First steps: Makin’ burgers

Alright. I’ve shot some of my first video footage ever, without any stabilisation or other kinds of support, as I’m sure you’ll be able to tell within the first 4 seconds.

It’s is (obviously) shot indoors with my only lens wide open, which resulted in an extremely shallow depth of field, just like its maker intended.

The resulting three short clips were thrown into iMovie and overdubbed with a countryish song I like by the Avett Brothers and presto! My first vimeo masterpiece!!

Well, no. I mean, yes, it’s on vimeo but it probably shouldn’t be. It’s certainly no masterpiece! It’s shaky, blurry, completely bokeh-overboard and badly colour-graded but…it’s mine!

hamburger

saucy

Everybody has to start somewhere.

The good thing about being an absolute beginner is that you have no (well, ok, maybe little) shame and can get away with pretty much anything. And the nice people over on vimeo actually watched my ‘piece’ and one guy even liked it, probably because it had burgers in it. His (or her?) user name is Barbecue Tricks after all 😉


humble beginnings

Like many other unsuspecting punters, I watched the season finale of House MD, which looked different somehow.

house finale screengrab

DoF, baby!

It felt like I was there, but on drugs or otherwise not fully awake. Things would blur out momentarily only to be back where they were in an instant. The depth of field (DoF) was spectacular, as was the feel…I kept telling my wife how beautifully shot this episode was and got all excited.However, I had no idea why it looked the way it did. A little bit later, I stumbled upon this (re)post on dpreview that claimed the finale had been shot on Canon 5DMkII cameras! Wow, I had no idea that DSLR video was that advanced! I’d heard of the Nikon D90 being able to do that and remember being impressed, but I was absolutely clueless about how far they had come. I started reading up about DSLR movie making only to discover that a veritable revolution was well under way! Places like Cinema5D and Vimeo were full of people pumping out amazingly gorgeous short films made on these cameras…not only the Canon 5D but also the 7D, 1D and 550D (T2i/Kiss x4).

I was in awe! Even a little entry-level stills camera like the 550D could not rival massive professional digital camcorders like the $10,000-Sony EX3 but even better them in terms of low-light performance and DoF!

Sensor size comparison

Look at the teeny tiny EX-3!

I found lots more resources, including Nino Leitner’s blog and through him that of DSLR film-making patron saint, Philip Bloom. NoFilmSchool by Ryan Koo is another valuable resource, especially his HDSLR guide to cinematography.

After hours and hours of research, I decided to go with the newly-released Canon 60D, together with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime lens, all of which I managed to get for less than A$1,500. Alas, that was also the extent of my budget, so that’ll have to do. Eventually, I’ll probably invest in a tripod and few more lenses, but that it’s for a while.

Nevertheless, I’m excited about the prospect of limited tools, as such restraints (hopefully) boost creativity. Zero-budget film making, here I come!