Philip Bloom came to Boston and did two one-day seminars this past weekend. Here, in no particular order, are ten things I learned:
1. Avoid the Zoom H4n. It does not close the audio files if the battery goes flat during a recording; you lose your recording! Get the Tascam DR100; it also has level controls for both channels
2. Lenses: he still uses Canon lenses a lot, despite the fact that they are more difficult to focus due to their short throw (i.e. only a quarter turn goes through the whole focus range) and no end stops. He also prefers the Zeiss ZF (Nikon mount) lenses over the Zeiss ZE (Canon mount) because they have an aperture ring, BUT focus is opposite direction to Canon. You can also get the Zeiss lenses modified to remove the click stop sound.
3. Magic Bullet Looks isn’t cheap, but if you don’t want to spend time learning Apple Color it lets you do some cool color and filter manipulation to your footage through a simple interface
NOTE: AV3 Software is having a 30% off sale this week on Magic Bullet Looks.
4. Always have enough cards and batteries for one days recording. Phil likes to use multiple cards, rather than large cards just in case something happens (BUT, he admitted he will record all the sound for a day on one card.) He also prefers Compact Flash over SD cards; thinks they are more sturdy, less likely to be damaged. Don’t buy generic camera batteries if they don’t communicate with the camera
5. He prefers using the Zacuto Z-finder to using a monitor. (He also recommends the Z-Finder Pro 2.5 over the 3. And good luck finding one in stock anywhere.)
6. Camera setup: Cleanest ISO’s on Canon: 160, 320, 640, 1250, 2500. Set Picture Styles: Sharpness all the way off. Set Contrast all the way off, set Saturation down two notches
7. Best advice he was ever given: do camera moves like it’s your eye. i.e. no zooms!
8. Don’t buy a Fader ND through eBay. A variable ND filter allows you to open up your aperture in low light, but some of them on eBay are rejects. Also, on wider than a 30mm lens, they vignette (damn! and I’d been planning to get one for my 16-35mm zoom too.)
9. Phil prefers to use available light, or two point lighting
10. The Manfrotto 701HDV is a terrible fluid head
The workshop was organized by the BOSFCPUG (Boston Final Cut Pro Users Group) and group organizer Dan Berube is planning on bring Philip back again in the fall (or Autumn.) Check here for details: BOSFCPUG Philip Bloom DSLR Workshops