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Hal Smith

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  1. I would advise seriously looking at how the Hollywood pros are using 35mm. Most of them that are still shooting 35mm do all of their editing in digital/video systems, they have their negative transferred to a digital medium, then put the negative away until they've locked their edit. With 35mm projectors increasingly disappearing from cinemas in much of the world, there are going to be "films" in release that never had a 35mm release print struck.
  2. I don't have any personal experience with them, I'd be guessing if I offered an opinion.
  3. There are reasonable prices on eBay for high volume production LI-Ion batteries for things like motorcycles and tools. Personally I'd take a chance on something like that but I've got a shop and YEARS of experience building "One-Off" pieces of equipment. An example of what's probably not a bad deal is: eBay motorcycle battery PS: Look at the last photo...notice where it's made?
  4. The seller's 96.2% feedback is a huge warning sign. Buyers who get screwed often try to return the merchandise they bought for credit. Or if not too much money, they just crawl away wounded. They don't post negative feedback to avoid first getting the seller angry. When a seller has a feedback rating that low, it usually means they've got a lot of unhappy customers. Quality Li-Ion cells are expensive but worth it in the long run. Figure out what you need and deal with reputable dealers...only!
  5. Your forgot to mention the necessity to multiply the budget by ten or twenty times to shoot film as opposed to a self-owned DSLR.
  6. Sennheiser MKH-416's are the standard of the industry. I own one and it's the only shotgun I've ever listened to that sounds like a good quality cardiod or supercardiod mike. It doesn't have that metallic sound that every other shotgun I've auditioned had, including other Senneisers. Admittedly they cost a lot more than than $300 but you'll never have to buy another shotgun, you'll have started with the best. You will need a 48 volt phantom mike power supply for it if you're using it directly on a camera, not plugged into a professional mixer with a built-in phantom supply.
  7. Rather than a video monitor for my 7D (very similar to a 550D when shooting motion) I use a Zacuto Z-finder. It's light, doesn't need power, and fits my KISS style of shooting (KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid) http://store.zacuto.com/Z-Finder-Accessories/ PS: Don't worry about picture quality. If you learn how to stay within the dynamic range limitations of a Canon, you'll be able shoot drop dead beautiful video. The best previous experience is shooting color reversal slide stock in a film camera. That teaches one how to think in terms of shooting with a stock that has very good definition and color rendition but also has a limited dynamic range. When I shoot 35mm slide film, I shoot Kodak EK100VS (same emulsion as Kodak 5285/7285 movie film). It can produce beautiful pictures but you've got to be right on the money with your exposures and always thinking in terms of limiting the range of light to dark in compositions. You do a lot of filling shadows and knocking down highlights...which is exactly how you get good pictures with a Canon HDSLR.
  8. I hate to sound like an old grouch...but...if you want to know how an HDSLR is going to look printed to 35mm and on a big screen then your ONLY option is to look at big screen examples. The best current one would be "Act of Valor" shot by Shane Hurlbut, ASC with many Canon 5D/7D shots (as well as 35mm film shot material). Shane's blog at http://hurlbutvisuals.com/blog has extensive articles on how "Act" was shot and on which cameras. (Note: the blog is down today, 3/25, at 11AM CDT USA for some reason...)
  9. Lighting will be your createst challenge on a low/no budget. The 250 and 500 watt tungsten worklights available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. plus foamcore (also HD, etc) will give you the ability to do a passable lighting job with your budget. Be prepared to spend some time getting used to just exactly how to use that gear. If you Google "Halogen Work Lights" and "video" you'll get a lot of hits to read for research.
  10. "Like Crazy" got distributed because it was a good story and the filmmaker worked within the limitations of the 7D. Here's a quote on IMDB from someone who saw it at Sundance: "This film was beautiful. I saw it at the Sundance Film Festival and fell in love with it Like Crazy. Everything from the acting, to the cinematography, to the story line was amazing. And to think it was shot on the Canon 7D is incredible. I saw 14 films at Sundance and this was my favorite film in the festival. During the Q&A after the film the director made it clear that this film is about the true story of his own relationship with a girl. I would recommend this film to people who have experienced a long distant relationship and to teenage/young adult audiences. This film is the Winner of the U.S. Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. I think it deserved this prize. This film made me feel all sorts of different emotions. This film really is a beautiful story and I am excited to see it coming out in theaters." You can shoot a great movie with a 7D and produce seven reels of crap with the latest expensive toy. In the final case, it's about the FILM, not about the CAMERA.
  11. Many years ago I maintained broadcast quality three and four tube video cameras. I concur with the advice to avoid them. They can make great pictures but unless you buy a camera that is perfect condition you'll be in way over your head with respect to getting (and keeping) it working right.
  12. Not familiar with DPA but have used Schoeps Colettes to record classical music and I'll agree, they're phenomenal. Unfortunately they're also VERY expensive over here.
  13. I really can't help you with that question. For better or for worse, I'm 100% a Windows guy. I have read that Audacity, a free program, is useful in the Mac world.
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