2 lenses.
1a. THIS WAS A REALLY BIG/COMPLEX PROJECT! No, I’m serious.
We shot over 40 actors/extras with over 120 camera set ups at more than 10 locations over the course of 2 days. All of that for a 1:15 spot. We shot it all with a crew of 5 (including production manager from the client & our makeup artist). But our basic shooting crew was a director (me), DP (Marshall) & all around assist (Michael). This was a big project with a conservative budget so we had to tighten up and prioritize where the money went. That meant a small crew. The small crew caused all the expected issues (slower lighting set-ups,everyone had to multitask, everyone was a grip, less people for me to order around while sipping on an espresso, no craft services to have my fresh juice prepared for me when I arrived on set each morning). But overall we found that the small crew was a really big advantage for us on a shoot like this. We moved FAST, like crazy fast. Almost all the actors worked with us for less than an hour, many for only 10-15 minutes. We were changing set ups constantly and the small crew kept us nimble. We focused on a limited lighting set up for most locations (outdoors – natural and reflectors/indoors – almost all single softbox and practicals). Our makeup artist, Paulette Schoen, is a genius and she was able to give us exactly what we needed (generally a ton of faux-sweat and in one case facial injuries) very quickly. Also, maybe most importantly, the team in house at FH was instrumental in organizing and planning the shoot. They tracked down costumes and hired actors, secured locations, dealt with waivers and paperwork, ordered lunch, and overall made it a great work environment. They laid the groundwork for us to succeed on this shoot. All this leads into
1b. BEING PART OF THE TEAM
We have done a few projects with the digital marketing team at FH, we know them well. They are sort of a hybrid group. They manage web and video for FH, they have an in house writer, some graphic designers and a team of marketing folks. They approached us with the concept (and first script ) for this piece and we worked with them hand in hand for each step of the process. This is sort of an unusual arrangement (at least for us). Most clients come to us at the very beginning of the process. They have a need and we do our best to create a video that meets that need. But with the digital guys at FH we really come alongside them and walk through the process. They created the script and they gave us a shot at reworking and tweaking it. The key for us in that sort of relationship is becoming part of the team (bolded, so it burns into your cerebral cortex – i learned that talent from watching powerpoint presentations). We trust them, they trust us. We can throw ideas around and get them shot down, they can air out their needs and seeds of ideas and we can work to hone that into something that really works on screen (like we think this piece does). Our relationship with this team is essential to making projects like this work. Honestly, without getting too preachy, relationship is really central to everything we do. We are always working with some sort of a restraint or handicap (and I assume we always will be, no one has given us avatar money…yet). Of course it’s not always money, sometimes its timeframe or location or a subject’s willingness to talk. In every one of our jobs the essential ingredients to success are creative problem-solving and relationships. Our relationship with this team allowed us to overcome the challenges on this project and get the result they (and we) were aiming for.
2. the Canon C300 (and Zeiss Cp.2 Lenses)
We shoot a lot on dSLRs (mostly the Canon 60d, but also the 5dm2 and 7d). They are great for a lot of what we do, produce an amazing image, can get into tight spaces and are very versatile. But for this shoot we were really trying to evoke a Nike or Olympics commercial vibe. We wanted a deeper image that could hold up to some more serious color-correcting. So we decided to rent. Part of our job is keeping up with the latest gear, seeing how we can adopt new technologies and all that jazz (mostly I just like to look at cool new gear). Recently there has been an absolute flood of new cameras on the market. Without getting too into the ins and outs of all the cameras available, we decided to rent the c300 because of a combination of cost, availability, reviews and footage and pieces we have seen shot on it recently. It seemed to do most of the things we were looking for on this shoot (one conspicuous feature it did not have was 1080p slow motion, if the fs700 had been released at the time of the shoot i think we may have opted to rent that for that reason specifically – it’s a classic sports look)
At any rate we thought the camera (and cp2 lenses we rented performed well)
I am going to share my thoughts then Marshall will chime in (to spit a guest verse) because he handled the camera most of the time
-Amazing latitude/dynamic range. We had some outdoor shots in the heat of a clear day where we have an african-american actor and the beautiful white clouds above him fully exposed as well. We used no reflectors or lighting at all in that shot.
-Really easy to use in a variety of ways – we used it handheld, on a glidecam 4000, on a cinevate atlas FLT slider and on a tripod. It was great across the board.
-As a director I loved the EVF and monitor combo, I could peek over Marshall’s shoulder and look at the monitor while he had his eye in the viewfinder. that was great.
-Internal NDs are amazing
-Buttons and navigation sucks (the thing has a million buttons but it seems like you use the same couple over and over, not intuitive)
-same slow mo abilities that my 60d has (720p for anything beyond 30fps limit at 60fps)
-sort of an awkward shape to get used to.
Basically everything Danny said. It is a great camera, it was very nice to be back shooting on a true video camera instead of DSLR, which we have been shooting on for what seems like forever now. Like Danny mentioned the internal ND filters were great . We usually have to be really careful using our ND’s with our DSLR because it can in bad conditions soften the image, however the internals on the C300 seemed to hold up pretty good for us outdoors. The one big con for myself as the operator that day was the interface for controlling things I need to change frequently. For example there are dedicated buttons for many features which I do not use on a regular basis (maybe because I am not cool enough). However when I went to change ISO, White balance, or shutter speed (the three things I need to change most often) none of them have a dedicated button. Our 60D has dedicated ISO and Shutter speed buttons. Instead the C300 has one button to rule them all and you press it multiple times to adjust different settings. This made me slower at times and with a schedule like we had, slow is bad.
Other than that I have to give it credit for producing great images and serving us well for the 2 days we had it. Do I think we should own a C300? No. Its a great camera, but it doesn’t seem like it has staying power like some other cameras. For example it is already looking like it will be out shined by its big brother the C500 and I am sure newer and better models will come out soon. So there is little point in dropping 17 grand on a camera that will be replaced because it is missing key features like 1080p slow mo and RAW shooting capabilities. (We personally don’t have a need for RAW shooting yet, but if I am gonna spend that much money on a camera I want it to be useful to me in the future). Now back to your host:
Anyways, I really only dove into the production aspect of this project, we had an extensive planning period and a pretty rapid edit and grading period, but that is for another blog post (or not). Overall we love the final outcome, we love working with this client and we were excited to work with the c300.