Thanks to one of my students at Yonsei, my new Sony EXcam landed in my hands yesterday, delivered from USA for $1500 or so less than it would have been here (plus with english stuff in menus and other useful for me things). Must say it is a bit heftier than my other cameras and will require a little resumption of old filmmaking habit of doing exercises with it – curls, presses, squats – to make sure to be in good enough shape when shooting. Still, its lighter than my old CP Gismo 16mm camera. And better by such a long range it’s hard to describe. I messed with it just a little last night, without help of manual which Steve is mailing to me later (didn’t have it brought so if Hyonjong got snared at customs it would seem a camera she used – but she had no problem coming in). It records to a proprietary Sony 8 gig card that came with camera which runs 28 minutes of highest quality HDV (another 16 gig coming as a rebate item). My plan is to off-load to tape as a backup, if I can wire it up to do so while at same time going to computer HD. I hope/trust the cost on the cards will drop soon so I can have a few hours worth of recording time in pocket when shooting. The little messing around shows stunningly crisp detailed imagery, well equal to 35mm. I would have shot THE BED YOU SLEEP IN with it. In the coming week I hope to push it around and see the full range of qualities (including those sneered at by the tech video community, like grain from gain, etc.) and see what it can really do. And then to get the elements of the HD capable editing computer to work – so far no go on that, and a quick look on net says I am not the only one who has problems with the particular high-end gamers board I got, an ASUS Stryker, which is a whiz-bang one, when and if it works. Net info points to numerous ways to coax it into working. Anyway I’ll post here as I find out more about camera and computer. I promised myself – chugging a good dose of hubris I suppose – that if I got this camera (with Yonsei funding) I would require myself to “make a masterpiece” so I gotta start some serious thoughts going to use the imagery it is capable off. Little flickers starting.
Meantime Yonsei autumn classes started. One course, IMPROVISING NARRATIVE, drew 7 students, one of whom I think I lost when my TA said something about his (non) English, and he got real mad and left. He’d been in a previous class and was decently experienced so I will try to coax him back. I let them know what I hoped to do – run them through the paces technically of shooting light and alone, or maybe with one helper, recording decent sound, good pic, and getting so that part requires minimal thought so one can concentrate on actors, developing a story by shooting, and the more creative aspects. We’ll spend the first month warming up, and then have them shoot and edit scene a week if possible, making either 2 or 3 short films each that way during the term, or perhaps a feature. I’ll aim to make one too, a feature. Ambitious I imagine, and maybe many of them won’t manage it, but we can try. They’ll learn a lot! Other course, VISUAL DIRECTING, which is my usual workshop stuff extended for a full term, drew 5 students, all of whom seem promising to me. I’m hopeful they’ll do some interesting things – from what they said about what they’d done and wanted to do, I have a hunch it’ll be fun and productive.
Meantime Marcella and I are still moving into down-market small apartment which is frankly too small for all the things we seem to have. Weeding out is in order. Plus very organized living patterns. It’ll be OK when winter comes and we bury ourselves in computerland of editing. But for now its a rude reminder of how nice and big our previous place was.