Documentry Filmaker....request

I'm beginning the shoot of my first documentry film. I've got lot's of energy and a clear vision of our project objectives. However, I'm inexperienced in the step-by-step process details of camera, lights, audio etc.. Running on zero budget I'd like to avoid the pitfalls of unkown details and costs.

If any filmaker has a few minutes to discuss your experience in documentry filming I'd appreciate the insight. By phone, in person (NYC) or via email.

In return, I can assist as a second camera man on a future project in NY.(gratis) - Sony VX2000 DV.

Let me know,

Jake 212-721-1574
Hey Jake,

Man! you're embarking on a tough adventure but it can be done.
And having a zero budget doesn't help much, here's what I would do.
First make sure you have all your shots setup for your documentary.
Make sure you don't need any permits where you will be shooting.
You live in New York and trust me you need permits just to fart there, let alone shoot a documentary, but that's something you can get around.
Now for equipment if you can't afford any more here's what you do.
Put a heavy black wool sock over the on board mic to cut down on background noises unless you have lavalier mics to put on people.
As for lighting try and shoot in good lit places during the night time.
Never shoot in auto mode of the camera always manual mode so you can control your shots like exposure and aperture and white balance very important thing to remember.
And set your camera's built in image stabilizer to on.
And if you have to make more adjustment in the light coming into the camera use the on board ND(Neutral Density filter).
In my opinon your biggest thing is going to be the audio.
Use headphones to monitor your sound always.
Now if you can't afford any type of real good light system get one of those 300 or 500 watts shop lights from Home Depot or Walmart.
As for the daytime try and get yourself a UV filter if you don't have one.
It will protect your camera's lense.
I suggest a circular polarizer myself it gives better color saturation.
And if you're going to be moving around a lot here's how to get smoother
shots without a camera support unit.
Take your tri-pod and close the legs up and use it when you move to steady your shots it works better than handheld less shaking.
I made my own steady- cam unit that I use for killer smooth shots.
I hope to have it on the market next year it gets great smooth shots high and low.
I know I keep saying smoother shots but, it's very important
to have good smooth shots it makes you look more professional and not
just your average person with a video camera.
So I hope these little tips help you?
If you need more help e-mail me.
Good luck!
Good luck Jake. Audio is your biggest problem, if you can afford a better mic, and very directional one, get it and a shock mount for your camera. You might want to try the local cable, public access station, they have equipment they are supposed to let you use for free. Shoot as much tape as you can afford, unlike a scripted film, your story can change at any time based on what you have on tape. Check out Guerrillla Filmmaking 101 at