FILMMAKER: JOSEPH PINER AND CANON XC 15
John Smith now known as “John The Human Studio” is 50 years old and lives with mental illness. John inspires the town of Elkton, Maryland and anyone he comes in contact with. This is because of John’s great personality and the fact that he never gives up on life.
As a filmmaker I wanted to have a very touching, but educational film about mental illness. I thought what better way of talking about mental illness and dispel some of the myths and stigma that comes with mental illness. John is the perfect person to follow through this film. When I first talked to John I had no idea that I wanted to do a film about mental illness, but after 30 minutes talking to John I said this is one film I must do. I was deeply touched by the stories John had told me. I knew that this was going to be a film, where I would have to rely heavily on interviews inter cut with lots of B Roll shots and archival footage. Given the subject matter I also knew that there wouldn’t be a lot of archival footage, but more of an interview-driven documentary. I also knew that it would be a challenge to get the local mental health department involved with this film with the sensitive subject of patients with mental illness. The good news is, is that I would have full access to John and his daily life.
John – The Human Studio directed by Joseph Piner and produced by CineFocus & Media Productions. This 60 minute documentary will be filmed and produced for TV distribution. As my more notable film Free Spirits – Saving America’s Wild Horses had a soft release in some theaters throughout the United States and most recent film Electronic Crack Film that is currently screening internationally. For each interview I approached differently to strike their own mood. Some will be happy, some will be sad, and most of all the professionals in the field of mental illness will be more clinical.
Throughout the film, there will be lots of scenes with John. I found out right away that he doesn’t like to give an interview talking about mental illness and using the term crazy. He likes to say inferior and he is bothered by bugs and insects, so anytime we filmed John outside we made sure to stay clear of bugs, because he would stop the interview and we wanted it to be as natural as possible. Other than that John loves the camera.
Filming with the Canon XC 4K 15 has two professional XLR audio inputs and I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge to get good audio, so we had an internship student to work with off camera sound. Johnny Martinez came to me and wanted to start learning about filmmaking, so I took him on and began teaching all that I knew about documentary filmmaking. I have the Tascam DR 701D Field Recorder and I let Johnny put it to work.nt
We have a very small crew this time for this documentary, so pretty much all we have is Johnny working sound, which is okay because filming on the Canon 4K XC 15 is small and lightweight. My last 2 films I had people to work sound, lights, and second camera. What has happened is that they moved to the State of Florida. I do have Mike Ingram who is a photographer for behind the scenes and production photos. As a matter of fact, Mike took these photos. I also have Howard Isenberg who has worked professionally in the substance abuse and mental health field for many years. Howard is going to be a crucial part of this film as he has already been in consulting with me to make sure I get the subject of mental illness right.
Why I chose canon XC 15 UHD 4K camera, because of its small size and 4K capability. Capturing John at his most intimate moments with the Canon XC 4K 15 has been a joy. I have worked with many different cameras over my filmmaking career and I can tell you that you have to be ready for anything when filming a documentary. This little gem of a camera is allowing me to do just that. The XC 15 is providing a cost - effective way to produce documentary films. The cost of this camera at the time was $2499.00 this is not so bad as it comes with as I mentioned earlier it has two professional XLR audio inputs and shoots 4K and its color science is excellent. You can use this camera alongside of its much bigger brother The Canon C300 as a B – camera and match the shots. I have more expensive cameras back at my studio, such as my Blackmagic Ursa Mini.
Here is a more in detail description of the Canon 4K XC 15 by Canon Corporation.
The Canon XC15 4K UHD Camcorder incorporates a Canon 4K video lens that leverages proprietary Canon optical technologies derived from years of experience in developing Cinema, Broadcast and EF Series lenses. This 10x wide-angle optical zoom lens offers a focal range of 24.1–241mm for photos and 27.3–273mm for movies. The use of UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) and Hi-UD lens elements helps compensate for chromatic aberrations and provides a compact size ideal for on-the-go reporting and recording. An innovative retractable lens barrel structure integrating internal guide bars helps facilitate precise lens movement during zooming, while only extending the lens barrel by a mere 36.2mm.
The only issue with this camera I think I will face is its fixed lens and one inch sensor. Most all filmmakers want that blurred out background and I am no exception to that rule. Working with the Canon XC 15 will put me through that challenge. So far I have managed to get the blurred of background in most shots by zooming the lens in, which also increases the F – Stop numbers making the image darker. How I plan on compensating for this. I will use the internal ND filter and also put an ND filter on the matt – box and this will allowed me to use a smaller F- stop. So far so good.