Meggie + Corneliu: how we did it

A few people asked me to give more details about how we shot the love story clip (posted here). Instead of writing a structured post, I am just going to go with the flow and write everything that comes to my mind.

The clip was shot on two days. Originally, it was all planed to be done in a single afternoon (and end with a sunset shot) but a series of incidents (read: traffic) slowed us down and delayed everything so we had to split the shoot.

Pro Tip: Plan your itinerary ahead of time, map it in Google Map and make sure everyone has a copy. Park the car as close as you can to the location. Walking from one location to the next is a big time sink. Even more so when you have to carry tripods, sliders, bags, props, etc… Try to travel with as few cars as possible to reduce time spent finding a parking spot.

The crew was: Robert as the main shooter/director, me getting the wide shots and details, Christina to carry stuff and use the reflector and Florin as a photographer.

Pro tip: have the smallest crew you can manage and make sure everyone know his role. The less you are, the easier it is to manage and the faster you can move and make decisions.

We shot over 24 gigs of content. This was wayyyy too much. We over shot every scene using multiple angles. We did not have a storyboard, only a general idea of where we were going in terms of style and photography. Next time, we will be more prepared and only take 2-3 takes for each scene. While it is nice to have coverage, too much clips will slow down the edit (dont forget you will have to review every clip!). Once you know you have your shot, move to the next one.

Pro tip: to be more efficient, when you shoot with the 24-70 have the second camera work on the wide shots. Then, when you shoot the details have both 5D shooting different details. This technique saves time and ensure better coverage of the subject.

Pro tip: use a view finder (read about them here). In the super bright day we had last Sunday, the viewfinder was mandatory to review my clips.For this, even a Hoodman
can do the job.

The incredible lighting we have in the clip comes mostly from the use of a reflector. These things are not just useful for photographers!

Speaking of equipment, try to carry as few pieces of gear as possible. After a long day of walking around, your back will thank you. Also, switching lens outside is not a great idea (I had to do it 4 times!) so try to do it only went required (plan your shots ahead!).

Pro tip: this is where zooms have a huge advantage over primes. In bright day light like we had for this shot we dont need wide aperture and the resolution of the 5D does not require super high quality lenses either. That is why I am tempted to recommend lenses with large zoom range. You just have to assess if the lost in image quality is worth the time you save. For me not, but maybe for you it does. Think about it!

You might have noticed we did not use any ultra wide aperture lenses for shoot it. The wider we had was 2.8 and even then if was often closed to 3.5 or f4. This is a big paradigm shift for a photographer. Things might have been different if we were shooting in low light, then again most engagement stuff is shot during the day and you can always crank the ISO (we were between ISO 100-160) if needed.

On the other hand, shooting in bright day light will push the shutter speed up. For close up and slow scenes, this is not an issue. But if you plan to have your subject run around or be in front of fountains, waterfalls, flags, etc… You better use ND filters to pull back the shutter speed in the 1/50 – 1/125 range.

We both used different shoulder rigs. I was using a modified Zacuto Tactical Shooter (more on this soon) while Robert was using a Cavision shoulder rig. Both gave great results. The advantage of the Zacuto rig was that it was light and easy to fold so I could carry it in my bag contrary to the other rig who required someone to hold it. Also, my rig was equipped with the Z-finder which speed up my focusing dramatically.

Finally, I think the best advice I can give you is to plan ahead. The more you plan, the easier it will be on shooting day.

Anyone with more questions?

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...

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