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Entries in Filmmaking Gear (4)


Do I Need a Fancy Camera?

All right fine, I'm not really at war with gear. It is, after all, an essential part of the filmmaking process. Without a camera, microphone, and a way to edit it all together, there would be no conceivable way to make live action films. Simple as that.

However, in the past few years, our relationship with gear has become counterproductive, and that's putting it mildly. In essence, we find ourselves in a weird psychologically-crippling loop in which the gear we have is not good enough to produce anything meaningful, and the gear we're about to have will make us whole and put our creative woes to rest. But it never does. And the cycle continues.

So, with that in mind, here's Simon Cade to explain why he's been using a Canon T3i for the past few years, and why he absolutely won't be upgrading to a new camera any time in the near future:


In his blog post, he points out that plenty of other great videos has been shot on DSLRs. For example, Kendy Ty shoots mostly with a T2i, and has produced some impressive-looking work:


Simon says something in this video that really gives me pause: "I don't want the most exciting part of my week to be taking a product out of its box." That hits at the core of something that I, and probably countless other people, have struggled with constantly, and in far more aspects of life than just filmmaking.

The truth is that we lust after new gear because we like the way it makes us feel. It feels good to imagine ourselves creating great work. And more than that, it feels good to imagine that whatever self-imposed psychological barrier that is preventing us from creating work has been overcome through the simple act of purchasing something new. The only problem is that once new gear comes out of the box, you quickly realize that it's not the panacea you were hoping for. It, like the camera you already own, is still just one very small piece of the much larger puzzle which is filmmaking.

And I think that's the problem. The process of making a film can be incredibly overwhelming, especially with small crews and tiny budgets. So, when it comes time to actually make something, it's easy to make excuses like, "Oh I should wait until I have more professional gear." It's a defense mechanism against having to immerse ourselves in a process that is not only daunting and tedious, but which could very well turn out to be a waste of time if the product doesn't turn out like we imagine it in our heads.

From my experience, projects never turn out exactly as you hope they will. There are always obstacles — some technical, some monetary, and some psychological — that get in the way. The only answer is that you have to love the process of making a film. If you can learn to love the process (and it is something that you have to learn), it doesn't matter what gear you have because you're immersing yourself in something that is inherently enjoyable. When you love the process, gear becomes a side note. It still matters, but it's been taken off of the pedestal, and it becomes just another piece of the filmmaking puzzle. 

That, my friends, is how we defeat Gear Acquisition Syndrome once and for all.      

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(Source Article by Robert Hardy)


Cinematographer Garrett Brown's Game-Changing Inventions

Though it was initially intended for movies, not sports, cinematographer Garrett Brown invented the Steadicam in the 1970s. For a proof-of-concept reel, Garrett used his prototype to shoot footage of his girlfriend running up the steps of Philadelphia's Art Museum. The director John Avildson, who was about to make Rocky, saw the footage and subsequently incorporated the sequence--and Garrett's rig--into the film. The scene has since become so iconic it has its own Wikipedia page, and if you poke around YouTube you'll see it's practically a rite of passage for Philadelphia-visiting tourists to re-enact the scene.

The Steadicam was also famously used to record the "speeder bike" sequences from Return of the Jedi. Garrett recorded the footage on foot, walking, and the steadiness of his contraption meant the footage could be sped up and still appear the full article here.


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Source Article


Panasonic Equipment Brings First All-HD Winter Games to the World!

"From Friday night’s amazing opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies on February 28th, Panasonic professional high definition video equipment is bringing the thrills and spills of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games to television viewers worldwide.


For the first all-HD Winter Games, Panasonic’s P2 HD solid-state recording system is the official recording format. And an array of Panasonic pro HD video gear is playing a vital role for the Games’ host broadcaster and for broadcasters worldwide who are capturing, recording and displaying the 17 days of sporting events and ceremonies."

- To read more info and see a full list of Panasonic HD equipment being used at the Winter Games - Click Here!


The Free Production Slate

"Everyone needs to be slating during their production, no matter how inexpensive. To the unaware, slating is the practice of recording basic scene information at the beginning or end of each take. We have all seen clapperboard type slates that slap two wooden sticks together for an audio marker, even if we've never been on a film set.

Those sticks are great for syncing sound, but most of us just need a simple marking system, so we can identify our footage in post. Writing a on a sheet of paper works (and is very microbudget), but is a little TOO ghetto. Dry erase slates are the nicest, and an a nice acrylic one can be found at B&H for 8 bucks. Not bad.

A slightly better and more informative slate is the EasySlate, which comes with an interview and production version, a back focus chart, and a version for notes. Throw in markers, an eraser and a nice bag and you have it all. Sadly, the EasySlate will set you back 60 clams, which is way too much for a laminated card with no clapper sticks."

So, what about the FREE SLATE? Click Here to read the full article and find out!