Brilliant, another topic everybody has talked about already. But since I’m an aspiring DP I’d thought I’d throw my opinion in there.
So Canon have just announced the C300, their first entry into the world of 35mm Sensor DEDICATED video cameras.
And Red have finally released the Scarlet, essentially a mini Red one, for half the price.
One is a 4k supposed powerhouse that will bring 4k to the masses, when the masses seem to be watching videos on youtube or vimeo (but that’s another story). And the other is a 4:2:2 internal codec, fit in your hand PD150 style camcorder, that has a dynamic range that’s apparently almost as good as the real big boys (Alexa and film). Interesting. Both are under 20k, which although is still expensive to me and you, compared to 4 years ago when the choice was an 120 grand F35, Thomson Viper and Film, it’s cheap. So apparently this is exciting times for film makers.
The 4:2:2 color space in the codec in the Canon means we can have more colour depth to our images and we can grade more extensively without destroying the original data. Brilliant. And of course the 4k in the Red Scarlet means we can archive our films and in 2020 when TVs are in the 4k realm, your content will be just up to spec, future proof is what I think they call it. Brilliant.
And these new cameras are going to bring film budgets down, making big budget images achievable for next to nothing apparently.
Just brilliant. So which camera is better and what does all this actually mean for the real film makers?
You know the people who will actually make compelling content that people keep watching and paying attention to?
Not much, the real film makers are too busy writing scripts and scouting locations to care/argue about camera specs.
Yes it’s fun to talk about H.264 vs XDCAM vs RAW, but if the content it’s self is rubbish there is no amount of log and transfer that will save you.
Sometimes it feels like the 5D was the best and worst thing to happen to film making in this decade. The best thing because it brought high quality images and great colour rendition, and of course, judging by all the super low DOF tests online, depth of field to the masses. But that’s also part of the problem.
It seems all you need these days is a 5D some L series primes, and maybe a rig, and you can make award winning films that, you know, that look great, at no cost…but the only problem is, last I checked a sound recordist, a make up artist, petrol, food, lighting, and a good location are still needed, depending on story. And of course the whole it actually being a good script as well, let’s not forget that small tidbit.
I hate to sound patronizing, but it’s almost as if film making has become a formulaic process that anyone can do with the right amount of money. It’s almost as the Hollywood mentality of throwing money at a turd will make it good, has filtered down to us indies, only it’s throw a Red, 5D, F3, C300, AF101etc at a turd and it will make it good. It’s almost as if the only people on set will be you with your camera and an actress and that’s all you need. And maybe in some circumstances, yes that’s all you need.
But let’s not forget, good films take a long time to make, and need more crew, because film making is hard, and is a collaborative process. A Make up artist will always make sure the actors face is evenly blushed (something that isn’t as easy in post as some would believe), the right amount of lighting will allow you to have a cleaner image, and actually help tell the story, instead of the over bearing amount of high iso/gain lit by a streetlight scenario that we seem to have these days, which can be good if it fit’s with the story but most of the time it’s just out of pure laziness. A good sound recordist will give you much cleaner sound than the onboard mic will ever do, and gives you (the director) one less thing to worry about, because you know in that key scene, you have got that dialogue crisp as day. And a good location will set the tone much more than some friend’s bedroom in your neighbourhood, even if you have to drive a few hundred miles to get there.
It seems videography (do it all yourself to a below average standard), has slowly infiltrated and poisoned film making (getting the best possible element of sound/cinematography/acting that fits the mood/tone of your story).
So that’s my answer to the whole which camera is better scenario, who cares, if you care about making films, rent, because why spend all that money on a camera body, when you can finance your whole project, for less. And if you really put a gun to my head, I’d probably say the F3, because Sonys just work, all of the time WITHOUT FAIL, on shoot, and in especially in post production, their footage is smooth like butter to cut.
Yes I’m excited that I can shoot on a camera that can do the same thing as the cameras that have filmed the films I’ve been watching for 20 years. However at the same time,the films I’ve been watching for 20 years have been made by a skilled TEAM of people, and the camera was just one of the cogs, not the most important, just one of the cogs.
Brilliant…So now what do I do know, I believed that these new cameras made film making easier…back to the drawing board