My sister-in-law, Jennilee (jennileemartineau.com/), is a professional fiddle player based in Thompson, Manitoba. She does gigs throughout the province and regularly travels internationally to self-invest in improving her skills.
Once I started getting into filmmaking, directing, and producing, she asked me to film her live performance on April 21st at the AACNM (Aboriginal Art Centre for Northern Manitoba) event at the TRCC (Thompson Regional Community Centre) with a set list of 8 songs for a 30 minute time slot.
Armed with a Canon 600D, a basic Manfrotto video tripod, a Zoom H4n, and a Rode NTG-2, I made some establishing shots of the TRCC building itself, which was built just the year prior; the architecture is modern with lots of steel, glass, and an industrial feel.
I wanted to integrate this beautiful venue into her performance, so I wrote up a quick script in Celtx for me to follow, and given that I used to work at the building, I knew the path I wanted to take. I was also very careful with the way I composed my shots; I didn’t have time to write up release forms and even though it was a public event and this project was strictly pro bono, I wanted to ensure I would never need them, so I purposely filmed crowds out of focus as both an artistic and legal choice.
I did a lot of research prior to the event, and had a reasonable expectation of things that could go wrong. Despite all that, I ran into the following challenges during this shoot:
- My batteries ran out on my Zoom H4n, and I quickly learned that it was a battery hog when recording
- I didn’t have a long enough XLR cable to connect to the audio technician’s equipment, which resulted in my mic being too far away from the performance area, so the audio from that source was unusable
- The XLR input connecting to the audio technician’s equipment was a signal that had levels tuned for live speakers; while the sound was sharp and clear, it peaked many times which presented an issue with sound quality
- The event coordinators had set up performance lights that constantly changed colors, which messed with the overall white balance of my shots
Despite all this, I feel that this resulting film was a decent first try. Right after this event, I got tossed enthusiastically into other film projects and I learned a lot before I even stepped into post production with this film, hence why it took so long for me to produce. I also crash coursed through After Effects training to create the opening titles, which took me an extra week.
Could I have done better? Definitely. I recognized the issues I had as soon as I got the footage into Premiere, but I forged ahead anyway, determined to make the best out of a bad situation. While the film is not perfect, I put aside my self criticism and accepted that whatever I did, it would be my 100% and that this would contribute to my learning experience and workflow improvement.
TL;DR I’m a beginner that learned a lot of things while shooting and producing this film.
Filmed on Canon 600D. Produced in Premiere Pro with Colorista II, Adobe Audition, and Adobe After Effects.
I hope you enjoyed it! This is definitely not the last you’ll see of Jennilee or myself! Until the next time!
Check out this project on my Behance portfolio!