Camera – check. Z-finder – check. Zoom H4n – check. Now what am I missing… Hmmm. Something that very few people talk about unless you go outside and shoot. Still can’t guess? How about some ND? Or even better, a fader ND. I have already ordered mine but unfortunately didn’t get here in time for this weekend. Before I go into what I shot I want to emphasize HOW IMPORTANT AN ND FILTER IS!!!
Some people already know this but for those of you that don’t or don’t think it is worth the money to buy, please read on. Why is the Canon 5D and 7D so good at shooting interviews? Because of the immense control of depth of field. When you shoot outside on a very bright day, even with the ISO at 100, you still have to bump your iris into the double digits. Well, there goes your depth of field control. ND (neutral density) is basically like putting on sunglasses. It stops the light entering your lens and lets you keep your iris where you want it. Now, a fader ND will let you spin the filter from almost no ‘light blocking’ to almost closed. I ordered mine from Light Craft Workshop for $74. This is now a must for me for every lens I buy. (In the music video I shot we used this same fader and it worked very well). Ok, so onto today’s shoot.
With some new toys I was really excited to walk downtown and start a documentary on the city. Being a Saturday morning, everyone around here goes to Ellsworth where the famous farmer’s market is held. The people were more than friendly when asked if I could grab an interview. This has the potential to really turn into something and I am excited to talk with the ones who run the market. Here is a quick piece of what I got using the new Sigma 30mm lens, no ND filter ): , Zoom H4n (you can tell which interview I forgot to hit record, and the Z-finder jr. Please read on below the video to hear my thoughts on this equipment.
I have already written on the lens and again it was fabulous. (Sigma 30mm f/1.4). I am already putting together another order with Sigma. Thinking of getting a 50mm f/1.4 and a 50-150mm f/2.8.
I have been playing around with the Zoom H4n and it is a nice piece of equipment but when recording inside I get a soft hiss. I am sure with some tuning and even music playing in the background one will not be able to hear it. Battery life seems to be very good for only 2AA batteries. I also like the big buttons because I can easily hit record without taking my eye out of the eye piece (very nice for run-and-gun). The preamps do seem weak though. I have to turn up the inputs very high to get my levels where I want them. Anyone else have this problem? For today’s shoot I just turned it on auto level and was impressed by how well it worked out. I did not have the time to concentrate on levels but this seemed to work fine for the circumstances. I even used the on board mics with the supplied windscreen. Again, not the best way to go about this but it made for a solid run-and-gun rig. For now, I am happy with the purchase of the Zoom H4n.
Now, on to the Zacuto Z-finder. Many people ask “Why didn’t you wait for the Pro?” Simple answer, I can’t. With projects lining up I could not wait to hopefully get the Pro the first week of June. For those of you that can, wait. The jr. is an amazing eyepiece and it really is something you must buy for the camera. The reason I say wait for the pro is because the jr. plate is very annoying to deal with. I will be buying a gorilla plate ASAP. It just takes too much time to fit it on the camera and position it. Not to mention is bumps around every now and again. Overall the 2.5 magnification is perfect and it is a tool everyone must buy for shooting video.