Documentary Equipment

Each documentary group will be issued a standard equipment package, consisting of a Panasonic EVA1 camera package, a sound recording package, a lighting package, a grip package, and expendables. Under certain conditions, students are also permitted to supplement the school’s equipment package with their own, personal equipment.

Each show must fill out a Documentary Equipment Approval Form prior to the start of production. The completed form must be submitted to the Head of Production at the final greenlight meeting.

School equipment

Unless otherwise approved by the documentary cinematography instructor, the following procedures for the Panasonic EVA1 must be followed:

  • The EVA1 must be used as the A-camera for all photography
  • All interviews must be shot single-camera with the EVA1
  • Standard capture settings for the EVA1 must be 4K at 150mb/s
  • Dropping below 4K for slow-motion photography on the EVA1 must be discussed in advance with the cinematography instructor

An equipment checkout for each documentary group will be scheduled during the week prior to production commencing. The full equipment package can be viewed here: Sample Manifest (Draft). No special equipment or alternate options are provided for documentary projects.

Camera media cards and storage drives will be issued to each show at the final greenlight meeting.

Personal equipment

If a group or an individual wishes to use personal equipment, approval must be obtained prior to the start of production using the Documentary Equipment Approval Form. All personal camera gear must be inspected by the cinematography teacher and all personal sound gear must be inspected by the Head of Post-Production. The approval process is designed to: (a) protect the integrity of the captured image; (b) prepare students for the successful operation of all equipment; and (c) ensure that all captured media can smoothly enter the post-production workflow.

Cameras:

The use of a personal camera may be requested for certain kinds of production scenarios, such as events that cannot be adequately covered with a single camera or situations where the EVA1 is not a suitable A-camera solution (e.g., a head-mounted shot, an underwater shot, etc.).

To receive approval for the use of a personal camera, each group/individual must demonstrate to the cinematography teacher an ability to set the personal camera to the required delivery specs for post-production:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 1920×1080 pixels (or higher)
  • 24.000 or 23.976 frames-per-second
  • Rec. 709 color space

As part of the approval process, students must present a plan for how the crew will manage the operation of any additional cameras.

Lenses:

To receive approval for the use of personal lenses on the Panasonic EVA1 camera, students must demonstrate to the cinematography teacher an ability to mount the personal lens to the camera. Only EF lenses will be permitted for use with the EVA1.

Sliders, dollies and gimbals:

To receive approval for the use of personal sliders, dollies, or gimbals with the Panasonic EVA1 camera, students must demonstrate to the cinematography teacher an ability to mount and operate the EVA1 on the slider, dolly, or gimbal. This is to ensure that the slider, dolly, or gimbal is suitable for use with the EVA1 and that correct operation of the rig will occur in the field.

Drones:

To receive approval for the use of drone photography, students are required to research FAA and municipal regulations for drone usage at each of the locations where the proposed photography would take place. Documentation of these regulations must be provided with the Documentary Equipment Approval Form in order for drone use to be approved. Students must also demonstrate to the cinematography teacher an ability to operate the drone proficiently and safely.

Sound gear:

To receive approval for the use of personal sound recording equipment, including microphones and field recorders, students must demonstrate to the Head of Post-Production an ability to operate the equipment and, where necessary, calibrate the equipment to meet the delivery specs for the documentary project.