Director/DP
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Q&A

  1. How many tries does it take on average to get the perfect shot? (@the_theory_of) That is almost impossible to answer as every shot is different. Sometimes it may only take just one try along with a safety take. Other times it can take 10,15, or 50 times. It depends on how important that shot is and if it's worth spending more time trying to get it just right.

  2. What is your favorite setup? (@diego.rvx) I don’t know that I have a “favorite” setup, but I do have preferences when it comes to different situations. For example, when I want a handheld look, I go with a monopod and a tripod head instead of a shoulder rig. Reason for this is because I am oftentimes much taller then my subjects and I’d end up with a high angle shot looking down. For other setups I’m starting to incorporate more add-ons to my rig like external monitors, audio recorders, etc. It depends what the shot calls for.
  3. What are the best things you did for practice? (@ddozier1000) The best thing I do for practice is practice. I live and die by this. When I find myself without work, I’m constantly on youtube learning new tricks and techniques and go out and practice them. Whether it’s time-lapses, camera movement, lighting, etc. Always practice as much as you can. Fortunately I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been able to practice some more, but I definitely plan to go back and continue to do so once my work slows down a bit.
  4. What is the best gear to start with? (@_davidfloroiu) For general purposes, I would say a camera, tripod, and some sort of on camera shotgun mic that can double as a regular shotgun mic if needed. For lighting you can go with clamp lights with either daylight or tungsten bulbs.
  5. What is the magic threshold of when to by vs rent? (@teddywaffles) That usually depends if you’re going to get a lot of use out of that particular item. For example, I have a job coming up with the RED Dragon that will require several hours of 6K RED footage. This is a very unique project at least for me, so because I don’t usually do these kinds of jobs, I am going to rent many more RED Mags to make sure I have enough storage along with a few more batteries for the RED. However, I will be buying the hard drives for this project. In terms of other equipment like lenses and cameras, it is the same scenario. If you don’t see yourself getting those kinds of jobs all the time, then I stick to renting the unique gear needed for those project until such a time comes when you feel it’s better to put down the investment. Only you will know when that time comes.
  6. Recommended lens for filmmaking? (@hilmanlthf) There are so many good lenses our there the today that there cannot be one good lens for filmmaking. For my situation, documentary filmmaking, I try to stick with lenses that perform well when going handheld. So I looking for IS in my lenses. That is why I love my Canon 24-105. However, my sony a7s2 takes care of that with it’s internal 5-axis stabilization that works even better. Now I can use different lenses. Focal distance is also a factor for me since I try not to change lenses when I’m shooting on the run. As for cinema filmmakers, I recommend the Rokinon cinema primes. They’re extremely sharp and are dirt cheap when compared to Canon and Ziess cinema glass.
  7. What is the best way to become a PA in LA? (@ajsteel94) I can’t tell you exactly what to do for the LA area, but I can’t imagine it being any different then any other place. Get yourself listed in as many directories as possible. Search out and seek any agencies in the area and make sure they have your resume and just let yourself be known. I have found that ProductionHUB is a great directory to be on.
  8. I am 27 its too late to start in film industry? (@tozalezy) Absolutely not. You can begin your filmmaking career at any age. Of course consider your circumstances at the time, like finances, family, etc. But if you feel this is your passion, I don’t see why age should be a factor.
  9. What's the best thing a teenager can do to be a great filmmaker and eventually find a job as one? (@boboice) Take a look at my previous blog “A Career In Filmmaking”. (http://www.arielmartinez.co/blog/acareerinfilmmaking) That can answer this question more in-depth. 
  10. What are the important aspects we should consider when shooting a low light scene? (something at night or in a very dark interior) as indi film maker we usually don't have access to all the lenses or the best camera for the task. Facing this kind of shooting with a DSLR and some lights can be challenging because in most of the cases you get a lot of grain. You end up putting a lot of lights but then your scene no longer looks like a night scene. (@sudakastainer) Great question! So once you have considered how you want your shots to look, I would go into analyzing the room and see where I want my shadows to be placed. With that out of the way, I’ll then begin to place my lights where they're needed. All this is done after my camera is in place with my preferred settings. I tend to light about a stop or two brighter then I need to because this allows me to make sure I have enough exposure, without clipping, to play with in post. Remember, you can always bring your exposure down in post, but brightening up your image brings in the grain. So as long as you have the shadows in place where you need them, you can add extra contrast afterwards. As far as your image not looking like a nighttime scene anymore, I would see where you’re placing your lights. Sometimes light placement and/or shadows can tell your audience your scene. I hope I was able to answer your question. This is just my own personal method and you should not take anything that I say as a proven fact or law. I would even continue to practice different techniques and perhaps you’ll find a method that works for you.
Ariel MartinezComment