Wednesday, 28 September 2016

What Lens do we use?

What Lens ?

just blogged that we use a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera for the web series Shades Of Bad and questions came in as to what lens we use. You are all correct it is a smaller sensor and the camera natively uses an EFS lens, the smaller lens with less glass. 

Sure it is OK to use the EFS, but we worried about low light and tried to forward think some situations where we might get into a low light situation. The cameramen we were set up to use wanted to use Canon EF USM lens if they could, not to use the auto ficus, but just they are better lens.


There are simple passive converters then there is the Metabones which we opted for.

-1 The metabones is active so the negative is that it draws from the battery especially in low light when it is helping you see in the dark - to counter balance that the batteries are real cheap and we carry 12 in the kit.
-2 The second small negative is that on really fast lens the Metabones is so good, added to the camera, that in bright sunlight it just over exposes so we have had to buy ND's which is not a bad thing. We have had up to 6ND and a UV filter on the standard lens and more on the 80 to 200 which seems to be the brightest.

+1 is that you can use the EF Lens.

There is a metabones for most conversions, so before you think a camera won't fit a lens, look at the Metabones. Click here for details.

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The Kit used to shoot Shades Of Bad

Shooting Shades Of Bad - the Kit

Shades Of Bad was a departure into the web for us. Maybe we won't turn back!
We shoot a number of things from movies to web content, but we have just sold our Epic Dragon cameras and now are concentrating on web content. Our main web series are ‘Doris Visits’ the travel shows, and ‘Doris Shades Of Bad’ the drama series. For both web series we wanted to keep the quality at 2k, which is the quality of most current televisions bought and sold. That is certainly as good as most TV shows if not much better than daily soaps and lower level TV which are often shot at 720 lines and they are interlaced. If  I have lost you there I apologize, but most shows are now HD which the retailers are currently calling 2k.
The camera had to be small and I did not need fancy add-ons like slow motion. I just needed a camera that is used widely on the professional market and the cameramen that came in would be able to use. So, I asked them and Black Magic came out tops. I have seen recent blogs where the BMPCC goes up against some newer cameras and it wins hands down.
The kitchen that Shades Of Bad was all going to be shot in is small by filming standards and none of the walls fly away or have traps. I mean none of the walls are force and can be removed. What you see is the space we had. The BMPCC was ideal and there were few other coices. Stills guys compremise, but we never needed it to take stills, we just needed a dedicated movie camera.
It can shoot 2k raw but that means huge files and is over kill and would certainly be well beyond our Apple based edit suit, so we shoot at 1080 uncompressed. The edit still struggles when the shows get to 30 minutes, but we manage as most of the travel shows on line are around five minutes. The episodes of Shades were always going to be around three minutes.
All stop... it changed. As film makers our ambition was bigger and before long we were testing outside night shoots, filming in the woods and then going abroad. Just because we could and web series did not normally go to that expense. For us it was all a test, and adventure. It has generated a new series, the travel show Doris Visits which in 6 months has produced 100 films, over 80 of which are loaded. Now we have groups of actors and financiers coming to us to ask about the next step; shooting a movie this way.
If you are looking for a camera to shoot movies, take a look at some of our films on Doris Visits. This camera does not shoot stills. It is a movie camera. I will address more of our kit in later blogs.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Heading to the end of Season 3 - wow, that is a lot of work !

Shades Of Bad heads to the end of season 3

As we head to the end of season 3 it is quite odd that the Barcelona sections shot last June have cut into the footage shot just months ago in the UK. In Barcelona we had the chance to use actor Gary Keates who works his character Manuel Martinez in international cabaret. Gary, a senior member of the Magic Circle has been talking to us for some time about doing a series on street magic, but as with most entertainers and actors who are working, they are always working. The goos in his calendar as about as bad (or good) as the dates in the Status Quo calendar. We know because we have been trying to find a gap that works for both with absolutely no success.

So, Gary takes us into Barcelona, episode 58.

Then the interiors of Barcelona are shot in the domestic office of Nick's in Chorleywood, almost a year apart exactly. And for a web series crew that has never used a costume or a make up department but acts as if in the theatre and expects the talent to look after themselves, can you spot any difference in Doris ???
In episode 59 Nick Simons plays the evil jeweller. Having directed this episode myself I wanted to make it feel different. I want to feel like Doris was away from her normal safe haven and in someone else's back yard. So I turned off the lights.
Then in the magic of cinema, to use such a pun with a qualified magician, we jump back a year, into Barcelona and see Doris leave. Now, when we shot this we had not written the script inside the office but I suspected that Doris might kill the jeweller and run. At least she would have stolen some or all of the nanobots, because let's face it, having been jilted and now being offered the chance to take over the world .... so, does the story flow seamlessly?

The web series has been a huge success and someone in the office came up with a great idea. Well, is it. Who knows. A young actor had just spent £450 making a showreel on video to use on line. They had also spent the same making a voice reel. I guess if you are entering a profession it is no different to spending thousands on training, but the ethics aside, it was not very good. Not only that it looked rather cold and vacuumous (my spell checker hates that word, which is why I like it even more).

We give new cameramen and directors a chance and produce pretty good episodes. So the idea was that an actor could suggest an episode to fit in between any two and become an 'a' episode ... like 56a, a policeman stops Doris after she has killed the refuse collector Ben Manstead (Bin Man's Dead) in the woods. They could set up whatever they need to play a 4 to 6 page episode with Doris for £350. Now that is cheaper than the other guys were charging. We would work with them on the script, and finish the episode and put it up in sequence as a showreel of .... and an episode, which we keep usage rights to and allow you usage rights. Same/same.... Owning content and having your own platform for PR is going to be essential for any actor in the future.

Having spawned the idea the others here said it would never fly, and I must say the money does not entice me to do lots, because the money just does not cover the effort and equipment. However, it is an idea and you just never know what it brings. It might just bring the best ever episode of Doris Shades ever. Episodes in a web series can be entered into festivals, you could win a Best Actor Award.

That is a serious remark because twice Jean Heard was voted best actress in a world web series by We Love Soaps / Indie Series Network in the USA. 

News about episode 61, the last episode in Season 3, and where the series is going will come soon, but we are trying to clear the decks ready to head off on a cruise to the Canary Islands to shoot episodes for Doris Visits... which is the spin off series you must have seen.

So will you be episode 62 ????  or 55a.... have you got what it takes to win an award and have faith enough to put energy behind the belief in your talent. 

PS if anyone out there knows how to wrap text round a YouTube film in Blog spot, do tell.... 
see our new adventure, and make us a film ....