Preshoot Checklist for HDSLR Shooting

Shane Hurlbut offers some great preshoot tips to HDSLR shooters. Very good advice…and I thought I would add a few more points, more specific to those shooting with one camera and limited crew and time.

1) Overheating. This is an issue, as these cameras aren’t made to constantly shoot video for full days. Shane mentions that swapping two cameras halfway through the day is the best way to go, and he is right. However if you have only one camera, then make sure you turn it off every chance you get. If time does not allow for this, then switch from live mode to standard hereby turning the LCD off. My testing shows that five to ten minutes turned off is all you need and is equal to switching a camera out.

2) Logging. Using tape to label cards is a little old fashioned in my opinion…why not just rename the folders on the cf card?  Even though it is great to have a media wrangler or even time to offload the cards, sometimes it isn’t possible. What I do is start new folders via the camera’s menus after completing specific script points like scenes or when switching locations. Then, pop it into a laptop and rename the folder(s) to match what you shot and the camera you shot it on.  If you have time, always offload the cards for backup purposes. I do so at lunch and then at the end of the day. Makes data management in post very easy!

3) Dead Pixels. This means your camera needs repair. This is different than “hot” pixels. A dead pixel is usually an obvious colored (typically red but could also be blue or green) dot somewhere on the resulting footage. What you should do is record a couple seconds with the lens cap on, then review on a monitor or computer screen to see if you need to send in your camera. To allow for repair time, do this again at the end of your shoot too.

4) Hot Pixels. As your sensor gets hot, the pixels may start malfunctioning. Also a dirty sensor could give you this too. You will see dots similar to what you see when the sensor has dead pixels, only these dots will be white. Make sure you are periodically shooting all black for a few seconds and reviewing on a larger monitor. If you see white dots, let the camera cool down for five to ten minutes. If this doesn’t work, clean your sensor using proper cleaning methods. (never blow into your camera or use cloths to wipe your sensor!)

5) Also Check the Following Settings:

  • Peripheral Illumination turned OFF
  • Video settings are correct (framerates, resolution)
  • Set the ISO (never higher than 1250!)
  • Set the proper color temperature (white balance)
  • Select your desired picture style
  • Turn on highlight tone priority (adds a shoulder to your highlights)
  • Disable High ISO Noise Reduction (otherwise the resolution is compromised)

Here is Shane’s video. More info at Shane’s blog.

Hurlbut Visuals Camera Protocol from Shane Hurlbut, ASC on Vimeo.

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