I'm Jim and I've just located this forum, and i hope you good people can be of much assistance.
I'm very new to video and visuals, my background has primarily been audio, both in term of performance and production, but recently I've begun dabbling in (very) amateur film making, and I have a few things I'd really appreciate if you could help me out with.
As I said, music was my big thing previously, so it seemed to make sense that my initial foray into visuals should be directing DIY music video for my friends band. I had a first go at this late last year, and it was totally a test the water type effort - I had one cheap camera and I set up multiple takes of the band lip-syncing to their song in their fairly small rehearsal room. I set up a four click count in for the audio so the band knew exactly where to come in, and so I could sync up the visuals with the audio. I believe I managed about 6 takes in total, the room being somewhat constrained I struggled to get one take where all four musicians were in shot, so I mixed between focusing between smaller areas and built up just about enough angles to give me something workable. I was limited to using just the poor lighting within the room itself. Naturally the results were pretty much as poor as we all expected, although there were some nice cuts here and there, it was purely a test piece and a learning experience.
So, now to project number two, a second video for the same band, and naturally we're looking at getting the finished results up to the next level. We're going for something much more ambitious, in addition to a performance part of the video there will be some additional parts done with a green screen and some intercut footage that we'll be filming further down the line, but the most challenging part, and the bit I'm going to be asking you good people for help with here is purely the performance footage. I have some queries about lights and lighting, a few on the camera setup, and some queries on the actual filming - sorry if this turns into an epic post! 1) Lights
- for this shoot I knew I wanted some form of proper lighting. As you've probably gathered, I'm on a very limited budget so purchasing dedicated film/photography lights was a financial no-no, so I've followed the device I've found a few DIY film-maker sites and purchased halogen floodlights from a hardware store. These are they;
I've got two of these - http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/chl150-wall-mounted-150w-floodlight
And one of these - http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/chl500d-halogen-floodlight-500w230v
I would have gone for three 150w lights but I bought the last two in stock and wanted the third for a basic three point lighting setup. What are your thoughts on these? I know they are not ideal, but they are great price, they can be mounted onto stands very easily, they seem to give a lot of bang for the buck.
However, my main query regarding these lights is a more basic, electrical one. The lights do not come supplied with a cable to connect them to the mains, I wanted some advice regarding the specs that the instructions suggested. The instructions suggest using 13amp fuses, and three-core cable with a conductor width of 1.5mm. At first I thought I'd be clever and just cannibalise my old electrical extension cable, however it appears that it only has a conductor width of 1.25mm. Rather annoyingly I find 1.5mm cable is not common around the home, and its a little on the steep side in terms of purchase, I've not found it for less than £1.40 per metre. At this point another thing struck me - I had originally planned to have long cables (at least 5 metres for each light) thanks to the abundance of cable in my old extension lead, however, if I had to purchase 1.5mm cable then I didn't think I could afford that much of it, probably only 2 metres maximum per light. I realised that this probably would not be enough for the cables to reach the wall socket in the location we're hoping to film, so I'd be looking having to use extensions and surge protected 4 gang adaptors, etc. To my horror I realised that if my light cables had to be 1.5mm conductor width, then probably so to would my extension cables have to be, would they not?
I then decided to investigate further the need for 1.5mm conductor width. I've noted that most sources of information suggest that for up to 13amp appliances, 1.25mm cable ought to be sufficient. 1.5mm is usually used in conjunction with 15amp appliances and so seemed a bit overkill. However, I know the implications of getting this wrong could result in the cables melting and a serious electrical fire, I want to work on a shoestring budget, but I'm not a careless fool!
What do you guys think. I'm hoping the lights would be safe on the thinner cable for short durations, if I were sensible about this and say switched them off to cool down between takes, could I negate the risk a little? Ultimately I think I will buy long 1.5mm cables, but this could take a while to fully cable all three lights.2) Lighting of the shoot
- assuming I get the lights working, how does one set up three point lighting for a shoot like this? The band are a four piece combo and we're looking at filming in a location at least 6x10 metres. I do envisage there being some longer shots where the whole band are visible so I was thinking that the 500w and one of the 150w lights ought to be my key and fill lights at the far end of the room from the band, probably pointed more towards the side walls for a bit of diffusion, and the remaining 150w light maybe suspended on a boom near the back end of the room? My problem with this is that I expect the singer/guitarist, lead guitarist and bassist to line up together, with the drummer just behind them, so where exactly should I put my back light - shining down behind the front three musicians but in front of the drummer, or shining down behind the whole band? I think the later would be best but I'm worried about the drummer getting the brunt of the background light and getting roasted alive in the heat! Any suggestions?3) Cameras
- I've got four cameras at my disposal for this shoot, unfortunately they're of differing quality. My main camera is going to me my wifes new Fujifilm Finepix HS30 EXR - I know its not a DSLR but its a decent bridging alternative, and frnakly the best camera at my disposal at present. I would like to use this for all the important shots, and use a mix of tripod and steady cam angles. I've also got my wifes older Fujifilm Finepix S5800, a more basic bridging cam but a solid 2nd camera. I've still got my Sanyo Xacti camcorder, which was used in my previous shoot - its cheap and cheerful but its alright, and finally the singer from the band has one of those incredible cheap Vivitar cameras - this one in fact - http://www.vivitar.com/products/2/digital-video-recorders/423/dvr-925hd
The plan is that for each take I'll be getting the most important shots with the main camera, while the other three will be dotted around on tripods getting stock footage for cutaways and filling gaps, etc.
However, all of these cameras have different resolutions, the main camera can do 1920×1080, the other Fujifilm can only do a max of 640x480 pixels, and the other two camcorders are somewhere in between. What should I do here, use each camera to the highest resolution it has - I'd have thought this might provide inconsistent quality. I know three of the cameras can do 1280 x 720, so should I just use those three at that resolution in an attempt to get a basic standard and drop the second Fujifilm altogether?
Well, I think that enough rambling for now, any guidance you can give would be really appreciated.