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Thread: Can you shoot video through cloth mesh?

  1. #1

    Default Can you shoot video through cloth mesh?

    Hello,
    I'm sorry if this is a newbie question. My best friend and I are making a documentary together that will involve taking undercover video. He got a special camera bag that will assist with this, but we can't get it working well.

    The camera bag features a window covered with cloth mesh, and it looks like the idea was to shoot through that. Is there a particular type of camera / lens we should be using to shoot through mesh? So far our attempts get great footage of mesh and not much else.

    Obviously, the camera bag didn't come with an instruction manual
    I'd appreciate any and all advice. Thank you in advance!!

  2. Default

    Are you manually setting the focus so the camera doesn't autofocus on the mesh?

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you for the reply. Yes, we did try manual focus and it was an improvement, but not as great as we were hoping. We also thought of trying a different kind of lens, but don't know what would be best for shooting through cloth mesh. Any advice?

  4. #4

    Default

    I think anything placed in front of a lens will reduce the amount of light and clarity of the image.
    I have always assumed that secret agents used cameras with very small lenses; making them easier to disguise.
    For example: http://www.onlinespyshop.co.uk/produ...den-bag-camera

  5. #5
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    "The best footage is faked". If you can stage the settings using actors and then the undercover filming can lose the mesh - but retain the carry-bag (or whatever), so it has "the look". You can get decent sound and then adjust it (add noise, other Foley) in Edit . . . . this can be mixed with some mic/clothing noise for believable realism. Of course making it bad enough will take considerable skill, but if you compare with the "real" undercover stuff, you will be able to get it "close enough"....
    + I agree with Tim Andrews' comments

    Hope that helps.

  6. #6

    Default

    When you are setting the camera you need to get the right balance between having a small aperture to have more in focus and a large enough aperture to get enough light. You could increase the ISO to help with low light. It's something you will have to experiment with in similar conditions to "the real thing". Also setting a manual focus at an approximation to the real thing should help to know out focus on the mesh.

    Another thought I had was about the thickness of the mesh. It needs to be quite fine, something with think strands will obstruct the camera too much.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thank you all for your advice. After further research, I think we're going to try using a pinhole lens instead.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by vidmanners View Post
    "The best footage is faked".
    Are you mad or just clueless?

    The guidelines about broadcasting faked documentary footage are very clear. If you "fake" footage in a documentary you can be fined an almost unlimited sum. The record so far is 400,000 paid out by Channel 4 for faking "undercover" footage of a supposed arms sale. This is why you see the words "reconstruction" so often in documentaries.

  9. #9
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    Reconstruction is fine - I didn't anticipate OP would offer fake as Real.... just that to achieve watchable footage and for Actor's safety it make sense to employ an artistic approach.

    I suspect, but do not know, that the fine mentioned ( Post#8 ), were for "passing-off" - which is illegal.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondaiji View Post
    Hello,
    My best friend and I are making a documentary together that will involve taking undercover video.
    The original post is quite clear. They are making a documentary, not a reconstruction.

    Quote Originally Posted by vidmanners View Post
    I suspect, but do not know...
    In that case, don't post a guess. People come here for shared knowledge not for uninformed guesses. We're trying to get away from just posting an answer for the sake of it.

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