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Guerrilla shooters? (this thread is not about hunting..)


kye

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When I first joined the forums I thought I was a run-and-gun shooter, but I think now the term Guerrilla film-maker might be a better fit.

I say this because:

  • I shoot without official permission (and therefore can't have a setup that looks 'pro')
  • I shoot in public where I have basically no control of what happens
  • The subjects of my film (friends and family) tolerate my filming, but won't cooperate to the point of wearing mics or anything else like that

This seems to present a different set of challenges to run-and-gun shooters who can mic up people, have control of lighting and 'set', and can have 'pro' looking cameras.

Anyone else shooting in this style?  (I think it's likely to either be hardcore documentary filmmakers, travel film-makers, or vloggers).

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yeah we need a line of cases that say like HAZARDOUS MATERIALS or WARNING SUPER AIDS or something

This is the perfect example of guerrilla filmmaking.   

My guerilla short :  

Posted Images

All my personal stuff yeah, for sure! The three personal shorts I've made were all with small cameras and just by myself, everything from GH4s to the BMMCC to the D500 to GoPros, and the odd iPhone shot (in a hospital where I wasn't allowed to shoot at all. But it was my grandma who was in a coma so...)

And I've recorded more location audio with a cheap as Rode Videomicro than I care to admit! 

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Yeah I think almost anyone that shoots personal stuff & really wants to enjoy the process, adopts a style like this. So I wouldn't describe it as a "guerrilla style" cause it implies harsh conditions but more like a banal or casual style :) 

@jhnkng  Great colors at your site. Especially with your son and the 53years. 

@HockeyFan12 Just out of curiosity what forums are these? 

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2 hours ago, Don Kotlos said:

Yeah I think almost anyone that shoots personal stuff & really wants to enjoy the process, adopts a style like this. So I wouldn't describe it as a "guerrilla style" cause it implies harsh conditions but more like a banal or casual style :) 

@jhnkng  Great colors at your site. Especially with your son and the 53years. 

@HockeyFan12 Just out of curiosity what forums are these? 

Today I think it's more vlog-oriented, but back in the day I really liked dvxuser and Channel 101. Both had five-minute film festivals that some real talent emerged out of!

Back then virtually everyone was shooting with the dvx100 and better image quality wasn't really affordable. So the discussion had to move to other things, I guess.

It speaks to there being a void (or me not knowing the online community as well as I should) that I can't think of a good equivalent that's as popular today.

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I'm not sure what it means not to have control over the situation. I've shot lots in public places. I've got control over the time of day I decide to shoot. That might include considerations such as lighting, but could also be when I expect there to be more people around to shoot. I can go from the sunny side of the street to the shady side. If I'm outdoors and need to be discreet, I can conceal myself behing a wall or shoot from across the street with a telephoto. Indoors, I may pretend I'm shooting the building, not the people. If I'm in a building, I can shoot near the windows or the entrance for more natural lighting or move further inside to shoot under fluorescent lighting. I can frame my shots so they have lens flare, or use stuff in the environment to add depth to the the images. I have control over the lenses I'll be shooting with and what aperture I want to use. I observe what's going on around me. I control the composition and the camera angle - from on the ground looking up or above the subjects looking down - from up close or farther away. I might shoot from behind, in front of or to the side of the subject. I've got control over which subjects interest me and which don't. I've gotten right up in people's faces with a cage, a cine lens and a monitor and nobody ever blinked. I return every day for hours at a time until I've got the shots I think I need. You always have choices.

 

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6 hours ago, jonpais said:

 

 

Nice.  Almost like a street photography slideshow but where the pictures move.  With the long lenses it has an intimate feel.

6 hours ago, jonpais said:

I'm not sure what it means not to have control over the situation. 

I agree that you always have choices, and in my case I often choose other things over the film-making, and work hard to try and make sure I get the shot anyway.

For me, especially with the kids, I am shooting life as it happens, and because of that I try to not get in the way of what is happening.  I think it's more important for my kids to do activities than to pose so I can film them, or to have those activities interrupted so I can get a better shot etc.

In this sense I'm always following along with what is happening.  It happens where it happens, when it happens, and how it happens.  If someone was facing the wrong way then I didn't get the shot.  I don't direct people - if I ask someone to do something while also following my directions I think I'm ruining the fun for them and I don't want to do that.

In terms of 'getting the shot' I have a lot of freedom in terms of what the critical shots are, but there are always critical moments that you want to make sure you capture.  My kid walking across the stage, shaking hands with the teacher and getting the certificate at their graduation ceremony is a shot I can't miss.  In that example I don't have control of the stage, program, or lighting, I have a limited choice in where I can sit, and the venue has control of if I'm even allowed to film at all.  A recent play at the school had signs up saying that you are allowed to film your own kids but not other peoples - good luck with that when the stage has 20 kids on it running around.  

I can make an edit that is a sequence of nice moving photographs by just using the best shots, but story is the goal, so I have to ensure I get enough of the right moments.

I started this thread because most people on this forum don't operate under the same conditions I do.  I think the film above is a good example of a different conditions - people think they're in the same situation but in reality they aren't.

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6 hours ago, kye said:

I think the film above is a good example of a different conditions - people think they're in the same situation but in reality they aren't.

That's a very good point. My interests are YouTube videos and no budget festival-oriented narrative video. Unfortunately I live in a part of the world where it's difficult to find free locations and crew members (by no means impossible, just harder than in other areas), so I'm very guerilla-oriented,.

I also think the above documentary-oriented videos aren't really applicable to what I'm doing, which is scripted and boarded and requires moving at least some lights and art around to articulate certain beats, and bringing in that extra gear can require a permit when just having a camera around wouldn't. And going back to another thread, for documentary-oriented videos, the Amira for instance would be an appropriate camera for a single operator (except to the extent that its size attracts attention), but for narrative videos it wouldn't because it's too big to put on a small slider dolly, not great in low light, etc. And for YouTube it would be overkill anyway! 

I apologize for some of the presumptuous comments I made in the past. When I mentioned that image quality wasn't that important to me, I sort of assumed others were shooting the kind of stuff I was shooting. Likewise, my idea of "storytelling" is specifically narrative, with a narrow three act approach to narrative at that. So perhaps I either need to broaden my horizons but definitely need to stop arguing with others who've already broadened theirs and are focusing on things I haven't yet progressed to needing to focus on in my own work. 

I do wish those more storytelling-oriented communities still existed online! Dvxuser was awesome. But I live in an area that has some amateur communities that exist physically and are good resources. They're probably the best resource for free crew members that I can think of, too.

So I apologize for some of my didactic or presumptuous comments. Probably should look into those communities that are more narrative-oriented and less concerned with image quality, but the internet is easier and I'm a tech nerd at heart because it's easier for me to understand 4:2:2 colorspace than the second act of a script! :/

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50 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

And going back to another thread, for documentary-oriented videos, the Amira for instance would be an appropriate camera for a single operator (except to the extent that its size attracts attention), but for narrative videos it wouldn't because it's too big to put on a small slider dolly, not great in low light, etc. And for YouTube it would be overkill anyway! 

Arguably the AMIRA is better suited to narrative than anything else you might shoot with it. Especially for small crews (& by that I mean anything that just has at most a 2nd AC, I'd still count that as a pretty small crew). 

As for an ARRI being overkill for YouTube? Nah, tonnes and tonnes of content for the web gets shot on an ARRI. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

As for an ARRI being overkill for YouTube? Nah, tonnes and tonnes of content for the web gets shot on an ARRI. 

 

wait what... tons and tons of content gets shot on ARRIs for YT.. ?! who? where? how?

if IQ isn't "that important" as guy above states.. and for "no budget festival-oriented narrative video" why are we talking a $40K 10lbs body exactly?!

above all.. in a "guerrila shooters" thread that states "can't have a setup that looks pro"

Am i missing some kind of sarcasm ? Are yall pockets even that deep? or are we on some E.S. BS here again ?? *confused*

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6 hours ago, Django said:

wait what... tons and tons of content gets shot on ARRIs for YT.. ?! who? where? how?

if IQ isn't "that important" as guy above states.. and for "no budget festival-oriented narrative video" why are we talking a $40K 10lbs body exactly?!

above all.. in a "guerrila shooters" thread that states "can't have a setup that looks pro"

Am i missing some kind of sarcasm ? Are yall pockets even that deep? or are we on some E.S. BS here again ?? *confused*

I didn't say it wasn't important, just not that important to me.

But yeah, while I have seen the Alexa on YouTube material, not on my channel. Maybe some day.

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10 hours ago, IronFilm said:

As for an ARRI being overkill for YouTube? Nah, tonnes and tonnes of content for the web gets shot on an ARRI. 

Hahaha totally -- I recently worked on a job where we had an Alexa Mini to shoot an Instagram Ad. Just. For. Instagram. It was truly the most ludicrous job I've ever worked on.

 

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7 hours ago, Django said:

wait what... tons and tons of content gets shot on ARRIs for YT.. ?! who? where? how?

Lots of YT videos are shot inside a home studio set which is permanently setup.  In this case camera size is almost totally irrelevant.

However, that isn't what this thread is about :)

7 hours ago, Django said:

above all.. in a "guerrila shooters" thread that states "can't have a setup that looks pro"

In terms of camera size and it looking 'pro' with my XC10 / Rode VMP+ / Gorillapod 5K setup I get jaw-dropping stares and overhear conversations that go for minutes at a time about my setup from members of the general public.  I'd be nervous about buying something like a 1DX and wouldn't even consider a C100 just because of the size and 'pro' appearance.

I've seen quite a few vloggers get stopped by the police or security guards, who insist on saying that photography is not permitted, despite it being a public place.  I just did a bit of googling to find any easy examples, and found one mention of someone that got stopped for taking photographs of the moon!

It seems that you get stopped if your camera looks 'better' or bigger than the average tourist, if you use a tripod, if you have lighting, or if you have any extra people.

7 hours ago, Django said:

Am i missing some kind of sarcasm ? Are yall pockets even that deep? or are we on some E.S. BS here again ?? *confused*

If you have a day job then maybe you do have deep pockets.  I am an office worker who has worked in the head office of many companies and I think that about 1% of office workers own a 5dIII to take pictures of their kids.  There's a cashed up tech savvy middle class out there...

If I was shooting indoor vlogs with the camera on a tripod I would consider an ex cinema camera if it had good IQ and codecs.

[Edit: I didn't realise that an Alexa Mini was *that* expensive.  I don't think office workers would own one of those!!]

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12 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

That's a very good point. My interests are YouTube videos and no budget festival-oriented narrative video. Unfortunately I live in a part of the world where it's difficult to find free locations and crew members (by no means impossible, just harder than in other areas), so I'm very guerilla-oriented,.

I also think the above documentary-oriented videos aren't really applicable to what I'm doing, which is scripted and boarded and requires moving at least some lights and art around to articulate certain beats, and bringing in that extra gear can require a permit when just having a camera around wouldn't. And going back to another thread, for documentary-oriented videos, the Amira for instance would be an appropriate camera for a single operator (except to the extent that its size attracts attention), but for narrative videos it wouldn't because it's too big to put on a small slider dolly, not great in low light, etc. And for YouTube it would be overkill anyway! 

I apologize for some of the presumptuous comments I made in the past. When I mentioned that image quality wasn't that important to me, I sort of assumed others were shooting the kind of stuff I was shooting. Likewise, my idea of "storytelling" is specifically narrative, with a narrow three act approach to narrative at that. So perhaps I either need to broaden my horizons but definitely need to stop arguing with others who've already broadened theirs and are focusing on things I haven't yet progressed to needing to focus on in my own work. 

I do wish those more storytelling-oriented communities still existed online! Dvxuser was awesome. But I live in an area that has some amateur communities that exist physically and are good resources. They're probably the best resource for free crew members that I can think of, too.

So I apologize for some of my didactic or presumptuous comments. Probably should look into those communities that are more narrative-oriented and less concerned with image quality, but the internet is easier and I'm a tech nerd at heart because it's easier for me to understand 4:2:2 colorspace than the second act of a script! :/

I'm a little confused..  are you saying that you shoot productions with scripts, boards, and lights, but don't have budget for locations?

If you're doing all that and trying to not get noticed / hassled then wow - good luck to you!

In terms of IQ, it's all relative.  If you're shooting a Hollywood blockbuster but say that image quality doesn't matter that much then you might still be shooting with a F5 instead of a Venice, but if you were a vlogger who said that image quality was their most important aspect they might be shooting with a GH5s instead of an RX10.

It's hard on these forums to know what situations and levels people are at, so pitching your comments to one person can be difficult and if it's to a whole discussion it might be impossible because of the different assumptions from different people (and even if you take the time to fully explain yourself then people just don't read it..)

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10 hours ago, Django said:

wait what... tons and tons of content gets shot on ARRIs for YT.. ?! who? where? how?

Sure, as a percentage of videos on YouTube it wouldn't be anything at all. But as a gross number? It would be huge! Every single day of the year without fail there would be content destined eventually for YouTube that is being shot with an ARRI. 

10 hours ago, Django said:

if IQ isn't "that important" as guy above states.. and for "no budget festival-oriented narrative video" why are we talking a $40K 10lbs body exactly?!

Because if you spin some deals it can indeed be dirt cheap to shoot on an ARRI if you really wish to. 

I'm on the third week of an ultra low budget feature film which is being shot on an AMIRA. You can see it in the background of quite a few of my recent uploads, such as today's:

 

This scene was shot so super simple, yes the 1st A.C. had a wireless follow focus and Teradeck for his monitor, but lighting was just a scrim and bounce held each by someone from the lighting team. (Plus careful judgement and timing with the clouds, to keep the look consistent for across the scene)

 

4 hours ago, jhnkng said:

Hahaha totally -- I recently worked on a job where we had an Alexa Mini to shoot an Instagram Ad. Just. For. Instagram. It was truly the most ludicrous job I've ever worked on.

 

I'm not even surprised. I've worked on Instagram shoots too. 

 

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3 hours ago, kye said:

I've seen quite a few vloggers get stopped by the police or security guards, who insist on saying that photography is not permitted, despite it being a public place.  I just did a bit of googling to find any easy examples, and found one mention of someone that got stopped for taking photographs of the moon!

Heh, I  just today got asked "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" when I pulled out my iPhone to snap a few pics in a pet shop to send the pics of kitties to my gf on my FB messenger. 

But once I explained it to her though, she was all cool with it. 

Anyway, my point is you can get given sh*t for using ANY camera! Just ignore the haters. 

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