Motion Pictures and dSLRs, some thoughts…
I had a video sent to me, by a motorbike fan friend of mine – the movie is called “Joy Ride“, by Sandro. It’s an interesting little movie because I’m a rider (just sans bike atm, had to sell it and haven’t replaced it yet…) and a photographer interested in film (but not actively shooting film).
It’s a great little film, reminds me of Vincent Laforet‘s little flick “Reverie” from 2 years ago (on the 5D MkII – if you haven’t seen it, do so now, since it is important for later discussion). “Joy Ride” was shot on the brand spanking new Nikon D800 with Nikkor glass, and I will absolutely happily state as a Canon biased shooter that this is a schmick looking little short, an impressive piece of work!
But watching it, and being reminded on “Reverie”, made me wonder about dSLR film-making in general. One of the catch-cry’s of the marketers is that dSLR video capabilities are improving to then point where anyone can try their hand at producing a quality short film, that film-making is now in the hands of the interested or advanced amateur – but is it really??
Notice anything? I know I did – both short films looked pretty amazing, even with such a long time between the gear. Surely “Joy Ride” on the Nikon should have been miles ahead, using technology 2 years newer?? But the important question – did you notice anything different in the Behind the Scenes videos? To me they both looked largely the same, and this is the kicker – great short films don’t get created by the most amazing in latest gear and technology!!
Both films had major teams with lots of planning, story-boarding, support crews, talent, and heaps of ancillary gear – motion picture gear… dollies, cranes, camera rigs, lighting, etc, etc, etc… Both films are trying to communicate a story, to compel the viewer to become engaged and remain that way for the duration. Neither film is trying to say “my pixels are looking a heap better than yours…”
I truly believe the film capabilities in the current batch of dSLRs is impressive – but all it does is bring another tool to the table. Will there be more “film-makers”? Sure, in exactly the same way that dSLRs created more “photographers”. There are so many components to making an engaging and compelling still image for photographers, or a short film for the film-makers, that there is little risk to the talented established people out there – they know what goes into a quality production.
I love gear and accessories, no doubt – but as more technology hits the market, the more I realise I need to work harder on the things that make my work stand out. And those things are definitely not related to the technology!
(on a side note, I’ve done quite a few shoots over the last couple of months and I’m working my way through the editing now. Expect to see new updates to the blog and portfolio over the coming weeks!)