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Behind the scenes tech stuff from "Return to Hauna"

I might add that the entire project was shot on my $3K Sony VX-1000 DV camcorder using the Steadicam JR. It was my first project with the little Steadicam and I had just gotten it, so I didn't have the technique quite down, but it worked out pretty well anyway. I've gotten much better at it since then. Editing was all done using Speed Razor.

I didn't have budget to get a radio mic and didn't even have a wired lav. I was expecting the project to be almost entirely VO audio, and only after I got over there did we decide to have her speak on camera. W/out proper mics, I ended up using the wide angle adapter, working close, and relying on the on-camera mic on the VX. This is anathema, but I did some tests and thought I could get away with it if I worked the camera real close. The VX has a really wonderful stereo mic w/2 capsules per channel. I don't know how it works acoustically, but it makes for a really great stereo separation that gives a lot of depth. This makes the ambient sound that was going on around us seem very alive and full. Downside is that there were crickets going most of the time and w/out tight micing they were very loud in relation to the speech in many places. I used the noise reduction plug-in in Sound Forge to try to process this down and had good success, but you can tell in some spots that it was messed with digitally.

Anyway, I was very pleased with what I was able to do with "cheapo" gear.


Thanks for your comments on "Return to Hauna"

>The B&W material worked well (I suspected that some of it

>was material you had just shot, but that would fit in with the

>historical material.)

actually, there wer b&w stills but the motion footage was from the film I did 17 yrs. ago and another one done 5 yrs. before that. It was all color but I stripped out the chroma to emphasize the difference from present day. Also much of it was taken from VHS dubs to further degrade the look of the old stuff. The film images just held up too well!

>And I was wondering how you miked it when I recalled your having said

>something about having to use the on-camera mike, right? It worked so

>well no one would suspect it, and surprisingly (to me) the use of the

>wide lens in close gave a good feeling of intimacy, foreshortening not

>being a problem at all.

The on-camera mic on the VX-1000 is just amazingly good. The 4 capsule design really works. But much credit must also be given to Sound Forge and it's noise reduction plug in. Virtually all the audio was processed, some heavily, to reduce the sound of crickets which in some cases were just as loud as the speech. Without digital background noise reduction the audio would have been unusable.

The fact that wide angle is so "in" at the moment and also the fact that Marilyn is very small and slender let me get away with the up close wide angle. Also, the backdrop of the village meant that everything in the background was always interesting. I wanted to show it as much as possible and the wide angle included a lot of it. Kinda all worked together for me.

Your computer woes sound familiar. I'm constantly battling some problem or other. Life on the bleeding edge...

(to purchase "Return to Hauna")