Filming @ SIRF 2015 Carnival


Saturday lunchtime I spent being a 3rd camera for Writers' Block North East who were filming the SIRF 2015 Carnival. I was told to get 'beautiful' shots, i.e close ups of floating material, performers etc., It's a filmmakers dream to film. So much colour and movement and interesting people.

I have been filming quite a few events lately and I am starting to feel that the Canon EOS 5D MK II is not particularly suited for the job. The shallow depth of field I love so much is starting to stab me in the back. For an event like this, where from the word 'go' everything is fast paced and passed by in a moment, taking the time to focus on everything movement is not useful. By the time I land on a subject and focused, they move a step closer and they're out of focus again.

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The other problem is that, for an event like this, you can never get too close. If you do, you are very likely to be run over. After all it is a parade. They are all constantly moving. I was allowed into the path of the parade but I still had to watch where I was going and that I didn't bash into anyone (I had visions of me setting off a dominoes effect all the way down the high street) So the best practise is to stay a little way ahead or to the side. The problem is that I was using my 24-105mm zoom lens. It's a great lens but it doesn't zoom in very far. A semi-professional camcorder like the Sony PD170s I used to use, would zoom in much much further and were not as intrusive. For this shot of the circus performer above, I was so close she noticed me and performed to camera. This is good but not what you always want in an event situation.

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That all being said, I am very happy with the footage and I am sure it will serve it's purpose but the more I film events, the more I would like a different camera, just for events.

I do have a few tips for filming an event like this:

1. Don't go crazy. Take your time. There is so much to capture it can be overwhelming. Remember that the editor can only put so many shots in to the cut. Find a nice composition and STAY on it. Even now after 10 years, I have to remember not to film for 2 seconds and then zoom out or change the shot. Stay on your shot for at least 10 seconds if possible.


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2. Breathe.You don't have to have the camera up to your eye the whole time. The first time I filmed for this, I never stopped. This time I spent more time watching and then hitting record. It stops you wearing yourself out and you end up with higher quality framing.

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3. Look like a pro! Stick an onboard microphone on your DSLR even if you aren't taking sound. This year I couldn't understand why so many people stopped to pose for me. Everyone thought I was taking their picture. It was my husband who pointed out that last time, I had a big furry microphone stuck to my camera which gave the game away. Need to buy another one soon! It goes against your objective if everyone you film gives a pose and stands still for your camera. You want movement

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What are your tips for filming events and which camera do you choose to use?