Al Jazeera's Omar Khalifa uses the Canon 7D to shoot documentary hybrid

By Omar Khalifa

I’m always trying to break the rules. This time I seized my opportunity during the shoot for Al Jazeera’s Rageh Omaar Report in Lebanon, building some side projects on the 7D. I was Assistant Producer for the programme and shooting second camera, particularly for interviews. I wanted to capture some behind the scenes footage for the web, but in the end was able to create something more unusual – a piece that was somewhere between a behind-the-scenes, a cinematic, and a brief of the programme. It was great to get our correspondent, Rageh, on the fly. It was more like Channel 4’s Unreported World than the usual piece-to-camera.

A POV shot of Rageh from a fun cam mounted on top of the 7D

I had a bag of the usual DSLR gear – including the Tokina wide zoom, Fader ND filter, Zoom H4n, and Rode video mic etc – but no Z-finder or shoulder mount. I like it rough and ready, but sometimes it can be a bit too rough and ready. I’m interested in Jag35’s new Monitor-X and Field Runner, as I’m not a fan of the current viewfinders on the market, and they seem affordable.

In action with the 7D

Mastering a DSLR as an AP for an international broadcaster is an extremely valuable thing. You’ll be caught up in co-producing, logistics, scripting and editing, as is expected of you. But if you can bring second-camera skills to the table, with an eye on web production, it will certainly put you in a good position going forward.

Above is a short BTS video from the shoot done using a little Harinezumi fun cam.

I should also mention that we’ve launched a new strand of programming at Al Jazeera English called Frames. It promotes short-form documentary content (between 2 and 4 minutes in length) and we are currently commissioning and acquiring films. Luscious DSLR shorts, like those by Jason Taylor – who I was fortunate enough to come across on Vimeo – are particularly what we’re looking for. Get in touch with me via Vimeo

Omar is a journalist and filmmaker with over five years experience in international news and programmes.

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Posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Omar Khalifa | Category: Canon Eos7D, Journalism |

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