Filmmaker Brandon Li uses a combination of filmmaking gear and techniques to create dynamic and award-winning short films. In a recent video posted to his YouTube Channel, Li shares some of his techniques for shooting handheld at night. Watch and learn more about his run-and-gun approach to filmmaking using the Sony Alpha 7S III.
Filmmaker Brandon Li shares some of his techniques for shooting handheld at night with the Sony Alpha 7S III.
Arriving in Bangkok’s Chinatown at night, Li notes how overwhelming places like this can be at first and how he takes the time to develop a plan in his head. “I take a moment to just take in the surroundings and formulate a plan. It’s easy to just pull out your camera, start shooting and get carried away with that, which can be fine and you can get some good shots that way. But I find that usually it’s more efficient to walk around without the camera first, and pick out certain subjects that you think are the most interesting, and then go back and shoot them.”
A lot of his shooting is done with the Alpha 7S III attached to a gimbal, although the gimbal isn’t actually on. Li uses it to make the camera heavier and to take out some of the micro-movements while he’s filming. He likes to use a lens that allows him to get up-close instead of zooming from far away. In addition to the dynamic footage taken with the close-up gimbal setup, he also likes to take more static shots using a telephoto lens.
“A lot of my shooting is done with a gimbal and a lot of camera movement, and I like to contrast that by doing other shots with a telephoto lens that are very static. I like to have a variety when I edit, I don’t want everything to be wide angle lenses and gimbals. Especially when you’re cutting from one similar shot to another similar shot, the edit can become very boring. So for the purpose of variety, and the purpose of giving myself the option for different pacing in my edit, I like to have shots where everything is very static in the frame.”