What can you do with lousy weather, tight schedules and a couple evening hours to film young actors and dancers outside?


When you shoot for yourself you can pick the sunniest days, the nicest locations and the very best times. When you're on a schedule and the schedule depends on matching the schedules of 20 or so younger actors who don't drive yet you take the time slots you can and try your best.

I showed you two of the videos we did for Zach Theatre's "Red, Hot and Soul" event yesterday. I thought they were a good first project for a gimbal newbie. But we also did a video for the kid's program and it also ran in the middle of the livestream.

We had lots of frustrations with scheduling because the weather didn't want to cooperate. We had several evenings booked that had to be cancelled for rain and we suggested several other evenings only to have schedule conflicts with the talents. We knew we wanted to include work from the Zach Pre-Professional Company so we kept pushing.

With our broadcast date fast approaching and lots of editing yet to be done we finally all targeted a date and time. Sadly, it was an evening that featured dense clouds, low light and lots to get done. By the end of the evening we were fighting to even get usable video at 1600 ISO out of my gimbal mounted G9 --- and that's pushing it!

The dance number was a work in progress with choreography still happening on the fly but my producer, Joshua Cummins, had a firm idea in mind, and a bluetooth speaker in his hands. 

A few of the gimbal moves are rough but we only had time for one or two takes of each scene. The editing helps make my kludgy gimbal work in places look better than it is. 

Still, I'm happy with the movement and a lot of the scene were the group of dancers is racing toward the camera because you have to understand that I'm trying to keep them comped in a small view finder at the end of a big gimbal while blindly moving backwards just as fast as I can. 

I sure couldn't have done this on a tripod. 

Tech notes: I was using a Lumix G9 with the Panasonic/Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4.0, locking in at f5.6 to give me some much needed depth of field. I set the focus for most these shots manually and then tried to maintain a fixed distance between the camera and my subject. A few times I used face detect AF to capture closer shots of individuals singing.

The camera was set for 4K, 10 bit, 4:2:2 at 150 Mbs. It's a long-GOP codec but that's all you can get from a G9. With time, budget and a perfect day I would have tried using the Sigma fp and Pro-Res Raw but certainty beats possibility when you are in "crunch time." 

The gimbal is a Ronin-S. I can't decide whether the Ronin or the Crane is my favorite so I'll just have to spend more time with both.

Let me know what you think. That's what we've got the comments for.