Sunday, June 10, 2012

Updates - Never Go Full Retard (How my partner and me shot a Modern Music Festival)

Hello World!

I just had my first paid job.

The task was pretty easy. I needed to shoot a modern classical concert without editing it or anything. I only needed to give the raw material to my client on the last day.

I could have shooten it alone but I still decided to split the money with a good friend and partner who was the second unit in this shooting.


The answer is simple. Shooting a project with only one DSLR (where you need continous shooting) is SUICIDE. The first big problem with DSLRs is that you have a 12 minute limitation (meaning that you need to restart the video after 12 minutes so that you have about 2-3 second holes in your footage. The secod problem is that pulling focus in dark places is hard if you have poor eyesight (like me).

These two problems can´t be entirely decimated but helped to overcome by using at least two DSLRs.

if you have two cams in use its no problem if one cam has issues (like the 12 minute limitation etc.) as long as the second cam is still running. The focus pulling issue is also solved by this because  two pairs of eyes always see better than one (obviously). The focus pulling issue can also be solved by the use of magic lantern (I will talk about magic lantern in a later blog topic).

Battery and memory management is also very important in projects like this. This was our setup:

We took turns overwriting  the sd cards to the computer and formating them afterwards. One issue we had was that the recharging time of the batterys  was about 20 minutes longer then the decharging (is that even a word lol) time of the batterys. Most fortunately we usually had pauses between artist etc. so that we always managed to have full batterys.

SO the rule to learn for "bigger" projects like this
 is to have good equipment managementand teamwork.

Here is a little teaser i made for you ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Updates- How to FAIL in a Video Contest (My participation in the 48GFC contest)

No, No Hello World today I´m not in the mood....

There´s no need for false pride

I´m a bloody beginner in the world of filmmaking.

This weekend had prooven it to me.

I have a long journey to go...

But still I will continue it because one has to stand up after one falls!

On this weekend I participated in the 48 Guerilla Film competition.

The Goal of the competition ist to plan, shoot and edit a movie in 48 hours. You get a random genre and line of dialouge you need to include in your movie.

My Genre was Western and my line of Dialouge was  " I have a map for every mall from here to Tijuana".

The first issues I encountered was that my 2 partners blew of a day before the shooting and I had to find poeple to shoot. Most fortunately I found 4 poeple who were very eager to help me. Without their help the project couldn´t have been accomplished (VEEEEEERY BIG THANK YOU GUYS).


Have a reliable crew

The second issue I had encountered was that it was nearly impossible to film outside because cars birds and wind disturbed the audio. In Post it was also very hard to level out the sounds. because I had used the In-cam-mic and an outside mic which had different recording levels.


Be verry Verry VERRY carefull with your audio!!!

Probably the most severe issue I had is that the story didn´t really work out at the end. The storytelling is missing a red line and is confusing for viewers who don´t know the script


 Don´t try to over complicate the script. Try to rather have a nice solid script that works just fine otherwise if you fail to deliver your message because the story is too complicated it doesn´t matters of how many twists or interesting features you thought the audience also needs to get them!

The last and most bitter issue I had that I underestimated the exporting time of Avid MC letting me be too late for the 48 hours...


 Know your editing programm and it´s rendering times. You don´t want to be disquallified/canceled from the job because of your too  long export time.

Even tough I´m very dissapointed with my final movie. I still have to say that I greatly enjoyed it´s creation. One of the reasons I enjoyed it was the wonderful crew I had. We were only 4 people but we still managed to work as hard as 10 at least ^^.

Another positive thing about this expirience is that I now noticed a lot of mistakes I still make and can correct them the next time I shoot a movie.

I had a lot more issues then the listed by the way but these were the most severe ones.

I hope that you can learn out of my mistakes and had fun reading this Article


Friday, May 11, 2012

Updates - A Dark Cave to concquer (My Expirience shooting a Band Live

Hello World!

I couldn´t write for a long time because I had my final exams and a new Project.

The Project is/was to shoot a Band during a life performance.

Seems pretty easy, right?


The Situation is the following:

No Light.

EXTREMLY loud Audio

People Crashing against your stuff

No Time to pull Focus

Only two cams

Seems pretty lethal ain´t it?

Did i still managed to get  decent results?



Because of planing, and backup two of the most important things to do if your doing a project similar to this.
 I had literaly 4 different Mics Recording in fear of bad audio, 2 Cams Crossshooting (absolute MINIMUM for a project like this),   2 X 16GB SD Cards 3 Batterys capable of recording 100 Minutes each. 3 glasses with different focal length. 2 People to keep the equipment safe and 2 Tripods (a small one and a big one for different situations).

Even with all this p├članning and equipment i barely managed to get decent shots. So really think a project like this trough before you accept it!

One of the major problems I had was that nearly no light was accesable in the Club and i needed to shoot on high ISO setting (i hope i can denoise the images a little in post) another Problem I didn´t think of was that i had 2 cams in total: One mounted on a Tripod shooting the whole stage and my DSLR with which i shot Handheld from the crowd. Because I only have one lens with an image stabilzer which has a really small focal  length (little zommfactor)  i often entered the frame of my first cam while trying to shoot the band members. I will need to figure it out if this is a problem or i can live with this.

I also did a little timelapse with magic lantern of poeple entering the club (it renders as I write this Blogpost ^^)

In conclusion this project was exhausting beyond my imagination but a really good way of learning to shoot under extreme conditions. I´m really happy that I accepted the job :)


PS: I filmed the Band The Mind Blowing Monkeys the videos on theire page aren´t mad by me (yet) but i think they make awesome music and need some support :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gear/DIY - Invent the Wheel let it move (How I built myself a DIY Dolly)

Hello World!

In this topic I will talk about a DIY Project you can do really easy.

You will get a Dolly similar to the Konova Skater Dolly (google it)

First of all i bet there are a few questions

What is a Dolly?

A Dolly is basically a wheeled Device that let´s you "drive around" with your Cam mounted on it.

What do I need a Dolly For?

You can use a Dolly to create dramatic effects by getting closer/farther from you subject. With a bigger/better Dolly you can also follow your subject while he is walking/running/crawling/etc. away and have a realy steady image. Dollys are also really usefull because you don´t change your angle as you would while using regular pan.

What kind of Dollys are there?

1.Track Dollys:
Track Dollys are mounterd on Tracks and are usually placed under a regular Tripod.


-Easy to build for DIY Projects
-Tracks can be placed anywhere.
-Tracks can cover a long range of movement
-The image quality is really smooth if the Dolly+Tracks are of good quality (usually expensive)

-You need to carry the Tracks with you if you want to use the Dolly (if you have no car you´re screwed)
-The movement is really stiff making curves or turns with the Dolly is only doable if you have a really expensive rail system+dolly
-For smooth movement you need a good dolly (really hard to build in DIY)
 -You need a tripod to use it

2.Skater Dollys:

Skater Dollys are Dollys which are usually really small . The Konova Skater Dolly is a good example of what they usually look like.


-The wheels can be adjusted in any angle so you can do fast and rapid turns with the dolly
-The Dolly is really Small taking away little room in your bag (you can carry it with you even if you don´t have a car)


-The Dolly can only be used on a COMPLETELY flat surface (it can´t even have the sligthest bum or hole or else it will be visible on yourshot)
-No Tripod can be Mounted on it (If you want to have higher shots you need to either use a higher table or mount a flat surface on a tripod/chair/etc.)
-The Cam is closer to the wheels every bump will be on you shots

3. Slider Dolly

One can argue about this thing beeing a dolly as it may doesn´t even have wheels but I think it makes the same effect as the other Dollys so it still is a Dolly for me ;)

Slider Dolly are bassically Tracks with a Mount sliding up and down on it. (google it)


-Can usually be mounted on Tripods (can be used at any heights)
-Have extremly fast and smooth camera movement due to lack of wheels
-Can also be used to create a cran like effect (Really COOL!)


-Extremly hard to do a good DIY version of them
-Restricted to right left movement (can´t do turns)
-Have restricted sliding length

So these are the Pro´s and Con´s of these different kinds of Dollys.

What kind of Dolly will we Craft?

It will be closer to the Skater Dolly but still be able to be mounted on Tracks if you wish so.

Basically it´s really easy to make you need:

-A Baseplate you´ll be able to find at ANY  Homework Store (search fo a metal plate with holes in it)
-a skateboard
-2 long screws(for youre Skateboard wheels)
-1 short screw(for youre ball head) Be Carefull if you have a good Ballhead it will just be able to be mounted if you use special screws!
-a couple of nuts (the more the better!!!!)
- a Ball Head

Basically you just need to unscrew your skateboard wheels and scree them to your basplate and then screw the ball head in the middle of the thing.

One Problem you may encounter are the shock absorbers of the skateboard wheels who stick out anddont let you scre tha wheels to yopur baseplate. If you use really long screws just use the nuts to create a gap between the end of the screw  and the wheels.

Thats it you skater dolly is done!

If you want to you can also build a couple of Tracks from PVC but I can´t give you any advice for this because I haven´t done it myself.

I took the idea from

All Credits for the Idea go to Just Basl Productions

With your new Dolly You´ll be able to get shots like this:


Have Fun with your new Dolly ;)

Disclaimer: Use my Tipps at your own risk. If you´re doing any harm to your DSLR while doing my "tricks you´re responsible for the harm!

Technique - Time Wizard (Making good Timelapse Footage with your DSLR)

Hello World!

IF you want to become a Time Wizard you can enter some spiritual seminars or just use your DSLR instead.

What is Timelapse?

Timelapse is Footage speed up so that time passes a lot quicker in your footage.

What do I want to use Timelapse for?     

You can show Day/Night Changes or time passing by or just show how busy a scene is. A good timelapse also makes a pretty damn good stock footage for intros/outros/documentarys

How do I make Timelapses?

If you don´t have a DSLR or want to make a short Timelapse you can just use a regular video and speed it up. However this is pretty ineficcient, uses up alot of memory space and only covers the time period of your memory card getting full/your battery draining

If you have a DSLR or ANY cam with a intervallometer in it (or software which helps you to take pictures in specific time intervalls) you use this intervallotmeter to take pictures every few seconds and cut them together  to a movie. This creates the illusion of time passing by fast.

Beforo we come to the technical Mumbo Jumbo here are some couple of general advices

Setting up the Timelapse:

If you want to set up your timelapse think of the following things:

-Before you start your timelapse ALWAYS make a number of Testshots !

-If your picture is overexposed/underexposed on your testshots think about the following things. Will it get Darker/Brighter?  If Yes: Do you want the Timelapse to cover this longer time period? If Yes you´re Set ;)

-IF you´re doing a timelapse from a place behind glass (e.g you living/hotel room, youre Glass fetish room etc.) CLEAN THAT GODDAMN GLASS!!!  It´s also important that if you´re doing a Night timelapse  to turn of every light in the room ( blinmking printers, blinking Monitors, youre Winnie Poo don´t be scard sleeping lights etc.) or else you´ll have a couple of nasty reflections covering your window (and youre timelapse...)

Technical Mumbo Jumbo:

-Set your camera to Manual Focus and Focus your Subjet Manually DO NOT use Autofocus!!!

-DO NOT set your cam to automatic  Mode!  Set the Exposure,Iso,Shutter Speed, and White Balance to specific values!!!!

-Think about the place you wan´t to place your camera to you don´t want to get it wet/dirty/kickedofbyaidiotwhowalksby [yes thats a adjektive (at least in my english :P)]

If you DON´T Follow any of this Steps you´ll get Footage like this...


As you may have noticed there are some ugly "light- jumps"  as well as some Movements...

This happened because I had my cam set to auto ISO and my Auto Focus moved my Tripod just a little bit but still noticable...

After I corrected my mistakes my second timelapse was much smoother:


Back to the topic:

Where should I put my Cam if I want to make a good timelapse?

There isn´t a specific place where you MUST place your cam,


Try out different angles, there is no "right way" if anyone tells you that there is he is a complete moron!

What is this intervallometer thingy you talk about? Where can I get one?

There are several ways to use a intervallometer with your CANON DSLR (Sorry I have no expirience using cams from other brands). The easiest but also most expensive way is the one of using a  Timer Remote for your DSLR unfortunately this Bad-Boys kost about 80-150 € and I find them quite expensive....(if you find some cheaper ones feel free to comment with a link)

But don´t worry there are other ways to do a timelapse with your CANON DSLR :) Canon gives you the so Called Canon EOS Utility a nice Programm which you can install on a laptop. The Programm has an Intervallometer built into it so you can do timelapse footage with it as long as you keep carrying your laptop + usb cord+ DSLR with you. As you may agree with me this is a quite inefficient way to do a timelapse so I have one final solution for you folks. Magic Lantern!
Magic Lantern is a custom firmware for DSLRs which I will Disscuss in later topics. However even tough this custom firmware give you the ability to do a timelapse with your DSLR (and many other nifty things) without any other devices and is completely free it isn´t a official firmware so you´ll always have the possibility of bricking your DSLR. I personally use Magic Lantern but if you want to use it you do it on your own risk!

If You follow all of this steps theres just one rule left which I already have mentioned earlier


Try to use  a variety of exposure times, angles, etc.

Here is another Timelapse I  made :)

And of course even tough this article gives you the basics for doing a timelapse there is no "right" way of doing a timelapse as well as there is no "right" way for making film. These are just basic tips so that you can get started to do a timelapse :)

Giora Khen

Disclaimer: Use my Tipps at your own risk. If you´re doing any harm to your DSLR while doing my "tricks you´re responsible for the harm!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gear - A Turny Monitor Thingy (What Cam do I use and what for)

Hello World!

As you may have noticed the Headline starts with the word Gear. If you ask yourself why I´ll explain to you how I´ll build up this Blog.

There will be several categorys like:

Gear         (for all of my own Gear)
Updates    (Updates about my newest Projects)
News        (News from the World of Filmmaking - These News will usually be taken from other sites)
Technique (I show you Techniques I use for filmmaking and share mistakes  I made with solutions)
Storys       (If anything Fun or Interesting happens with me I´ll write about it)

SO back to the topic :

Every low-Budget Cinematographer´s first queation is what cam to use for his first movies and if he should rent or buy a camera.

I bought myself a canon 600D for the following reasons:

-It´s not only a good cam for video but also for photography so you basically get a 2in1 offer.
-The image quality of both video/photography is superb

But why a DSLR?

There are several reason to use a DSLR for low-Budget filmmaking.

-The most important reason to use a DSLR is that you have full control over your exposure,shutter speed, Iso, white balance. This manual options are really important for high quality filming . Why?

Light one half of your room and keep the other half as dark  as possible. If you use a regular camcorder without manual control over it´s functions you´ll notice some kind of unnatural jump of light in the image. This can only be avoided by having manual control over youre functions.

- A DSLR also comes with a large Sensor which means more Detail for your movie better low-light capacity (you basically can film darker images then with a small sensor cam without any quality losses), and a good Depth of Field (VERY IMPORTANT FOR STORY TELLING!!!)

-And  last but not least a DSLR hase changable lenses which means that  you can cover a variety of focal lengths that you couldn´t with a cam with a fixed lens

But why did you Buy the 600D and  not other models of Canon or another Brand?

I bought the 600D because it has nearly the same sensor as the Canon 7D ; 60D etc but for a much smaller price. I didn´t buy the 5D Mark II (Mark III wasn´t out yet at that time) because a full frame cam is very expensive on it´s own and also usually needs more expensive lenses.I also thought that the 100€ price difference to  the 550D would be worth the turning screen (and it really was I NEVER had regretted the investment of this 100 bucks)

I didn´t buy a Nikon or a Sony (if you consider Sony as a real competitor in the camera market) because back then they had an inferior video codec compared to canon (which has been fixed by now) 

Here are some Testshots I threw together (don´t expect anything special here it´s just raw footage with a little bit of commentary) 

These Are My reasons for buying a Canon 600D. I know some of you´ll probably dissagree with me on some points but this cam is one of the few investments mad in my life that I NEVER regretted even for a minute

Giora Khen

A New Dawn

Hi there World!

I´m Giora Khen currently I´m 19 years old and want to  become a successfull director of photography.

Why did I start this Blog?

I think that the best way of learning is by learning from others mistakes. In  this Blog you´ll be able to follow my journey to finally become a director of photography.

I´ll post any Problems I´ll encounter
I´ll post interesting news of the filmmaking world
I´ll post updates about my Projects
and finally I´ll post my success ;)

So if you too want to start the journey of becoming a Director of Photography or you´re just interested in filmmaking you´ll be able to learn from my mistakes and gain experience together with me. I´ll also keep you updated about my new projects and will post ALL of my movies together with the making-offs on this site. This making-offs will only be available from this site!

As a matter of fact I´m working on several Projects at this very Moment which I will reveal soon ;)

I hope that I could catch your interest, be sure to keep track of my Blog as I will be posting new things very soon

Giora Khen