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Stop the Nakedness! (short film)

February 1, 2010

A clothing company has a creative campaign to sell T-shirts and contribute humanitarian aid. This short film shot entirely with the Canon 5D Mk II  full-frame 35mm still camera features musical groups participating in the innovative program called “Stop the Nakedness!”

Pretty clever title: attention-grabbing but no actual “nakedness” in the video. I thought this was a well produced piece, except for the audio…

You probably noticed that some of the interviews sounded like they were recorded in a tin can. If you have any inclination about shooting films with a video DSLR, make sure you follow Philip Bloom’s advice and get, at minimum, a Rode VideoMic to record interviews and ambient sound, and preferably a Zoom H4n digital audio recorder. It actually stands up well against the comparable Marantz recorder, which is a well-known professional brand we used to use at the Naitonal Public Radio affiliate station where I worked in the mid-90s. I’m thinking about adding it to my pro video kit just to have another option for recording fantastic natural sound and also as a backup interview mic.

FYI, the Canon 7D only records 12-minute video clips, with or without sound. Philip Bloom recently posted a great article on getting good sound with the camera after using it to shoot interviews in Dubai. He pointed out in an answer to a question in the comments section of that article that camera manufacturers are probably limiting the length of recordings to avoid having their HD video-capable DSLRs being classified as video cameras for tax and legal reasons.

Finding high quality, low budget film making with 35mm still cameras and prosumer HD camcorders continues to be a challenge. I’ve noticed a lot of people getting DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 7D, and a good bit of what I find is “test” videos, amateur music videos, wedding highlight videos and very low budget short film attempts. Some are clever, some are funny, some are good efforts, and some are just plain bad. But there’s no doubt that DSLRs are causing a pretty exciting surge in creativity.

COMING SOON: I recently found a really funny video series featuring, of all things, a TURTLE! It’s got great cinematography, a clever theme, and all five videos feature a story arc that is very satisfying. I’ll post it here within the next few days, so keep your eyes out for “Turtle Hero (funny series).”

By the way, I’ve decided to wait on purchasing a DSLR for video at the moment. I want the Canon 5D Mk II for stills and HD video, but I suspect the recent price drop is a sign that Canon have a replacement in the works, which might be announced as soon as this year’s NAB Conference. Purely conjecture, but usually falling prices mean something better or newer is on the way. I think Canon has probably been scrambling to get a 5D mk III in the pipeline after seeing how popular it and the 7D have been with videographers and cinematographers. I also figure that Canon’s competitors are also working on better DSLR video hybrids, and I expect to see these rolling out by late Spring or Summer of this year. In the meantime, I’m enjoying getting back into still photography with my Canon G11, which a recent comparison test showed actually makes sharper still images than the Canon 7D, a real surprise to me. I’m more than pleased with the results.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 5:28 PM

    A NOTE ABOUT THE AUDIO IN THIS PRODUCTION:

    Audio in this documentary was recorded using dual system audio. I use the Zoom H4n and a Neumann boom mic along with the 5D for production. On some of the interviews a good bit of outside noise was picked up (city sounds, tour bus, air conditioning, etc.). To reduce the noise I used the noise reduction plugin inside of Soundtrack Pro. It is the noise processing that is causing some of the audio to sound as if it were recorded inside of a tin can.

    In noisy environments such as this a lav mic would have prevented the need for noise reduction and would have resulted in higher quality audio.

  2. February 6, 2010 6:05 AM

    Hey Donald, no offense intended. The audio is not that bad; considering the circumstances I am VERY impressed with your sound gear (Neumann mic!) and the noise reduction capability of Soundtrack Pro. You might not have it in your budget to do a wireless mic setup; one thing I have done with clients is recommend a high quality digital recorder like the Zoom H4n or Edirol R-09 HD recorder, paired with an inexpensive lav mic with a headphone plug straight into the unit. One sound supplier in my city sells a decent plug-in lav mic for about $40, which sounds amazing when you plug it into a really good digital audio recorder like the Edirol.

    You can treat it just like the transmitter part of a wireless setup; just clip it onto the subject and let them drop it into a pocket or clip it on their belt and hide the wire. Then you can synch it up later with PluralEyes just like you would normally. It’s also great because in urban or business environments, you can avoid radio or Blackberry interference like you might get with a wireless setup.

    Again, great video even with some sound issues, that only a professional would probably ever notice.

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