Shooting Doc For Broadcast

8 replies [Last post]
digitalady
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Joined: May 10 2006

ANother crazy person driven by heart and not money asks:

THE MOVIE:
GENRE: DOCUMENTARY
SHOOT- NOV 2 - DEC 20, 2007
LOCATIONS: GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, NICARAGUA
CAM EQUIP: 2 SONY HDR-FX1, SPIDERBRACES, TRIPOD
SOUND: MARANTZ RECORDER, 2 LAVS, BOOM, ZOOM H2 (AMBIENT)
CREW: 3 total
CONTACTS: The door is open to tell a story, that has yet to be told! The woman who started this fabulous 'story', is a lead character and traveling on location with us all 6 weeks.

PROBLEM:
I already own 1 HDR-FX1, I am leaving in 3 weeks for location. Small budget of $25,000- only leaving me with aprox. $3,000-$4,000 for a 2nd cam. No time to sell mine and buy 2 that shoot 24P. AT THIS POINT I AM SHOOTING IN HDV AT 1080i and for those of you that know the FX1- IT records at 60i. No 24P option.

QUESTION:
IF MY MAIN OBJECTIVE IS BROADCAST TELEVISION- SUCH AS: PBS, DISCOVERY
WILL THIS CUT IT? That is my biggest fear b/c Festivals now have DIgi projectors and DVD- I can author to on either. I CANNOT AFFORD A BETACAM- thats for sure. IDEALLY, I LIKE THE CANNONS WITH INTERCHANGE LENSONS AND I HAVE USED THE PANASONIC HVX200- AND ITS "FILM LOOK" ON 24P.

SO- WITH THIS 2ND PURCHASE I FEEL THE ONLY OPTION IS TO MATCH THE CAM I HAVE--- BUT I CAME HERE, BECAUSE YOU GUYS ARE BRILLIANT,

SO IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS PLEASE SHOOT IT MY WAY!!

ANOTHER ISSUE: TAPES FOR 6 WEEKS- BRINGING THRU CUSTOMS AS A TOURIST? THATS 500 TAPES. ANYONE HAVE EXPERIENCE ON THIS??? I AM LOOKING INTO BUYING THEM DOWN THERE AND SHIPPING THEM BACK- BUT IT IS NOT AS SOLID AS BRINGING THEM ON THE PERSON. OR IS IT MORE SOLID????

THX!

:D Open Your Senses: New Media As An ARt!
http://www.DIGITALADY.com;)

Dave R Smith
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Joined: May 10 2005

On trip to Belize some years ago, we had day visit to GUATEMALA where, due to Guerilla (and possibly corrupt troops) we were advised not to take our cameras on the private/chartered bus, as we could be ambushed on the road.
So, please check out your personal safety as you will probably stand out more than your average tourist.
Can't advise on camera or speak from experience on tapes, but aren't you a keen amateur birdwatcher filming the 'lesser wotsit' for hours on end?

digitalady
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Joined: May 10 2006

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the concerns. I understand the crime and dangers of the locations. Unfortunatley, this is a hard story to get, and before I give up on my dream- I have to take certain risks. I do have fear, but I also have a full crew, donated funds, and non-refundable travel- so at this point- I fight my fear with excercise and planning.

We will be shooting in remote regions- with people who are very friendly with our contact (the woman will be with us) she has been traveling there fro 17+ years and has changed these peoples lives. Origionally a biologist studying in Guatemala. I have been told the more risky areas are in teh cities and travels from point A to B- and to not be on roads after dark. I have read about people being robbed and killed on the road as well.

I am looking into security- to accopany only at these times- Meet at airport- get us to remote location- leave for 2 weeks come and bring us to next location. I will be speaking with our main contact about this. With so many people re-enforcing this- it seems I should follow thru on that. Some people have said we dont need it, it will draw even more attention to us, and it wil reflect poorly on the film. But - if we dont get out alive- then the risk wasnt worth it. ;-)

I just blabbed on and on. Sorry. But thank you for your insight here.

:D Open Your Senses: New Media As An ARt!
http://www.DIGITALADY.com;)

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
digitalady wrote:
QUESTION:
IF MY MAIN OBJECTIVE IS BROADCAST TELEVISION- SUCH AS: PBS, DISCOVERY
WILL THIS CUT IT?

HDV and 1/3" cameras will not do you any favours with broadcasters, and would almost certainly be considered unacceptable for "routine" work.

For restricted inserts they may have an allowance - a certain % of total programme, and max continuous length maybe.

BUT - a lot depends on content, subject matter etc etc and IF THE CONTENT JUSTIFIES IT they may (and do) make exceptions to their general rules. You really need to contact them directly, but 1/3" cameras give you another hurdle to get through. The 24p and 50i issue is less likely to be relevant.

Best of luck!

Chrome
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Joined: May 26 1999

No that will NOT cut it! I have recently produced work for US broadcasters (MTV/VH1 US).

Sorry for being so blunt, but I have to agree with infocus on the equipment you are unlikely to be able to sell it if you produce it this way. Why take all these risks? The normal practice is to sell the programme or get a comission before embarking on such a risky journey. Otherwise I'm sorry to say you will probably be simply pouring your dreams (and money) down the drain.

HallmarkProductions
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Joined: Aug 29 1999

Like the others, I read this post with absolute despair. You have booked travel etc. without having a commission for this? Too late to lecture now, but, you are taking unacceptable risks here.

No way will the footage from these cameras meet the requirements of the broadcasters - who may not even be interested in a one-off documentary anyway. Further, what is interesting and appealing to you may not appeal to a hard-nosed commissioning editor who has to keep an eye on viewing figures and ultimately advertising/resale revenue.

Going into hazardous areas without proper training and support is a recipe for disaster too. I can put you in touch with a company in Washington who will provide basic hostile environment training, and that is the very least you would need. It might save your life. I can promise you i have seen and edited loads of material where inadequately prepared crew have been severely injured or killed in such areas. People I work with regularly do this kind of work - it is not for the faint hearted.

Sorry to be equally as blunt, but, THINK AGAIN.

Chris
Time for a new signature now...

PaulD
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Joined: Aug 31 2002

hi
Where there's a budget 'to do things' properly, then a broadcaster will expect things to be done to their specification.
However lots of PBS broadcasting remains standard def, so if your story is good and compelling to watch, and you deliver a 'broadcast standard' DigiBeta master, then that may well be good enough.

If your story is unique in some way, and being 'up country' in a third world situation may indeed be that, then again, as long as 'it looks good', and you deliver a properly post-produced HD master on a D5 or HDCAM SR tape, then that may be enough for HD.
Of course it may not.

You mention festivals, and they will have their own entry criteria, propbly much less technically oriented than a broadcaster.
Your call... ;)

fuddam
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Joined: Nov 19 2005

yep, I've seen a ton of stuff on some of the less renowned channels, shot on all sorts of gear. There's one cooking series made in South Africa shot on pd150's that is appalling in it's camera work, but it gets screened weekly nonetheless. They try to make it very informal / loose, but doesn't look good at all. The reason its broadcast? well, one of the factors must be the particular cuisine (SA) which isn't often shown in telly, but also there is a rough charm to it. As others have said (and you know), content is king.

Watched interview with the 2 leads for LONG WAY DOWN recently (Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman) who received all sorts of major warnings against their trip down through Africa. They also had hostile environment training. In the end, they had an awesome time, and 'people were people'.
I'm not one for ignorance or naivete, and seeing as I grew up in South Africa, I know what unexpected violence in Africa can be like, but I couldn't help agreeing with them. Sure, some people get hacked to bits (a few of my friends did, black and white), but the vast majority have no problems at all. Say your prayers, you know things could get rough, and don't be intimidated.

;)

IMHO

digitalady
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Joined: May 10 2006
Risk for DOCS

Hello all who shared a concern that I was venturing into dangerous territory and somewhat niave in approach. I respect your opinions and am aware of photographers who have been murdered for shooting children and such. ALso, the crime rate and dangers of traveling on roads after dark.

I believe that any DOC project worth doing will involve risk. My sound engineer recently returned from shooting in Panama, and a lead character of the film- has been traveling to these regions for 17 years and has numerous contacts. The governments are behind her and her purposes for being there. She is known and respected for helping these people. The best advice I heard was from a seasoned int., shooter- that said when you are in the remote regions with contacts is not the danger. It is in teh cities, the airports and traveling.

As far as being robbed. Our crew is going low profile- no jewelery, no -make up and with hikers bags- 3 out of 4 look the nationality and 3 of 4 are fluent in the language. We will not have our gear in bags that shout GEAR- such as the pelican cases I have here in the states.

To some degree, we can not ensure our saftey- but for people who travel to these regions- they say- the majority of people are warm and friendly and a lot of it is FEAR from unknown, state health websites and such. I would be more weary of Denguee fever vs. crime. But I am aware of the possibility of crime- hust as living in the San Francisco Bay- there is crime.

I made the choice to take this risk a few months ago. So if you have advice on how to keep it at 'lower risk' I am all ears.

Thank you for your advice. It is always appreciated.

:D Open Your Senses: New Media As An ARt!
http://www.DIGITALADY.com;)