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What do you think of these lens zooms?

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ryan elder
What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 5, 2018 at 10:30:09 pm

I wanted to do some fast zooms for a few shots in a current project, kind of like the fast zooms you see in older movies, during certain reveals.

I did some practicing on the zooms, but what do you think do these zooms on my lens look good, like in this example?







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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 7, 2018 at 2:56:23 am

You should not use any zooming at all, and instead concentrate on delivering a finished project with steady shots that has story and dialogue that works.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:53:53 am

Okay thanks, but I already have delivered finished products before, and I don't want to keep on shooting them the same way all the time, so isn't good to develop new ways?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:01:22 pm

[ryan elder] "so isn't good to develop new ways?"

Only if you the basics down. I want to see that first.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 8, 2018 at 6:01:28 pm

See what first? The lens zoom I am trying as a new development?


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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 2:36:49 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Oct 9, 2018 at 3:30:21 pm

Unmotivated zooms are an affectation. You're not Wes Anderson. Unless the film is a parody of Hong Kong or Bollywood martial arts films, there's no reason to make such a camera move today.


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 7:41:45 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Unmotivated zooms are an affectation."

Exactly, until you start delivering content with steady shots that are wavering all over the place, you should instead concentrate on using a tripod with no zooming.


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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 8:13:04 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Oct 9, 2018 at 8:20:35 pm

Well, in an effort to widen the discussion for the benefit of others, I'd say there's a visual grammar to choice of shot and framing. It's been evolved from over 100 years of motion picture craft in practice. Zooms are not something you want to use a lot, because they call attention to themselves more than to the thing you're trying to zoom on. Better to make it with cuts, or a dolly shot. (Dolly could also be read here as Steadicam, jib, slider)

When you can't make a physical move, for budget or other reasons, a zoom is substituted, but often that's less ideal, because visually it's not changing the parallax relationships between objects in the visual field. And this can have a subliminal consequence for the narrative. Best and first choice is to physically move the lens in and out, and add movement thru editing in a kinetic manner. Think of the zoom lens as more like a variable prime.

That said, I've made zoom moves, shooting mostly news, but also PSA's and promos and pre-recorded addresses/speeches. When I do them, they can take over a minute to go from stop to stop, and I'm usually hand-rolling my focus at the same time. I'm trying my best to make the zoom itself imperceptible. These days, I like doing that zoom in the NLE, from a 4K res shot; the camera operator NEVER fails to get that move right:-)

A dead-slow zoom in or out, to reveal something in the framing or impose a new framing context, is certainly not a sin. But to use a cooking metaphor, it's a condiment, not a main ingredient. Snap-zooms from tight to full-wide or the reverse, meant for the audience to see, IMO are best left for episodes of Power Rangers, or music videos where you often make up the rules as you go. To most of us here though, online power-zooms imply inept consumer camcorder home movie shtick.


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Todd Terry
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 8:23:02 pm

[Mark Suszko] " Zooms are not something you want to use a lot, because they call attention to themselves..... visually it's not changing the parallax relationships between objects in the visual field. "

Mark said this precisely correctly... and I'll reinforce it with the way that I usually try to explain it to people...

Zooms call attention to themselves... they look unnatural, because they are unnatural.

This is because, in the simplest of terms, a zoom is the only camera move that the human eye cannot reproduce. Your eye (and head and body) can tilt, pan, dolly, truck, arc, crane, dutch, and do just about anything else a camera/lens can do except zoom (unless you are original Six Million Dollar Man Steve Austin).

And they make you look like you are stuck in 1979.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:04:34 pm






















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Todd Terry
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:07:46 pm

Thank you Mark... I'm gonna use that first one as a template for my next work.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:45:50 pm

I couldn't find the "Wayne's World" Clip with the "excessive zoom!!!" lower third in it. These had to serve.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:17:28 pm

Okay thanks, I understand by what you mean about the zoom looking unnatural but is that bad? A lot of times it was being used to zoom slowly into faces to convey emotions well into the 80s, and people didn't have a problem with it back then. Is it wrong to adapt an old style, if it worked for back then with people?


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Blaise Douros
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 9, 2018 at 11:41:23 pm

These fine gentlemen are trying to tell you that zooms, especially snap zooms, are perceived as cheesy and amateurish. There's no way to "adapt" that. It's associated with westerns, 70's action movies , and Hong Kong martial arts films--cheesy stuff.

If you're making something that needs that cheesy feeling, then go wild. But if you want your film to feel serious, avoid it. You can't make it look serious.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:01:32 am

But lots of movies still use the occasional snap zoom and are not trying to be cheesy though. Rise Of The Planet of the Apes had a snap zoom in the scene with the SWAT officers assembling on the bridge. And that wasn't going for cheese, was it?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:08:19 am

You shouldn't use a snap zoom, or any zoom. Instead, you should concentrate on filming your scenes on tripod and not have the camera wavering.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:14:06 am

The lens zooms were done on a tripod.


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:30:25 am

[ryan elder] "The lens zooms were done on a tripod."

Your tests, yes, however in your work samples there are a lot of shots that are unacceptably shakey. It doesn't matter if you do all the tests in the world on a tripod, when it comes to producing your content, you must take the time to do it right.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:13:35 am

Another example is Paul Greengrass who uses quick zooms all the time in his movies, and his movies are not considered to be going for cheese either.


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Blaise Douros
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:21:42 am

But they ARE considered among the worst action scenes in Hollywood. Nobody likes shaky-cam action scenes--don't try to emulate Paul Greengrass. Ugh.

You might see an occasional snap zoom in a scene trying to create a documentary-style feeling, cinema verité, that sort of thing. But you'll find it's very sparing, and has to fit in to an overall hand-held aesthetic. The Battlestar Galactica 2004 reboot series was shot this way, with the occasional short-distance snap zoom, and pulled it off because they shot the whole series in a handheld style--it was carefully crafted that way.

Trust us. There are more important things to learn. 99% of the time, you're better off not using them. Focus on getting everything else right before you try to stylize your cinematography, because even Paul Greengrass isn't doing it very well.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 4:00:10 am

Oh okay. I am not going for a hand held look like Paul Greengrass at all. I just used him as an example cause of the zooms.

But Rise of the Planet of the Apes used at least one snap zoom and was not a hand held style at all. I actually only wanted to use the snap zoom once, and that was it. Not in the video you saw, I was just practicing the zoom there.

I was going to use it to a quick shocking reveal during a suspense scene, where a character walks into a room, is stunned at what he sees, and then we snap zoom back to a quick reveal, so we get the feeling of speed on his reaction.

That was the only time I was going to use a snap zoom, so would be it bad, if I were to just use it that one time?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 1:43:17 pm

Yes, you don't need to do a snap zoom.


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Blaise Douros
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 3:14:08 pm

You've mentioned having access to a stabilizer. It would be more impactful to do a pull-back reveal to show the room; because it makes the audience pay attention as pieces come into frame, and adds suspense as they try to see what's in the room.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 10:16:27 pm

Okay thanks, I considered using the stabilizer, but I want to do a reveal in a large room, really fast. I can't run fast enough to do the reveal.

This is why I considered using the lens to do a snap zoom cause the lens can pull back a lot faster than a stabilizer operator can run.

Basically I want to start out on an actor, and then zoom back really far to reveal a whole large room. If I pull back on the stabilizer instead, it just feels too long to get the whole large room in frame.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 10, 2018 at 10:29:20 pm

I guess I didn't want to do the whole have the audience try to put pieces together as the camera moves back. I wanted to pull back really fast, so the audience can see everything in the room at once and be surprised in one quick go, rather than putting pieces together as it pulls back. Hence why I wanted to do the snap zoom cause it pulls back much faster than a stabilizer.


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Blaise Douros
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 11, 2018 at 4:23:53 pm

Just cut to a wider shot, then. No need for a camera move or zoom, just as fast and impactful.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:40:09 pm

Okay thanks, I thought about that, but I was worried that the audience would lose it's sense of direction. Cause here we are on an actor's face, and then all of a sudden it cuts to a room, and then audience has to reorient where they are, and where that actor is, far in the background now.

So I thought that a fast zoom would still help keep their sense of direction, rather than a straight cut, where of all sudden they may not know where they are now.


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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 11, 2018 at 10:06:30 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:31:59 pm

This is a fundamental flaw in your approach to shooting and editing. Read Walter Murch's "In the Blink Of An Eye." The way our eyes and brain work, taking in and processing images, the eye and brain are working "cuts-only". The eye has no zoom ability. But it DOES focus. Every time we blink, the brain is assessing the new frame presented to it and finding what's changed from the previous moment. "Persistence of Vision". The eye sees two shots, with the same general scene, in order: a tight and then a wide, and the brain does your "zoom" * for you.*

As part of our craft, we orchestrate the sequencing of these re-framings into a *montage*, and the brain interprets the sequence we've given it to synthesize a narrative. Not only that, but the nature of how we sequence the images gives a greater, intentional meaning, than the stand-alone images.

You trying to cover everything in one shot as an economy move, by whip-zooming, goes against all of that classic theory of visual communication, and to no benefit.

The earliest kind of filming of theatrical performance used a wide shot, locked-off camera, stuck in the third row center, with the POV of a patron in the seat. It documented what was going on, but that's all. It was when the pioneers began changing the location of the camera and focusing our attention on specific details of a scene, and then cutting between these angles, putting all of this into a montage, a planned sequence, that we created modern visual communication, film grammar. It works, because it's how our eyes and brains work,


Go make a movie.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:33:11 pm

Oh okay thanks.

There seems to be an attitude on here, that these questions are keeping me from making movies. But that's not true. I just finished a movie and am editing it now, and I have made other short films before that. So I feel that it's okay to discuss what techniques I want to do, and how to do them, and if they will work, but there seems to be an attitude on here, that I should just shoot a movie, without any effort put into the shots, at all, other than just turning on a camera and shooting.

Is there a reason why I should keep on doing that and not advancing at all?


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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 1:19:59 am

Nobody here told you to do a careless job. Or to ignore craft.

But most of your posts sound like trolling, just to keep a conversation going, without any end or conclusion. Some people get off on that, seeing how long they can draw out the thread before everyone loses their collective (redacted). I find that incredibly sad.

These people have tried to help you. They're telling you that you're navel-gazing instead of executing. The constant re-hashing sounds like you're stalling instead of making something. Everybody's trying to encourage you to go and start by using established techniques and to master them first, and then, if you want to, go explore more exotic implementations later.

You're trying to triathlon before you've learned to crawl. From your sample videos, and I'm putting this delicately, you show a need to further develop the basics of shot composition, editing, and writing first. And the acting was... not the best. Everybody starts somewhere, and nobody's ever done learning. But when we teach a child to write or to do math, we start with mastering ABC's and counting numbers. We don't start with Dostoyevski and tensor calculus. Get solid in the basics. I've spent over three decades just trying to master the instinct for where exactly to put a cut. And I'm still working at it.

Learn visual grammar and how to employ it effectively and economically. The specific technical means has NEVER been the most important issue in film making. You can make a compelling film with just an iPhone - Tangerine proved that. You don't need gimbals, you don't need drones, you don't need exotic lenses, dollies, sliders, jibs, or hovercrafts. You don't technically even need a *camera* to be a film-maker, if you're an animator.

You -DO- need a compelling, logical, story. Written, or found thru recording live people, their words and behavior.

You need -something- to capture it with. Whatever you can afford or otherwise obtain. It need not be the best, it need not be expensive, it just has to work.

You need a means to edit what you captured into a finished form and deliver it to some audience.

Everything beyond that is really peripheral. Really. Things that may be nice to have, that can enhance, but they won't save a bad script, or a badly lit and shot scene. Or bad acting. And having them to use is not the point of the exercise. Technology is only a vehicle, a means. Not the end.

Let go of the circular logic, the endless debating without conclusions, and dithering about things that are not essential to the craft, and the pretensions. You want to be profound, -simplicity- is the most profound thing there is. Haiku versus Ulysses. You want help in achieving that, many people here will gladly help. But we can't add water to a full glass. You've gotten dozens of versions of the same answer, and you won't accept any of them. You can't be helped until you *accept* the help and act on it. You won't get better, until you put ego aside and open yourself to a different take on things.

There's just one secret to becoming a good film maker:

Make films. Fail. Make more films.

Repeat, until you don't fail every time.
(and always use someone else's money)


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 1:22:37 am

Oh okay thank you very much. Sorry I don't mean to troll, I seriously want to learn and some of the advice, I find to be kind of contradictory, and just trying to weed out the exceptions to the rules, that's all.

I am going to try to look in different places for better actors.

As for my shot composition and framing, what can I do to improve there? I was told it was bad before, but I wasn't sure what I could do to improve.


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Mark Suszko
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 1:36:17 am

first this:

ISBN 13 978-0-941188-10-4

then this:

ISBN-13: 978-0761163237

And get a tripod.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:04:29 am

Okay thanks. There seems to be an impression on here that I don't have a tripod. I have one, why do people think I don't?


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:05:25 am

Also, is there anywhere I can find other DPs to work with? I live in Saskatchewan, Canada right now, and I feel that my shots would look better, if I could find a better DP to work with, if there is any place I should be looking particularly?


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:15:40 am

I also read this book on filmmaking, which I got while in film school, but maybe this book hasn't helped much?

ISBN-13: 978-0452297289


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Rick Wise
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:16:00 am

Mark, Beautifully said. Absolutely to the point. I've given up replying to this guy or even reading his endless posts. Maybe you will make a miraculous breakthrough. Thank you!

Rick Wise
Cinematographer
MFA/BFA Lighting and Camera Instructor Academy of Art University
San Francisco Bay Area
http://www.RickWiseDP.com


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 12, 2018 at 2:41:03 am

Well I've been thinking about it, and one thing I have been told by a few others before is that I should really bring in actors and crew from another city, like Vancouver or Toronto, cause they have a lot more talented actors and DPs there compared to where I live.

Do you think so, and that it would be worth it, so the acting has a chance of being better, as well as the cinematography?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 14, 2018 at 4:50:18 pm

[ryan elder] "Do you think so, and that it would be worth it"

No, it wouldn't be worth it.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 14, 2018 at 5:53:48 pm

Okay thanks. Since I'm told that I could use better actors and a better DP, what would be the best way to find the, where I live then?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 15, 2018 at 1:38:00 am

Did you think the actors were doing a bad job when you were on set filming them? Did you think your DP was doing a poor job when you were on set?


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 15, 2018 at 2:01:04 am

There were times when I thought it could have been better, but other times when it seemed satisfactory at the time. But I am going by other people's opinions, when they saw the final edits after, mostly.


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 17, 2018 at 12:33:40 pm

[ryan elder] "There were times when I thought it could have been better, but other times when it seemed satisfactory at the time. But I am going by other people's opinions, when they saw the final edits after, mostly.
"


Then that is your fundamental issue, well before any zooms or lens choices or gimbals or whatnot.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:39:53 pm

Okay thanks. I was told I should for my next projects, just fly in actors and crew from L.A. or a bigger city with more of an industry cause their is better acting talent there, and better DPs there, compared to where I live. Do you think that is necessary though, when it comes to finding more experienced people to make a better product with?


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Todd Terry
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:50:42 pm

Do what virtually everyone else in the industry does (definitely every casting director)... use Breakdown Services / Breakdown Express for your casting.

It doesn't matter that you are in Saskatchewan, there is talent everywhere.

Any time we post a casting call at Breakdown Express we get on average anywhere from 100 to 1500 actor submissions for each role (depending on talent specs needed, shoot days/locations, dayrate, etc.). You can look at headshots, see their resumes, watch their reels, request auditions of your script.

Post your breakdown, and talent agents will submit their talent through Breakdown Express, and actors will also submit directly via Actors Access. This is the service that literally every talent agent in the free world uses. We will typically get submissions from three or four dozen talent agencies, and hundreds of direct submissions from actors.

You'll typically get the majority of your submissions within an hour or two of posting. You'll get them all within 24 hours.

And it's free. Free to sign up, free to use.

https://breakdownexpress.com

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 18, 2018 at 12:58:26 pm

Why don't you just move to LA?


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 19, 2018 at 3:10:32 am

Well people I have talked to said not to, because it costs so much to shoot a movie in L.A. compared to hear, with permits and all. So that is why I thought it might cost more than I could afford possibly.


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ryan elder
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 19, 2018 at 11:36:36 am

Sorry it's not that I mean to not take the advice. I actually don't think I can shoot in L.A. cause of the money it costs to shoot movies there with permits at all. However, I could perhaps compromise and have the actors come here to do it, and pay for accommodations.

Or if I were to go to LA, how do other filmmakers do it, and get all this money to shoot with the costly permits and all, when they are wanting practice and haven't been successful yet?


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Gary Huff
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 19, 2018 at 2:04:58 pm

You have money to fly people in and purchase all this gear and yet not be able to afford a filming permit?


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Bouke Vahl
Don't feed the trolls
on Oct 19, 2018 at 2:07:25 pm

That includes you, Gary :-)

Bouke
http://www.videotoolshed.com


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Bouke Vahl
Re: What do you think of these lens zooms?
on Oct 19, 2018 at 8:26:07 am

Why can't people just stop replying to this guy.
He does not take advice, he has done nothing significant nor does he tries to do anything himself, claims to have done filmschool but has less knowledge than a teenager after an afternoon of googling but he keeps asking for attention and gives nothing back.

It's pure waste of time and bandwith. (And no, I'm not stating that as an opinion.)

Bouke
http://www.videotoolshed.com


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