“Hey Indie Filmmakers” is brought to you by Squarespace. Go to to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
Griffin is on the campaign trail, days before the Iowa Caucuses—with drone shots, gimbal maneuvers. Is the Peak Design Travel Tripod up to the challenge of political press events?
You can view show notes and listen to “Hey Indie Filmmakers” audio at
🎥 Full list of equipment I use:
🎧 I use the music library Artlist:
🎓 My 5-hour documentary filmmaking class:
hey indie filmmakers I'm Griffin Hammond I'm Nick bodemer and today we go to the campaign trail in Iowa to our election 2020 reporter Griffin Hammond hello there Nick hello reporter Griffin Hammond you said do a border voice how did I do I don't know I don't think it sounded like a newscaster I was expecting a little praise and I got nothing you're not cut out for the for the news biz dang it felt it felt good jerk we'll get you a teleprompter commented massaged sound like a news reporter I thought I did pretty good for my first try anyway you are in Iowa Des Moines Iowa yeah the capital what's going on in Iowa right now well for I don't know exactly when this when this podcast episode will hit but today is Thursday January 30th that we're recording this and we're just what four days out from the Iowa caucuses on Monday February 3rd and what are the Iowa caucuses for those of our listeners who are not politically keyed in well for one it's the the thing I'm here to film for my job and to the Iowa caucuses are the first in the nation voters go to the polls kind of except they don't really go to the polls that's what's weird about the Iowa caucuses the caucuses are actually kind of a public vote where people gather in places like high school gymnasiums and they say I'm a Joe Biden voter or I'm a Bernie Sanders voter or I'm for Elizabeth Warren and they stand in different corners of the room they count themselves up and they decide if they have enough people to give delegates to each of the candidates so we are trying to interest Herrmann's who will be the nominee for president of the United States for the Democratic Party right there in Iowa is just the FIR Iowa is the state they gets to go that gets to gap and Muslims do normal voting like you in New York you walk into the the polling booth and you just check a box and you leave but I was weird that do caucuses that's crime in Nevada we do the simple hours so I did that for years ago and I will do it again I forget when but you told me when do i caucus Griffen February 22nd for Nevada thank you so yeah you have the same weird process where you actually go hang out with a bunch of people yep so I'm curious you watched the film that I just released yesterday I did I did this is a four-minute film about Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail I guess I'm kind of curious like did I do my job did you get a sense of like what's happening here I think so so what I took away from it is so we've got this Iowa caucus coming up everybody's kind of making their last-ditch efforts to get people on their quote-unquote team but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren't there because they have to be in Washington DC for the impeachment trial senators and all the Senators are jurors in that trial so they were sending in kind of their you know B team to come and stand in for them and bring people in and one of things I thought was interesting was it all seemed a lot smaller and more intimate than I expected like it seemed like there weren't quite as many people as you'd expected some of these rallies or meetings I guess these were more firing up their own kind of like volunteers as opposed to being a big event from the public is that was that accurate right and I kind of forgot that too like I covered the election last cycle so I was in Iowa many times before the Iowa caucuses in 2016 and I kind of forgot that this early in the process we're still a ways away from the general election things get bigger the rallies get bigger as we get towards the general election but here in Iowa they have to travel I mean I think there's 99 counties in Iowa and many candidates try to visit them all and so yes some of these events are pretty small and I do think because of the caucuses because of the nature of you're trying to win caucus sites all over the state to get delegates it's not enough just to show up in Des Moines and do a giant fifteen thousand person rally and aniruddha here you kind of have to make sure all these small pockets around the state are representing that they're gonna show up for you you describe that as retail politics yeah you might call it retail politicking yeah a phrase i watch the list you hear a lot a lot yeah i mean i'd like tomorrow i'm there's a bunch of things i'm here to shoot i'm gonna shoot some talent hall events some you know almost no one's calling them rallies because they're not that big there get out the vote events bernie sanders can have some concerts here but i'm also gonna go to some canvassing events where it's just surrogates for the campaigns just walking around going door-to-door knocking on doors interesting so what are the any unique challenges or is it all pretty straightforward i noticed some some nice cinematography and this thing you got drone shots and it looks really nice well yeah i think the biggest challenge is just the amount of gear that I want to bring because there's a lot of things I want to do and because there's a lot of assignments I have you know I want to make the short film that comes out but I'm also here to shoot some people on camera for some some existing products that we have at the recount liking it lost John Hammond needs to go on camera so I also need to bring a light for him and a specific lens for that shoot so I'm kind of like here to shoot three different kinds of things and for events I'm bringing like a long lens I have the Panasonic one hundred four hundred millimeter here which is only good for events and isn't gonna do me any good in any other environment so I have like four lenses two cameras a drone a gimbal a light that luckily I don't really need to bring to any of the events but yeah it's just a lot of stuff I noticed in one of the shots Julian Castro was their surrogate for I forget whose it was before and Elizabeth Warren and he had like two or three lav mics on him is one of those yours do you have two mic these people up individually or how does that raw a wireless lav with me and I probably should have miked him up because in the end I just filmed him with a shotgun mic right on my camera figuring that like it was a small room he's gonna project I don't ride kind of hearing this space although he was kind of quiet so in the end I did have to boost the audio a fair amount and run a noise reduction process on it in Adobe Audition until he it all starts right here so none of those mics were alive in the room those were other media outlets or something that had might be right yeah he may have been wearing at least one probably two I think I saw I think I said yeah I don't even remember seeing people put them on but I do think there were there was someone broadcasting live in the back of the room for some I don't know if it was local news or national news or for the campaign itself but yeah I just didn't think to do that I don't really for those kind of events where they just like walk right in and start talking I don't really want to be the guy that's like let me interrupt the natural moment that's going on and put a mic on you great so do you have any closer interactions with any of these people or are you all just kind of documenting their events and staying out of the way any occasionally talk to them a little bit I mean I I think I said a few words to Julio and Castro this is the former HUD secretary under Obama who ran for president briefly and got out of the race and that was supporting Warren I think because I was pretty close to him sometimes I think at one point I was just like real close to be shooting a portrait I was just like hey the lighting over here is really good just to have like I'm a human moment person cuz he's kind of looking at me like how long are you gonna be shooting that weird portrait of me I know it's Michael Moore documentary filmmaker was there yeah he was he was acting as a surrogate for Bernie Sanders while Bernie was still in DC Michael Moore and exactly yeah Alexandria Acacio Cortes did a rally and my my boss actually did an interview with him for or the circus the show on Showtime is that tied to the recount or how does that work just kind of adjacent its adjacent although you know I I work with the the team that puts together the circus they've done a man they have a lot of people here and they've done a lot of research about what is going on so I rely on them a lot as a one-man band I show up and it's like what am I supposed to go film and they've already done all this research and they're willing to share it with me about like here's what's coming up here's the the total schedule of events so that's interesting so that's it that's show times that we said it's a Showtime yeah so to say like a little true yeah they have many crews they have like three or four teams that go around the state because they have highly host I guess I'll compare and contrast that with what you're doing for the recount yeah I mean you're still doing your more one-man band type thing what what are the advantages and disadvantages do you think well sometimes I'm really proud when I watch my work and their work and I say oh wow like my work is good enough to be on that show or sometimes better than the show but I realize what I don't have to do that they have to do and it it makes it a little bit easier for me but sometimes I miss the opportunities is I don't have to have full coverage of an event I don't have to cover every single line that comes out of Michael Moore's mouth right and I can just kind of hide it in the edit like well I only filmed a little bit of the beginning of his speech a little bit at the end of his speech and I kind of ran around the room and I was recording audio the whole time so maybe if there was a really good line I could cover it up with some other shot I have but they are just trained on these people I mean they're practically doing a live feed out right so it's just a different game but it's because they want to have they want to have a hundred percent coverage so that whatever is decided in the Edit we need to include that line they they have it whereas I you know if someone says hey include that really great line that Michael Moorhead I might not actually have it on camera great okay interesting but because I only have to fill a five minute video instead of a 30-minute episode I can I don't have to shoot nearly as much and I don't need a team of 20 people to do it did you drop any cameras this time this time no it I mean you're still there right plenty of time left right but I have I mean that was that was a major consideration in packing my gear was I need to bring two cameras so I have a GH 5 + HH 5 s I have four lenses which I really do need all of them but you know if I dropped one I'd be okay I could make it work well what else what else is interesting there and I always share with us well I don't know it's not really an Iowa thing but I've been shooting with my I've actually been now really using that new peak design travel tripod oh I've got mine it's somewhere have you used yours much no I'd like took it out and played with it for a second but I haven't used it yet I'm very happy with it I like the the form factor of it I mean that's why I got it was cuz it's it's folds up real small so it's great for traveling with its I think it's roughly the same height as my other travel tripod which is not always the best height when I'm on a riser at an event you know like everyone else around me has like giant cameras and giant tripods that go up ten feet my name is like she has high enough to get over the crowd and get the shot now it came with a really nice case like a fabric case do you use that or do you just leave that at home and roll with the tripod yeah I just left that at home I mean this thing will get beat up I know it I'm not not too worried about it you know the one thing about this that for a second freaked me out and kind of confused me was you know how there's like the four things that open for the legs to task oh yeah I like this design because when you fold it up when you push the leg down in one hand movement you can close them all yeah but you got to be careful because there's a fifth one do you see the fifth one Oh the big one how does that open there's a giant one at the top which I accidentally flipped open once and it actually takes the whole like leg off oh yeah I just did like the foot comes on it it was funny cuz I was editing Bernie Sanders rally and I flipped all of these open didn't realize that accidentally flipped open the fifth one this he's a little bit harder to flip open yes yeah but I I flipped all of them open not really realizing what I was doing and then I was like I let all the legs just slide down like this and the leg just yeah it just shot off the end and it took me like 10 minutes to figure out how to put the leg back on and I'm just standing there like scrambling like I need to be set up for this event then I'm gonna screw this up the one thing I really love is the head right because yeah like not having the stick that sticks off the side is great and it just you spin this little ring and then this moves in you know any direction and then you spin it and it instantly locks it in that position it locks it really well it feels like do you think like it's yeah it works really well I think my only complaint about the head is even though it works perfectly I'd love a little bit more visual feedback like I can't really tell when I've locked the you know you you clip the the quick-release plate in mm-hmm and this is like a specially designed head that they quick that peak design kind of maze it's not really like any other tripod head you put it in the creek you put it in the quick-release plate and then you turn this little dial that locks it and it does have a little like unlock and lock symbol but it's impossible to tell visually which one you're on why is that well it's done there's little white line under the the release no I guess I see that yeah so when it's unlocked their immediate they're lined up I'll show our viewers yeah okay I was wrong but I guess I want like the water color releases unlocked and then I spin now it's locked and you can't undo it yeah I find myself just tugging on the button to confirm that it's locked I don't like the sealed yet you have so your criticisms I'm sure are valid but it could also be a trim idiot you know just we don't want to discount that constantly so a wide view like tens it's heavy for itself it is it is heavy for four how come you got the carbon-fiber one too didn't you yes I did I got and even that's a little one because I still feel chunky but it's it's light I mean compared to a a full-sized tripod the other thing that's weird to me is I don't know why you tell me if this feels weird to you locking the ball head it feels like it's going the wrong direction to me like I did almost I want to like tighten it the other way mmm I don't know why I feel that way it just feels counterintuitive to me the way I'm tightening it no because I think like if you're looking down on it you know it's a clockwise rotation to lock it like a screw is kind of right right he takes yeah it's a ready tidy when you say also this is kind of a cool little design that I didn't appreciate until maybe day seven of using this tripod you notice that the the dial that moves the center column up and down it actually pops in and out yeah kind of like to help you turn it but then it like has a little more of a low profile it slides back in illogical things I didn't realize you could I thought was popped out it was always loose but it can be out and tighten yeah oh I see yeah but in and out is independent of the tightness ID that I didn't figure out that's cool well if anyone was curious about the peak design travel tripod not that I'm not that I'm advertising for them I wanted a pass for that yeah but I I do think this is like the one environment taking it on the campaign trail like next to an NBC reporter and their giant camera and their giant tripod this is one place where I feel self-conscious bringing a travel tripod because it's like I know when I set up on the risers with all the rest of the media my tripod is gonna be the slimmest one mm-hmm the weakest one perhaps and I wonder if it'll do the job but it aside from being a little bit maybe just a little bit too short for events but yeah it's been good enough you know I almost thought like maybe I should take with this you've got a little tripod envyus what you're saying standing there you're just filming maybe well in adequate with the size of that I should feel that way but I I have to say like the tripod has done its job it hasn't like bounced around or lost its footing or being unable to support the gear that I have like it it stands up to this test do you hang a bag from the center column just to make sure it's nice and heavy and weighted or you don't worry about that I don't but yeah you could yeah I've thought about just like you know the little like a little articulating arm that I use for a microphone yeah I've thought like if I want to get some more height on the tripod maybe I could just lay put that on the top give another foot yeah that would be one way to go I actually don't think I would support the camera very well yeah it doesn't sound like a good idea hey should we tell our friends about Squarespace we should yeah hey V filmmakers is brought to you by Squarespace from websites and online stores to marketing tools and analytics Squarespace is the all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence and run your filmmaking business a lot of things I do on my web site are actually pretty simple like I'll create a new page every time I have a new story to tell so right now I'm thinking about the recount films that I've made from Iowa so I set up a page Griffin Hammond comm slash recount where I'm just placing all those but I also think about if I were to like lose my job tomorrow how Squarespace would help me start hustling and making money there's ecommerce tools so if I want to set up a checkout I'm an X start selling merch oh hey knee filmmakers merch we need some emergency or sell my own films through my website whatever life sends my way I'm prepared to sell myself as a brand put myself out there make some money that's fantastic check out Squarespace comm for a free trial and when you're ready to launch go to Squarespace comm slash Griffin to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain you know as long as we're talking bout the peak design travel tripod did you see the picture of Peter mm-hm I did I didn't know if I was allowed to talk about it on the show but gosh though it was pretty cute oh you did to each we did it out did you not we will let in your tweet did peak design respond to your tweet they didn't so this was I Peter loves my filmmaking equipment so I was home for a couple days before heading back out to Iowa one of my one of my pieces that he likes the most he loves my zoom audio recorder sure whoo what baby doesn't love a zoom yeah h5 is I would get a zoom h5 for your baby yeah he loves pushing all the buttons and dials and he just carries granny's he's so grateful when I give it to him so I let him play with that sometimes but I took the peak design tripod out of my bag and he was very interested in it I thought well he needs to know why like what this thing is so I opened up the legs and like just put it on the floor and he was he was looking at it and so I explained to him because it seems like at 14 months old he understands everything so I just explained to him what a tripod does and then I took his little wooden camera that he has and placed it on there and I think he got it I think he gets he looks like he's ready to start filming something he's pushing the button in the picture he's saying yes well that's what I that's what I think it's so fascinating I mean you've gone through this several times as a father I'm just now learning how much a young child understands like he definitely knows that the wooden camera is a representation of a real camera he knows what a real camera does he knows that the toy camera we pretend to take pictures but he knows how a fake picture works on a fake camera my daughter went through a phase where I would take videos of her with the iPhone you know and before the video is even done I'm still just trying to get this video she's saying I want to see I want to see she wants to watch the video that's being recorded Rad's were recording I'm like no you're doing something I wonder chord just keep doing it as soon as you start recording chief we're gonna watch the video well there's that principle in documentary filmmaking that you can't and in science to that principle about you can't observe something without changing it mm-hmm so the ethics of documentary like should you even show up with a camera because now you're not really capturing truth anymore but yeah you you learn that so much deeper with a child I mean you can try to fill them do anything they stopped you yep bomb put um so you're an Iowa till win through caucus day Monday and then what's interesting about caucus day it's it's a night time thing all the Iowans have to do this caucus and so they the results will come in overnight someone will have a victory party but then all these candidates they only have a week before the New Hampshire primary and so they go immediately like they get on a plane at 3:00 a.m. that they've chartered and they just go straight to Manchester it's crazy and then is it New Hampshire yeah after New Hampshire is you in Nevada and you might be out here for that is that right TBD yeah we'll see I don't know well if you are maybe we can squeeze in a podcast episode together yeah in person yeah yeah you know we I do oh the people are our lighting episode I promised them last time but I wasn't quite ready to pull it off today so yeah we could even do that in person that might even be easier you could just help us that would be a lot easier yeah hey there's an idea we'll see well my friend unless there's anything else I feel like that's another one on the books yeah I would just say keep an eye on my my films here from the campaign trail you can go to Griffin Hammond techcom slash recount or you could just download the recount app which is the company I work for I've got a look for an iPhone iPhone in the App Store or for Android I like it it's it's really no nonsense you just go in and all the videos are right there you hit play and it's very focused on getting you to the video content doesn't get in your way up a bunch of nonsense which is great and this is not an advertisement for the recap it didn't pay us well they pay me do they pay you but I think even with my full time job yes and they pay me nothing but shred we could try and address that maybe yeah let me let me talk to some people just put me on the old bay roll all right my friend we will talk to you soon yeah thanks everyone have fun in Iowa bye everybody do we have an intro I didn't see one I've totally lost the script I'm looking for I found it you'll edit out all my mistakes I've made this episode please