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The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.

Kevin Hallagan
Wed 2 May 2012Link

thank you, Kevin and Peter. time for me to redirect my camera research.


alyce ornella
Thu 3 May 2012Link

I shoot with the 60D and vintage Soviet lenses w/adapter (which are not the most versatile, and not image stabilized, but all I could afford). The camera is great. Like you, I have no funding at the time and largely shoot/edit/produce alone. You will have to put the most thought into stabilization and audio recording.

For sound, I wear a small 4-channel field mixer around my waist where I can run a shotgun mic (mounted to the camera hotshoe) and wireless lav, then output via stereo cable to the camera input. It'd be better if I had a separate sound person but I usually don't, and after a lot of trial and error this seems to be working best for me.

As soon as I have a spare $600 or so I will get an image stabilized lens, but I have no idea when that will actually happen. Get one of those if you can. I rely on a combination of tripod, monopod w/feet, gorillapod, and rail system shoulder mount (which causes so much pain after using for a couple of hours that I rarely use it).

Also I found with the 60D it's much better to work with one of those magnification mounts you clip on to the LCD screen, this helps you see much easier if you are in focus. I guess you could also use one of those small LCD field monitors if you have somewhere to mount it.

Get a 60D instead of 5D and invest the savings into the other things you'll need.

Edited Thu 3 May 2012 by alyce ornella

Jesse Zook Mann
Fri 4 May 2012Link

Get some credit cards. Buy the camera you want used. Make your movie. Sell camera. Pay off card. Thats what I've done for 10 years. Will be worth having a camera with XLR inputs – I synced 100 hours of 7d footage. It sucked. Bad.


Kevin Hallagan
Mon 7 May 2012Link

so what are everyone's thoughts on a Pentax K-5 with a BeachTek adapter for XLR inputs?


alyce ornella
Mon 7 May 2012Link

I had a Beachtek for a while. I never found the monitoring level to be very good, nor the level indicators to really work. The right channel blew out not too long after I got it. I get much better results using a 4 channel field mixer in a shoulder bag.

Edited Mon 7 May 2012 by alyce ornella

Joey Savoie
Sun 13 May 2012Link

Hey guys,

On the topic of price constraint equipment I was wondering if you guys would have a mic suggestion. I am currently using a 60D and need to buy a mic to accompany it. I do not want to have to sync audio :( and do not have a huge budget (but a semi flexible one). I will be doing almost entirely interviews both indoor and street interviews.

A friend suggested the MKE400 but I thought you guys might have some thoughts as well.


Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Mon 21 May 2012Link

In reply to Matt Dubuque's post on Fri 2 Mar 2012 :

Hey Matt,

Your mindset is on the right track. There is nothing harder than patiently soaking criticism from your peers. Tears flow inside my helpless smiles when somebody bashes my works. However, what you're doing is the best way to deal with the harshness. All the confidence you need comes from you and your loved ones.

I'll watch the short film later on and give my comments soon. Keep that philosophy in check bro!


Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Mon 21 May 2012Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Sun 18 Sep 2011 :

Aside from the informative "THE CUTTING EDGE" documentary, there is also a film made my Gabriele Voss titled "Cuts in Space and Time". It's in German with English Subtitles.

The DVD is the link

It's great for both narrative and documentary editing! The director Gabriele Voss (along with her husband, Christoph Hubner) have been doing amazing cinema verite works. And they are also exceptional mentors!


Margot Roth
Mon 21 May 2012Link

In reply to Raymund Gerard C. Cruz's post on Mon 21 May 2012 :

Raymund, I confess I don't always read this topic but was v. glad I did today when I saw your glorious turn of phrase, "tears flow inside my helpless smiles." It inspired me to write a poem.

Apology Not Accepted
by Mrs. Wm. Carlos Wms.

When I opened
the icebox
to see
my plums
were gone

tears flowed
inside
my helpless
smile

Just thought
you should
know.

Show hidden content

Laura Moire Paglin
Mon 21 May 2012Link

Your words
So sweet and so cold.


Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Mon 21 May 2012Link

In reply to Margot Roth's post on Mon 21 May 2012 :

Margot!

I didn't know my anxiety could produce such deep poetry. haha! Thanks for sharing. That energized up my day.


Doug Block
Mon 21 May 2012Link

What Margot said, Raymund.


Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Mon 21 May 2012Link

In reply to Doug Block's post on Tue 22 May 2012 :

She turned a simple phrase from my reply to Matt, and turned it into a poignant poem. Brilliant!


Margot Roth
Mon 21 May 2012Link

lol. Doug was refering to the hidden section of my post, Raymund. We're happy to have you. :) (Altho your selfless read of his comment further seals your reputation as the kindest, most sympathetic D-Worder of the incoming class of 2012. Congratulations!)

Show hidden content
Edited Mon 21 May 2012 by Margot Roth

Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Tue 22 May 2012Link

In reply to Margot Roth's post on Tue 22 May 2012 :

Haha! thank you for selecting me in the All-Rookie team. :) I will avoid these hyperlink turnovers soon.

Great poem by the way.


Kat Jarvis
Fri 25 May 2012Link

Hi, I'm a documentary filmmaker working on a business plan for the first time. I'm trying to find some good sources for finding out the marketing research data on the documentary film industry (and ideally broken down further to the LGBTQ documentary film industry). I'm trying to answer questions such as size of the market, demands in the market, trends in the target market etc. Does anyone know of any good resources?


Robert T Speziale
Tue 12 Jun 2012Link

In reply to Matt Dubuque's post on Fri 2 Mar 2012 :

Matt,

I'm confused. I watched your short, "Twitter Time" on Youtube (about 7 min 45 sec). It has excellent production values: camera technique, sound, color, sountrack, editing, mixing, credits, etc. I saw close to three minutes of text crawls around and across a black screen, with an engaging drum sound track. This was followed by a series of colorful and well shot stills mixed with video of people planting small evergreen trees in a forest, and a large oriental (Buddha?) mask, without any dialogue and with the same engaging drum track. This was followedby about a minute of very nice credits rolling. I didn't see anything remotely connected to singularity or Ray Kurzweil or Twitter.

Bob


Rebecca Rolnick
Tue 10 Jul 2012Link

Hi Friends,

I am new to D-Word and not sure the mentoring forum is the right place to send my query into the d-byss, but it seems like a good place to start ...

I am producing a documentary about a young Iraqi girl who has been in the US for 5 years (thebeautythatremains.com). I am eager to get footage of her village (in Diyala Province) as well as interview some of her family members, etc. I will not be able to travel to Iraq but am looking for a trustworhty, streamlined team (perhaps Iraqi filmmakers or reporters who speak English, or independent journalists, writers, etc who are still over there?)

I have traveled down many paths already – connections through American news stations, reporters, etc. – but have so far come up empty-handed. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice, or know anyone I could reach out to directly?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks!
Becky


Raymund Gerard C. Cruz
Wed 11 Jul 2012Link

In reply to Kevin Hallagan's post on Wed 2 May 2012 :

I agree. The 60D is actually pretty good. Most filmmakers here in Asia use it for independent film that have widescreen releases. What you should invest on are the lenses.

Edited Wed 11 Jul 2012 by Raymund Gerard C. Cruz

Laura Hoover
Sat 28 Jul 2012Link

Hello, all! I am a newbie documentarian..My film, The Strength of Strings: Appalachian Music at Rocky Branch, needs funding. I just made a Kickstarter pitch video..but I will need more than that> I am thinking of having a Bluegrass concert, the proceeds of which will go towards continued shooting. Anyone out there good with Fuindraising suggestions>? I'd love to get a pro onboard..like Steve Martin..Jackson Browne.. or other local musicians! Am I just dreaming..again? Thanks for input,, much-appreciated!


Daniel McGuire
Sat 28 Jul 2012Link

In reply to alyce ornella's post on Thu 3 May 2012 :

I'm very curious to hear more about "vintage soviet lenses" and see what the results look like.
cheers,
dmcg


Jill Morley
Sun 29 Jul 2012Link

Hi Laura, getting a "name" onboard is always a good idea. Definitely pursue them after composing a compelling letter. Best of luck!


Larry Vaughn
Mon 30 Jul 2012Link

In reply to Errol Webber's post on Tue 8 Feb 2011 : The Canon XHA1, and the XHA1s are cheap now used on ebay, just get one that doesn't have a problem with the firewire port so you can ingest the video into your editor, or get an HV 10/20/30 or 40 to use as a tape deck and maybe a stationary camera. I've also seen the flash memory card replacements to the XH series going for 1/2 of the new price on ebay.

I haven't heard about the color issues, no one has complained about the 70+ interview type business owner commercials I've made with mine. I try to white balance on a grey card which is closer to skin reflectivity that a white card or other white object like a shirt.


Darren Coyle
Sat 4 Aug 2012Link

My podcast is called "The Real Stuff" and it's a series of interviews with the makers of unscripted tv and film. And it's FREE!

A new episode is posting today – I hope you will check it out and tell all your friends to do so too!

This episode, my guest is Tyler Mathers. Tyler is an Associate Producer living and working in Washington, D.C.

Please check it out at my site:
http://darrencoyle.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=79&Itemid=465&lang=en

OR subscribe to it on iTunes. You have to search a little for my page, but it's there!


ilona zonnenfeld
Sun 5 Aug 2012Link

Hi all,

Im a producer/editor and working on directing/editing my first feature doc. I edit my own film as well as client projects using FCP 7 on my old mac book pro and i need to replace computer. Question is whether to get a new Mac Book Pro or an imac. The Retina doesnt seem to be a good option for me bc it doesnt have firewire ports and all my footage is on LaCie drives w/Firewire ports (no thunderbolt port). Retina also lacking a dvd drive – so not gonna work for me. I love the portability of my macbookpro which is why im tempted to get a new one – w faster processor, more RAM, etc.... But the imac is tempting bc processor is SO much faster, more RAM, higher graphics card, than the MacBookPro. specs on macbookpro are as follows:

2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
8GB 1600MHz memory
750GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
Intel HD Graphics 4000
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory

Whereas specs on imac are:

3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
2560 x 1440 resolution
4GB (two 2GB) memory
1TB hard drive1
AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 1GB

BC Im not a full time editor – i do a lot of producing – can I go w MacBookPro or would it be a mistake? Also, is FCP7 going to be extinct soon? I need to finish cutting my film on FCP7. How will this effect me? For new projects, should I be cutting on FCP10 instead? Are bugs worked out?

Thanks!


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