Who says you need super expensive video gear to make professional, big screen-worthy films? BAFTA-winning filmmaker Philip Bloom certainly doesn’t say so. A proponent of low-budget, high-quality work, he breaks down how he filmed his mini documentary The Magician’s Apprentice in this behind-the-scenes video, giving tips on refining filmmaking approaches and techniques.
Though an avid Canon EOS-1D C, Sony A7s and Panasonic GH4 user, Bloom switched it up for Sony, shooting with the NEX-FS700 (which lands in the $8,000 range) with the Firmware Version 3.0 to capture continuous slow motion, and the Alpha A6000 (a more palatable $650). The latter, Bloom says in the video, was especially helpful to use in the more energetic scenes (read: wedding receptions), and its portability was only enhanced when slapped onto a MoVI M5 stabilizer.
Bloom also screwed a Variable ND filter onto his lens so he could control the light coming into his camera; this way, he could just stick with his 1/50th of a second shutter speed. Too much shutter speed makes the motion look too artificial, Bloom cautions, or as he calls it “staccato-like.”
Other helpful tips and tricks abound in this video, including shooting in the much-hyped 4K resolution (as he says, “Just because you have 4K doesn’t mean you should always shoot 4K.”) And as tempting as it often is to look at your gear when you’re shooting interviews, Bloom advises to be sure to give the utmost attention to the subject: “They are saying the most important things to you you’ve ever heard.”
Still photographers interested but wary about transitioning to motion will be particularly comforted by Bloom’s biggest take-home tips: composition is more important than moving the camera around, and lighting doesn’t always have to be complicated—natural works just fine.