Where I think the video could be taken further is, instead of simply observing X, commenting on "X because of Y".
So, centre framing is sometimes comic, sometimes suspenseful -- sure! But when it has these effects, why does it have them? When it doesn't have these effects, why doesn't it?
Maor, really interesting idea. If you're still around, I'd be interested to hear how the experiment turned out.
Just wanted to add -- in theory, you can use any broom pole for a boom pole. It's just that it's not extendable (and therefore portable) like a monopod is. However, there may be less handling noise.
If you Google for it, there's instructions online on DIY boom poles for $20.
Hey Chronicle Films, I think style of shooting and how good your device is at capturing audio make a difference.
Manual is obviously better for controlled shoots. The old rule of thumb is, given the same gain, to record the levels as high as you can without peaking, so that when you drop the sound in post, it's cleaner than if you recorded low and then raised later. (I'm no soundie. That's what I was always told anyway.) With DSLRs, people are often suspicious of the preamps, and recommend that you boost the sound coming into the camera, and set the camera's levels low. Anyway, both of these techniques, which rely on manual setting, should produce cleaner audio than auto.
However, if you're running and gunning around a room with different and changing audio levels, auto might suit your needs better.
(Of course, if audio is really important, you probably shouldn't be recording it using an on-camera shotgun mic in the first place. Get something that you can position closer to source.)
There is one more trick you can use: presets. Say you're manually setting levels on the camera (rather than on any audio device going into the camera). On many cameras, you can save a custom mode for the camera at a particular manual level. If you're moving between two distinct audio environments requiring different audio levels (for instance, inside/outside a room), it's far easier to turn a dial or press a button to change the settings, than trying to menu dive or fiddle with the audio pots each time.
Hi Matthew. I wanted to mention a few more ideas:
-- ETTR can work well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposing_to_the_right
-- Normally expose for skin tones, right? But you might want to vary the rule depending on the image and circumstances. For instance, you might really want to see some detail out of that window over there, but that would mean underexposing the skin (and you don't have any other options like ND gels on the window or extra lighting on the person). Well, maybe you can bring up the skin acceptably in post.
-- For a controlled shoot, sure, pull out the zebras and look for 70% IRE on the highlights on the skin (or whatever seems to look good on your camera), or look at a waveform/histogram to see how much detail you're losing at high and low end and whether you should brighten/darken the image for safety's sake. But personally I reckon a good camera operator should learn to eyeball it. For many types of shooting, you don't have the time to look at a waveform, let alone pull out a light meter. If you're doing a documentary/wedding/news recording/whatever and the action is happening NOW, then you've just got to get the shot -- no focus aids, no exposure aids, just your eye (and maybe autofocus/autoexposure/auto white balance :)).
A good training device is practising with a black and white viewfinder, and looking for zone VI for Caucasian skin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_System). Older camera guys will have had no choice but to learn this sort of method (zebras have been around for a while, but I think built-in waveform monitors are fairly new... even colour viewfinders are fairly new).
-- DSLRs usually come with an exposure meter needle in the viewfinder. I think it's a great tool for uncontrolled shoots or photos or times when you need to act fast. The key thing to bear in mind is that the metering is usually set to do a centre-weighted average of the scene, and can be biased to under or overexpose skin tones by the presence of a lot of dark or a lot of light elements in frame. So you have to compensate; and if you're shooting on the fly, without any other sort of exposure aid, how much you should compensate kind of comes with practice, especially for photos. Good photographers will look at what the exposure needle is telling them, factor in the brightness, and think to themselves, "OK, I need to go 1 stop higher", etc without needing to chimp the image.
-- People talk about "correct" exposure, but personally I believe there's subjectivity here. For instance: consider any sort of silhouette image -- maybe it looks good with no detail and just black shapes, or maybe a certain amount of detail looks good. It all depends.
Or consider any night time image. With DSLRs, you have the capacity to show that image brighter than it would look to the human eye. So, what is the correct exposure? Do you make it look comfortable and pleasing, or do you try to convey a sense of what it's actually like? I remember a John Brawley test shoot with one of the BM cameras. Someone in the comments section accused his image of being "underexposed". John replied, "I wouldn't call it underexposed. Dark, maybe, but not underexposed."
Even for normal daytime images, you can look at someone's skin tones and genuinely be in doubt and spend a while stressing over it. "Do I go 1/3 of a stop up? Do I go 1/3 down? Not quite sure."
In your avatar image, one side of the face is dark and one side is light. Is the light side underexposed? To my taste, yes. But if you bumped up the exposure, maybe you'd see too much detail on the darker side. -- I think it's subjective.
-- As for landscapes... Well, you do have a bit of flexibility. Does depend a lot on what mood you're trying to convey and what looks good to your eye. Or if you're trying to capture as much detail as possible, then, sure, use a waveform or whatever tools you have to get most of the pixels falling within a safe range, and then adjust to taste depending on how good/bad the highlights in the image look, and whether you're willing to sacrifice information at low or high end.
Good review of the camera here: http://www.newsshooter.com/2017/01/02/blackmagic-design-ursa-mini-4-6k-n...
Ok, here's one workaround. It's not pretty, but it's cheap and just doable: Manfrotto Clamp-On Remote Control for Canon DSLRs (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/853877-REG/Manfrotto_SYMPLA_MVR91...).
Plug it into the USB connection on the camera, then clamp it to the handle. It's not wireless, but won't throw the balance of the steadicam off if you MacGyver the wire position. I have a friend who's managed to use it with a Steadicam Merlin by clamping it to the handle. Does take some skill. If you have a Pilot or Zephyr or similar, I imagine it'd be even easier.
Another solution, of course: get one of the Canon cameras with dual pixel autofocus.