Definitely another one of those moments where I had to say out loud "I love my job!" I found myself in Texas hiding in a cupboard! Gaurav(Gav) was hiding just outside of the room. We were waiting for his girl to enter the room then Gad was to pop the question.
Just a few days before, Gav had contacted me and related a vague plan of action that involved flying to Texas in order to document the most important question he had yet asked. What an adventure!
When I realised that I would need to document this story by myself, yes 'solo', my mind immediately switched to logistics. I knew this was going to be difficult because I had already told a similar story in the UK, but using three cinematographers. A different approach would be needed!
I decided that I would use my Canon 5D Mark III and a 24-70 MKII as my main go too camera. However, I didn't dare cover such an important event with just one camera so I decided to take 2 x Canon Legria Mini cameras along for the ride. These are essentially selfie styled cameras ideal for bloggers. Gav was adamant that Pretika would not have a clue that they were being recorded until after the event. These two small cameras would allow me to swiftly set up additional camera angles without the need a stand as the camera includes the stand within the body. I had also recently purchased the Freefly Systems MOVI M10. I was desperate to find a way of packing this device within my suitcase, with the aim of operating it in majestic solo mode.
Whilst selecting my gear, my thoughts were also with the story that I needed to tell and also the story I wanted to tell. Of course, there was the option of just recording what I was obliged to capture which was the question itself. However, things would be much more interesting if the story started earlier. As with any video that's aim is to create an engaging piece, things become so much more interesting when the story is told in an unexpected or different way. The Legria Mini cameras would help me achieve a different feel to the edit. These small cameras were used for a large percentage of the entire video, as the content was very engaging. They gave a more intimate portrayal. Sure, in today's day and age people use cameras to film everyday. However, there is often little thought given to storytelling and its structure. This is where I come in.
At times you will see that I have used a FCP X effect to add the home camcorder graphics and degrade the footage slightly, in order to remind the audience that we are filming spontaneously without the rules of cinematography.
The first mini story in the office started unexpectedly. I made the decision to film in my office literally moments before as what was taking place caught me by total surprise. However, this well illustrates the speed of deployment and the benefits of using whatever camera you have available, even if it's not the highest technical quality. In fact, be prepared for it, by having a good quick access camera, a story is better than no story!
The MOVI M10 was used with a Canon MKII and 24-70. I have to give myself a pat on the back as daring to take the MOVI by myself to a foreign country to use in an essentially 'run and gun' environment was a little crazy. However, it's definitely paid off as it lifted the production value of the piece. I balanced the MOVI at my base. Then used the remote TX to kill the stabilisation on the MOVI without switching the actual M10 off. This meant that I wouldn't need to continuously reinitialise the device. (This will likely only make sense if you are intimately familiar with the MOVI.) The remote was left in a backpack strapped to my chest so that I could quickly make the M10 live as needed.
As I had no follow focus I needed to set my depth of field using a narrow aperture or high 'F' number (f-stop). This wasn't a problem in the day time shots. However, many of my nighttime shots were not as usable because I didn't have much control of my subject to camera distance. Focusing using distance didn't work for me. However, the footage I recorded in the dark was purely auxiliary, but highlighted the importance of follow a focus.
For the actual proposal audio I used a lav mic connected to his sleeve/ cuff as I didn't what Pretika to see it. This wasn't the ideal scenario. If I am honest hidden production is never ideal lol, but it's damn engaging!