Low budget documentary to be shot in Africa

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by juanala, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. juanala

    juanala Guest

    We are two people about to set off on a motorcicle trip through west
    africa, our idea is to make a low budget documentary during the 6
    months journey using a Sony VX 2000, but we are having issues
    organizing the right use & ammount of tapes to be used. We have
    questions on wether or not re-use them at least once, burning the
    first copy into a dvd, or using them once but recording on LP mode.
    Keeping weight low is a priority but so is getting good technical
    quality footage. Another of our problems is how to get tapes along the
    way as we can´t carry the whole lot, we thought of having them sent
    from home (Denmark) or trying to get them in every big city we reach.
    Does anyone have experience in this kind of production, or can give
    any insight on the use of the tapes? Any advice or experience telling
    are more then welcome.
    juanala, Aug 17, 2003
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  2. If you have the means to burn DVDs (not all that easy...), leave it
    home and take more tape instead. Keep the original SP-mode DV
    tapes for the highest quality. LP-mode risks the effects of dusty, hot,
    or damp environments and crud build-up in the camera. I would
    have shipments made from home that you can pick up as you travel
    *of the same tape brand* (and I would return-ship the used tapes
    from these locations).
    David Ruether, Aug 17, 2003
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  3. Good choice.
    Bring a few tapes with you, so you've got at least something, and then
    buy new ones in the major cities or let them sent over to you in the
    GPO of the next major city where you'll arrive.
    Don't risk that. You are travelling in a harsh climate with a higher
    risk of drop-outs, and when you record on LP, this risk only gets
    higher. To protect your camera, you might see if there is a
    Portabrace-like soft-casing for it.

    Bon voyage!


    Sydney, Australia

    "Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground."

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    Martin Heffels, Aug 17, 2003
  4. juanala

    arache Guest

    Whereabouts in West Africa are you going?
    arache, Aug 17, 2003
  5. juanala

    Guy Guest

    The number of tapes to take is purely dependant on the length of programme
    you intend to make not you length of journey. You should try and keep your
    shooting ratio no more than 10:1 (which is high) as you will have far too
    much footage to cope with. Inexperienced people tend to shoot on sight
    resulting in far more footage than required. Think about what you are
    shooting and why. When you arrive somewhere new dont rush out with the
    camera spend a few hours looking around and get a sense of the place and
    then determine what you need to give you audience the sense of the place.

    The quality of the programme is determined in the pre-production stage not
    as you are shooting it or editing it. Think about what audience are you
    aiming the documentary at (friends/family, future employer or TV station)?
    Why should they be interested. Every doc needs some conflict.

    Researching your trip thoroughly will make a massive difference to the end

    Leave as much of the tricknology behind. It will either break or will be
    liberated from you!

    I have travelled extensively and it also depends on where you are as to know
    if sending tapes home is the correct thing to do. Tapes I sent home from
    India never arrived while I had no problem in China. It can be a tough

    Buy this book, Directing the Documentary by Rabiger. (Its on every
    University reading list I know)

    I too am heading off to West Africa, Accra, Ghana to be exact. I should be
    there next January, swing by and we'll have some beers.

    Have a great journey

    Guy, Aug 17, 2003
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