Texas, Part 2

I arrived at Camp Fern on Sunday to start pre-camp week, training for counselors and time to get the camp ready for the season.

Tuesday my boss from the video company arrived at Camp Fern to give me a shot list / script, and give me some pointers for shooting at a camp. We went out and shot some video, to make sure I knew what I was doing.

I’m shooting on a Canon HFM300, a consumer AVCHD camcorder. There are some definite drawbacks to this camera. On the plus side, it is very small and lightweight, and it has an automatic lens cap (kind of like the Sony Z1.) On the negative side, all the interactions with the camera are through a touchscreen, except record and zoom. This means manual focus and custom white balance require tapping on the screen multiple times to adjust. There is no manual iris, just an “exposure” setting which presumably adjusts shutter and iris at the same time. There is an 1/8″ mic jack and a headphone jack, which will come in handy for doing sit-down interviews, but for man-on-the-street interviews I only have the on-camera mic to work with. And because it’s a touchscreen, there are always fingerprints all over it, which makes it impossible to see in the direct sunlight (which there’s a lot of in Texas.)

Despite all of this, I was able to shoot some good looking video. After I shot some stuff at the stables and archery, we went back to my office to review footage. Speaking of office…

I’m in the basement of the camp office, under the dining hall. It’s the only air conditioned building on camp, but I share the room with the still photog as well as all the camp’s files, some computers, old video equipment, some spiders, and a bunch of guitars. It’s not the most roomy space, but it’s mine.

I’ve also shot some timelapses already with my Canon SX20IS with CHDK and Ultra Intervalometer. The camp is considering getting a GoPro, which will make longer term timelapses easier to do, especially if there’s rain.

During this pre-camp week I’ve been shooting beauty shots, signs, and general set-up of the camp. Sunday is opening day. Which means lots of activities, and lots to shoot.

About Edward Carlson

Film and television Director of Photography working in Los Angeles, CA.
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