May 22, 2015

Come On People, It's Time To Stop Obsessing Over Gear & Just Make Some Damn Films

The Gear Acquisition Disorder Manifesto
We need to talk.

I know that headline was a bit antagonistic, and I'm sorry, but I had to get your attention. And now that you're here, I'll be nicer, I swear. It's just that I've had something on my mind lately, something quietly discomforting, and maybe even borderline malevolent. It's something that I've come to know as Gear Acquisition Syndrome – GAS for short – and it's a form of mass artistic paralysis.

You see, GAS is a way of thinking, or rather a psychologically-crippling state of mind, in which someone becomes convinced that they can't produce something worthwhile or meaningful until they've acquired certain pieces of gear, say a GH4 and a set of Nokton hyperprimes, or an F5 and some Zeiss CP2s. The thinking goes that it just wouldn't be prudent to produce work with their current, terrible, awful, shitty gear, like a T3i and a nifty fifty. I mean, why would you shoot something now with your inadequate old gear when gorgeous image (or sound) quality is right around the corner with your next purchase.

Gh4
Say you decide to purchase (insert camera name here). It's got most of the features that you would ever need in a camera, so you start saving your money. "Once that sweet camera is in my hands," you think to yourself, "Nothing will be able to stop me." Two months later, on the front page of every filmmaking site, (insert camera name #2 here) makes its debut. It has more features and costs a little more, but the images it produces are just spectacular. So you do what any rational person might do. You discard your original plans and opt to save for the better product. 

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Shoulder Rig
And then NAB rolls around, and you just start shouting at your computer, "WHAT THE HELL IS EVEN GOING ON AND WHY CAN'T BLACKMAGIC JUST ACCEPT THE CAMERAS THEY ALREADY PRODUCE?!?" And sure enough, you're back on the Blackmagic bandwagon again, waiting for (insert camera name #3 here) to be released. Several months later, the process starts over.

This would be a good time to take a little bit of a breather from my rant to segue into the video that originally prompted me to start writing this article. It's a lovely little roundup of conversations with prolific filmmakers (including our very own Joe Marine) . Cinema5D's Sebastian Wöber caught up with these folks at NAB last month, and what they had to say on this very subject is illuminating.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Even if you overcome the massive headache of figuring out which camera to buy, then you actually buy it before something better comes along and makes you change your mind, and even if it's everything you could have ever wished for, chances are that you'll probably forgo making something creative until, say, you've also purchased a gimbal stabilizer. (Shoulder rigs are so two years ago, didn't you know? Get with the times.) A basic tripod and a slider just won't cut it for you, not with your artistic ambitions. And come to think of it, neither will those vintage Nikon primes that you've been using for years. No, you need cinema glass now.

That's the problem with GAS. It's not, nor will it ever be, a one-time affliction. It's constant and ongoing, and the flood of new products keeps us creatively paralyzed and in a perpetual state of cripplingly-indecisive stasis. This process quite literally drains us of our creative juices, and not in the fun way, or even in any way that produces something tangible or worthwhile. We spend hours hopping around to various blogs and forums, trying to squeeze every little tidbit of information out regarding our potential future purchases. In truth, a good portion of us will never even make those purchases. We're just wasting time.

None of this is to say that you shouldn't pay attention to gear news and make informed choices when you decide to purchase new gear. Filmmaking is an inherently technical endeavor, and it's smart to evaluate your needs and make sure you purchase gear that meets those needs, at least to the highest extent that your budget will allow. But when we become crippled by anxiety and the paradox of choice, it becomes very easy to lose sight of why we were even attracted to filmmaking in the first place.

Joe Marine
As Joe wisely says in the video above, "This new gear is only as good as you are, and no one piece of gear is going to make you better." Right now might be a time for some critical self reflection from all of us. We should be asking ourselves if we've really outgrown our current gear -- is it legitimately holding us back in any way, or are we just telling ourselves otherwise because the film blogs are hailing the benefits of a shiny new toy? Maybe we need to invite the uncomfortable possibility that we haven't actually outgrown anything, but that instead we just lust after new equipment because we like the thought of it propelling us to new creative heights. We like that thought because it's easier and safer than actually creating content and sending it out into the world, and putting in the time and effort to grow creatively to the point where new equipment actually becomes a necessity.

Credit: Dollar Photo Club
I'm not suggesting that everyone stop reading gear stories immediately and go live in the woods to craft the next great screenplay, although, let's be honest, that would be awesome. All I'm saying is that we should start becoming a little more conscious and critical of this gear-addicted culture that we've created. This new technology is a blessing in so many ways. Its ubiquity and inexpensiveness have quite literally broken down the barriers of entry into an artistic medium that, only 15 years ago, was prohibitively expensive for most people. Now, even our smartphones are capable of making films. The old barriers are gone. This never-ending cycle of gear acquisition, however, is proving to be an even more impenetrable barrier for many of us. It's time to realize that it's entirely self-imposed, and that even the lowliest camera today is capable of capturing great images.

We all started reading this site presumably because becoming a better filmmaker was high on our list of priorities. Somewhere along the way, we stepped aboard the train of obsessive gear acquisition, and that priority fell by the wayside, whether we knew it or not. The time has come. Let's jump off the train, and get back to what's important. Let's make some goddam films, people!     

Your Comment

90 Comments

Been saying this for years. Give an amateur a RED and give a pro an iphone and tell them to go shoot a film... The pro will win everytime.

May 22, 2015 at 6:13PM, Edited May 22, 6:13PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1154

True dat

May 23, 2015 at 12:48PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
977

Not really.
The better filmmaker will win. Could be the amateur...

June 28, 2015 at 2:00PM, Edited June 28, 2:00PM

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Ezi Seel
610

Noooo! But what about 4k, Robert? I feel miserable if my camera is not 4k. We should have more pixels, more pixels = better filmmaker. Now lets spend some time asking questions like 5d vs gh4, premier vs final cut, red vs alexa, raw vs prores and lets not forget to complain about the prices of Canon cinema cameras.
Good and brave post. Respect.

May 22, 2015 at 6:16PM

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Einar Gabbassoff
D&CD at Frame One Studio
1301

Filmmakers should spread the word of this more, even if it takes pitchforks and torches

May 23, 2015 at 6:25PM

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B.D. Sharples
Cinematographer and Director
156

Thank you Robert. Sums up exactly how I feel when reading the comments section in filmmaking blogs. A lot of the time people seem more concerned about using their 'gear knowledge' as bragging rights in a bid for superiority instead of discussing its use in a constructive manner.

May 22, 2015 at 6:26PM

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Lucas Ferreira
Cinematographer
455

I agree that most of us are far too "gear" focused with our film work when we should be story or character focused, but it's hard to ignore our own self-doubts about the tools we have to shoot our "next big thing" with.

...What annoys me more than people being "gear" focused, is not knowing the basics of film making, especially when it comes to recording and processing audio. I see lots of people who will spend $5,000 on a new video camera, but they won't spend $500 on some basic audio gear, and their work suffers for this. Sure you can hire an audio pro with great gear, but are you going to do this every time you shoot ?

Color correction and basic grading are the next deadly film-making sins that many people won't spend enough time to properly learn, so they get wonky color that changes every time they shoot in a new location. ( and if you're not shooting RAW, then this can be very hard to next to impossible to fix in post )

May 22, 2015 at 6:26PM, Edited May 22, 6:28PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30778

Great post! I fall into this trap often, and I need to remind myself to just get back to work and write/shoot my stuff.

May 22, 2015 at 6:34PM

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Nathan Baldassero
Director/Editor
154

I also love that when a new camera is released we see 12,000 videos of slow pans of lakes and beaches and deserts but very few well made amazingly written films shot with the camera.

May 22, 2015 at 6:36PM

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It usually takes about 1 year after the release of a new camera before you start seeing really good work produced with it. I remember when many people were kind of shocked by two Indie feature films shot with the crappy little Panasonic GH2, because nobody ever imagined this was possible with a GH2 camera.

http://nofilmschool.com/2013/02/panasonic-gh2-shane-carruth-upstream-col...

May 22, 2015 at 9:05PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30778

Could not agree more. New camera comes out and everyone posts a "test" video. Enough with the tests! Shoot something I want to watch. Your dog in slow motion sucks.

May 22, 2015 at 9:33PM

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Sean Tracy
Filmmaker/Photographer
157

Amen to this.

May 28, 2015 at 8:08PM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
611

A real conversation I had with a "director" that wanted to work with me:

Him: Hey dude, I'm really impressed with your past work. It all looks incredible.
Me: Thanks, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.
Him: What do you normally shoot on?
Me: I own a couple GH3's, but I'll shoot on whatever.
Him: Hmm, I normally work with people who own Canon gear.
Me: Well we can rent whatever, but as far as DSLR's go, they're all kind of the same.
Him: Hmm, I was just under the impression that Canon was better for narrative filmmaking.

We didn't work together.

May 22, 2015 at 6:55PM, Edited May 22, 6:55PM

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Frank
340

I wonder if he also tried to download some extra RAM for his PC.

May 28, 2015 at 7:01PM

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Anne Le Sauvage
Ethusiastic amateur editor
183

(Deleted: Repost)

May 28, 2015 at 7:01PM, Edited May 28, 7:02PM

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Anne Le Sauvage
Ethusiastic amateur editor
183

This film says it all, made by a bunch a G.A.S sufferers! https://youtu.be/lfI2pHoX8Jg

May 22, 2015 at 6:58PM

11
You voted '-1'.
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Hello my name is Pablo and i am a gear addict
and you guys at NFS are my dealers. Jokes ? aside, great nailed article but, although i enjoy and appreciate this site, i wish there where more cinema narrative, visual storytelling articles and less gear ones
Constructive criticism here, as i said, i really enjoy nfs
Ps dont cut the gear stuff completely, i need my metadone

May 22, 2015 at 6:59PM, Edited May 22, 6:59PM

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Pablo Armesto
Filmmaker
79

Have to totally agree with you.

May 23, 2015 at 8:40AM, Edited May 23, 8:40AM

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Gilles van Leeuwen
Filmmaker
356

Here's my one cent?! :-) and a Canon t2i... 550d...
...
My movie... a second feature... two and a half years... THE 21st DOOR... Two festivals... until now...
...
https://vimeo.com/114774224

May 22, 2015 at 7:05PM, Edited May 22, 7:05PM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
182

Great trailer. I watched it:) how do I see the full film. You have compelling narrative.

May 23, 2015 at 3:17AM

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guest
172

Thanks, guest... :-)
...
Well, what can I say... find me a theatre and lend you my DCP... :-)
...
Movies are to be seen...

May 24, 2015 at 6:17AM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
182

Well said.

I recently released a trailer for my upcoming documentary. It's about Austin-Travis County EMS. It got a very warm reception, and it would seem that I managed to make something with some emotional resonance.

Do you know how many medics asked me questions about gear?

Zero. Literally zero.

It really doesn't matter as long as the story is impactful.

Thanks for this article!

May 22, 2015 at 7:13PM, Edited May 22, 7:13PM

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Thanks for helping me out with my gas problem, it's been hindering me for a few months now.

May 22, 2015 at 7:34PM

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Thanks Robert, I identify myself with GAS. For the past 13 yrs I have bought 3 profesional Camera with the intention of being a filmmaker. I had two canon xl1s, then I bought a Canon 5d mark ii, and Now I have a BMPCC with 4 set of Veydra lenses plus I bought the Metabones speedboster ef and the dji ronin. Did I make a film? NO! All I do everyday is looking for filmmaker article and gears and the truth is, Im getting frustrating!! I buy a camera and when something new comes out I get disappointed with the gear I have. Thanks for waking Us up, We really need this!!

May 22, 2015 at 7:49PM, Edited May 22, 7:49PM

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Jason Inoa
Director/Editor/Cinematographer
93

Amen. I've been the proud owner of absolutely zero professional camera gear for years now, and I've never been happier. It opens up the freedom to pick the right gear for the right job, and focus on the filmmaking and storytelling itself, instead of constantly worrying about the next big thing and becoming outdated and obsolete when the shiny new thing comes out.

May 22, 2015 at 8:01PM

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Oren Soffer
Director of Photography
2096

Man...This Should Be A Workshop... At the End of The Day The Camera The Cpmputer The Lense...The Gear is Jus a Pen and a Sheet of Paper...If You Can't Write...Then your jus as good as the guy who doesn't have anything

May 22, 2015 at 8:25PM, Edited May 22, 8:25PM

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CABLE (X-FORCE)
DP/EDITOR/DIR
275

I fundamentally agree, but I'm also definitely holding out on making a real purchase. But the thing I'm holding out for is extremely specific: I want an a7s II with in-camera IS, because I like to just use regular old handheld (no rigs of any sort) and that would allow me to use non-IS lenses more effectively. It would 100% benefit the way I make movies.

That said, in the meantime I'm not using not having that as a as an excuse to not do things. I've still got my T2i in a pinch and I've taken to renting/borrowing better gear if I think it's necessary.

There's really no excuse for not just going out and just making things.

May 22, 2015 at 8:43PM

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Alec Kubas-Meyer
Writer/Director/DP
325

Hello my name is Vincent and I suffer from bad GAS.
(hangs head in shame).

May 22, 2015 at 9:10PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
974

AMEN! Preach on, preach on!

May 22, 2015 at 9:53PM

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Brandon Neubert
Color Artist / Writer / Director
685

I think my addiction ended with the blackmagic 2.5k and pocket camera. Finally digital that has the color, dynamic range and flexibility like that of expensive cameras. All for a low-low price.
When I recieved mine, I told myself no more excuses. No more complaints. And since then have not looked to purchas anything new.

May 22, 2015 at 10:24PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
974

Same here. I got the bmpcc and was wondering if I should save up for a 4k canera, but my clients and indie filmmaking have never once required 4k. Black magic image is seriously stunning and film like.

May 23, 2015 at 4:33PM

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Caleb Price
Director
446

I bought a used Pocket off of eBay back in January when I was already in planning for a feature. It really is an amazing product. I've been really impressed with it.

I can easily imagine using it until it wears out (barring a time when 4K really is necessary, assuming that day ever comes).

May 25, 2015 at 2:16AM, Edited May 25, 2:16AM

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Ryan Paige
Writer
218

I bought a used Pocket off of eBay back in January when I was already in planning for a feature. It really is an amazing product. I've been really impressed with it.

I can easily imagine using it until it wears out (barring a time when 4K really is necessary, assuming that day ever comes).

May 25, 2015 at 2:16AM

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Ryan Paige
Writer
218

Me too. 8 bit is ok as a delivery format but not as a working format. As soon as I got my BMCC and started using the 10bit ProRes, I was done. Don't even use RAW much.
Grab a few old Nikon primes or a Canon or two and you're good...
https://vimeo.com/114121593

May 29, 2015 at 3:12AM, Edited May 29, 3:13AM

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I have a mild form of this, I will admit, but I do still need some basic stuff. And then lots of fancy stuff. And maybe a light truck. ;)

Seriously, my main problem is not lack of gear, it's lack of crew. I guess a lot of people recruit their friends, but I don't really have any near me. Plus I work nights. And the circle that I do have has no interest in this stuff. So, anyone live in southwestern Wisconsin and wanna make a movie? I do. Just need some help to do it.

May 22, 2015 at 11:44PM

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I don't think you need much crew. I did this short with an assistant, who I used mainly for turning the lens when I needed to pull focus and covering up windows to limit the light etc, and a sound guy who recorded the few lines of dialogue.
Everything else I did including post and sound design. It's not that hard.
https://vimeo.com/114121593

May 29, 2015 at 3:25AM

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All thanks to ever gear specs, 8k and still counting more k's and blah blah certainly has refrained our intellectual creatively. So popular is this GAS syndrome that most wannabe filmmakers have crippled their thinking creativity.
Seriously even a P2 world's wonders.

May 23, 2015 at 12:07AM, Edited May 23, 12:07AM

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Shahid Farooq
Photographer, Film Studies
81

Posted this just minutes before reading this article
http://www.bmcuser.com/showthread.php?13903-Ursa-or-Ursa-Mini-Upgradeabl...

May 23, 2015 at 1:07AM

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Darryl Gregory
Director of Photography
249

This is my answer to GAS: http://kollimator.parol.es/
Don't miss the BTS.

May 23, 2015 at 3:46AM

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Jupiter de la Bâtardise
writer/filmmaker
251

I admit I was a kitwhore, reading about cameraspecs etc. Started with 5D Mark II and said that this was good enough... This was 1 year ago. Then after three months I began to use the 5DIII... then a combination of 5DIII and 70D because of the autofocus, but the sound was always a problem. As a noob I identified that a good picture with poor sound is useless..And the DSLRs required a combination of components to generate decent sound..But more components = more things to fail. About 3 months with this I bought the FS700... The plan was to use this amazing camera. This would give me the chance to make epic films, good sound etc. So I began to shoot with this thing, but I kinda felt something was missing in my pictures. Now the shitrun really began... Bought Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Pocket Camera, C100 and C300... it was like... diarreah. Well... long story short... I bought 8 ARRI Lights......and that was the missing link. So I sold everything except my C100 Mark II and the Sony FS700. Only using fs700 with 7Q recorder for about everything I shoot, except run and gun/event/doc. Now I finally have peace, even when NAB2015 was going on I didnt get caught with the sudden need to buy anything!:) It is great... I only use my time to make films and not stare on cameragear.

...Though... I Bought the Blackmagic Micro thing... and ordered the Lily drone...

So.... Forget everything I wrote.

May 23, 2015 at 3:55AM

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(just wanted to delate a repeated post)

May 23, 2015 at 3:56AM, Edited May 23, 4:09AM

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Jupiter de la Bâtardise
writer/filmmaker
251

And all this is your fault NoFilmSchool ! ;)

May 23, 2015 at 5:39AM

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Guillaume Leroux
One man crew
107

Interesting and important to discuss. I remember the same thing happening in the home music studio.

Traditionally, the technical choices were taking place within an industrial setting where equipment wasn't especially varied and was rarely owned by individuals.

Now, we're trying to combine roles and their concerns. So you're the creative element *and* the technical department. There's something simple and empowering about the idea. But it can be a difficult switch to keep flicking in your brain. The auteur in you wants to continuously explore; the tech consultant in you wants to supply the right camera... and the stream of online marketing sends you into an endless whirl between the two.

For manufacturers, it's a perfect collision of niche solutions (with associated price tag) and 'lifestyle' spending patterns.

The powerful forces of self-consciousness are also at work. Finishing something, putting it out there and risking criticism is frightening, isn't it? Maybe it isn't quite ready and the only answer is a new lens? Eric Maisel writes well about this kind of fear of finishing and self-generated distraction in 'Fearless Creating'. He also recommends working naked in the same book, so proceed with caution.

I have the answer, but I'll need you all to bring some black boots and personal burial money and stand outside my house for a couple of days.

May 23, 2015 at 6:27AM, Edited May 23, 6:33AM

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What everyone in the clip said.............IT"S ABOUT THE STORY!

May 23, 2015 at 6:27AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
956

i would have read this article, but i'm waiting for a better article on camera obsession to come along, then i'll read that one, because i'm sure it will be more thought out and have even more compelling arguments than this one. i would have been happy with this article last fall, but not now.

May 23, 2015 at 9:21AM

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stephen knifton
owner / creative director
275

A great article, but I think it is natural to look for trends and consider minimum standards vs best value. Many of you know all the workarounds and nuances to get the best out of your kit (eg FPN on BM 4K Cinema Camera, etc), but someone like me would really want to avoid workarounds of the workarounds because I don't have the ability to grapple with it all.

May 23, 2015 at 9:36AM, Edited May 23, 9:36AM

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Saied M.
1444

Hey!!
Totally agree! I've always suffered from it and still do, I usually have around 20 items in my wish list! (lenses, camera bodies, sliders, filters, memory cards and a PROPER PC... Last video took 16 hours to export!!!!)
But thanks god (or not) I have a very (very) small budget. I've been shooting with my 550d for the last 5 years and I'm satisfied with it.
Yes, I could buy a better camera and better lenses (I use the cheapest ones) but... I cannot afford them and that doesn't make me feel sorry for myself.

Are these disadvantages? Maybe
Could my films had a better look? Of course!
Are they bad because of this? I don't think so!

I'm just praying for my camera to hold up an extra couple of years!! And at the end my customers are satisfied with my work!

May 23, 2015 at 10:18AM, Edited May 23, 10:18AM

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Alejandro
Filmmaker
158

Let us swear an oath to return to this thread in two months time with newly shot work...

May 23, 2015 at 11:47AM, Edited May 23, 11:47AM

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Jesse Yules
Director
336

Wow this article really affected me on so many levels, it seems you really hit the pin on the head with that title Robert! I am currently (was) in this situation when deciding whether to shoot my new short film on a rented canon C300 or Sony A7s (despite owning a 6D), in low light conditions but decided on the A7s because it was much cheaper but then again I only have Canon glass, so I just decided to shoot on the a7s+zeiss super speed 35mm for less than 200$!

May 23, 2015 at 12:53PM, Edited May 23, 12:53PM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
532

This. A thousand times this.

May 23, 2015 at 2:34PM

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Scenes
Shooter / Cutter
157

Whoa whoa whoa so you're saying my t3i and 50mm 1.8 are sh*t?

We are done, you and me.

May 23, 2015 at 5:37PM, Edited May 23, 5:36PM

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May 23, 2015 at 6:25PM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4407

I'm a 16 year old guy who is in love with making films. About 3 years ago, I saved up for and bought a used Canon 600D. Since then, I've made one 72 minute film and numerous shorts from 1 to 15 minutes long, 90% of which was with the kit lens. I edited all this in Sony Vegas Platinum Studio 11 (worth around £30) and the audio was with a Rode Videomic.

This summer, I am planning to make another long film (with the 600D, again) and I'm so excited! A few years ago, I thought I'd got everything out of the camera, and that I was able to pull the best image from that sensor. I was wrong. The footage that I can shoot now is so much better than footage I was able to shoot a year ago, that I don't really want a new camera yet, because I haven't used it to it's full potential. Look at Shane Hurlbut, or Philip Bloom. They are able to pull stunning images from DSLRs. Yes, with multi thousand pound lenses, but on YouTube, the difference is often not huge. I want to master my camera before moving on. Yes, the image can be soft, yes, the low light isn't great. So? Work around it. Know the camera's strengths and weaknesses, and use them to your advantage. Back in the early 20th Century, it was HARD, no, impossible to make films cheaply. Now, just grab a phone or a £50 camera, use the iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, and you have yourself a mini studio setup, almost for free.

Exercise your storytelling skills with what you have, and not your wallet with what you don't. At the end of the day, are people going to remember your film because of the 4K image, or the moiré free picture, or the global shutter, or even the low light performance (or even the 10 bit, 4:2:2!! *shock, horror*) What the audience will remember is a good story, and a good story can be told by a good storyteller with whatever they have, be it 35mm, and Alexa or an iphone.

May 23, 2015 at 6:11PM

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"Exercise your storytelling skills with what you have, and not your wallet with what you don't."
That's poetry, a great line !

May 23, 2015 at 10:04PM

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Saied M.
1444

Is that a famous quote?......because it should be! Well said

May 26, 2015 at 4:16PM

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Andrew
Director/Cinematographer
239

When I was 16, I had to edit my terrible videos by using two crappy VCRs hooked up to one another (I'd fast forward or rewind to the footage I wanted and then hit record on the second VCR right as I hit play on the first one. It took a lot of time and practice to get a not very good result). And my Dad got mad when he discovered that the VCR in the living room was missing (because it was in the other room being the second VCR for me).

Editing on computers is so much more fun and fulfilling.

May 25, 2015 at 2:25AM

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Ryan Paige
Writer
218

Lol me too! Wow those were the days

May 25, 2015 at 2:49AM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
480

I've always had this anti-gear mindset growing up and making great films with my friend's $50 handycam at age 11. I'm proud of nofilmschool for finally assessing it's failures and GAS building and I can't wait to come back in the future and see articles about ACTUAL filmmaking not depression.

May 23, 2015 at 6:23PM

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B.D. Sharples
Cinematographer and Director
156

Context is important here. There are people I know who have no interest in technology because they think it has nothing to do with storytelling. They think it's separate and a 'technical thing' they can deal with if and when. I 100% agree no one should be procrastinating over cameras instead of making film. However, we should also consider the right tool for the right job. I have used my EX1 since 2008 adding a Letus setup with BM hyperdeck over time maximising investment. I have augmented my shooting with a canon 550D. I have shot over 40 projects. However I have hired in a Sony F3 with Gemini, a C300 and most recently a A7s with shogun for more ambitious projects over the years. If you are creative and love telling stories I think we should challenge ourselves to take on new technologies if it means improving production values and presentation where possible. Half of the filmmakers on the video would only shoot with a 550D if they had no choice. We should make the best choices we have available to us and always use what we can afford knowledgeably. Informed choices.

May 24, 2015 at 2:33AM

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I must say... Why must we make more movies... when there is no right place for them to be seen...? I mean, of course there are festivals, but those, many times, are too expensive, or, if free, they don't care about a new point-of-view... they want more of the same... an independent movie with a mainstream flavour...
...
I'm a micro/no-budget filmmaker... that is, under $5000, and I cannot find a festival that watches my movie and where I can expect that they understand how far I can go, with my projects, in some other direction... not the direction of the two main industries: mainstream, full budget movie; and indie-film-intelectual movies, with some kind of sundance recipe...
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No/micro budget "fresh-air" movies must be seen...! :-)

May 24, 2015 at 6:51AM, Edited May 24, 6:51AM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
182

If you want strangers to understand how far you can go, you better illustrate that potential in your film.

May 24, 2015 at 9:53AM

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Don't we all try that...? I mean, directing is showing potential...
...
What I'm trying to say is: is difficult to compete with big budgets, three part scripts telling stories in a recipe way... genres have some guilty in this...
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Anyhow, we all are told to make movies... yeah... I'm trying to... Learning every day... alone, reading, watching other movies, with my actors, another directors.... Yes, we all keep learning... Trying to capture the best moment... to edit as the masters did... But, maybe that's me, I cannot see where can I elevate my project... Yes, I have some local places interrested... a few nacional contacts where my movie can be shown... but in a large scale, no or micro budget movies has no real place to go... And when I talk about me, I am referering to all of we filmmakers, producers, actors or technicians that deserve, or maybe, their movies to be seen...
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If I am wrong, please help me... and all of them like me...
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Making a movie: Yes... always... but give us the opportunity to show it... but not in Youtube, where movies loose that magic... :-)

May 24, 2015 at 10:12AM, Edited May 24, 10:29AM

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João Marco
Independent Director/Writer
182

If you want the masses to see your movie then you first have to make a movie for the masses.

May 25, 2015 at 10:42AM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2576

I know this internet film forums: I watched BagHead on Netflix yesterday and not your unfinished movie.

May 24, 2015 at 9:49AM

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That'll do Rob, that'll do.

I don't think I've seen what you describe here written better anywhere online. Really good to see it on this site too which does have a lot of gear news... which I gobble up! But couldn't agree more. My production business partner and I were in a position recently to potentially get a new gimbal or something cool like that. We had list of gear we want list and sat down separately and numbered it in order of priority taking into account "needs" and "wants"... it was about twenty different things. Interestingly we ended up being very close for most items.

What did we end up getting, a shiny new camera, lenses, gimbal??? Nope just stuff to make what we have work better and to craft/shape light. C stands, flags, diffusion, screws!, and an improved solution for mounting a monitor to our camera because the current one is crap. That was a few hundred bucks. Maybe 3 - 500, just to have a super solid monitor mount (and easy top) for our Red Scarlet.

It can feel like a waste because it's not a cool toy to show off but boy is it going to make our life easier! I'd thoroughly recommend for people with a wishlist, try and number it based on priority. What's going to make your job easier etc and take into account what you can easily hire, what might be worth owning etc.

May 24, 2015 at 10:19PM

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Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
480

Totally correct. New cameras are fun in the same way a christmas present is fun. The realities of filmmaking are just around the corner... stands, tripods, mounts, bags, lights.

I like to remind myself that one of my all time fave films is Festen (Thomas Vinterberg). It was shot on a camera shittier than your wildest imaginings and it's still one of the most powerful films I've ever seen.

May 25, 2015 at 6:12AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
819

When I started shooting my most recent feature (my first in a very long time, not because of G.A.S. but because of crippling anxiety), on the first day of shooting, the main actor guy asks me (probably just trying to make conversation) why I was shooting with Nikon lenses.

Because it's what I already owned was my answer, but based on his reaction, I think he was expecting something more technical.

May 25, 2015 at 2:09AM, Edited May 25, 2:09AM

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Ryan Paige
Writer
218

This is a really refreshing post and I want more!

I think about this all the time, how easy it is to read about new gear and lust after acquisition. Collecting things is an impulse most humans have, we always want more than we have. Economic growth and the pursuit of more money, a new car, a bigger house is something that most people fall subject to. The most liberating thing in the world is when you embark on a project that goes the other way, it's so all consuming that you are able to just get on with it, mind in some sort of 'other' state, that's true creativity.

It's difficult when there are places like eoshd and redsharknews and whatever that ONLY talk about gear, it's difficult to get yourself to stop checking those websites even thought you are fully aware the only thing you gain from them is anxiety that you haven't got the right stuff. I'm seriously trying to make a concerted effort to stop doing it. Ask a normal person who isn't into gear to judge what looks better, and they are going to choose the better content every time. The best story, the best mood, the best music.

Incidentally, I really admire the guy who made that video. He totally bucked the NAB trend to talk boring spec sheets that nobody cares about, he made a story about what truly matters.

May 25, 2015 at 5:38AM, Edited May 25, 5:38AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
819

Great stuff Robert, good old shaking is what we all need.

But. I would say that what equally stops me from making more films is that ever-allusive, moved-to-the-core, simple story we all seek and want to tell on film. I'm sure we all have a handful of 'good' ideas for a story but haven't spent the same time or energy to develop those as we have pixel-peeping at the latest camera test footage of sky scrapers or beaches.

I'm sure that if we spent the same time discussing our stories with someone who could provide creative input as we do about the gear we don't own, we would already have that story nailed down and would film it with whatever gear & crew we had or could beg or steal to get that story shot!

The problem is that it's 'safer' to talk about abstract numbers and form factors than make yourself vulnerable to ridicule and plagiarism as we share our personal ideas with others.

It's just safer to retreat to our Blog-caves and get our GAS-fix than be brave and prepared to be not just ridiculed but also overcome inevitable obstacles that we are bound to encounter as we actually DO something.

We need to be braver than this.

May 25, 2015 at 4:29PM

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PJ Palomaki
Cinematographer | Motion Graphics
386

Yeah!
The best camera to shoot with is the one you have access to now :-)

One of my first projects was shot on a crappy webcam at 14 or 12 fps, because that was what we had in 2000. Sadly it never finished: the harddrive died and recovering was too expensive, lol.
But we had fun and made a little trailer.
It can be seen here with some BTS pictures (that needed to be delevoped and printed :p )
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jZYpSxssYc

May 26, 2015 at 5:00AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8981

I hope this means NFS gets off this annoying gear kick it's been on for way too long. Please just get back to helping people tell better stories. Otherwise you guys will lose a lot of your initial community.

May 26, 2015 at 9:52AM, Edited May 26, 9:52AM

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Ken Bates
Writer/Director
18

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