DOCUMENTARY KIT GEAR.
“It’s better to have good sound and scrappy vision than vice versa... the former adds to the vérité feeling and furtive nature”
used a Sound Devices 633 if we wanted more radio mic inputs. Tentacle Sync timecode devices helped synchronise everything.” He says that with a GH5/ sound recorder set-up, the team could radio mic everybody and use a boom, while successfully navigating the tight angles of a small consulting room. For Barron, radio mics are key. “If you run up to people, you can put a mic on them and back away – provided they’ve agreed to be filmed – which is good if you’re following police or the emergency services. You also need a top mic to pick up things you might not get for a second time.” Beard explains how, in the observational series Taken: Hunting the Sex Traffickers for Channel 4, he was embedded with a surveillance unit within the police. “This was totally covert, so I needed camera kit that didn’t look like camera kit,” he adds. “I had a small backpack and so I used a tiny stills camera called a Sony A7S II – it’s brilliant in low light.” Nevertheless, Beard faced the challenge of plugging all the
Recently, I borrowed someone else’s FX9 with the whole battery attachment so you can put the big V-Lock batteries on it. I didn’t like jumping back to a heavy camera.” Andrew Barron, series producer/director at Bigger Bang TV, is also a fan of a reasonably wide lens. As he states, you’re not at the end of the lens zooming in, but more up close with the subjects. “A wider lens affords you more immediacy, showing left and right and picking up shots that way – rather than pulling off shots at the end of the lens where you need a very good telephoto,” he says. “An iPhone is a fairly wise choice. I can set my iPhone 12 to quite a wide angle, following things closely, and it’s immersive.” SYNCING FEELING Even when you have the right camera for the job, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other challenges ahead. Wishart says the problem with using a DSLR like the GH5 is that the filmmaker needs separate sound. “I have a Sound Devices MixPre-3, which is a very skinny sound recorder,” he says. “We also
different sound equipment into the camera. “I still managed to get a filmic look out of it – but in a situation like that, it’s better to have good sound and scrappy vision than vice versa because the former adds to the vérité feeling and the furtive nature of the film,” he says. “We used a separate Zoom sound recorder in a backpack and ran a couple of mics into that with another radio mic into the camera and no top mic.” POWER HUNGRY If you’ve read our peak power feature (page 24), you’ll see what an important role reliable and durable batteries play when you’re on the move, especially when there are few or no power sources at your
CAST A WIDE NET Wider lenses can be a better choice for documentaries thanks to their immediacy
45. DECEMBER 2022
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