Professional filming equipment can start off a little intimidating – at least, that’s how it felt for me. Before starting off at the University the closest experience I had to a camera was using my mum’s point and shoot which I used to make Windows Movie-Maker YouTube videos. Fast forward to my first year of university, and I’m suddenly holding a much heavier and much more expensive piece of equipment.
My first video project for University was shot in full auto – more out of nervousness at fiddling with the settings than anything else. One of my following projects was accidentally shot in Log (all the colors come out flat for the recording pending color correction in post production) owing to a previous setting on the camera that I had no idea how to remove. All that being said, I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made and the knowledge that I’ve gained thus far. Admittedly, a lot is from Mediazone training, events experiences and having regular access to Mediazone coupled with opportunities to use and get familiarized with the equipment all the time.
First years get introduced to the FS5, and as a beginner camera, it ticks all the boxes: 4K shooting, precise exposure settings, multiple profiles, presets, buttons for days, and using it makes you feel cool.
With the Sony camera, having extensive settings and customizability options it can seem a little intimidating, however, this is a great step towards gaining the expertise and confidence to transition into other pieces of equipment.
Along with the FS5, I’d say a camera-mounted boom mic and our Manfrotto large tripod Manfrotto 509HD head – it is everything you would use as a first year student to get a taste of the equipment you want to work with for the rest of your life. They truly are versatile.
2nd & 3rd year
I’m going to pair second and third years together for this next one because these were the years I took some of the most enjoyable practical classes and got to know the equipment we had access to as students. Allowing me to produce work I’m still infinitely proud of. If you feel some uneasiness from using the FS5, then I highly recommend checking it out before any of your projects and becoming familiar with it. This was actually what made these experiences memorable. Making the initial anxiety surrounding the camera fade, allowing me and my crew mates to focus entirely on the creative aspects of all our projects.
For many of these classes, you will also have access to the Panasonic DSLRs, the GH4, and the GH5s. The GH5s immediately appealed to me. They were lighter, more portable, and allowed for some great shots you couldn’t get with the FS5. The menu also felt much clearer and straightforward (thanks Sony) with some lens integration settings I found opportunities to utilize the focus transition setting!
Lighting should also start being a focus, playing with diffusers and reflectors to produce an image that steps you apart from your first-year work. The new Mediazone light kits are making me a tad jealous that they weren’t available during my practical courses.
These courses allow you to create and experiment – and you should definitely take advantage of that. It’s not just about having access to equipment but it’s understanding the equipment so that you know what you need it for and how to use it when renting it out or investing in equipment of your own.
That brings us to our final year which is where I am now, where we take that knowledge accumulated and put it into a final project. I genuinely cannot wait – I’ve started putting together my script and shot-lists and noting the equipment I’d like to be used for each scene, a point I didn’t really consider that I’d get to, but I am endlessly glad that I have. Filmmaking is an artistic medium and being able to work within a field that challenges your imagination to deliver a story creatively using such a variety of means and methods is something that I’d like to work hard on to achieve, so get your hands on the equipment, and I’ll see you on set!
Written by Kyriakos Kiteou
Mediazone Senior Studio Assistant