Thoughts on getting started in Filmmaking.

As I’m pack­ing my gear for a four-day sunrise-to-sunset video shoot I real­ize that I really enjoy film­mak­ing. There’s so much to learn, watch, read, and improve upon.

Pho­tog­ra­phers mak­ing the tran­si­tion into video shouldn’t be daunted. I think that video is some­thing that is really good for us as pho­tog­ra­phers, as it is just another tool that we have at our dis­posal. Instead of being afraid and think­ing that there is some­thing else you need to learn, you should embrace this. Video is not going away!

A few ran­dom thoughts:

• Let’s start with a “sim­ple” ques­tion I get all the time that’s poten­tially dif­fi­cult to answer: what makes a good video? Basic ele­ments of pho­tog­ra­phy, for sure. Inter­est­ing sub­jects, def­i­nitely. And good light. And clean sound. And a great story, which often means a tight script.

• When start­ing out (and pretty much all the time, really) it is impor­tant to team up with a good edi­tor. If you are a pho­tog­ra­pher, and sin­gle, do your best to date or marry an editor!

• When we are shoot­ing stills, we are look­ing to freeze time, to cap­ture the essence of a moment. With motion, we are look­ing for a lot of other things besides fram­ing and expo­sure. We are think­ing about move­ment, con­ti­nu­ity, angles, and how we are going to con­nect every­thing in post. It takes a very dif­fer­ent mindset.

• Using very shal­low depths of field as a cre­ative ele­ment sounds amaz­ing. In real­ity when the cam­era moves and the sub­ject moves and you have two inches of focus, then it is not that amazing.

• A 21-megapixel-full-frame-sensor size is 5600x3700 pix­els, but that’s for stills. When you are shoot­ing video, you are really only get­ting a frac­tion of that. HD, which is 1920x1080, is two only 2 megapix­els. Yeah, I know, do the math. But, we are shoot­ing 2 megapix­els 24 or 30 or even 60 times per sec­ond. That is a lot of infor­ma­tion, which means more mem­ory cards, longer down­load times, and more runs to the store to get addi­tional hard drives.

Be brave…this is just the tip of the ice­berg. In upcom­ing arti­cles I’ll flesh out details like achiev­ing the ideal setup, the nuts and bolts of shoot­ing quick inter­views, and cru­cial ele­ments you want to be sure to get right before the shoot.
Can EOS M with 70-200 mm lens