A Documentary About Everyone's Favorite Felon - Bernie Ellis

Lights, Cameras, and Action

Valerie Filming in downtown Nashville

I am shooting The Blueberry Farmer on mostly 2 cameras…one is the one in this picture that I have had for a number of years. It is a Sony FX1.  I love the picture quality when I’m shooting 30fps. It’s easy to throw it on a spider and go. The over the shoulder rig takes a lot of the weight of the camera off your back and anything that gets me off of the tripod and still delivers great shots I’m all for. When I’m getting shots like at this pro-medical cannabis rally, I want to bring the audience with me into the crowd and not just off to the side watching from the tripod. 

My other camera is a DSLR Canon 5D Mark 2. Currently, I have 2 lenses for it….a zoom and a macro. I use a viable ND filter on it. I absolutely love shooting with the DSLR. Normally I would be shooting at 24fps instead of 30fps but I’m just not ready to say bye bye to the Sony. One day I will move up to 4k but I’m already filling up hard drives like crazy so that kind of boggles my mind. I do have a third camera…a GoPro. (Hero black 3+) that on medium shot gets rid of the fisheye look for the most part and shoots in 60fps for slow motion work. Santa brought me a drone this year and I’m waiting for decent weather to try my first maiden flight. The GoPro fits in it. Hoping to get a shot this spring in Bernie’s holler with it over the gardens. Sure is cheaper than a helicopter shot!

For audio, I try to always have at least two good sources. I have a boom mic mounted on the Sony and I have Lavs or a boom going into an H4N recorder. There is a pretty good chance I’m always going to have good audio even if a battery or a cable goes south. 

This film so far has been shoot outdoors so I haven’t had to set my lights. I have one interview I still need to get at a cafe near Bernie’s farm. For that, I have 2 Lowell pro lights (tungsten) and I usually bounce one of them off of a large whiteboard for fill. It’s my scaled down version of a 3 point lighting system.

I am editing the footage on a MacBook Pro in Final Cut X. 

When you get right down to it though…it’s the story. My job is to tell Bernie’s story to the best of my ability. Knowing my equipment is just part of having the right tools to make this movie. I’ve been collecting these tools for years so it helps me now to get the job done and save my budget for the postproduction expenses of colorizing, sound mixing, reproducing for the festival and DVD delivery etc. 

Hope that tells you a little bit of how I am making this documentary and I’ll see you at the movies!

Peace & Love,

Val



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *