April 26, 2018 at 5:29AM, Edited April 26, 5:29AM

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Quality or quantity when starting out?

I´ve been writing and directing short films for a few years. And though I must say there is a huge leap between the films I´ve made, I miss more hands on directing experience.
I write a lot, I do spend as much of my free time as I can on films, while still maintaining a social life, but I´m starting to wonder if it would be better to shoot ten short films in say 5 months instead of 1 or 2.
The advantage of 1 or 2 is you got more time for making them good. But you also get 5-10 time less experience directing.

In short: Do you think you can learn more from making a lot of short films instead of make a few where you really put energy into making them good?
Thank you for your time

11 Comments

My opinion is, if you're going to do something, do it right. Now I'm not saying that if you can't get an Arri with master primes, shcoeps microphones and a list talent then you shouldn't do anything, but if making things faster means you don't have the time to improve your craft, then I'd day keep it slow.

April 26, 2018 at 1:34PM, Edited April 26, 1:34PM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
685

I have a tape based canon hv20 which anyone can buy used for $100, I use it as a b cam for events since it will record up to an hour. Not used very often, but I am still impressed how good it looks. Then I also have a couple of canon eos-m cameras that I paid about $150 a piece. They can use the free magic lantern software that gives many video features, very capable cameras and with the prime or kit lens cost very little but have great video capability. It may take some time to learn, but there are many quality choices for cameras on the low end and skill in using the camera and skill in lighting for quality trump any expensive purchase. How you use your camera is far more important than what you use. I have a friend that is retired, but is a multi emmy award winning cameraman and director. He will not talk gear, his advice for me is how we use the tools that is important. You can spend big bucks on cameras, but it is unlikely you will be able to make video that looks as good as mine. However when you know how to light, compose and use your camera effectively, then virtually any video recording camera will work great for you.

April 28, 2018 at 11:20PM

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clarification, bottom line, it is not the camera and your beautiful cinematography will be dependent on your beautiful skills and vision. Buy what ever you like, use it well

Lofar Fopah

April 28, 2018 at 11:22PM

Definitely go for quantity over quality when starting out. The more you shoot the better you get and the higher quality you produce.

April 29, 2018 at 7:50AM, Edited April 29, 7:50AM

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Tobias N
Director of Photography
1187

I think its a balance, but still lean a little more towards quality over quantity.

April 30, 2018 at 4:17AM

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David Drake
Filmmaker / Photographer
93

I think the crutch of this discussion is, "does quality result from purchasing expensive camera and glass or is quality a function of using a camera expensive or inexpensive skillfully?
What matters more, expensive camera and lens or good lighting?
or camera setup regardless of cost
or good composition
or great audio
can purchasing more expensive equipment substitute for skill, talent, inspiration?
In my heart of hearts, I believe that I can take a cell phone and make a good movie, it may be inconvientant, but accomplish it with skill, talent and inspiration and so can anyone who studies, practices movie making, choice of camera makes no difference, if the camera or more likely the lens has flaws, then it the good cameraman will use it as a special interest lens or give their film a unique look.

April 30, 2018 at 4:54PM

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I recomend to people who are starting to do as much of pruduction as them can, and when them have a little experience then try to combinate both, fast productions to get more experience on fast thinking and learn to solve problems with speed and in the cheap way and then some larger production for practicing how to do everything better.
anyway there's people who likes to make productions short like most in youtube and others that prefer more thinked productions.
the most important think is to do them, large or short all starts by doing them!

May 1, 2018 at 5:00AM

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I couldn't agree more. It's all about actually Doing stuff.
I made some great productions back in high school, but they were few and far between and boy did I pass on a lot of great opportunities to work on my fellow students productions because I thought they were too "amateur" for me. The fact that I passed on these and went on to make mistakes on Paid gigs, made me think I missed out on opportunities to learn from my mistakes early. If you ask me today, I'd say shooting ten shitty movies in 5 months is way more beneficial than shooting 2 "ok" movies in 5 months.
When it comes down to it - As you're starting out it's all about investments and returns. The more you make the more you learn, even if the more you make the lower quality it is.
And here's a secret: Very few producers / employers actually watch your prior productions. Shoot, take the best shots and make a good reel. As long as you learn from your mistakes and become the best filmmaker you can be, you'll succeed. I say this from a Cinematographer's standpoint though. If you work in e.g. audio or editing I'd assume people check your prior work more closely

Tobias N

May 1, 2018 at 8:34PM

I want to add to my previous comment that I studied at a private film/television focused high school and went straight on to work in 'the business'. If you study film in college or if you're simply starting out, the recommendations are just as relevant. No matter how good you think you are, you never escape All mistakes. The best thing you can possibly do is make them early and learn from them. Back when I was 20 I got a paid union gig DP'ing a commercial and dimmed an HMI to 50% with no clue as to the green color shift it'd cause on this old fixture. And this was back in the day when we shot commercials on good ol' HDV tapes, so it wasn't without its sacrifice in quality matching it to the rest of the footage. And that's just one example of the many mistakes I made starting out. Shoot, learn, and keep shooting.

Tobias N

May 1, 2018 at 8:46PM

I respect quality. Now I want to buy a good camera for my work. I need your help. I'm a model here. I want the quality of my work to be high. I need a good camera for that. What do you advise me?

June 5, 2018 at 2:07PM

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I respect quality. Now I want to buy a good camera for my work. I need your help. I'm a model here https://no.firecams.com/category/teens. I want the quality of my work to be high. I need a good camera for that. What do you advise me?

June 11, 2018 at 1:47AM

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