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As always thank to anyone in advance who reads this and your generosity with sharing your opinions and experience. I am in the process of prepping for a particular shoot, one of which that I do not have any experience in the type of shooting, although I'm eager to learn. Basically, the job requires me to 1 shot of a small rodent being shipped in from abroad on a closed set in a studio. We are to film it inside a box with 30cm width and 100cm length; interior walls fully blacked out, and the box is filled with sand and a few elements of grass. In this box it will be able to move around freely and jump (the rodent can jump 12cm on each leap). I need to have a hole in the box for the lens. They need this to be captured in as high a frame rate as possible, however we are still concerned with subjecting the rodent to too much light which could potentially harm it. After speaking with the animal handler, he has told me the light the rodents are used to would be just a bit brighter than sunset, which is not great. This means 240 FPS is more than likely not an option but I would prefer not to go below 120 FPS (96 FPS is the minimum for sure). The shutter speed will have to be higher than the average for this also as the rodent I suspect moves and jumps quite fast. To add to this I will need a high F stop to capture the rodent in sharp focus to limit any soft shots (I am trying to get a focus puller on this job if budget will allow). So putting all these factors together it does seem I'm going to need to light this quite brightly , and if the animal care provider does not agree on the lux levels of the light I will have to sacrifice the F-Stop sharpness a but along with reducing the high frame rate. Now a few questions for anyone who may have some experience with filming animals in a studio in tight areas or in small mammal camera boxes: What lens/lenses would you suggest for capturing this creature? The client has requested they only need 1 shot, but I'm thinking if budget allows having a wider lens to capture the interior of the box and the rodent in a full shot, and then secondly a macro lens to hopefully capture an extreme close up as it jumps in mid air - poking the lens through the same hole just changing the lens (I'm thinking perhaps 2x Arri Master Primes as they are the sharpest lenses I have worked with before - suggestions are welcome on brand and especially suggestions on focal length? Its difficult to know this just going off a the 30cm width and 100cm length; I will only have access to the box the day before so will try to arrange a test even if its on my small Black Magic camera. Also any tips on if I should be thinking of using extenders or macroscopic lens adaptors for macro shots, or if I should indeed be looking mainly at macro lenses for this What cameras are recommendable? I personally am looking at the Red Helium as it has the option to record 2K in 240 FPS max and various other below frame rates, or the Arri Alexa Mini at 200FPS in 2K Pro Res. I originally actually thought of the Red Gemini as my research shows it performs best in low light situations, however this camera is not an option from my preferred rental house. Lighting: How can I light the rodent in the box? In my head there is 3 options - 1. Top of box is a netted material which will keep the rodent in and allow my light to shine through above it (any suggestions on material welcome) - 2. small LED's stuck to the interior top of the box - 3. A hole again through the box with a light shining though (although this means my lighting shape and direction can not change so quite limiting. ------ My first thought is to use an Arri M8 or M18 as the main light with a 45 degree back angle; Also putting in a small piece of white cloth on the interior of the box to get some light bounce back to fill in the front. (I'm lighting to make it look like a real sunlit setting). The M18 I will spot 50%. From my calculations 120 FPS at ISO 1200 with a shutter angle of 90 degrees at 50% spot would allow me to bring the F-Stop to 11 at a distance of roughly 5 metres. Now 5 metres for an M18 to the rodent may actually be to intense for the animal so an M8 may be more sufficient. Going by Arri's photometrics the majority of their lights are recommended to be kept at a safe distance of at least 5 metres but I assume that is not intended to mean for rodent size. Would be interested to hear if anyone has a solution for this in terms of using a different light or managing to put the light through the hole but at distance without leaving a gap in the box. I have to make sure the rodent is not affected by the heat or burned so I have been thinking going LED if I could get enough light in there for my frame rate. Any need for a Focus Puller? Normally I would of course want this crew member on board, but the budget is so tight right now and the nature of the shoot makes me wonder if their services would be void when regarding the speed and uncertainty if the animal. F11 should keep this sharp in my opinion, but again not doing this shoot kind of shoot would appreciate your opinions. I have attached 2 reference pictures of for the shoot. It is screenshots of the same type of shoot filming a gerbil in a confined space. Notice the hot slash of light across the sand, that is pretty much what I am going for. I am also trying to get the same focal length if anyone has suggestions on what this could be. I will have some pictures soon of what the box will look like so I will share that too. Any experience or suggestions is seriously welcomed so please let me know your thoughts or any questions you might have. Thanks so much.
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