I am managing an international human rights video project in collaboration with the UN.
The goal of the project is to record the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being read by a native speaker in each of its 472 translated languages.
The project will take us to every continent and likely every country in the world.
We have explored different means of capturing these videos, from self-recorded to a fully equipped team.
Now, we're looking for a middle ground. I have 2 questions for you.
Would it be technically possible to do this with a single shooter (ie. no lighting, no boom, etc.)? This single shooter would need to be able to set up a teleprompter (might just be an iPad) and get the best lighting and sound possible. It does not have to be perfect, but it has to be usable. The subject needs to stay in frame, can't be washed out or inaudible.
Secondly, if this can be done competently by a single person, how much should we budget per day of shooting?
Looking forward to hearing your input. Many thanks in advance, Noah
First off, I would suggest having staff at each nation's Embassy handle this, and send you the clips, instead of sending a shooter globe-trotting. Or crowd-source this across YouTube or Hit Record to get locals in every country to submit their readings to you, electronically.
Instead of a teleprompter, you could use an iPod or other MP3 player, or digital audio recorder (under $50.00 USD) with a concealable earpiece, the idea here is that each person could simply read the Declaration aloud from a paper, into the audio device, then play that back thru the earpiece and repeat word-for-word what they hear, while addressing the camera. This also avoids the need for memorization. If you don't erase the audio clips from this "ear prompter", when you get it back, they will help you match up clean back-up audio with whatever the camera mic grabs for the actual takes.
With the plethora of camera-phones out there, I think you should base your image gathering around their ubiquity. iPhones and Androids now can shoot theatrical quality shots in the right hands. A careful yet simple set of instructions on how to frame up the shot should go out to all the volunteers. You could say something like:
"Shoot this outdoors at nine in the morning or five in the afternoon, with the sunlight pointing at your right shoulder, and have someone with a white card or silver reflector, sized 1 meter square, stand off your left shoulder and three feet ahead of you, reflecting the sunlight on your face. The cameraphone should be on a fixed support like a tripod, or held very steady, in landscape position, with a gap of space above the top of the speaker's head, and the shot framed from one to two meters away, do not use zoom controls, but physically move the camera closer or father away to frame from top of head to bottom of the elbows."