The HDSLR revolution will be fondly remembered some day as the tool of new filmmakers, much like the old Bolex 16mm film cameras were a staple of film school. The EOS 5D Mark II introduced the big sensor to video, with all its attendant “film-like” qualities of shallow depth-of-field. It was only a matter of time before those sensors were put in big camcorders. Sony, Canon and even newcomers like BlackMagic have rolled out their big-sensor cameras, but at a price point multiples beyond HDSLRs.. The next effort, it seems, is now narrowing the gap in price.
Sony’s NEX-EA50 goes a long way toward that end. The $4,500 camcorder actually beats the price of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III if you consider it comes with a 18-200 zoom, and doesn’t require HDSLR add-ons such as separate audio recorder and microphone, ND filters to control light outdoors, and more-typical controls that doesn’t require add-in firmware such as Magic Lantern. The Mark III has a full-frame sensor, but the NEX’s APS-C sensor is ballpark with EOS 7Ds and T4i’s, as well as the Nikon line.
This is likely the early stages of a return of video shooting to a more ergonomic (or at least familiar) mode, and will begin to phase out the odd artifact of the middle phase of development, namely the super-tricked-out DSLR, using such high-priced aftermarket gear as produced by Zacuto, Cinevate and other small suppliers.
In some respects, the love affair with the large sensor has created to narrow a “look” as everyone overcompensated for the aesthetic older small-sensor camcorders couldn’t provide, and I wonder of filmmakers will build back out of it. I can imagine certain filmmakers using a larger-sensor camera such as the EA50 for interviews and detail shots, while having a nearly identical-looking smaller-sensor camcorder such as Sony’s PMW-EX3 for fast moving action that requires deeper focus.
The specs for the EA50 include full HD and 24p, something some lower-priced efforts such as the NEX VG10 lacked. It’s another example of how filmmaking is becoming an ever-more democratic art, not as limited to the trust-funded or the credit-card-maxed.
I’m going to LA to shoot two interviews this week, and I’ve been sorting out how to do the best possible setup that is easiest to carry. I decided I’m going to leave my Sony EX1 at home and double a 5DMk2 and a T2i. First I tried them side-by-side, but I find this pictured setup works best. That’s a Manfrotto ballhead that usually would hold the monitor. My main shot will be wide with the 5D: the tight shot will be with the t2i. Here, I have a 50 mm on the 5D, and an 85 on the T2i, which is equivalent to a 135mm on the 5D. I may try a 35/50 combo as well. I’ll use a Zoom H4n and double lavs for audio, and a Flolight 500LED on a light stand.
Curious if anyone’s played with this sort of setup – let me know! I don’t take comments here because of spam fatigue, but email me at documentarytech at gmail and I’ll add any comments at the bottom of the post…
UPDATE: Brent G wrote,
Yeah I’ve stacked two DSLR’s like you’ve got pictured here. It definitely works in a pinch, but IMO the video doesn’t cut together as well as two cameras shooting side-by-side. The eyeline keeps jumping up and down when the cameras aren’t on the same level. But again, when in a pinch stacking can work and is better than many alternatives. Just my two cents. Hope it helps.
Brent, I hear you. I have been playing with eyelines and it seems that the raised camera works if you want a relatively wide difference in how wide the shot it. In the above, you’ll see on the 5D (bottom) I’ve set up a pretty wide shot, whereas I go in tight with the top camera. The 5D, I hope, will be the shot I use most, with the tight one for cutting rather than jumping. I think if the shots were closer in framing, then the side-by-side makes much more sense. Thanks!
When I watch a documentary these days, it’s usually on TV or on a DVD, and it’s rare that I can tell what kind of camera was used. That’s a good thing. Technology has become so accessible that the cost of your toys doesn’t necessarily matter, and have decidedly taken a back seat to storytelling acumen.
Independent filmmaking has been a struggle between a tiny percentage of well-funded filmmakers using all the wealth at their disposal and the filmmaking 99 percenters using all the credit lines at their disposal. They may have talent and ambition, but little money. They string together projects from thin funding, or self-funding, or they use their documentary work as a loss leader that serves as a calling card for corporate gigs or work in advertising.
But, it seems, every time the masses find a way into the game, the game changes.
The most significant change to documentary filmmaking in the last decade was the rise of programs, such as Apple’s Final Cut, that brought editing work out of the rented post-production facility and onto one’s desktop, then laptop. But right up there were the development of HDV — the so-called “poor man’s HD” — and the sudden arrival of Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II, which put in the hands of people of modest means a camera they could use to make serious films.
Before those products arrived, most people were shooting on Mini-DV cameras like the Canon XL1 and the Panasonic DVX100. Any viewer could tell the difference.
But as we enter 2012, the gap is widening, with the manufacturers themselves ramping back up to more-costly offerings. In the past year, the long-awaited arrival of big-sensor camcorders that would overtake video-shooting DSLRs came at a disappointingly hefty price. The Canon C300 ($20,000), Sony’s PMW-F3 ($14,000), and the new RED Scarlet-X ($18,000) have not created the answer, but rather a carrot-and-stick conundrum: How far you can stretch your budget for definably better results? All of these camcorders deliver better quality, but in my opinion not so much that it’s readily apparent to most viewers. In the end, the HDSLR was not obsoleted in 2011, and so 2012 begins with rumors of what’s next.
The 2012 product season, highlighted by Photokina and NAB, thrills the equipment freaks but leaves many holding their breath. What’s next that will obsolete the equipment you own, and that you’re still paying off? For what it’s worth:
With the Canon EOS 1DX body announced already at $6,800 (and therefore implausible for most), the biggest talk is of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which rumors alternately say will and won’t have a huge leap in megapixels, and which will likely have far better audio capabilities and functions that are already in use by people who’ve downloaded the third-party Magic Lantern hack.
The anticipated update to Canon’s EOS 7D is for upgraded megapixels and improved features such as higher ISO. We’ll see.
A 3-D HDSLR? It seems that may be the way things go. And then add into that the new infatuation with using side-by-side cameras to create High Dynamic Range, and it seems those could work somehow.
Sony may announce a full-frame DSLR, according to some sources. Nikon seems, as always, to lag.
Magic Lantern is readying its “Unified Edition” for the Canon 5D, providing the features already in its 550D/T2i, 60D, 600D/T3i, 500D/T1i and 50D models. This free download vastly improves the ability of the camera, and the unified edition stretches it across all models except the apparently impenetrable 7D, which for that reason is falling out of favor with many DSLR filmmakers.
In short, the rumor mills are not looking at anything remarkably different for the lower-budget documentary filmmaker. And that’s good news in that everyone is not going to have to rush out to do an unwanted upgrade just to stay in the game. With HDSLR and even HDV documentaries having found their place in top festivals, broadcast and even Academy Award considerations, lower-budget filmmakers have not yet been priced out of the game.
Kurt Lancaster, who has contributed on DSLR filmmaking on this site, shot the 99 percenters at Occupy Wall Street:
How Prosumer Cameras, Apple and YouTube Have Changed Documentary Storytelling in the 10 Years Since 9/11
The Naudet brothers, Jules and Gedeon, hadn’t set out to make a documentary about 9/11. On the morning of September 11, 2001, in the early days of the digital-media revolution, they were following a rookie firefighter checking out a gas leak and ended up at the World Trade Center, capturing the first plane hitting the towers (conspiracy theories about the film notwithstanding) and the only footage from inside.
At a time when mainstream media dominated news coverage, the day’s digital technology allowed the Naudets to capture video footage on the go that would not have been possible for low-budget documentarians 10 years before. (By the same token, there weren’t as many documentary filmmakers then.)
In a week that finds us reflecting on the changes, both domestically and globally, in the 10 years that have followed the 9/11 attacks, I’m fascinated by how far digital technology has come and how documentary filmmaking has changed along with it.
The Rise of Digital Video
On this 10th anniversary, we find ourselves living in a consumer-electronics landscape where millions of Americans have video recorders in their pockets (be it a cell phone or a point-and-shoot camera with video capabilities), the means to edit on personal computers, and the means to distribute online — for free.
But in 2001, the “prosumer” market, which provided professional-grade equipment at consumer-grade costs, was just picking up steam on the back of the new DV (Digital Video) format. We also forget that reliable video sharing didn’t come to be until 2005, with the online video repository YouTube, and that bandwidth has grown so much since the turn of the millennium that it’s become an afterthought when creating media. By 2007, YouTube’s offerings were so vast and so popular that it was consuming nearly as many bits as the entire Internet had in 2000.
Today, companies associated with easy creation, editing and sharing of video are some of America’s largest. Apple, maker of the iPhone and video editing software Final Cut, was for a moment this summer our largest public company, surpassing the market capitalization of Exxon Mobil. YouTube owner and phone-operating-system-maker Google holds steady in the top 25.
The Filmmaking Burden Loosens
As filmmaking and online distribution have become even more accessible, the very definition of “documentary” has both evolved and eroded.
A decade ago, making a film had a monumental feel to it. Because of the difficulties in making one, both in terms of cost and technical skill, a documentary about mercurial or thin subjects (or by a newcomer) took a back seat to one where a filmmaker invested time commensurate with the costs of equipment. Now, every would-be filmmaker can create high-definition video with high-quality audio. Topics can be as small as the pocket-sized equipment the films are shot on and filmmakers can find niche audiences online, what Wired’s Chris Anderson called “the long tail” in 2004. That, as much as anything, has changed documentary film — not having to squeeze every frame through the narrow (and often profit-needy) outlets who once exercised control over the broadcast of content.
Ten years ago, network broadcast standards and the theater’s need for 35mm prints meant it was easy to shun a DV video (especially one shot quickly or cheaply). In the mainstream media, the new reality of documentary video has meant some odd splitting. We watch the nightly news on crystalline HD, then instantly cut to correspondents reporting, on-camera, via satellite phone. Newspapers have become documentary video sources (via their websites, just as television outlets now deliver text on theirs). “User-generated” videos are given labels like “crowdsourcing” and “iReporting” to separate it from the real stuff, and when one video breaks through, reaching the masses against all odds, it’s called a “viral video.” (Surely its success is not based on its merits.) To see video produced by The New York Times today is to forget the partitioning of media 10 years ago.
A New Aesthetic
And, as the saying goes, one man’s junk is another’s treasure. Work that failed traditional “quality” measures was also succeeding on sheer storytelling. When the documentary Tarnation came out in 2004, made for the legendary amount of $213.32 and edited on Apple’s iMovie, its string of best documentary awards showed that pixels were not the final determiner of a film’s potential. Viewers are willing to accept what they see if it makes sense.
The acclaimed 2009 documentary Tehran Without Permission was made surreptitiously on a Nokia N95 camera phone by Sepideh Farsi and played at festivals worldwide. YouTube conditioned people to watch films on business-card-sized viewers, and personal devices only furthered that, but storytelling has shown itself to trump format.
Crowdsourced documentaries, such as One Day on Earth, #18DaysInEgypt and YouTube’s Life in a Day, are continuing to pushing the form on every front, from how they are conceived to how they are produced to how they are exhibited (or interacted with).
A New Decade
Beyond all the equipment, beyond all the digital means, what’s changed in the past decade is our reality.
Documentary is about taking a hard look at ourselves. If the 1990s was a bit of a fantasy, with easy-to-win “wars” and an easy economy, all that made for a prelude to the stark truths in the 2000s. We have lived in a decade of constant fact, and documentaries are a tool for understanding our world, as unpleasant as it might be. On 9/11, we could hardly bear to watch, but we couldn’t look away. It’s something that the documentary form continues to demand of us.
I got an email from a new filmmaker named Geoff Arbourne, who wrote this:
“For the last four years I’ve been living and working in Southern Africa (working in International Development), when I came across the story that thousands of people were being evicted because of the football World Cup in South Africa. This led me to quitting my job for six months and trying to tell the story as I saw it first hand. I made it self-funded, and finished it at the beginning of the year.
“I now have an idea for my first feature length documentary. But to do this I need to buy the equipment for myself. So far I only have the body of the D7000 (no lens). Therefore, what do you recommend I buy first? Do you have such a thing as a Kit List? As a two-man team what do I really need?”
Geoff said his budget is about 3,500 Euros, so maybe $5,000. That’s a number that would have been impossible a decade ago, but now is an amount with which documentary film is eminently doable. It’s spending it well, and understanding what you can do with it, that matters.
Is the best $5K kit a given?
First, a bit of philosophy.
The whole pursuit these days, which manufacturers have been happy to oblige with a stream of products instantly making obsolete the ones just before, is about this: “Look like you belong.”
It used to be that filmmaking was an exclusive club. Like most exclusive clubs, exclusion was determined by money. The insiders could afford to do things the outsiders could not. In filmmaking, the more you could afford to do that stuff, the more you separated yourself out from the wanna-be’s. Super-8 cameras, and later videocams, were the mark of the great unwashed. Even television news’ expensive Betacams just didn’t match up with shooting film. I remember attending the old New England Film Festival in the 1990s and seeing 7-minute student films shot on 35mm that cost $20,000 and upwards.
The question was how to get into the club. So the Holy Grail of digital filmmaking, for a decade now, has been that of “looking like film.”
Then technology hit its tipping point in the last five years. The gap between film and video got remarkably smaller. Actual picture sharpness and color became much closer to film; suddenly, staying in the exclusive club had to nibble around the things film still could do but video could not. That, bout three or four years ago became shallow depth-of-field. “Cinema adapters” such as those from RedRock Micro, Cinevate and Letus were the rage.
Then, almost unexpectedly, came a round of HDSLRs that closed that gap, and brings us to the current state of affairs. There is almost no one who can’t afford a camera that can get them in the game.
But if everybody can be in the game now, should we still play by the old game’s rules?
So, in essence, the first thing in selecting equipment is to decide which rules you want to play by.
The obvious way to go, given a $5,000 budget, a is a set-up that has become as ubiquitous in indie filmmaking as skinny jeans, a flannel shirt and black-framed glasses – the EOS 5D Mark II, with a lens in the 28-70 2.8 range and a Zoom H4N audio recorder that can be used on the camera or as a hand-held mike. It’s a tried-and-true setup, and you’d still have a thousand dollars left to spend on other stuff.
I touched base with some filmmakers I’ve profiled on my site, where my interest is largely about doing the best work for the least money. Several were happy to respond. Many are using some variation or another of the above. Here is the kit list for Canadian filmmakers James Swirsky and Lisaane Pajot’s, whose film is “Indie Game: The Movie.”
Geoff has a Nikon D7000 body. It shoots 1080p but uses a smaller sensor than the full-frame 5D, so the first question there becomes, “Does it matter?” The 5D has set up a look for film that has been largely unrivaled at its price point because of its “full-frame” sensor, which is actually twice the size of a 35mm movie frame. All the other HDSLRs are using sensors smaller than that, but the D7000, and Canon’s EOS 7D, T2i and 60D (and the GH1 and GH2 from Panasonic) are all finding followers.
James Colquhoun, an Australian documentarian who with Laurentine ten Bosch made the widely-sold doc “Food Matters.” James says that on their latest project, the kit has been something that has been basic, light and reliable (I’ve added the prices in USDs):
We’ve just recently arrived home and are in post for a new film due out in the next few months so have shot with the following kit:
- Canon 7D $1,600
- 24-105 l series f4 (best interview lens) $1,000
- 35mm l series f1.4 (really nice for those shallow depth of field overlay shots) $1,400
- Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (great for wide shots and steady when hand held) – works well on a glidecam also… $650
- Manfrotto legs with video head (190XPROB) $200
- Lowell Tota/Omni Core 44 kit (3 lights) $1,100
The total is about $5,950, above Geoff’s budget, but he already as the camera body. James and Laurentine have done damned well on this easily obtainable kit. “Food Matters” sold more than 100,000 DVDs. But some purists complain that the HDSLRs have created a bit of a genre we might call “film moiré.” The cameras do bust lines and make a checked shirt take on a life of its own – HDSLR documentarians are wise to ask interview subjects to wear solid colors – a concession to the limitations.
So another route to go with money in hand is what documentary filmmaker Robert Greene, director of “Owning The Weather,” “Kati With An I” and “Fake It So Real” does, and seems not to have hurt his success. He often picks up second-generation equipment that works perfectly but has been cast aside in the arms-race mentality of newer and better. Remember HDV? While some people have relegated that, and the tapes it records on, to cave-painting status, the stuff still works well. Robert’s philosophy on equipment has taken him to Full Frame, True/False and DocNYC, among others. And it didn’t hurt filmmakers such as Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington, who made the acclaimed and Oscar-nominated “Restrepo” on HDV.
The advantage of buying “real” camcorders that might be a tick behind the times is because they use three-chip technology, integral lenses with long zoom capabilities, have clean audio, have built-in neutral density filters and don’t need add-on viewfinders or monitors. A look this morning at eBay and Amazon show a lot of Sony, Canon and Panasonic HDV cameras selling for $2,000 or so. What some lack is 24p, but the question is whether 1080i will really exclude you from the club. Lots of people are using it, and broadcast still premises on interlaced. Progressive was the rage when everyone wanted to convert their video to film stock; who does that anymore? While it’s easier to convert 1080p to 1080i than the inverse, progressive may be overplayed.
A few years back I used a JVC HD100u to do a film – it shoots 720p (the so-called “poor man’s HD”), and you know what? It was great. Not one person at the film festivals I screened at ever said, “Hey, was that only 720p?” These JVCs, oddities in a way, are currently selling used on eBay for down around the $1,500 range (from $6,000 new four years ago). And remember, three-chip camcorders are soaking up more color information than the one-chip HDSLRs, some old film-camera people will think of as the difference between shooting negatives or transparencies. The latter requires perfect exposure.
All this goes toward a blunt question: Where is your film really going to be seen by most people? Robert’s first film, “Owning The Weather,” was on iTunes, and it didn’t hurt him that the film was shot not even in HDV but in standard definition. Same with a more recent film, the highly regarded “45365” by the brothers Bill and Turner Ross was shot on a pair of SD Panasonic DVX100Bs, which are selling used for about $800 used. Those cameras took them to SXSW in 2009.
I think of Stefan Sargent’s “Four Times Better” rule – to wit, never upgrade technology until the new stuff is four times better than what you have on hand. For Robert, that also means editing his films on used, cheaply gotten iMacs; for others it might be used lighting kits, microphones and the like.And by the way, those cinema adapters everyone was killing for three years ago are widely, cheaply available. I have a Letus Elite that still works wonderfully with my EX1 and Nikon still lenses; you can get one on eBay for about $800.
What interested me with the filmmakers I queried on the technology question was also the stuff you didn’t expect. For example, while I use a Sony EX1 as a workhorse camera, I’ve found that I use my Canon T2i ($800) much more than my 7D ($1,600). The reason is the Magic Lantern hack for the T2i which allows more camcorder-like function such as focus peaking, more-selectable ISO and sound monitor bars. That software is free.
More filmmakers are combining – a DSLR makes a great sit-down interview camera, and a run-and-gun tool might be that used HDV model. Viewers are much more forgiving of some grainy action footage, and that’s where such camcorders’ deep depth of field is actually to great advantage, especially combined with autofocus. And this may be sacrilege, but some really small consumer camcorders, such as the Canon HF-S21, shoot very sharp 1080p video that plays surprisingly well next to much more expensive units. At about $1,000, it’s maybe something to put in that extra pocket of your gear bag. Even cheaper than that is the HV40, which shoots wonderful “true” 1080p and costs about $400 used.
So what major choices, beyond cameras? Lights, of course. My workhorse light is a $500 Flolight LED – runs cool, bright enough, easily portable, doesn’t break. There are amazingly cheap lights out there, and lightstands and the like. One-point lighting is still a staple of doc filmmaking (see Ken Burns’s films) and it seems that it’s network TV that is obsessed with three-point lighting, scrimmed background and the like. But look at a documentaries and you’ll see a lot of outdoor shooting with what seems just a bit of fill with one light or even just a $30 reflector. Simplify, simplify.
People find out what works when they’re out there. One is Nathaniel Hansen, Boston-based director of “The Elders.” His gear list is on his site, but here’s how he replied to the question of Geoff’s kit he thought audio is often underlooked and underthought: He says to get “a $30 boom-mic stand (from any music store, make sure it has a boom arm and is at least two stages.
Nathaniel adds that “a good shotgun mic kit (check DVinfo.net for good used gear in their classifieds), and some precise positioning just out of frame, can get you crystal clear audio even in a noisy room. You’ll want a cheap 5lb sandbag as well to keep the rig from tipping on accident. Practice the set up. You’ll be shocked how close you can get a mic and still have it be miles out of frame. When I’m rolling two-person two-camera set-ups (80% of my work), it’s the only way I capture audio and everyone’s always impressed with the results.”
James Swirsky of “Indie Game:The Movie” had these thoughts:
1) Monopods – by far the most useful form of support on “Indie Game: The Movie.” When I first got into HDSLR, I immediately tried to replicate the shoulder-rig form factor that I was used to. This led me to buying a rather expensive piece of kit that made my rig heavier, more cumbersome and immediately erased all of the form-factor advantages of an HDSLR. In general, the more I build up my rig, the more I want to tear it down. Don’t be pressured into thinking that you need to build up your rig in order to achieve professional results or appearances.
Eighty percent of non-interview shots in our past project was shot with a monopod. It provides just enough stability, while still retaining the camera’s inherently small footprint and flexibility.
In specific, I love love LOVE the combination of a Manfrotto 562b Monopod and a 701 fluid head.
2) A general gear tip: Make sure you’ve used your specific equipment before you begin your shoot. And I don’t mean the obvious pieces of gear, like cameras, lenses, audio recorders, etc. But the smaller, less obvious pieces. I’ve bought pieces of gear during shoots that I thought would slip perfectly into my workflow as soon as I received it. But, in reality, I found that, often, it takes time to warm up to a new piece of gear, in order to become comfortable with it and confidently include it in your workflow. A lot of DSLR gear is positioned a bit like a plug n’ play solution. Rarely, is it ever that simple. Make sure you have the time to familiarize yourself.
3) If you can’t afford fast glass and find yourself upping the ISO to noisier levels in certain situations, the noise-reduction plugins on the market do a really good clean-up job. Obviously do not rely on them to perform miracles, but do know that they’re there and do work quite well. Of the two bigger names: Magic Bullet and Neat Video, I’ve found both create great results, but Neat Video is the more stable of the two by far (at least in my setup).
4) There are a lot of people online advocating the faithful use of primes over zooms, and rigs over Image Stabilization. lenses. The points they make are extremely valid, but many times come from a narrative filmmaking perspective and do not take into consideration common documentary filmmaking conditions. I often think, to a beginning filmmaker getting most of their info from forum and blog posts, this can create an unnecessary self-imposed dogma. Let me state for the record: There is nothing wrong with shooting with zooms, and I.S. will make your picture better 99.99% of the time. And if HDSLRs had a reliable auto focus, I’d be telling you not to be afraid of that, either.
So, a body or two, some lenses, some lights. A mic with stand, maybe a solid lavalier mic in the $200 range. (I have a Sony ECM-88B to go with some Rode and Audio-Technica shotguns). A good tripod; for a light camera that’s under $300. A monopod. A light or two. Light stands. Some wide gaffer tape ($20). I advise these little reading glasses with built-in lights for shooting at night and packing equipment in the dark. For $15, they’ve saved my butt more than once.
And a last list from Biagio Messina and Joke Fincioen, the husband-and-wife makers of “Dying To Do Letterman”:
1. Story trumps everything. A raging fire or riot breaking out on the streets only requires whatever camera you can get to quickest. We’ve aired iPhone footage, flip cam footage…you name it. The cheapest camera you can instantly pull out of your pocket tends to get the most priceless footage.
2. Audio is important–and usually overpriced. For most interviews in Dying to do Letterman we used a $15 clip on radio shack microphone with a $5 extension cable. $20 versus hundreds on a wireless system. We even shot a few scenes in confined spaces like this. Further, in a pinch, just get within 3 feet of your subject and use the on camera mic.
3. Another audio tip: Have one wireless mic and two people to shoot? Wire up your main character and send that to channel one. Use your on-camera mic for channel 2, and shoot over the shoulder of your secondary character. We’ve made that work in a pinch.
4. Sometimes you’re better off spending $200 on a fancy dinner for someone who owns or has access to expensive equipment. Feed them well, pitch your project passionately, and you may find you now have $100,000 worth of equipment for the cost of a dinner you enjoyed as well.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask people for stuff. You can’t get your dream package for $5000, but if you’re passionate about your project you can get thousands of dollars in favors. Make others a part of your cause, and you may find you have more help and gear than you ever dreamed.
In closing, I believe that $5,000 will get a new filmmaker to a point at which he or she is not at all outside the club, and from there on, what matters the tale you tell. And for one- and two-person projects, it goes toward a basic business notion: That solid revenue and low costs mean a bigger profit. Find ways of telling a good story cheaply, and you’re more likely to have a chance to tell another some day.
Thanks to the filmmakers who contributed to the discussion!
HD Warrior has a post showing off his refurbished editing suite, which makes us think of how and where people are doing their work these days.
Disencumbered from the need to rent postproduction suites, people have all kinds of setups, include the laptop on the lap top to the spare bedroom.
Here’s the Ross brothers, Bill and Turner, who did their excellent doc “45365″ in this basement lair:
Only young filmmakers can withstand long hours of editing in plastic chairs like those.
Art Guglielmo at the MLB Network has a first-class place to do his work:
But some people seem to have set up in their living rooms:
And a cool place called “The Editing Farm,” a postproduction facility on a 12-acre horse farm in Massachusetts:
With larger monitors, larger laptops and iMacs, the edit suite seems to be compressing down, often to a single screen. The key is finding a place to to the work that’s comfortable and familiar. The writer Robert Olen Butler refers to a principle of “functional fixedness,” in which the place where one does the work becomes so psychologically connected, that sitting in that place spurs creativity. If you’re going to spend hours, days, weeks and months in one spot, it needs to feel right.
Aftermarket accessories always seem ridiculously overpriced, and what appears to be a $60 spring may fit in. But, on the other hand, the DSLR Follow Focus from DSLR Solutions looks like a simple problem-solver that’s multiples less expensive than gear-driven follow-focus set-ups. We’ll keep an eye out to see if anyone has any luck with this.