March 8, 2016 at 11:15AM
Why shooting on that $50K camera isn't worth it
So about a year ago I finished and released my graduation film; Bonnie and Clyde. As student films go, I had a pretty restrict budget. I wanted to go out and rent a Red or an Arri and shoot it in the biggest numbered "K" button I could see in the menus. And lenses I could do some curls with and impress some make-up chick babes on set with. But after some budget realisations that we are all hit with when trying to make our vision come to life, I decided the sensible option would be to shoot on my school's Canon C100 (Mark one) with the Atomos Ninja recording in ProRes. (So a pretty big step decrease to what I wanted) I mean, the C100 doesn't even shoot in 4K or even 2K! No, it shoots in 1080p. (What's the point, may as well rub dirt in my eyes!)
I did manage to get my hands on a old school Contax Zeiss prime lens, so that Carl Zeiss T* logo had to count for something in order to please me to a small degree after my heartbreaking pass on renting something the big boys were using. (The other lenses acquired were the Canon 28mm f/1.8 and the 85mm f/1.8)
I shot the film, edited, graded - All the fun stuff.
Then it came to screening the film. Which is where all my babbling has lead us to. This very point of my story, and hopefully some helpful insight to people in my situation.
People kept asking me the same question, over and over again... "What was it shot on?"
I didn't want to look like an amateur in front of some of these people, I mean, some of these films were shot on film! Like, actual physical film!
"Oh, Red" I would respond
"Yeah, thought so. Definitely has the Red look" would be there replies.
So some kind of sick, twisted part of me kept the dirty lie up, and the responses would always be the same. "Yep can totally tell" or "knew it"
I gave one 20-something indie filmmaker who thought he was bigger than Steven Spielberg the lie of I shot it with Zeiss CP2's (Didn't want to jump the gun and say Ultra Primes or something) "Yeah I could tell that organic look a mile off..."
So my point of this story is: Don't freak out about the small things like cameras and lenses. Worry about content and story. And also lighting and sound. Which are more important than what camera/lens combo your going to opt for. I know I'm in no way the first to be saying this. This is just my experience of coming to the realisation.
You can see the film I'm referring to here: https://vimeo.com/116116003