A short report from the Toronto area.
I had a good flight from Austin all the way through to Toronto on Delta Airlines. Right on time every step of the way. The baggage handlers seem to have done only minimal damage to the gear. There is one set screw on my fluid tripod head that is bent but the device is still fully usable. The Amazon Basics backpack was perfect for the camera carry on task and easily held everything I wanted to toss into it. It was even able to fit under the seat in front of me, if necessary.
When I hit the Toronto area the weather service had just announced a "freezing rain" warning. Liquid rain coming down in sub-freezing temperatures. Man, do they do a great job treating the roads! Even as a Texan with little to no experience navigating weather I was able to travel all the way to Burlington, CA. with no issues --- pretty cool.
Yesterday I spent at my client's HQ. I got a good tour of the labs, the warehouse, the training areas, etc. Unlike my more paranoid tech clients these folks were happy to hand me a badge that allowed me all facility access and then the let me do my work unencumbered. (Yes, I have worked in some facilities where non-employees are so supervised that they are escorted to the restrooms when nature calls....
I spent most of the morning and a good part of the afternoon shooting an assortment of video clips that I'll use to flesh out the stories that our interview subjects tell. At Ben's suggestion I've covered ten times more content than I think I'll need in the edits and have tight, medium and wide shots of almost everything.
For this kind of work; a mix of video clips and stills, I used the RX10iii exclusively. Someone asked me to list an important thing I learned from Alexander White's book about the RX10iii and I would immediately say that it was being able to set the focus to toggle between continuous and manual by assigning this the the center button in the four way array on the back of the camera. I set the AF to center focus and place the square over the subject. Once the camera hits focus I push the button and lock focus via manual focus mode. I have a constant indicator as to whether I am in AF or MF mode because in the AF mode the focus peaking indicators appear in the finder. Wonderful.
I am using the RX10 in 1080p for these "b-roll" shots instead of 4K because they will be ancillary to the interviews and will be on screen for seconds at a time. I would go ahead and shoot them in 4K but that limits me to the basic level of image stabilization while staying in 1080p gets me the choice of active stabilization and intelligent active stabilization. These settings make the camera very hand holdable; even at fairly long focal lengths.
The camera is amazing in this kind of work.
The other operational step I'm trying to be very consistent with is the use of a small, Lastolite white balance disk for custom white balancing as I move from area to area. One large room is used for discerning color analysis and it's almost perfect daylight while other areas use various lesser florescent tubes that can range from 3100 to 4300 with various hue shifts. The camera doesn't allow me to set a custom white balance in video mode so I switch to manual mode, do my CWB and move back to movie mode. One extra step but quickly done and well worth it.
I did my first interview yesterday. It was of the CEO. He was great. I had some noisy audio but I tracked down which bad cable was causing it and replaced it. Then I just had to contend with the HVAC cycling on an off for the whole building, as well as the occasional, loud door closure off in the distance. This was definitely a location that begged me to shoot "room tone" for later...
At the end of a long day of work the CEO invited me out for a great dinner at one of his favorite restaurants where we shared stories about photography and business. It was a wonderful way to end the first day of shooting.
I am typing this over breakfast at 6 am and I need to finish up and get back to checking batteries and packing up to go over to Client HQ for our first in a series of "product user" interviews. That, and a lot more of those texture shots we use for cutaways, etc. This is a fun project. I only hope the blizzard doesn't slow us down. You can make ice cubes here without even owning a refrigerator....
But I guess all you people who live in the north know this...
P.S. The thermal underwear really works! And my new, thick and furry gloves. And my monster good hat. And my Polartech scarf. And..... All bundled up for the outdoor shots we'll be doing this afternoon. Projected temp? 12-15 degrees (f). All good. KT
Tim Hortons' Donuts? Discuss!