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DSLR for documentary, no; but for film…yeah, yeah!

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So I’ve been extremely busy over the August and September period due to the London Olympics as well as London’s Notting Hill Carnival. I did a number of gigs over that period including the shooting of a short film.

Together with Nigel of SpinxMedia we filmed a short to try and truly understand the capabilities and shortcomings of DSLR using the Canon 550D. That expereince can be seen here http://youtu.be/eRg8zMqreEk . As a result I went out and purchased the Canon 600D shortly after. The 600D having the flip out LCD and better audio control providing both improved monitoring visually and sonically. This certainly has prepared us for the music video shoot I had mentioned a few posts back. More of which later.

So during the Olympic period I was fortunate to be able to visit the Athlete’s Village to meet the St Kitt’s and Nevis Team. I supported ChantiMedia with this gig and was pressed to use the Canon as it has the look they were after. My preference was for the tried and trusted Z1. I can quite safely say that DSLRs are not the best for run and gun or documentary work where sound quality is paramount. The additional fidgety gear needed for sound is a grind to both carry around as well as to monitor the different functions. Sync in, post even with Plural Eyes, is a nightmare and extremely time consuming. I’m still working on that project now! The images do look great mind.

I used the Z1 with the same production unit for a ‘rockumentary’. Rootz Underground was featuring at the London O2 arena as part of the Jamaica House Expose that coincided with the Olympics and support of the national team. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet the athletes but the experience with the band was great. Apart from some of the low light challenges with the band backstage, the footage I’ve reviewed so far is good and sound is great and locked to the clips. No syncing there. I hope to piece together something inspiring here.

I took the Canon’s back out for Jamaica National’s day to catch the performance of one of the friends of Rootz, Briana. As this was a live performance of three songs only, I had a better experience.

Which brings me back to that music video I’ve been harping on about for so long. So I sketched out the original track or “riddim” back in February. The artiste I shopped it to put lyrics to it and changed slights parts of the arrangement. That was around April. We agreed we would take it to studio in May and we certainly did at the end of the month. Now I love hip hop, I grew up with it. For the life of me, I cant work out how every music production house engineer in the UK seems to only have hip hop or Grime background. The vocals were recorded with little appreciation of harmonies and layering and the finer points of melody, etc. I ended up taking the project from the original recording house and dealing with an independent engineer from New Zealand. We’ve finally got a product I’m happy with and we can now start pre-production of the video in earnest. Now here is where the Canon’s will come into their own!

Be good … Tony