We have been using a Canon XC15 with fixed lens from 5th Sept 2017.
When we started Doris Visits we were purely a drama production company and owned a number of 5k Epic Reds, the BMPCC camera we pushed out to the new travel arm was a drama camera, not easy to use in a one man band. Doris Visits also did not have the colourists and editors that we would employ to finish dramas so that camera which was manual focus, manual lighting and exposure certainly not the right camera.
Doris Visits grew faster than we expected, not least to the good reporting and foresight of reporter Jean Heard, the actress we tasked with the project (well she asked for it). The site was having 30,000 reads a month within a year and is now over 50,000 reads so we afforded Jean the XC15. On that new camera first, it is used totally hand held and stabilised in FCPX. We used to consider that cheating but it seems commonplace in all TV drama now, some examples are embarrassing considering they have crews of hundreds. The sound is the simple radio mic plugged direct into the camera. It is a very simple point and fire unit, however, it is the experience of what to shoot and how to edit that makes the films popular.
The BMPCC camera was chosen for the web series drama which was photographed by director Buster Blackledge and his team, and he chose that camera. It was ideal used in a slower , set up drama situation that was normally inside and lit. That equipment is listed below if you are thinking drama. The lens choice is what allows you to feature in focus that which is important and is the main argument drama directors have against the XC15.
We would add to other huge negatives to the XC15 which we otherwise like. How the camera refuses to even see real Canon batteries and refuse them and hates cheaper copies. The earphone socket in the user handle. And how the in eyepiece information can just vanish when it thinks it wants to and you have to reset the camera. All the films on the USA coast, New England and Adriatic inc Dubrovnik are shot on the XC15. The older BMPCC films are where it seems necessary being pulled back into the edit to recolour and try and make them match the contrast of the newer Canon.
The BMPCC was and is a great kit, but better suited to drama and we want exactly what drama does not want, we want the opposite. The BMPCC camera also gives a desaturated image that requires colouring skills and we are certainly not experts on how to colour the footage. If and when our OPERA DORIS VISITS ON LINE TV CHANNEL gets to be really busy we may have to recolour all those old films, but, we do own the footage ready for on line TV when the UK catches up with the likes of Korea and Japan who have over 60% of its end users with fast broadband compared to the UK’s 4%. The XC15 should help us keep everything in focus, it is a documentary camera rather than drama. To explain, the BMPCC with changeable lens meant one layer featured by being in focus and the rest inc background was out of focus – ideal for drama not for a travel show. There are other reasons why the Cinema Camera has been changed for the far more expensive Canon XC15 kit, but we need to get used to the new kit to compare. We are just about to take it to chase the sun, so will be reading the manual and playing with it on the plane.
Great Pictures from the BMPCC included this night film of the Great Belt Bridge.
Midnight, white light sky, shot at 1600 iso with a 17mm to 40mm lens.
SOUND – we use Radio Mics
Doris wears a Lavalier Microphone, which we never hide like you would have to in drama. Like in news we leave the mic exposed and Jean often wears different coloured fluffy covers like a brooch. We use radio miv links – a similar version to the Sony listed below, ours is a the little more expensive Panasonic, but there are versions on Amazon for under £50. I have no idea what they will be like. Our Panasonic radio packs.
The Magic Belt
The whole lot went into a fisherman’s pouch, and the SC15 will do the same.
Here is a list of kit that might help you. These links are here to help you see the kit in more detail. Amazon we find very good for finding the best price and for customer service. Take a look then move onto Post production below.
Edit and Post Production
We edit on Final Cut Pro, and because of the XC15 we have had to upgrade to FCP 10.3 which is about the fourth time we have purchased versions of that software. Then a plug in for the Canon files and we have just bought a title plug in recommended to us by comedian Manuel Martinez. As the XC15 has a two mic mixer we will see if we can use two radio miss as he wants to film some street magic.
We add music from our in-house composer Mark Blackledge, there are two great films on this. Below is a film of how Jean adds the music, but the blog on Mark working in his studios is worth a few minutes, he is a fantastic talent with a great facility for mini orchestra or his huge digital orchestra.
Mark is a proper film composer with major credits from Disney, we jointly manage him so enquiries via our web site for him or for shooting.
FILMS ON FILM MAKING
We have a few on the web, they are on the same channel as the laying music film above. But while we are plugging, there is also a book on how to write a screenplay, at least that is something we earn a penny from. Click this text.
Web series made with this kit Doris Shades Of Bad (61 episodes), Doris Visits (over 100 episodes). Now Jean likes it at sea, and why not, why not become a cruiser.
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