This April I travelled with my family down to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for a family vacation. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, I brought down some of my camera equipment with me.
I packed relatively light for this trip. I brought my Sony a6000 with me so that I could easily shoot photos and videos without having to use two cameras. The lenses I used with the camera (in order of the most frequency) were the Sony 16-50mm f3.5-5.6, Canon 50mm f/1.8, Nikon 70-210mm f4 E-Series and the Tokina 12-24mm f4.
The Sony 16-50 was a perfect lens for this film because of the size. I was working with my family and our family-friends as the main “actors” and none of them were too comfortable around cameras. The size of this lens on the a6000 definitely helped to ease the tension and allowed me to capture some great candid shots. This lens also has Sony’s OSS which greatly helped when moving because I had no form of stabilization such as a Glidecam or tripod.
I loved the look I was getting from the Canon 50mm f1.8. I have had this lens for a little less than a year but I haven’t been able to use it a lot. The best part of this lens was the depth of field. Since I was using it on the Sony, I had to adapt the lens using a Commlite EF-E Mount adaptor and that increases the focal length of the lens. This in turn increases the depth of field of the lens by blurring the background and foreground more. I was even able to keep the depth of field low without ND filters because the a6000 can go as low as ISO 100. This meant I was able to keep the f-stop below f4 almost the entire time except for when we were in really strong, direct midday sunlight.
The Nikon 70-210 and the Tokina 12-24 were barely used at all. I only used them for a couple photos and that was it.
In addition to the a6000, I used the GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a DJI Phantom 2 for all the aerial shots. My settings for the GoPro were 2.7k 30 fps at medium FOV. The big issue with the drone was it was always really windy during the day so I was not able to fly very much. I was limited to sunrise and sunset, which isn’t bad, but these restrictions definitely limited the amount of drone shots I was able to achieve. To carry around the drone all day I took out the lenses I weren't really using and reconfigured my velcro sections to make room for the drone, controller, and batteries as you can see in the images below.
The film was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro over the course of 4 weeks. Almost all audio was created in post and I went out to the beach in Massachusetts to record the audio from the beach. Color grading was done with a single correction layer on all shots followed by the lutify.me Opal LUT from their professional package and I used FilmConvert with the color and curve set to 0% and grain at 30% with the Super35mmPerf grain.
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Ben Collins - Director/DP and Owner of Ascent Cinema with many years of experience in the film industry with some of the top brands in their categories.