At the beginning of November, I attended a film workshop hosted by Shade Tree Films. Billed as “Cine-skool” and hosted by Chad and Drew, who have an incredible artistic vision, the class led attendees through the entire process of creating a meaningful film. Having seen their films, I “had” to learn how to do what they do – I had to discover their secret – their “recipe”. Studiously, I sat through all three days of the workshop. I learned about equipment, software, methodology, sound. There were guest speakers to tell us about branding, and music. We shot and edited an entire film! The experience was incredible. It revitalized me and made me really start to think about the storytelling possibilities that film can add to my photography. However, as I flew out of Dallas, I was disheartened because what kept sticking out in my mind was the cost of the equipment I needed to “do it right.” I have one GREAT lens, and it’s portrait zoom – not great for film. My other lenses are just so-so. I have a tripod that weighs about 200 lbs – not very mobile or discreet. I had NO audio devices whatsoever. I use a PC – the “standard” for film is MAC. And my studio lights are strobes (they flash). I decided that I would not let what I didn’t have deter me from the process, so after I returned home, I tried interviewing my first clients using the on-camera mic (FAIL!). First up on the purchase list – a shotgun mic. (A shotgun mic goes on top of the camera and will record what it’s pointed at.) I bought the mic two days before Thanksgiving and as I was paying for it, I resolved to make my family’s Thanksgiving celebration my first film.
I hosted 24 of my family members – most of whom stayed in my house – over a five day period. I did not record as much footage as I would have liked, and I would have preferred to interview one of my sisters (interviewing myself was kind of weird), but I used my multi- thousand-dollar-not-good-for-film-but-perfect-for-portraits-lens, and my two-ton tripod, and a cheap shotgun mic. From the footage I created this – what I’m dubbing as my first real film – with my $50 editing software. I know every aspect needs work, but I love it. I love the film process, and I love that forever my family will be able to look back at this two and a half minutes and remember five whole days.