When I first went out to shoot for the show almost 2 years ago I had a iPhone 5s. I would go on hikes and just practice getting shots, panning right to left, panning left to right, zooming, up and down, etc. Just playing really. I started watching other shows and web series to get ideas for shots and to see how they had been edited. My husband also edits film so he would watch the footage and give me tips on slight adjustments and new angles to think about. But in the beginning it was all about just pointing, shooting, and practicing.
I started editing on my Compaq PC computer with Window Live Movie Maker. It was not a bad way to start because I learned how to put clips in order, use transitions and titles, and add music; the basics. So when I moved over to iMovie on my macbook it was a different format but I knew how to use the basic tools.
After seeing the quality of my husbands iPhone 6, I upgraded and got the new 6s+. While at first the phone felt HUGE, I loved the big screen to shoot on and the quality of the 4k blew me away. People are still surprised when I tell them that all of my episodes are shot on an iPhone.
Then came the fun part, adding toys to shoot with! First off was a great case. While it adds some bulk and size to the phone I highly recommend a heavy duty case. Whether it's an Otter Box, a Lifeproof Case, or just something super protective, it's necessary to protect my phone since it's now my main camera. The main thing for me is it has to stick out from the cover so that if I drop it it hits the case and not the screen. I dropped my phone in the ocean kayaking and it turned right back on and I credit that to a big case.
On each adventure I go on I find one new problem that I need to find a solution to. My first solo shoot I went to Joshua Tree and found that leaning my phone up against low rocks was a tough way to get the shots I wanted, so I gave in and got the ol' selfie-stick. (I love it but can we just change the name? Maybe something cool like solo-camera assistant?)
Next came the Joby. It's an awesome way to wrap my camera around taller trees for standups and higher shots. I've also used it as a tripod to do time-lapse shots. So, inevitably, a tripod came next. Until that caught the wind and smashed a phone on a rock...(there was no heavy duty case on that phone). Now I have ankle weights to put over the legs of the tripod to steady it.
I have four external chargers that I carry on me at all times because you never want to be out in the middle of nowhere, doing a shoot, and have your phone/camera die. If I go on a long trip, I take my laptop so that I can upload the footage at the end of each day to save memory and make sure I don't lose it.
And finally, the action camera. I know that this is all about the iPhone but doing Angels Landing and preparing for Half Dome I realized, sometimes it's just not safe to be carrying your phone. I went in to buy a GoPro like every other adventure filmmaker but was actually sold on the Sony Action Cam. It has a steadier shot so it helps eliminate the shaky video and I use both the backpack mount and the hat mount for hands free shooting. I'm not crazy about the fisheye look and the quality is nowhere near the iPhone so I rarely use any footage from the camera but it's great for the times when it's my only option. And I like to hook it onto the Joby and wrap it onto the kayak, or airboat, or whatever I'm doing as a backup shot.
So that's a little bit of my shooting process and it's definitely a learning experience that I'm still working on. Each shoot teaches me a little bit more and every time I edit I learn what shots I love, shots I hate, and shots I'm missing to make sure to get next time. I think next will be a zoom attachment, microphone attachment and a drone. And maybe someday I'll get crazy and have the camera set up I wore on a commercial set!
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