Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: Lessons from an amateur

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    11,526
    Blog Entries
    24

    Default Lessons from an amateur

    Despite my better judgement I often read blog posts and articles from self-appointed filming gurus (you know who they are). They often wax lyrical about cameras and generally promote a feeling that gear is king. As I sat with a severe case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, I started to think about what really matters. What do you really need to think about?


    Lessons from an amateur
    Here's my thoughts on how you can learn to love your work



    • If you're thinking about buying equipment, go out and film something. Chances are you're looking to buy something because you think it will make you better, or worse you think it will motivate you. When I feel the need to buy I try and learn something new about my gear or use it in another way. Bottom line: Until you know your gear inside out, it breaks or doesn't do what you need, you don't need to buy anything.
    • The most important piece of kit you'll ever buy is a tripod but you'll probably rarely use it. It really, really makes a difference. When I watch what I consider to be my "better" home videos, there's a common theme: I used a tripod (or other support) for some or most of the shots.
    • Keep it simple. The more gear you introduce, the more you have to worry about. My ideal set up (when I don't have to worry about looking like a twat) is one camera, onboard mic, two lenses and a slider on a tripod. I've managed to film for a whole day carrying this lot around. If I care about looking a twat, I take only what I can fit in my pockets. Sometimes that's just an iPhone (see above - the gear doesn't make a good video, you do)
    • Use manual focus. I would never manual focus for stills, but do for video. Practice using manual focus lots, if helps you understand your camera.
    • Always look around you and don't be afraid to crawl on the floor or climb up walls (see looking like a twat). Look up from the camera and explore your surroundings. Make a note of the types of shot that work for the types of stuff you're filming - you'll soon build up a mental library of filming positions.
    • Don't be afraid to look like a twat. You look like an idiot with your camera, so get over it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,458

    Default

    I also agree with all the tips, but I think we should have a healthy discussion around just how much of a twat we tend to look like, depending upon our gear - "retro twat", "cheap twat", "posh twat" all come to mind

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    10,849
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    The only thing I'd take issue with is the "use manual focus". My camera does a better job of getting things in focus than I can (assuming I'm not lugging my 42" TV around with me as a monitor). Why would I use manual? Obviously it's important to check that the camera is focusing on the right thing.

    For static (camera and subject) shots then, OK manual focus, and obviously if one is attempting focus pulls, but if the target is moving, I have absolutely no hope of following the focus (this is not a practice thing, it's an eyesight/small viewfinder thing) and I don't find focus assist functions particularly helpful..
    Tim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    11,526
    Blog Entries
    24

    Default

    Fair point Tim.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,458

    Default

    Yes yes - manual vs auto focus got it - now about the important topic that Marc raised

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Surrey, UK
    Posts
    10,849
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zamiotana View Post
    Yes yes - manual vs auto focus got it - now about the important topic that Marc raised
    Oh, I don't mind looking like a twat.

    I tend to have gear lust rather than GAS as I have a wife who keeps me in check. After my first cheapie camcorder, I've only bought two "better" cams and both of those second hand. My only half decent mic was 2nd hand too as are my lights (courtesy another on this forum) I have, however bought new tripod (indeed I work almost exclusively on tripod), filters and camera bag, but I think you'll agree this is fairly limited expense on new stuff.

    Would I like a slider? You bet! Would I like a gimbal? Jib? Ditto. Would either help me make better films? No, but they might help add a bit of polish to an already "good" film. Then again, for the use I'd get out of them, I'd be better off borrowing or renting. And there are often imaginative ways one can achieve similar effects..

    Which is basically ehoing much of Marc's post.

    On the other hand I do tend to spend more than I should on software - always upgrading whether I need to or not. I've also spent a few hundred on production music that I rarely use.
    Tim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,458

    Default

    Yes - but wouldn't you just love to own one of those new black magic micro cinema cameras? I think you should get one.

    These days when I get the urge to just buy something I usually end up buying a new app instead $0.99 is cheaper than $1000

    Hmmm - just curious - when might we see some footage from the recent YES concert?
    Last edited by zamiotana; 05-06-2016 at 09:12 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Recently I picked up a 3 way axis gimbal for my iPhone ... So far apart from one or two experiments I've used it ...... Zero times In my defence, and I know it doesn't really excuse me it's the first piece of gear I've bought in quite a while !!
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    11,526
    Blog Entries
    24

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by enc View Post
    Recently I picked up a 3 way axis gimbal for my iPhone ... So far apart from one or two experiments I've used it ...... Zero times In my defence, and I know it doesn't really excuse me it's the first piece of gear I've bought in quite a while !!
    What one did you go for? I've never seen one in the wild, but then I rarely see people filming full stop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,458

    Default

    I wasn't sure whether to post this under the recent "audio advice" thread or under this "how to look like a pretentious twat" thread so here goes:


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Let's keep it amateur
    By Marc Peters in forum Forum Announcements and News
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 07-14-2015, 11:18 AM
  2. Top tip from an amateur
    By Marc Peters in forum Just for fun
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-22-2014, 09:24 PM
  3. Amateur dubstep musician seeks amateur videographer
    By JonnyGun in forum Pre Production
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-13-2013, 04:34 PM
  4. amateur needs help
    By Bigpete in forum Just for fun
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-09-2013, 11:03 AM
  5. Amateur dubstep musician seeks amateur videographer
    By JonnyGun in forum Just for fun
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-08-2011, 06:13 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •