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Shut up and Shoot Something

25 January 2011 No Comment

I had a conversation with a Director today. We hadn’t spoken for four years. When we last talked, he was a film holdout. At that time, he had all the cliché things to say about shooting digitally, and he was probably right. “There’s nothing like the warmth of film,” and, “digital just isn’t there yet.”

But since then, something happened, and he’s changed his tune. “Digital definitely has a place. There are times when I am watching a movie, when I honestly can’t tell if it was shot digitally, or with film. Everyone has seen Benjamin Button, and The Social Network, and the quality of those presentations is undeniable.”

I started to notice the big change late last year when DPs would actually opt to shoot on the RED camera, or even the Canon 5d, over film. There’s something wonderful about how accessible digital filmmaking technology has become. Virtually every digital camera manufacturer has a camera body with removable lens, priced under $2000, all capable of shooting high quality 1080HD.

The big advantage to the DSLR is the removable lens mount. Great glass can make all the difference, but great glass often comes at a price. Very often the lenses can cost more than the camera body. On the extreme side, Carl Zeiss offers a 7-piece prime lens kit for Canon DSLRs, for $24,000. But, the truth is, a few grand can get a couple versatile lenses, you are off to the races.

The trouble is, now you have no excuses.

Dust off that script in the drawer. Email your actor friends who complain that they don’t work enough, that producer who is sick of client revisions, and that assistant editor who needs a big break, and make a film.

Camera companies like Canon, Nikon and Sony make a great look affordable. Final Cut makes professional editing accessible. Adobe After Effects puts post effects within reach. And sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Fubiz make distribution easier than it should be.

The word “revolution” is way overused, but we are truly in the midst of a great artistic revolution. So, shut up, and shoot something.

- Mike Gambino

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