Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Cinematography Notes 03

DSLR CAMERAS “CHEAP & GREAT”… (“Ain’t no more excuses”)

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Year of the Camera Revolution. Got $3,000… then make a movie. Wait a second why buy when you can rent…Got $3,000 just became… Got $300.

With DSLR cameras…there are no more excuses.

A digital single lens reflex camera used to reside in the realm of the still photographer. But, as stated, in the year 2008 the landscape changed once the ability to shoot high-quality video evolved. (quote from “Videomaker”, September, 2012… an excellent magazine, with a great technical article & chart on DSLR cameras…buy it at your newsstand).

These cameras are called “DSLRs”.

“DSLRs” have experienced remarkable improvements in capture quality, with sensor revolution now up to 36 megapixels in many of the latest, and very inexpensive, models. The DSLR models that I am about to list can all shoot HD video (720p or 1080i) and some even in the higher 1080/60p mode.

FIRST: The Bottom-Line: When I first came to Hollywood (1980), video really didn’t exist, I was always reading about some new 35mm film stock from Kodak or Fuji that had a new ASA rating that could capture images (A) so quickly, (B) with little lights, and with (C) quality.

I would walk around thinking I had the new secret….The new film stock. The magical film stock. Then there was the new camera. Then there was the secret very inexpensive 35mm film Russian camera. Then there was the new lens… The new this…The new that…the…..

Get my drift? There is always a new product. However, the process doesn’t change.
1) Get the Script
2) Keep it Simple
3) Get $100K-$500K (1990)
4) Get $10K-$50K (2012)
5) Do a 1-week shoot
6) Kick in talent
7) See if God loves ya.

Today’s new-new-new product is the DSLR cameras.

Yes, they’re more than adequate (did you read that phrase, “more than adequate”) (“I said ‘adequate’. Then I said ‘more than’.) but it still comes down to (A) SCRIPT, (B) MONEY, (C) TALENT & (D) GOD.

These DSLR cameras are super cheap and use cheap “CF CARDS” (CompactFlash Cards, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB & 32GB) instead of expensive film and it appears that the average consumer (aka: audience) thinks the quality is “OK”.

If the consumer thinks the quality is “OK”…and it is a lot cheaper… Then by all means “Go For It”.
IMPORTANT POINT: “Always remember. DSLR Cameras are cheap now what about (A) Interchangeable lenses & (B) Sound Synchronization”
(Price Range)

BEGINNERS DSLR ($500-$900)
Canon (EOS Rebel; T3, T3i, T2i)
Nikon (D3100, D90)
Olympus (EPL-2, E-P3)
Panasonic (DMC-GF3, DMC-GX1)
Samsung (NX1000, NX210)
Sony (nex-c3, Alpha A65)

INTERMEDIATE DSLR ($1,000-$2,000)
Canon (EOS 60D, EOS 7D)
Nikon (D7000, D300S)
Olympus (E-5)
Samsung (NX20)
Sony (Alpha A77)

ADVANCED DSLR ($3,000-$6,000)
Canon (EOS 5D Mark III)
Nikon (D4)

Now, lets cut-to-the-chase. The cameras are all fine. 4GB CF Card (Compact Flash Card) is about 10-12 minutes of video.

If you’re shooting a 90-minute feature on a 10:1 Shooting Ratio, then you need 900 minutes or 80-90 4GB CF Cards running at 35Mbps.

A 4GB CF Card costs about $20 (8GB, 16GB CF Cards are more). Thus, for 80-90 cards (4GB), for a feature shot on a 10 to 1 ratio they will cost $1,600-$1,800… now, PUT THAT INTO YOUR BUDGET.

Plus, you need to buy an EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE to dump these cards on to which is another $300-$500….PUT THAT INTO YOUR BUDGET.

Now here’s the Bottom-Line: DSLR is fine. It is cheap & affordable. However, it still comes down to (A) your script and (B) your talent. What you have discovered is how cheap things have become to shoot a feature film. You are no longer thinking low-budget is $1-$2 Million or even $100K-$200K, you are now thinking $10,000-$20,000…. And I AGREE…. There are no more excuses and stop making those dumb “Shorts”.

Also, stop thinking about buying a DSLR camera. You are probably going to use it once, for 1-2 weeks to shoot your feature. So why buy? The cameras are good. They’ll probably even get better and cheaper. But why buy. Others have bought…so you can rent.

Rent. Rent. Rent.

Now, it’s back to the script. The camera will be there and “Yes, there’s a new camera….SO WHAT!!!”

Script. Script. Script.

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