The long term goal for Scarlet View Media is for it to be the production company for creative, exciting and ethical shark film-making and programming but to do that, it needs to grow, to grow, it needs money so that's what I'm working on at the moment because life as a Film-Maker is tough, make no mistake about that! What I do feel proud about though is that people regularly contact me asking my advice on starting out in the independent film world. I am certainly not the oracle, I'm not even the best person to ask but I do my best and the reason people ask is because I am happy to help, using my own experience.
Henceforth, we pick up from where we left off with part II to the previous blog.
The fluid head on a proper video tripod will allow smooth, silky pans and tilts, getting rid of those horrible, jerky, awkward movements you get with non-video tripod heads. As with seemingly everything to do with video though, they're not cheap.
Some models are more expensive than others of course, the most common names you'll encounter will be Manfrotto and Velbon but there is a dizzying array on the market, some of which top the £1000 mark. Being on a budget, I chose to go with the Fancier 717 Pro and although not "cheap," it is still way below a lot of the other tripods in its class.
- 4x 12 inch Rods
- Shoulder Support
- Z Shape Offset Raiser
- C Shape Cage
- Follow Focus
- Articulated Monitor Arm
- Single Rod Clamp
The answer can really only be a resounding yes! Firstly, it wasn't cheap so it was a serious investment for me and there are cheaper options on the market but the quality of every aspect of each component is absolutely top class, super solid, rugged, ergonomic and really, really well made, when you screw any of this stuff in it locks completely and feels 100% secure. It's all as light as possible as well yet reassuringly weighty in the components to which you would attach your camera and it just feels "right."
The handles are amazing, articulating any which way you want and locking tight with zero wobble, the articulated monitor arm is the only thing I have used which solidly supports my Lilliput monitor and the shoulder mount, whilst hardly covered in the softest of cashmere is more than comfortable enough. The follow focus is brilliant, again, really well made and the care to make it so it folds down and out of the way when not in use is the kind of added touch I really like. Be aware though, on some Canon lenses with infinite focus rings (like my workhorse 15-85mm lens) the follow focus isn't effective if the focus limits are exceeded making those perfect focus pulls just too fiddly but on lenses without infinite focus, it works like a dream and the results look just stunning.
The rig packs down into each individual component taking about five minutes to set up and when broken down fits perfectly into the big one of these which incidentally is one of my favourite acquisitions in ages, less than £25 for three solid, light flight cases which have served me brilliantly, the big one for the rig, the medium one for sound equipment and monitor and the small one I am searching for a use for (I have two small ones now). They keep everything together, weatherproof, safe and neat and are very affordable.
Why all the detail on the shoulder rig...Simple really, it took me so long to find the right one and for a big investment I was becoming frustrated that everything seemed good but just not good enough, or perfect but well out of my price range. In this Lanparte gear I've found the best of both worlds, the perfect set up at a price which although isn't cheap, is still value for money. For me, these components and rigs are better than all the RedRock ones I have seen (and cheaper) and at least as good if not better than what I have seen from Zacuto as well, plus, for a little more money, you get a far higher elevation of quality over the mid-range stuff and it's all built to last. Also, I must point out the level of customer service I got from Miguel and Derek at CinegearPro was outstanding. Both are film-makers themselves (check out Derek's excellent film "Homeless, A Mile In Their Shoes") so understood my needs and helped me in assembling exactly the best components for my rig. I would recommend them extremely highly so if you're in the market for a rig or rig parts, get in touch with them.
One of the primary things which adds production value, that is, stuff which makes your video look high budget even if it wasn't, is smooth camera movement. Watch any major motion picture or big budget drama, all of them will have gorgeous sweeping camera movements which set the scene, build tension, introduce a character or establish motivation. A good example is the first shot after the credits in the film "Panic Room."
Konova Slider Montage Film from Dave Dugdale on Vimeo.
There are loads of slider options on the market nowadays, ranging from super cheap mini sliders to the expensive longer ones. Kessler and Cinevate make some fantastic sliders and dollies at the higher end of the financial scale with Indisystem, CinegearPro, Glidetrack and Cobra Crane also making some great sliders for those on a lower budget.
The slider I use is the 80cm Konova Slider which I got for about £320 if I remember right, last year. It's a great budget slider which I would definitely recommend with one caveat...You need to buy either another fluid tripod head or a solid ball head camera mount with a quick release so you can articulate your camera angles easily so budget for that.
Another brilliant option for impressive, cinematic camera moves is the DSLR Devices Mini Jib, I have used one but I don't have one, however I want one. Badly. I want one like I want the new GoPro and that's a lot.
This is a great review which showcases what this ingenious piece of kit can achieve and for £220 it's an absolute bargain, in fact, that £220 will add probably at least £500 to the value of your video each time you use it if you use it creatively and that's pretty good business in anyone's book.
So that's part II and once again, apologies for the delay, I know there is no need for me to apologise since I have been so ridiculously busy but it's just good form isn't it. Next up in part III will be smaller accessories and lighting!
I'll try not to keep it too long until the next blog I promise! If you're going to DEMA, go see Andrew at the Beqa Adventure Divers stand and tell them I sent you :)