10×10 March 2013

It appears I’m now the unofficial Oxford 10×10 blogger.

Kicking off the filmmaking proceedings this month was Philip Hind demonstrating a couple of his latest toys: a Panasonic GH3 camera and a Rhino slider.

The GH3 camera is yet another a DSLR stills camera with video recording capabilities. It could almost be considered as a more portable and lower cost alternative to the Black Magic. Sure, the quality isn’t the same being as it doesn’t shoot in RAW or ProRes. However you won’t need a special rig or vast amounts of storage/hardware to use it. Like the Black Magic, it also supports micro-four thirds lenses, but the main difference is this time the electronics will work. It records MOV files in h.264 at up to 72Mbps, there is a flip screen at the back and it comes with a mini-jack for attaching external mics.

Many of the features are in response to the GH2 firmware hacks which proved very popular with film-makers. The only slightly odd thing about the camera is the additional battery pack which sits underneath. Also it should be remembered that this is a stills camera, rather than a camcorder (meaning the record-time is limited to avoid it being classed/taxed as a camcorder under EU regulations).

Philip showed us a short montage of clips at an old style printing press filmed using the camera – a couple of screen-caps from this below:

GH3-Presentation.Still001a

GH3-Presentation.Still001b

You can see a more in-depth review of the camera at http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/03/14/panasonic-gh3-preview-updated

As I was lugging the Rhino slider around for part of the evening, I can say with some authority that it was extremely light and robust, albeit an awkward shape to carry. This was originally a Kickstarter project. I was torn between this and the portable Edelkrone slider, both are capable of creating nice gliding shots. The main issue I have with sliders is that too many DSLR filmmakers use them for every damn shot. As a result they have become a little tedious (in much the same way that shallow DOF is also). Yet when used correctly, they can be very effective. There is no test footage as of yet, but I’ve spoken to Phil and hopefully we will get to post something up very soon.

With the equipment ogling out the way we moved on to films. The main theme appeared to be making films about environmental causes in a different language. I can only begin to imagine what a nightmare this must have proved when it came to editing!

The first up was a film made by Corbett family whilst on a three-month sabbatical in the Philippines. Here they experienced life alongside the indigenous Negrito people. They made a video to voice their concerns to the Philippine government (mostly over their land-rights). Essentially this involved showing the locals how to operate the camera equipment and letting them go off and film/interview each other – which they did surprisingly well. You can see a 15 minute promo of the film here:

There are also a few behind the scene photos from this adventure here:

http://joncorbett.com/JonCorbett/Photos/Pages/Philippines_Sabbatical.html

The next continuation on this theme was a short film made by Richard Scrase. A few years back, he shot a film in Madagascar for the marine charity Blue Ventures. This was to highlight the problems of over-fishing and the charities efforts to educate/reduce the problem within the local communities. It seems to that end the film has been a big success. You can see the film here:

One point that Richard mentioned which particularly resonated with me was that people no longer seem to have/make the time to pursue their hobbies.  True! I keep aiming towards this, although things only get harder as you gather further commitments throughout life.

The final showing of the evening was by Zoe Broughton who followed the protest against plans to re-open a “gentleman’s” club in Oxford. The results of which can be seen here:

Some true guerilla documentary film-making here and it is rather amusing watching how sheepishly some of these so-called-“gentlemen” act as soon as a camera is pointed in their general direction.

The next event will be on 4th April at the Film Oxford offices, all are welcome!

Before I sign off from this post, I spent some of last night playing around at the keyboard covering this Bond classic (albeit in very roughly in my own style and without the original to compare against). Not entirely sure John Barry would approve:

Never ever attempted to play this track before – so this one is just included for fun.

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