I used three lenses on this shoot:
- Canon 24-105mm F4 L Lenes IS USM
- Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG MACRO
- Takuma 55mm F1.8
They all have their strong points...
I found myself using the Sigma more often that the L glass due to its sharpness and focal length. A great way to make objects seem closer together and a shot more claustrophobic is to increase the focal length. I used it for some of the earlier shots of running through trees, however this lens is hopeless when moving. With no image stabiliser (Unlike the L lens), trying to follow the action while zoomed in is impossible!
This lens is a dream to use, it feels strong and the focus ring is smooth as a babies bottom. The Takuma is my only prime lens, however you can get a lot out of a 55/50mm! It is very sharp, fast and shallow - great choice for mid to close shots of actors, I knock down the ISO to 100 and open the lens up as wide as possible without over exposing (Which is difficult when shooting in daylight without ND Filters) to gain shallow depth of field! On this shoot I boosted the shutter speed to 100 for closeups, this is a great alternative to ND's, however it does not always work!! Your footage can look choppy and weird, especially when there's lots of action.
I used the Canon L glass when in difficult situations, the image stabiliser is a great tool which really enhances the tracking/moving shots. 24mm is very wide and a great focal length for tight shots where there is not alot of room to position the camera/camera operator! However this lens is not as sharp as the others because of the amount of glass, this also affects the amount of light it lets through to the sensor making it difficult to use in low light
I have only ever used three lenses, I couldn't do without one! However, the Takuma is my favourite as it can easily achieve shallow depth of field/cinematic look. I strongly recomend investing in a prime lens, the canon's 50mm 1.8 is just as good as the takuma! Of course, L glass is amazing, very well made - just a tad bit expensive.
Location, Location, Location...
As I am now a driver, I was able to transport my small cast and crew to the location with ease - I had scouted the location a day before shooting to check the logistics. From the car I could easily move costumes/props and equipment to different spots around the quarry which made the shoot run smoothly. It is a incredibly important to scout your location before shooting, you can avoid inconveniences and loss of time; I intend to use more exiting locations for future films/YouTube videos!
The use of 'Cinestyle' with the 5D allowed me to have maximum flexibility in post-production! Cinestyle reduces contrast and sharpness levels to maintain as much information in the image - standard profiles on the 5D add contrast resulting in loss of information in the shadows/highlights (You can reduce contrast in the user define profiles and get similar results, however Cinestyle is better).
Cinestyle is free (Available on T2I, 60D and more)
Colour Correction & Grading
'Colorista' from Red Giant is also free for download I used it for essential colour correction on all shots before applying the final grade:http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/all/magic-bullet-colorista-free/
TIP: When using the Colorista plugin, instead of bringing down the shadows to add contrast, reduce the mids and increase the highlights - this way you do not loose detail in the shadows but still create a filmic contrast! I have been guilty of crushing the shadows to gain contrast, dont fall into the trap!
Notice I also added sharpness which helped bring back some detail that my L lens struggled with!
Grading was achieved with experimentation - use curves and other colour correction tools to get the final look right!
I recorded a fair amount of my own sound, which I rarely do - I did not like the sound from the 5D's on-board mic so I decided to replace sounds such as footsteps/breathing/foley. As we did not have the rig with us, I could not carry the Rode NTG-2, azden field mixer and a pile of wires with me everywhere, so I decided to replace the audio later in post. Using the NTG-2, I went out at 9:00PM (All quite) and recorded myself running around a filed - it worked like a treat, worth the effort!