YOU LEARN FAR MORE FROM YOUR FAILURES THAN YOU DO YOUR SUCCESSES

 In General

I was reminded of this old adage last night after I was forced to abandon my plans to shoot a “Behind the scenes video” of Glynn Hooper and Cornwall U 18s down at Porthleven FC. My aim was to try out my new Cinemecanix C1 Pro shoulder rig with one of my studio cameras, but the rain put paid to that. This morning I am licking my wounds a bit and, like the proverbial football manager who is interviewed after his team has taken a hiding, “I am looking for positives.”

Don’t get me wrong. I am no wimp. I have filmed football matches from the touchline in a hail storm and torrential rain in the past. Truro School’s home fixture against Millfield comes to mind. The referee almost abandoned that game, the conditions were so bad. On that occasion I had a rain jacket that could easily cover the video camera and monopod. The Cinemecanix rig I intended to use last night is a much bigger and more complex a toy altogether.

What was particularly galling was that I had produced a decent shot list (see below) and managed to get the first few shots in, as you can also see at the end of this blog. I also didn’t establish for sure whether I would be able to film a whole match standing up with the rig over my shoulder or whether all of the new batteries would last the duration.

BEHIND THE SCENES with Glynn Hooper & Cornwall U 18s

The Journey

WS of Glynn Hooper in SBA car park walking to his car with SBA sports centre in background
MCU of GH getting into car

CU of turning the key and starting up the car
WS of car driving down the snake with the school in the background
MCU of GH talking to camera with the city of Truro and the Cathedral in the background “What’s happening this evening?” What is the importance of tonight’s match? etc” (Full sentence responses required so that I can delete the question)
WS (x5) of shots of the journey and GH from front and back seats esp. signposts to Porthleven and typical Cornish views (Engine Houses)
WS/MCU/CU of GH arriving at the ground from both inside and outside the car with Porthleven ground in the background

 

Before the Match

Variety of shots of GH meeting his coaches and players as they arrive
Variety of shots of GH with players and coaches in the changing room – talking tactics
Variety of shots of GH talking to individual players and coaches on the pitch in the warm up
Miscellaneous shots of GH chatting with friends and associates in the crowd
Variety of shots of GH with players and coaches in changing room before the off
Continuous shot of GH walking to the dug out

 

During the Match

Lots of continuous B roll footage of GH, the coaches and players on the pitch from around the dug-out
Some slo-mo footage of the game away from the dug-out and within the dug-out (filming GH, coaches and subs)
CU shots of GH making substitutions
CU shots of GH watching the game and issuing instructions
CU shots of GH chatting with his coaches
WS/MCU and CUs of half time talk / action
Continuous shot of GH walking back to changing rooms and shaking hands with players and referee etc..

After the Match

WS/MCU and CUs of final comments in the changing room
WS/MCU and CUs of final comments and interactions in the bar
WS/MCU and CUs of final comments in the car

n.B. This is a behind the scenes, fly on the wall, reality TV style video NOT a video of the match. I may well miss the goals and key incidents in the game. No zoom lens in camera.

 

LESSONS LEARNED

Know your kit – don’t go out on a commercial shoot without having trialed any new equipment purchased since the previous one. Not only was I hoping to use the Cinemecanix Pro rig and larger camera with a fixed 35mm zoom, I was also going to use my SmallHD Sidefinder (monitor and EVF) attached to the rig and a heavy V-lock battery for the very first time. In my defence, the whole reason for doing this experiment was to get to know my new video configuration for the first time.

Build in breathing space – I didn’t pick the best of occasions to film Glynn Hooper. It was the final day of Truro School’s ISI 4-day inspection and he had just seen off his first XI opponents Latymer School, after a gruelling Independent Schools FA Cup fixture. Time was tight and there was no opportunity for any re-takes.

Use the correct wide angle lens and kit to film in a confined space – not only was time tight,  the space in the front of Glynn’s car for my rig and camera was also a squeeze. At one stage the arm of the rig was blocking the gear stick! What made matters worse was my lack of access to the viewfinder and monitor, as they weren’t set up correctly. I had to film Glynn speaking to camera blind. No wonder the shots are not great and exhibit an unintended Dutch tilt. Furthermore, because of the crop factor (using a full lens on a super 35mm sensor reduces the field of vision), the footage of Glynn is too tight. The height of the rig also didn’t allow me to use my onboard light for filming this scene, hence the issues with the overexposed background. I also struggled with the cutaway shots of the journey because I couldn’t film easily over the dashboard.

Have a tripod and a fold-up seat / camera box at hand when filming with the Cinemecanix C1 Pro Rig if using it for an extended period of time – One of my concerns before conducting this experiment was whether I would have the physical strength to film the whole of the game off my shoulder. I know the answer to that after choosing to stand behind the goal for the whole duration. It will not be possible for me unless I do some serious gym work and build up my upper body strength.

Choice of clothing matters – I wore for the first time yesterday a sleeveless garment that was designed especially for videographers and photographers with the Dedolights Logo on it. It doesn’t look good but is really functional ,with so many zipped pockets for the many accessories I need to carry with me.

Thankfully I do possess an alternative smaller camera with a wide angle attachment and a smaller rig for future filming in a car or other really confined spaces. I am booked in to film Holy Grit on Saturday week in Holywell Bay and I will use my smaller video camera with the zoom lens, together with the Cinemecanix rig and tripod. I will have an assistant available on the day and will have both an umbrella and camera rain jacket at the ready.

Even if the rain had abated for a few more hours last night I would have still have struggled to complete my project. It just wasn’t meant to be!  As soon as the flood lights came on, they began to flicker, just like a fluorescent light just before it needs to be replaced. It was awful. Then, periodically, the whole set of lights began to dim and return to brightness for many minutes at a time. There is no way that I could have accommodated that situation with corresponding aperture changes. All together, I cannot think of a more painful experience watching football and the resultant head-ache is still lingering all these hours later.

Still it was good to meet up with Glynn and chat with Dave Deacon and some of the parents of the prospective Cornwall U 18s squad.

As for the filming out door shots with the Cinemecanix, I know that  it is going to come into its own, next time around.  Just look at the start of the video below. I also took the opportunity in the edit to use a LUT (Look Up Table) to give the video a consistent, autumnal feel to it. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

So yes an evening of failings but it is keeping me humble and I really did learn a great deal last night despite things not going to plan.

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