Thank you, I will check out the link you shared!
Thank you for the honor of sharing my questions on your podcast. I would also like to thank you for your answers! It is amazing how perception seems to change, with regards to noise, when compared to stills photography.
Thank you for your response! I guess the biggest question is, from an IQ perspective is if there is any advantage of moving away from my 35mm DSLR (Nikon D750). I don't expect to be working in 4k anytime soon though I have heard about its use in the world of editing.
As you stated the ergonomics, recording codecs and general features/tools in the camera like the C100/300 or the FS5/7 make them better over all for video shooting (after all they were design for that). My biggest concern is if an APS-C sensor can handle cases where lighting may not be ideal. After all this is why I switched from my D5200 (APS-C) to the D750 (FF).
PS I'm sorry about the late response. I have been tied up with forming my charitable organization, which is now recognized by the Indian Govt. I hope to next look at generating some financial support so I can increase the scale of my work. Initially I will work with the expectation of a small audience (my client and interested/vested parties) and as my skills grow I will look at reaching a more general audience. Hope this way of thinking makes sense haha!
Dear guy McLoughlin,
True, that is a handy way to mount lights, I will explore it further and see if local stores stock auto-poles.
Dear Guy McLoughlin,
Thank you for your response! By inspire I do not mean to imitate the style or work of these photographers but more along the lines of how they/their work inspires me towards a more journalistic approach to storytelling. These are also people whose achievements/work (explicit or implicit) I respect and would like to consider as 'role model' material.
I have always been drawn to contrast. That is why even at the age of 12 I stuck stubbornly to shading with graphite pencils over coloured mediums. I came to learn later the term 'chiaroscuro'. To show dimension you need both light and shadow after all.
My work in this school was started as merely a 'what is going on in class' gig. In other words it was for internal uses such as research and occasionally for promotional use with specific target audience.
It is my desire to create a story out of this because there are things that happen in these schools which never happen in traditional schools. This might be the way teachers handle the overcrowding of their schools or it might be the interaction of the children themselves. There is work going on daily in these schools and every now and then there is something amazing that happens, I document and record those moments. In this way it is, kind of, a story whose significant content is happened upon rather than planned, but the rest of it I believe can be planned.
This could be adding context to the school's environs/community. It could be a look at the various stakeholders (again for context) such as the funding organization or the intervening NGO. It can be other things too and is only limited by my creativity.
I would like to approach the lighting manufacturer mentioned above. Would you mind suggesting what can be considered basic lights from their catalog? I am leaning towards LEDs for their portability and the ability to run them off batteries. I apologize for such a selfish request.
If the autopoles are similar to the ones used to hang backgrounds from the ceiling I can ask a friend on where to get them. The ones I saw on BHPhotovideo seem to be very affordable and I hope that it is the same here haha! Will standard light stands not work? Once again mainly for interviews and product videos as a starting point.
As always thank you for your valuable insight!
Thank you once again for your response. Yes it is a good environment because given the lack of space the teachers work together to manage so many children.
To the story #03:
Just to clarify, the parents are the ones who tied up the child. Also I interviewed the teachers, asking them if the parents would be interested in knowing about an alternative education system or if they would come to see their children work. The response was that 90% of the parents wouldn't care, they had given up on these girls. The school is residential and I was told maybe 3-4 students live with their parents.
The beauty of the school is that some of the teachers themselves are visually handicapped. Among these are former students who decided to stay and teach. The teachers see the problem the children face on a daily basis and are among the most enthusiastic I have ever seen.
I recently attended a meeting of an local NGO collective. About 75 organizations are represented there and most if not all asked me if I would be willing to make documentaries. I had a similar response when I met with about 15-20 organizations from around the country earlier this year.
Opportunities to show my work can be made. There are a lot of yearly education expos that I can try presenting my work in. In fact I have an 'outreach' cum 'fundraising' idea playing in my head the past few months but the time is not yet ripe.
My limitation is primarily in knowledge and skill and a little bit more on the gear side. I often work in tight spaces and as such need a wider lens and using the on board camera microphones results in rather poor quality audio.
I wonder if using the shotgun capsule for my Zoom H5 when mounted on the hot shoe will be better. I can send a feed to the camera as well as record a copy on the H5.
/The Google Drive link has been updated with a few more photographs/
/Most commercial lighting brands are unavailable in India. I have located a local lighting manufacturer here:http://www.canaralighting.com/category.php?link_id=1
If you have any advice regarding what are the most basic tools I can get from their list I would much appreciate it/
Thank you very much for such a detailed response, I will do my best to follow your advice. I have, as you suggested, up voted the responses due to their helpful and insightful nature. I did not share much in my initial post since it was long enough as is. I hope that you will not mind me sharing now.
Firstly, thank you for the compliment! Yes I do a lot of homework, then I normally get thoughts and opinions on what I gleaned from my homework to make sure I have a full, or as close as is possible, understanding on the subject matter. I spent 3 months researching DSLRs before getting my first camera the Nikon D5200 and I spent 6 months more doing research before getting the D750 a year later.
Again I will start with some context, if I may;
My first initiation into the creative arts was at the age of 8 when I started to draw. I also started learning music (albeit on and off) at age 10. I continued to draw till age 17 when I took up 2D animation, this sadly was not a field that offered much employment in my country. It was during this time I started to learn of CG. I explored software such as GIMP, Blender, Photoshop, Max, Maya and further down the line a little bit of ZBrush.
Being some one with a rather strong logical and analytical bend, and with a family with a similar disposition, I never owned a camera for most of my life. The question raised was always "why do you need a camera?" and I did not have a response.
Till about 1 year and 11 months ago I knew little to nothing about photography or film making. The only camera I had was the one on my phone, the Sony Xperia Z1 I bought in 2014, which I actually bought for the camera. Up to this point when I did take photographs (mostly during vacation) it was with my uncle's Sony F717, which is still in working condition and is used now and then.
My foray into photography started with a joke, I used to edit photographs for my mother's work, they would often be taken with a point and shoot camera or a phone, and I would be expected to work miracles on them being the resident 'Photoshoper'. The response to my jest was a suggestion to take the photographs myself. And so I did and continue to do so.
I was already involved in the project in another aspect and the documentary work with the first time I got to see my own handiwork. During the course of the year I saw the uphill battle the children face as well as the results of my work and those around me. Having lost my own education due to various reasons I saw an opportunity to contribute using what skills I had.
Towards the end of 2015 I decided that, after much research, there was a need for the skills that I could offer and for skills that I could, relatively easily, learn (I don't pretend expecting to master the crafts). Whether as a photographer or film maker I could offer a service that many of these organizations lack internally but sorely need. For this reason I am registering a trust for myself such that I may work formally and raise funds formally.
There were some obstacles to surpass though. The first is the high capital for this kind of work. This I had expected and hoped that there was some way of raising the funds, other than commercial work. I attempted for photography grants, CSR projects, fellowships etc. These didn't work out well but I learned quickly that there is work to be done before I am good enough to win such funding.
The second aspect was figuring out a way to make it financially viable, as you pointed out. The going rate for any visual story teller is exorbitant, the organizations themselves have little to no chance of paying such prices. While I understand and accept that the price is based on the skill of the creative artist and the purpose of the end product, these organizations will never be able to pay such prices. There is a point when morality should win over pure financial gain and often these organizations fit that criteria.
What ever my flaws, naivete is probably not one of them. Moral high ground will, likely, not put food on the table. For this reason I will also have to do some commercial work to make ends meet. This has always been part of plan and will continue to do so. The value of my work is determined by my commercial activities and this skill is offered at a subsidized and affordable rate (not fore free) to these NGOs. The focus, nonetheless, will be the social work over commercial work.
A couple of short stories and a fact or two:
One of the schools I go to had, last year, 3 classrooms which held about 25 children each and around 80-90 students. This year they have of those classrooms and about 120 children to squeeze in. These children work next to foot ware and the toilet in the corridor due to the lack of space. On one of the visits the teacher was dealing with a new student's enrollment (Govt schools are not allowed to turn children away) and a child at the far end needed help with an activity (Color tablets used in the Montessori Method). The teacher of course could not help, so one of the children who was waiting nearby started teaching this girl the activity.
One of the Government schools we added this year is inside a slum area. The Government teachers who are supposed to come to this school refuse because of its locale. 100 children are left out in the cold for no other reason than being born to a low income family.
The other school in this area is private. The 'wealthy' parents of the community send their children here paying a nominal fee. The classrooms are the parking space of what should have been an apartment. Another 100 or so children who are scraping by.
India hosts the largest (20% of the world's) population of the visually impaired. Yet the only thing teachers are taught during their Degree courses are 'mobility with a cane' and 'reading writing braille'. The work I do here aims to develop a method of delivering/teaching content to these children. Again we use the Montessori method which is Multi-sensorial and thus advantageous in this situation.
The children here are girls who come from rural backgrounds. There are stories where this children are tied up at home so that they don't wander. They eat, sleep and defecate right there till the parent return in the evening.
If I don't tell, or find a way to tell, these stories the plight of such children will for ever go unheard and unseen. Is it going to be easy? No. Will it make me a lot of money? No. Is it still worth doing? Hell Yes. And can something be gained as a professional and as a person? Yes!
I don't intend to work for free, free work has, or is given, little value. I will charge as per the project's requirements. I will charge less for those people and organizations who need the service but can't pay the commercial rates and I will balance things out by doing some commercial work.
My only hope is that there will be some one who will give me a lucky break so that I can get the 2-3 tools I feel I need to better tell the stories. I will, as I have been doing so far, continue to improve my abilities.
My current (software) skill set (a minimum functional ability to a comprehensive knowledge of):
Adobe PhotoshopAdobe LightroomAdobe InDesign
Adobe Premiere Pro
Da Vinci Resolve 21.5 (since it is free I am learning this to cut the cost of PPro granted that it may not be as good at editing)
And I am also working on my photography skills and am exploring the world of film making. The gear I would like to get are the following:
Any fast 35mm lens (I compared Indian price for the Samyang with US price: 992 USD in India Vs 436 in US)
A 135mm prime to round out my lens set up (the Samyang is not even available)
A good Microphone (ideally one which can work on top of the camera as well as a boom pole. I was considering the ATR 6550 unless some how I can get any of the NTG series)
A luxury (but would help) is an external video recorder.
Hope this makes things a little clearer. Again I must apologize for the long long wall of text! I have shared some photographs so that the above stories make more sense.