What is your favorite lens to use?
This is an important question. I can talk all day about lenses and the effect that they can have on people and how they can effect a scene. Choosing a lens is a fairly large part of cinematography & photography. I touch on this in my post describing docs-style shooting, (What is Docu-style and why is it important?). But briefly, the higher the focal length the more ideal. Although too much of a good thing can be bad. Everything in moderation is key. There is a lot of emotion that a type of lens can evoke (See the video below). Wide angle lenses, lower focal lengths (16-40mm) really capture and set the scene. Telephoto lenses, aka beauty lenses, (higher focal lengths 70mm+) compress foreground and backgrounds together and can evoke feelings of isolation. Telephoto lenses also allow me to stay objective and separate me and minimize my influence on the scene I’m shooting. Then there are what you call normal focal lengths (40-70mm). These lenses have very similar attributes to the human eye. I personally love the look of 50mm. I generally sit on this focal for a good portion of the day. The answer you get is a good indicator of the skill level of the shooter. Generally a novice, or new shooter will say a wider focal. The reason. They don’t know what to shoot, so they shoot everything. They’re scared of missing a moment. So if they shoot wide they capture everything. The longer focal lengths are generally harder to use when shooting docu-style for that reason. As a shooter you don’t know what will happen next and you must anticipate the action. The trade off is a more pleasing image. With longer focal lengths, aka beauty lenses, you tend to get softer and more prominent Bokeh. If you don’t know what Bokeh is, it's what you call the blurriness behind the subject when shooting Portrait mode on the new iPhones. Thanks to Apple it has became a household term. Again, making it even harder to use normal and longer focal lengths. Not only are you seeing less of a scene having to plan ahead and anticipate moments, they must be in focus! Wider lenses have larger, what you call depth of fields, making more of a scene in focus. While longer and normal focal lengths have a smaller or shallower depth of field, making less of a a scene in focus. I could talk all day about this but I think you get the idea.
How many audio recordings do you gather?
I generally have around 5 different audio devices recording during the significant happenings of the day. Meaning 5 audio sources. Too many times have I worked with bad audio techs and have had wireless microphones give out during a speech or had radio interference disrupt my recording. So I’ve learned to have two primary main recordings coming directly from the sound technician, one microphone sitting in front of the speakers recording the output directly from the speaker, and in extreme cases a shotgun microphone atop each camera recording. That’s 4 different sources. If one cuts out I have at least three others to use in an edit. I will do everything I possibly can to ensure I get good clean audio, but some things are just out of my hands. As a videographer, I rely on so many other people to do my job. Audio techs to give me audio for speeches and the ceremony. Lighting techs to ensure there is enough ambient light (and video friendly light) on the dance floor to be able to record clean video. Wedding Planners to ensure enough time is scheduled for each part of the day. To read more about why audio is so important, see my other post titled, 'The Importance of Audio'
Are you an insured licensed FAA sUAS pilot?
What is a sUAS. It stands for Small Unmanned Aircraft System, aka Drones. An sUAS is an aircraft that weighs anywhere between .55lbs to 55lbs. Yes, that includes your nephews new 'Toy.' Nowadays everyone owns a drone. Drones are pretty easy to fly, but they are even easier to crash. Not many people will admit this, but I will be honest with you, I have crashed a drone before. With that being said, over the past 8 years of flying I have logged over 500 flights, 74 hours of flying, and have flown over 556 miles. As a professional sUAS pilot I am insured and I have passed the necessary tests to acquire my FFA sUAS license. My drone is registered with the FAA and I adhere to Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. In the modern day getting insurance is easy. There's an app for everything. With SkyWatch.AI, Drone insurance is easier than ever. Under 5 minutes you can have drone insurance on demand. So if you are ever hiring a drone pilot, simply ask them to download the app, SkyWatch.AI and you soon will have peace of mind during the flight.
Do you use an on camera light?
An on camera light is simply what the name is, a light mounted atop the camera. This lighting technique is great for achieving usable exposures when the ambient lighting is not enough. With this lighting technique comes a downside. Upon turning on this on camera light, your subject is now aware of your presence and is taken out of the element and turned a genuine moment into a staged and unnatural scene. Using an on camera light no longer allows you to objectively document a scene or event. Once that light is turned on you are now influencing the scene and making yourself known. Especially if used in a dimly lit scene (i.e. reception) where a subjects eyes may have already adjusted for the low light, having a bright light attached to your camera can be very jarring and unwelcome. For that exact reason, I do not use on camera lighting. As stated in my other post, What is Docu-style and why is it important?, I like to be a fly-on-the-wall and try to stay as objective as possible.