In early 2012 I went through a process of reducing production gear to a minimum, akin to trying to write a Haiku. I’m gearing up for a production trip to Australia to record interviews with my extended family during our quadrennial family reunion. It’s a new production Haiku with different solutions due to the inevitable march of technology, and the needs of this production.
I do not expect this project to ever reach broadcast, but there’s no reason not to have the best quality sound and picture I can, for these recordings should last into posterity. I am traveling alone, so it was important to not carry too much. Essentially I need a good multicam interview setup, with excellent audio quality. I will shoot b-roll around the family reunion and some of the family sites.
Back in 2012 the production kit revolved around a Sony FS100 (obsoleted within the less than six months the company owned it) and NEX 7s for secondary cameras. At the time I also noted that the three iPads and sundry iPhones meant we had more than ten HD cameras on that project!
The NEX 7s have been great workhorses, particularly considering their low cost. What they are not good at is long form recordings as they have a tendency to overheat after 10-15 minutes. I was about ready to convince myself I really needed to buy a new camera from the A7 family, when circumstances put me in close contact with Dave Basulto demonstrating his iOgrapher.
It then clicked: upgrade my iPad to an Air 2 and that becomes my primary camera. The NEX7s will be alternate angles for some variety but it is the iPad that will be the primary camera. The ‘secret’ is to control the camera with software somewhat better than supplied native to the camera. Filmic Pro is that solution, even including a three position “shot box” for zoom presets. It also allows for higher bit-rate recording and uncompressed audio for higher quality than native recordings.
The limitation I accept, is that I won’t have much color grading latitude, but that I can live with since I have more control with Filmic Pro to get the white balance to standard in the camera.
For audio I’m giving myself options: I have the adapter cable to send external microphone signals into the iPad, while still allowing monitoring. I could use this with the directional mic or the radio mic receiver in the bottom left. My other alternative is to record the radio mic output on a Zoom H1, or use one of the lapel microphones directly into the H1 (or two).
The two NEX7s are not essential but I’ll be carrying them for photography reasons – Tasmania is very pretty. Since I’ll have them I added the Gorillapods to support them.
Sundry power adapters and a tripod suitable for the iOgrapher round out the kit. What you don’t see is a Litepanels Croma I added after that shot. The iOgrapher has multiple cold mounts and the dual-color nature of the Croma makes it a good choice for a little fill light.
Naturally I’ll be logging with Lumberjack using my iPhone since the iPad will be shooting. That way, when I get back, I’ll have everything organized by location, person, activity and content keyword ranges. I’ll probably use Lumberjack Lumberyard to do content keyword based string-outs of my keyworded ranges.