Photography, editing, sound mixing and music by Jerry MacKay
Shot on the Canon 7D
Editing in Final Cut
Audio mixing in Soundtrack Pro
Music composed in Apple Logic
No additional lighting was used, just what was available in the barn or from the sun. Most of the footage was shot with the standard 28-135 zoom lens included in the kit, but a number of shots were taken with the Canon 50mm 1.4 (including the warm weather waterfall shot...say that three times fast!)
Shot in 24P, mostly using the camera's outdoor white balance setting.
Most of the footage was shot with a tripod (an inexpensive Slik tripod, cost $25), but some shots were handheld using the IS on the zoom lens (the shot of Richard putting on the apron is an example).
Audio was recorded with a Zoom H4N, synched with Pluraleyes.
Edited and color corrected in Final Cut. Music was composed in Apple Logic.
If you're shooting outside in bright daylight, you better have a third-party eyepiece, a hood, or cover yourself and the camera with a blanket, because you'll have a hell of a time seeing the LCD viewfinder. It's a great viewfinder, but it's no match for the sun.
For focusing, I had good results from zooming in all the way on the subject and using the AutoFocus on the camera (half press the shutter button). You can't do this while shooting, but that's not a problem for the way I shoot. Rack focusing is very tricky without a follow focus (which I don't have yet), but I actually like keeping certain things out of focus in my shots (I personally think rack focusing is overused by many filmmakers).
Keeping your footage from being overexposed is also tricky, especially when shooting in bright sunlight where seeing the LCD is hard. I shot everything with the Superflat profile, which helped a great deal. But there's still a few shots that got overexposed...oh well, practice makes perfect. Although I discovered you can shoot a test shot, and play it back in the camera with a histogram to check your levels...I'll use that much more until Canon releases a firmware upgrade.
I was very happy with the audio quality from the Zoom. Synching with Pluraleyes was a bit glitchy (the software crashed a lot, and seemed very slow), but that may be due to my older PowerPC Mac and Leopard OS (the computer crashes quite a bit on many programs). At some point I'll upgrade my computer, and then I'll get a better idea of how well Pluraleyes works. But there's no question, it was able to sync up all of the shots (before each take when camera and Zoom were rolling, I said aloud the audio track name..."track 5", "track 6"...to make it easier for the software to sync everything). Being a one-man crew, hitting record on two devices is a pain, but the sound quality is worth it. The Zoom was mounted on top of the camera with a hotshoe.
No problems at all with card buffering or overheating (although it was a bit cold outside). The card is a Lexar Professional 300X 32GB...expensive, but hasn't given me any problems. I actually filled up the card at one point, and the camera recorded all the way up to that point (if there were going to be buffering issues, I imagine that's when it would happen). I can't say cheaper cards wouldn't work just as well, I just know that these cards have worked with no problems.
Battery life has not been a problem. I have two batteries for the camera, but you can easily shoot for hours on one battery.
If you're using an IS lens, it does make a slight rumbling sound. This is an issue if you're using the camera mic, but with the Zoom (even mounted to the camera), I didn't pick it up enough to notice. One strange issue I've found using IS...if you tilt the camera up around 45 degrees, the IS tends to freak out and rumble A LOT, so much so that it can vibrate the camera and take your shot out of focus (I had issues with this on the opening icicle shot). I've had this problem happen on other projects as well...I guess the only solution is to turn IS off (fine for still shots, but if you're tilting or panning, make sure you have a good tripod). Maybe this is only an issue with the 28-135 kit lens...I don't have any other IS lenses.
While I'm drooling over better lenses, GlideCams, Z-Finders and follow focus rigs, my goal right now is to work with what I have. Once you start paying for all the extras, that inexpensive camera isn't so inexpensive anymore. I'd rather focus on using the tools I have in a way that takes advantage of their strengths and stays away from their weaknesses. So I can't do a ten-foot crane shot or steadicam move...so what? It's more important to focus on the story, and capture shots that move the story forward. Story has to be the most important element...don't worry about not having a $1500 lens.
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