My first clients were a team of great producers that called themselves the Frat. They wanted to do an “Office” style take on the lives of being music producers and the struggles they encounter working with each other. The two stars were Serge1beats who assumed the “Diva” role and Mark aka “HiDef” played the workhorse, straight man. I use the word “played” loosely as often times their real comedic selves would shine through. Some of the best stuff happened off of improv, in fact that’s what it was. Improv shot like “The Office.” It’s seems as though they certainly could have a career doing just that, snapping witty insults along the way.
Everything was captured with either a Canon 5d Mark iii or 7d. Shot in Cinestyle, graded and chopped in FCPX. If I could go back I’d have just shot it in Neutral as I noticed that’s where my grading ended up most of the time. Plus, we get a little less noise in the shadows and more importantly it saves some time. If I really could revert time, I’d have suggested (come to think of it, they may have) re-shooting the interviews in episode 1. It’s painful now to see how underexposed I was during those segments, slightly confused by the backlight throwing off the meter and how bad the preamps are on the 5d.
I’ve since learned to never trust the back of the LCD screen and to get hot mics. The Rode Video Mic Pro has a +20db setting that allows me to dial the gain on the 5d all the way down. This results in substantially less noise versus setting the mic at 0db and pumping up the gain on the 5d to reach the same peaks. Now that I do a lot of interviews I sought after the Sennheiser G3 for my wireless lavalier solution for that reason. In both the transmitter and receiver I can crank up the sensitivity of the mics and not have to rely on the preamps on the camera. Normally, I’d record into a dedicated unit like the Tascam DR-40 (great because you can automatically record a second “safety track” at -6db, or whatever level you desire) but it’s awesome to have in run n gun situations. I shot footage for a kickstarter campaign and it was great to mount the G3 on the hotshoe of the 5d and not have to sync audio later.
I’m ten times better, more experienced and more efficient now and the technical stuff does bother me. However, as a great example of content trumping all, I found myself still thoroughly entertained and laughing when watching these two interact with each other.
Here’s everything shot from the teasers, trailers, horribly shot episode #1, and some pieces that to me will always make me laugh.
Mark really is a talented musician, I especially like his reggae mixes. Check them out HERE: