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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Film Equipment


If you want to get close the film look the important thing is that your video camera have a large sensor size and a lens adapter. The larger the sensor it is, the closer you are to a film look.  The best choice would be a 35mm camera, which is the most expensive choice, but with the improvement of the digital technology of today you can easily achieve the 35mm look using some of the fallowing equipment:

Red Digital Camera
Canon 1d Mark IV
Canon 7D
Canon 5D Mark II
Panasonic HVX200 with 35mm Redrock adapter




A prime lens is a single focal length lens, i.e. it doesn’t zoom. For many videographers switching from the world of professional or prosumer camcorders with built-in, zoomable lenses, to shooting with primes may seem like a pain not worth taking. But there are two primary reasons why filmmakers love primes lenses.
  1. Better glass: Prime lenses tend to have higher quality glass. And more of it. Because there are no moveable parts required (as is the case with zoom lenses), more of the lens can be focused on the glass (pun intended.) You therefore will get better looking imagery with a prime lens vs. a zoom lens.
  2. They’re usually faster: a lens is said to be “fast” when it can open up to a wide aperture (i.e. the “F” number on the lens is small). So an F1.4 lens is faster than an F2.8 which is faster than an F4.0, etc. Again, because of the glass quality, and because there are fewer elements needed to make the lens, there’s more room to allow for a wider iris opening. Therefore more light can get into the lens, ergo, they’re faster.
Naturally, the downside to shooting with primes is that they require more set-up when filmmaking. As they say in the biz, you have to “zoom with your feet.” So, if you want a tighter shot, you need to either move the camera closer, or get a longer prime lens. If you shooting an event that requires getting larger variety of focal length shots in the least obtrusive way possible, then I strongly suggest using zoom lenses. Especially during sacred ceremonies like weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. Use something like a 70-200mm so that you can get tight and wide shots without have to disturb guests by picking up your tripod every now and then to move back and forth.


Here’s a short list of popular focal lengths to consider when picking primes for DSLR filmmaking. I primarily use Canon lenses, but I also like Tokina and Tamron lenses as well. Note: if you’re using a camera with a crop factor, divide these numbers by that crop factor to get the equivalent needed lens.

For instance, if you want a 50mm look on the Canon 7D which has a 1.6x crop factor, you should use a 30mm or similar focal length lens. I use the Canon 35mm f1.4L when shooting with this camera and I want a 50mm look.
  • 14mm f2.8: great for “flying” shots on a Glidecam or Steadicam style device.
  • 24mm f1.4: another good lens for flying shots with less distortion around the edges that you may see from a wider lens like the 14mm.
  • 35mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.2-f.18: these offer a more natural view (50mm approximates the human eye’s field of view). Great for interviews or medium shots. For many filmmakers, if they could only get one lens, it would be a 50mm (ideally f1.2 to f1.8)
  • 85mm f1.2: this is a great lens if you want a beautiful bokeh narrow DoF.
  • 100mm f2.8 macro: great lens if you need a super-tight close up of something very small like an insect or eyeball.
  • 135mm f2: if you need a long shot that is crisp and clear.

Canon EF USM lens

Fallow focus

It's very important to use a fallow focus, especially for film work.  If have a money to spent I suggest the redrock fallow focus.

 Shoulder Support

If you are using a DSLR camera and you have a lot of moving and dialogue shots I suggest the Red Rock Cinema Bundle. If you're using a red camera, the best choice is the Arri support.

 Audio equipment

For film work is best when you separately record the audio. That way you will have multiple channels option and best audio quality. What is the most important is the microphone choice.  

Wondering what mic's professional sound guys use on big budget films? The truth is, they use all sorts of different mics for different applications. But there are a couple industry standard mic's that are in constant use on major motion pictures. Here are a few tips on how to pick the best mic for recording dialogue on a film project no matter how big or small it may be.

Figure out your budget. Now this isn't that important, as you can rent professional mics for a fraction of the cost of purchasing them. However, you will still need to have some sort of budget. Shotgun mic's - most commonly used to record dialogue in films - can range in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand dollars. The key is getting the best sound you can without breaking the bank.

Determine what environment you will be mostly working in. Shotgun mics mounted on a boom are often the best way to capture dialogue but if you are doing a wide angle shot or there is a lot of background noise present you might consider using a lavillier mic. Lavs clip to the actors lapel and are available in a wireless or wired from.

If you are working inside in room where there is a lot of reverb (reflection of sound) you might want to consider a mic with a better off axis rejection like a hypercardioid . The industry standard hypercardioid used frequently on big budget movies is the Schoeps cmc641. This mic is great for interior shots where adequate sound protection is not available. However, if you are recording outside a shotgun mic like the Sennheiser 416, mkh 60, or the Schoeps Cmit 5u would be a better choice. These are all industry standard shotgun mics as well. Shotguns have a narrorer pick up pattern but are able to reach further distances


Best choice would be to have a Arri HM Daylight Lights but the are very expensive to rent. Use the Arri 150w Fresnel, the 650w and a 1000w and some reflectors but be sure to not use the lights directly on the subject you are filming, always reflect the lights from a white panel.

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