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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Mike Palmieri
April 18, 2012 12:19 PM
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Adventures in DSLR Filmmaking: Using 4 Different Cameras to Shoot 'Off Label'

Using the 5D or 7D was frustrating when working with the former drug sales rep turned medical anthropologist Michael Oldani, who talked a million miles a minute and was very physically active in his environment, or with the historian Robert Helms, who was often on a lot of Adderall, a go-fast drug. They took us on whirlwind tours of zoos, doctor’s clinics, libraries and graveyards. This more often than not required the trusty HVX-200 and a big zoom lens again. I could accurately capture their natural mania visually without encroaching on their physical space too much:

Mike Palmieri Michael Oldani in a rare moment of pause. Canon 5D with the Zeiss 28-85 f3.3 zoom.
Mike Palmieri Robert Helms, revealing the ghosts of the past in West Philly. Panasonic HVX200

About halfway through shooting “Off Label” Panasonic released the AG-AF100, a micro 4/3 camera system that to me represented the best compromise between the three cameras I was currently using. The AF100 was light and unobtrusive, it begged to be used handheld, it had a decent tonal range, and it had XLR inputs on it so I could stop worrying about sound as a separate item as you have to consider when shooting with a DSLR. I fell in love with this camera, and the latter half of the film was shot almost exclusively on it. It was particularly adept at rendering what I like to call the “ethereal” scenes that crop up towards the latter half of the film. I was trying to get at a sense of the spiritual and translucent through the imagery as the film at this stage is trying to draw a parallel between faith in pharmaceuticals and religious faith.

Mike Palmieri Mary Weiss looking at pictures of her son Dan Markingson, who lost his life to a drug marketing study. Panasonic AF-100 and a Voigtlander 25mm f/0.9 prime.

Mike Palmieri A mannequin at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Panasonic AF-100 and a Voigtlander 25mm f/0.9 prime.

Mike Palmieri Paul Clough in Las Vegas. Panasonic AF-100 and a Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 prime.
Mike Palmieri The Take-Back Initiative in Portland Oregon. Panasonic AF-100 and a CKBK 18mm t/1.2 prime

Mike Palmieri An elderly woman gambling in Vegas. Panasonic AF-100 and the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.9 prime