Dragoon or how I learned to love short films and lot about film making and festivals

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It has been a serious LOVE, hate, hate, HATE, love, hate, love relationship I have had with Dragoon since the summer of 2012 when it all began in Partick Library. The planning and pre-production was great fun, lots of interesting research and buying equipment, whats not to love. It then ended up with one day of production in Mugdock park outside Glasgow. Possibly the coldest more misreable day ever but alas what more would be expected. Shooting on a Canon 550d with a variety of old glass (Yashica, Tokina and Soligor which were all passed down to me from my dad and grand dad) meant that it was a cheap day of production. I was cameraman/runner/production manager/stills/director/producer all into one and I had a sound recordist I had worked with on BBC productions for a while. We were the crew. No lighting, no assistants just two people.

The beauty of having a lens that goes down to f1.2 is you can shoot in a forest at ISO 400. Means you have crazy depth of field but the intense nearly suffocating feel it created was what I wanted so it suited the story perfectly. It also means keeping at low ISO that the image does not have a lot of grain, something you often see in short films filmed at night.

So one day of production done in the bag, nearly filled a 32gb card. This was in September 2012. Now we entered the magical world of post production where time is deleted.

Speed on and it wasn’t until September 2013 that Dragoon was finally edited into shape for its first film festival submission. This year did involve me having a house fire and losing most of my stuff, NB Always have more than two back ups!.

Now it enters the submission stage, I started off submitting to a list of festivals that I wanted to get into for the best suitable exposure. Glasgow Film Festival, being my geographically closest festival, Belfast Film Festiv

al, being where the majority of my exec producers were based and Foyle Film Festival, a major player on the Oscar circuit and the local festival to where I grew up. belfast_filmAll of these cost a severe amount, from £15-£40 just to submit. We got rejected from them all.

Now Dragoon has finally entered its final stage. The release, after being rejected by a rather lot of film festivals which I had submitted to trying to get exposure its over to the online world to make its decision on it.I found this site (no entry fee festivals) to be amazing and highly recommend signing up for their newsletter, it will save you a fortune. I submitted to a number of festivals and again, got rejected by all of them except one which actually nominated Dragoon for Best film in the 18-25year old section, this festival was Cinemagic, Belfast. It has free entry and is an amazing opportunity for any aspiring young film makers. 

If you enjoy it feel free to share it on and try and get this untold story from Operation Dragoon a bit more exposure.

 

Dragoon or how I learned to love short films and lot about film making and festivals

Untitled

It has been a serious LOVE, hate, hate, HATE, love, hate, love relationship I have had with Dragoon since the summer of 2012 when it all began in Partick Library. The planning and pre-production was great fun, lots of interesting research and buying equipment, whats not to love. It then ended up with one day of production in Mugdock park outside Glasgow. Possibly the coldest more misreable day ever but alas what more would be expected. Shooting on a Canon 550d with a variety of old glass (Yashica, Tokina and Soligor which were all passed down to me from my dad and grand dad) meant that it was a cheap day of production. I was cameraman/runner/production manager/stills/director/producer all into one and I had a sound recordist I had worked with on BBC productions for a while. We were the crew. No lighting, no assistants just two people.

The beauty of having a lens that goes down to f1.2 is you can shoot in a forest at ISO 400. Means you have crazy depth of field but the intense nearly suffocating feel it created was what I wanted so it suited the story perfectly. It also means keeping at low ISO that the image does not have a lot of grain, something you often see in short films filmed at night.

So one day of production done in the bag, nearly filled a 32gb card. This was in September 2012. Now we entered the magical world of post production where time is deleted.

Speed on and it wasn’t until September 2013 that Dragoon was finally edited into shape for its first film festival submission. This year did involve me having a house fire and losing most of my stuff, NB Always have more than two back ups!.

Now it enters the submission stage, I started off submitting to a list of festivals that I wanted to get into for the best suitable exposure. Glasgow Film Festival, being my geographically closest festival, Belfast Film Festiv

al, being where the majority of my exec producers were based and Foyle Film Festival, a major player on the Oscar circuit and the local festival to where I grew up. belfast_filmAll of these cost a severe amount, from £15-£40 just to submit. We got rejected from them all.

Now Dragoon has finally entered its final stage. The release, after being rejected by a rather lot of film festivals which I had submitted to trying to get exposure its over to the online world to make its decision on it.I found this site (no entry fee festivals) to be amazing and highly recommend signing up for their newsletter, it will save you a fortune. I submitted to a number of festivals and again, got rejected by all of them except one which actually nominated Dragoon for Best film in the 18-25year old section, this festival was Cinemagic, Belfast. It has free entry and is an amazing opportunity for any aspiring young film makers. 

If you enjoy it feel free to share it on and try and get this untold story from Operation Dragoon a bit more exposure.

 

A £9 pound lens

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So its rather hard to bash on a £9 lens. Bought off ebay a few weeks ago it’s that classic holga/analogue look without all the film kerfuffle. It often feels like a point and shoot by just how light my camera is with the plastic lens rather than my usual metal ones. It’s also incredible how little you can see with this f8 beaut. So often ended up shooting from the hip, which to be often just added to the fun.

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So as you can see this certainly works but alas it’s not much more than a toy and a bit of fun. Great analogue feel to these and would be tempted to do a bit of filming with it for the “look”. Always prefer to do stuff in production than post.

New Ancestors – Don’t miss the light in me – Live session

Went out the other evening with the New Ancestor boys and did some recording below is the end result of one othese recordings.

Was a bit darker than I expected but using the 28mm down at 2.8f helped a good lot. Used a rodemic on the 550d and then a Zoom H1 placed on a tripod near them. The sound turned out great from the Zoom H1. It was my first time using it but was very impressed.

I am however severely frustrated by the compression that youtube uses and its thumbnail choice and grading is bizarre.

Fitting old lenses on your Canon/Nikon DLSR

I often get asked this question, how do I get old pentax or yashica lenses onto a Canon EOS camera? The benefits are aesthetically and financially pleasing so I will share with you how I went about fitting an old lens from a Yashica camera onto my 550d.

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This lens is a particular favorite. 2.8f and 28mm which on a crop sensor like the 550d is rather close to what the human eye sees so perfect for street photography and also a great filming camera.

Where do I pick up an old lens? 

Head to charity shops, auctions, car boot sales, gumtree and of course ebay. What you are looking for is good clean optics with no dust or damage. If a lens is on a Yashica camera such as the FX 3 then that is perfect. It may well have never been taken off and you know if it fits onto a Yashica then you can make it work. The ultimate find would be an photographers bag with multiple lenses. Here is a link to the exact same lens as I have on my 550d above

Ok, so I have my old lens how do I put it onto my canon / nikon DLSR?

The old lens is designed to fit a Yashica camera, not your new DSLR. What you need now is an adaptor, just a simple metal plate that takes Yashica/contax lenses on one side and then on the other is designed to fit onto a nikon / canon DSLR. These can be snapped on ebay for about £5. Here is a link to one for Canon 550d, it is the same one I use. Nikon adaptors are a bit more complicated seemingly and come in at around £10, link here

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Soligor lens with a few adaptors

How to fit your old lens, adaptor and DSLR together

Now you have a lens, you put the adaptor onto the end as you would when attaching your DSLR, now you then put the lens with the adaptor on into your DLSR. That is it. Nice and simple and you are good go. There are various issues such as no AF with these adaptors and some under exposure issues but for about £20-30 you can get a great lens that is a low F stop and will give you hours of fun.

Any questions post a comment.