Controlling light: Aperture vs Shutter Speed vs ISO: or why you need and ND filter …
One of the main purposes of this site is to allow independent shooters to get the most out of their DSLRs in order to produce high-quality content that can compete with larger production companies. Shooting video on a DSLR can have certain advantages to production cameras- such as lower overhead and smaller crews – but it also means that as a one-man shooter, you are by default the producer and script supervisor as well.
Keeping track of all this information and having it all at your fingertips is paramount, especially if you don’t have an assistant you can ask to run and find out something for you.
That’s why we’ve created the Magic Lantern Shooter Cheat Sheet.
It’s a one page PDF that you fold and put in your pocket with all the information you need on a shoot.
You fold it once lengthwise, and then again into thirds, making a small trifold square. Fill it out before a shoot and don’t waste time searching through your phone for emails and specs.
In the right hand column are three panels:
The bottom panel will be the one facing out after you fold it up: Put the name of the shoot at the top. Jot down the address of where you are going and the name and number of your contact person in case you get lost or are running late.
There’s also a section to write down the expected deliverables. This is always important to keep in mind on a shoot. It’s very easy to be overtaken with something exciting at an event, and then remember that there is a whole other segment that you need to cover for an additional package. The notes section is always a handy place to put any info that may come up on the fly.
Above that is the equipment list: This will be on the back. USE THIS WHILE YOU ARE PACKING OUT FOR THE DAY. Know what you are bringing to the site, and double check it as you pack up for the day. After a long day of shooting, you are tired and exhausted. Probably the only thing on your mind is getting out of there and hitting the rack. CHECK YOUR LIST BEFORE YOU LEAVE. It is a major hassle to try to get access to a location after you leave, or have someone try to locate something that you may have because the day was at an end and you were in a rush.
The top panel on the right is your basic camera settings. This is what you see when you lift the top panel. You may break for lunch and come back to find out that your settings have been bumped during the break. Write down your shoot settings when you start. This is also handy when working with a second shooter- just hand him the sheet and have him synchronize his camera to the same settings so that all your footage will have the same look in post.
The left-hand panel is what will be on the interior of your cheat sheet. The first two- thirds are for your shot list. This is your game plan- have it on you at all times while shooting and you will spend less time thinking about what your next setup is.
The bottom panel is what you see when you unfold it all the way: These are your basic instructions for installing magic lantern onto a new card or for installing it on another camera for a second shooter. I’ve also included directions for the very useful Prolost Flat setting. In case you don’t have access to a computer and you need to use the same picture profile as another shooter- this will guarantee that your images will have the same contrast and color settings. Hand him the sheet and have him set up his camera.
There are a few tips of what I consider to be the best features of Magic Lantern (AGC control and focus peaking). These two feature alone are worth the price of admission.
And finally a quick troubleshooting tip: when all is lost, you may start to panic that you have bricked your camera. Relax, remove the battery and card, and start over.
I like that this cheat sheet can fit just about anywhere. If you are on a larger shoot with other people, I like to print it out on the back of the company call sheet so that I have everything in one place.
Another quick tip: If you find that you have to remove a filter when out in the field, pop it in the trifold of the paper to protect it in your shirt pocket until you can get back to your gear. It can be a lifesaver in the field and save you a lot of time cleaning smudges and scratches off your filters!
Join the Mqgic Lantern Shooter community by signing up in the side bar to your right your at the bottom of the page and get your immediate download of the pdf.