The equipment that I use to film my short film is the same as the equipment I used to film my entry into the National Students Film Festival. I will be using:
A high quality video camera to record professional looking footage. This Nikon camera will be provided by the school, and has special features such as auto focus, which will mean that I can record our footage much faster as we won’t need to keep focusing the camera when filming. To turn on, you turn the dial on the top of the camera from off to on. Then to use the camera, you must focus it by either turning the hand focuser manually, or ensuring it is set to auto focus and pressing the focus button which is just above the right side of the screen and then to record, just press the red button. The camera switches off every 30 seconds to save battery power which can be slightly irritating when you are trying to position the camera, but can be turned back on by flicking the dial around the red button to the left. The camera will only allow you to record 10 minutes of footage at a time, which is far more than needed when filming shots for film work, as each shot is usually only around 3 to 5 seconds long. The reason there is a maximum about of footage you can record at once is so that if you accidently leave the camera recording, it will not completely fill up your memory card.
A Zoom H1 Handy Recorder so I can record higher quality diegetic sound. The camera has the ability to record sound, but is not great quality and can only record from the perspective of where the camera is. It is small and thus portable, so it can be easily carried about the set. It only requires two AA batteries so that if it runs out of charge it can quickly be re-charged. It also has an input in port so that earphones can be put in the input out hole, and I can listen to exactly what the microphone is recording. It has an X and Y recording technique which means that it will record sound from all angles. To record, simply turn on the microphone by switching the button on the bottom of the right side of the microphone to on. You will know the microphone is on as it will say ‘Hello’. To record, simply press the big red button in the middle.
A Rode Video Mic to help increase the quality of the sound recorded by the Zoom recorder. To do this, simply plug the Rode mic into the ‘input in’ port on the recorder. The microphone comes with an additional boom stick so that the sound can be recorded more closely to the diegetic sound than simply the sound from the camera. It will also increase the quality of the sound than the recorded as it is simply just a higher quality microphone and will reduce and muffle from the recorder.
A camera tripod so that all of my shots will be steady and thus make my short film look more professional. The school offers two kinds of tripod, one which has clasps which are released to extend and disassemble the tripod, and one which you twist to tighten and loosed so the tripod can be assembled and disassembled. Both are equally as good a quality. When filming, I must be careful to drop the tripod legs carefully if I wish to extend it as the legs could easily drop right out due to the momentum, so they must be guided out with my hands. To turn the camera once on the tripod, I would twist the large lever to loosen it, move the camera to the desired position and then twist it in the opposite direction to tighten it again. If this is not tightened, the whole base will tilt to the side and the camera could easily fall off and break.
A Steadicam to give the free movement of a handheld shot but with reduced camera shake. This will help to create an immersive feeling whilst ensuring my short film still looks of a high quality. The camera is attached to the Steadicam as it is with a tripod. Then, to balance the camera, its weight must be shifted on the base of the Steadicam so it is central which will prevent it tilting and stop the Steadicam from swinging.
Finally, I will use a large track camera dolly to film any walking shots. The track is made up of several large tubes and some smaller, plastic connecters. The track can be as long or as short as needs be, so that I can tailor the length of the shot to the space it will be filmed in. The dolly then sits on top of the track and is pushed forwards or backwards. The tripod sits on the dolly, with each of the three legs in three of the 5 indents. There are more intents than needed so that we can adjust the height that the dolly shot will be filmed on. I must be careful to push the dolly at a consistent speed, or else the shot will very quickly begin to look unprofessional.
All of this equipment is very high quality which means I have the best chance of filming a really professional looking short film. I am confident with how to use each piece and therefore will help me to create an impressive piece of cinematography.