Perhaps it’s a result of being in lockdown but I had a thought (yes, that’s what you smelt burning). I try to do things that people tell me you can’t do. So the gauntlet’s been tossed. Let’s start with a little backstory.
I have a degree in film/video/audio. I‘ve shot using an Arri 16mm film camera. I was working at a rural TV station when digital cameras first came into existence (I remember all the companies pitching us and performing a battery of tests) and now I shoot on smartphones (money is money).
I owned an iPhone8 Plus, the only large screen smartphone I’ve ever bought. But I had the itch for the latest and greatest yet money is tight. When they announced the SE 2020 with the guts of the iPhone 11, it piqued my interest. Great, you still have the same lens as an iPhone8 but with the latest sensor. You can shoot 4K 60 FPS. So I hatched an idea. Would it be possible to produce quality video using the SE with some jerry-rigging?
So I traded in the iPhone8 Plus and could pick up the SE 2020 dirt cheap. I bought it with 64GB of storage which was fine as I already have a 128GB Xpand flash drive from SanDisk.
I knew I wouldn’t use the stock camera that came with the iOS. So I got Filmic Pro which I’ve previously used and consider the best third party camera at this point. I also went out and bought some lenses from Sandmarc because I like their color rendition and sharpness of image.
As for audio requirements, I know a fellow filmmaker who said that he would loan me his set up. A few bucks saved there.
Another factor was I already owned a DJI Osmo 2 gimbal. It works but not very well with the iPhone 8 Plus because of the smartphone’s size. You had to either purchase or fashion a counter balance to set it up properly. Plus, they took out some features of the Osmo 1. People complained when the Osmo 2 didn’t have those features and so they came out with the Osmo 3 which restored the most popular features and improved on its overall design. But I needed money to get it.
I went on eBay to find everybody dumping their Osmo 2, so I would get very little money to put towards an Osmo 3. But the SE is small enough that it should remedy the previous issues I was having with the Osmo 2.
As for lighting, I picked up one or two small LEDs and a poster board to bounce light.
Now I have to write a script. A real poser. What can you shoot when there’s really nothing going on and you can’t get actors? I’ll come up with something.
But it’s predominantly an experiment to see if you can assemble an inexpensive rig and still create quality product. Remember, in filming, some of the most important things are the audio and your lighting that really makes your project fly. Many maintain that audio IS the most important aspect!
So cross your fingers and wish me luck. And when I eventually come up with something I’ll post it and let you be the judge.
Stay safe, stay smart.
©2020 Frank Petrie
UPDATE: Received my lenses this afternoon. Didn’t get to shoot with Filmic Pro but here’s a Macro shot and a Wide Angle shot using Apple’s camera.