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The Tale of a little Pond - shot on GH2
  • This is a film about a little pond close to my house, which comes along my way almost everyday when I am taking an afternoon hike with my family. It were actually my kids who got me to have a closer look, as they always want to stop by the pond and watch the many things going on in and around it.

    I was amazed by what I saw. Hence, I started to take the camera with me and took some footage. It turned into sort of an obsession over 4 years, and I had to overcome many obstacles on the way.

    Apart from technical challenges which are described further down below, I was struggling a lot at the end with the storyline, which became part of the reason why it took 4 years eventually to finish this off. Year after year I did not see the ends coming together – but finally I was able to record the missing pieces to formulate a story.

    This is sort of a film for children (some of them grown up like me ;-)) - I hope you like it and your children too!

    Filmmaking is always a collaborative effort, so I was very happy when my brother Stefan Machu (stefan.machu@chello.at, a studied audio engineer) offered to do the sound design. It is a mix of natural sounds recorded at the pond (Zoom H2 and Sennheiser MKE 400) and foley, and I was amazed to see how he produced all of the foley sounds on his own (using a Rode NTG3 and a ZOOM H6 recorder).

    Around the same time Krystian Shek (info@utcwired.net) got in contact with me, and he offered to do the original score for the film – we had collaborated earlier already (see e.g. Stopover Bangkok or The travel diaries II here on vimeo) – and I am very happy with the way it finally came out. I strongly recommend to have a look at his music on itunes or utcmusic.de

    Finally, I have to mention Peter Baker as well who did the voiceover (mail@peterbakervoiceover.com, peterbakervoiceover.com) for this film. Also with him I already have a long standing collaboration (see e.g. Oh Angkor or The Bali Experience here on vimeo), and he is a professional in every way.

    Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/gunmac

    Now, to some of the technical details: a major challenge for example was to get as close as possible to the little heroes of this film, which were retracting to the middle of the pond obviously whenever I tried to get up close. Hence, I used the telezoom mode of the Lumix GH2 a lot which uses a centercrop of the sensor to give an effective 5.2 crop factor. Coupled with a Tokina 60-300mm Zoom lens and a 2x teleconverter I got an effective (5.2x300x2 = ) 3120mm focal lenght which got me close enough. But have you tried once to frame your target with such a focal length, not to mention that the slightest camera shake would turn footage unusable quickly? Therefore in addition I built a custom 5m crane which allowed me to put a GoPro in the middle of the action. The telezoom crop also came in handy when using a 50mm Canon FD macro lens, turning it into a 260mm macro effectively. By using 25mm extender rings I was able to put objects right in front of the lens for amazing close ups.

    Let me know if you like it!

  • 12 Replies sorted by
  • Very nice. A lot of great shots here. Narration and final product came together nicely. Well done.

  • Thanks Matt for your comment, very motivating for me!

  • impressive as a whole, and very effective use of the etc function :) could have done without the music though.

  • @kritzresn thanks for your comment, interesting to hear about the music. I was initially thinking to do a sound - only version of it, but abandoned it. Maybe I will revisit this!

  • @GMC awesome job. Very nice camera work. It shows what this old camera is still capable of and that creativity and talent can compensate for older equipment. It's also a message to those who transfer their creative conflicts to the technology level instead of overcoming the real struggles. Chapeau!!

  • @mirrorkisser thanks for your comment, it is very true that we all (including me) tend to fall into the technology trap instead of just using what we have - since cameras like the GH2 came to the market, there is very little excuse anyways ...

  • @GMC I really liked it. Great camera work and I do believe technology trap is an addiction that we give in to easily. /The proud owner of GH2 ;-)

  • @Tommyboy - thanks for your feedback. Yes, I am also a proud GH2 owner (hacked of course) ...

  • Amazing! Great sound fx and music aswell.

  • Thank you @dlzn!

  • Nice little mix in of using GoPros as well!

  • @IronFilm, yes, I thought it would add to the story to also be underwater - also for the tadpoles of course.