Blog: Building Your Kit | The 3MS+ Gear List

STARTING OUT

I remember the feeling of being a budding filmmaker. The ONLY thing on my mind was purchasing my first camera. However, being a student, I knew that there was no way I would ever be able to afford one when in school. At the time, a friend of mine, Nils Sorensen had a Panasonic HVX200 and I was blown away by the short films he was producing. I wanted one of these cameras!

FIRST CAMERA

I was debating between the Sony EX1 and the Panasonic HVX200 but did not really understand the difference. I read posts after posts talking about the differences of both and watching hundreds of online videos. I would easily say that seeing someone I knew use the camera is what really sold me on buying the HVX200. I turned to my parents for support. Although reluctant at first, they ended up lending me money for my first HD camera and the rest was history. If it wasn’t for my parents, I would not be were I am today.

A constant question going through many people’s mind is whether or not to wait for the camera that is just around the corner. For people waiting for the next best thing, there is no point! Why not buy now and start making art now. Technology will always be improving and it is only one element in the filmmaking process. If the story and concept are rock solid, what gear you use to capture it really does not matter!

DEDICATION

I purchased my first HD camera in 2005. Having just made such a huge investment (at the time), I felt that I had to use it frequently to justify purchasing it. I started shooting almost every day.

THE STRUGGLE

I think the most fascinating thing about purchasing gear is the obsession that inevitably follows. After purchasing the HVX200, I immediately wanted more gear. First, you loath for the gear your friends have, then you look towards others creating similar works in the industry, and then you want it all.

BUILDING UP YOUR ARSENAL

When starting out, borrowing gear is key. My biggest recommendation is to make friends with people that have gear. I still borrow gear from friends that have equipment that I wish I had! Building relationships is key in film.

3MS+ GEAR LIST

I started out the 3MS+ project with only the Panasonic HVX200. I had no tripod. I had no sound gear. Only the camera! During the project however, I was given some free gear, which helped out tremendously! Alan Fullerton and Morris Hill Pictures gave me free tripods and Philip Bloom gave me a version two kessler pocket dolly. After the HVX200 I got the Canon 7D with 18-135mm kit lens (which I used in conjunction with the HVX200 and Nikon D80 for over half of the films) and near the end of the project, managed to purchase my Canon 5D Mark II kit.

CAMERAS

Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Panasonic HVX200
Nikon D80

LENSES

24-105mm 4.0L
70-200mm II 2.8L
14mm II 2.8L
50mm 1.2L
18-135mm

TRIPOD

Miller DS20

SUMMARY

Although not my complete look at all my current gear, the list above is a snapshot of the gear I used for the first year of 3MS+. If I was asked to provide advice to others starting out with no gear, the biggest word of advice is relationship building. The key, when there is no such thing as a budget or parents to lend you money, is being able to borrow gear. I started out with one camera and because of being able to borrow gear, I was able to make money to purchase more gear. If it wasn’t for the support system I had in place, I would not have been able to finish 3MS+.

Blog: Apple’s Lion, FCPx, And Adobe Production Suite: Fresh Installs

The Plan

With the release of Lion today, I also purchased FCPx and the Adobe Production Suite. I held off on purchasing FCPx until the release of Lion as I was planning on doing a fresh install of my OS. I wanted to do this so I would be able to boot off of my ‘working’ drive and continue with my daily workflow uninterrupted.

What started out (in theory) as a quick, low stress day filled in with editing during download and install time, turned into a full day endeavor.

The Low Down

I was hoping I would be able to boot off of my Snow Leopard disc in order to install Lion (an oversight made by apple in my opinion). When trying to boot off the disc, I was getting a kernel error which raised concern. However, when looking at the disc, I noticed there were a few scratches on it. I swapped the original drive to make sure my computer would still boot up. It did, so I headed to the local apple dealer in hopes of purchasing a new Snow Leopard disc. This is where the fun began.

Three weeks before the release of Lion, Apple requested the return of all Snow Leopard discs. Luckily, the tech said that he would be able to burn me a copy of Snow Leopard because I proved I had purchased it previously. However, when talking to the tech, he raised concern that the kernel error was more likely unrelated to the scratched disc and rather a problem with my Mac Pro. I decided to bring in my Mac Pro for him to test, and while he was at it, install Snow Leopard.

The Install

By the time I finally had a functioning drive with Show Leopard, I had visited the tech shop three times! So frustrating! In any case, everything worked out and I spent the rest of the day downloading and installing all the software. Download time of LION was approximately 3 hrs, FCPx was about 30 minutes, and the Adobe Production Suite was about 3 hrs. Install of LION took an hour and Adobe also took an hour.

Functionality

LION: So far I am absolutely loving Launchpad but wished I could nest Applications beyond the one level or organization. This is something you are unable to do with the IPHONE/IPAD but wish you were able to do this.

My major concern at this point is whether or not all of my apps will work with LION. I have slowly been installing my apps and have not ran into issues as of yet but will be updating this post if I do run into issues.

I have only started to play with LION so haven’t experienced all of it’s features yet but similar to the APP compatibility, I will be updating this post as I explore more.

One thing to note when it comes to APPS is that Apple has dropped support for all PowerPC based apps as well as Rosetta so many older APPS will not port over at all.

FCPx: For now, I will not be using FCPx on a daily bases but plan on editing one short a week with it to familiarize myself with it as I believe within a year that it will be a strong competitor to that of Avid and Premiere.

***UPDATE: I have spent about two hours sifting through FCPx attempting to cut my first music video with it but after much frustration, I ended up back with FCP7. What used to be the simplest tasks with FCP7 is now impossible with FCPx. I think I may need to set aside a few days to learn the new workflow as everything is so damn foreign…

ADOBE: So far, all apps seem to be functioning properly.

Although VERY basic, I have included step-by-step LION OSX instructions below.

HOW TO INSTALL LION with NEW HD:

      1. Insert Snow Leopard Disc into optical drive
      2. Hold down option key and boot from DVD
      3. Install Snow Leopard
      4. Update OSX.
      5. Download LION: At the time of this post, LION was not available from the APP STORE and was only available through apple’s online store.
      6. Install LION.

Overall

It is evident that Apple is trying to phase out optical drives as it is a fail point for computers. They have decided to offer LION for purchase on thumb drives starting in August for $69.99 verses $29.99 in the APP Store. I am honestly okay with this as it may have saved me from my trips to the tech shop…

Overall, I am happy with LION. My opinions are fairly fresh however as I only have about an hour or run-time under LION. I have heard a lot of negative feedback on gestures but have not tried them yet as I installed it on my Mac Pro. I plan on purchasing the magic track-pad before installing on my Macbook Pro’s.