There are all sorts of professionals out there. Some
do weddings, some cable access, some broadcast,
and some make the movies we rent. Each person uses the appropriate
hammer. There are hammers designed for various
uses and one would expect you use the right tool
for the right job. But the problem as of late seems to be
that some folks think that a hammer without skill
is going to make them better artists. Or said
another way, while I might not be as skilled as
someone who shoots features, if I have a camera
that has some sort of paper specs like a big expensive camera, maybe I’ll be on my way to
being a better artist. Problem is it doesn’t work
Take the hype over the new small-from HD cameras.
Wow HD! Yea HD for three times the price of a
camera folks couldn’t afford the first time around
when cameras like the DVX100 came out. Yet the hype is how
amazing it is. Everyone has to have it, but
most of these people haven't even learned what
looking room is, or really have any use for an Hd camera, or own more than a home depot
I'm not putting these people down, simple saying
that a hammer, or a 'better' hammer is not going
to make you a better carpenter. I've seen folks
who shoot weddings who say that their clients like
big cameras cause it makes them feel those behind
the camera are more professional. The consumer/prosumer world is no different.
It's always about commodities to this genre, but
rarely about the art to folks who want to be
something but don't know where to start, so think
if the camera looks good maybe someone will
So you might say yea, but a real carpenter is not going to use a hammer bought at the dollar store.
No he is not, but if he had to, he'd be able to make
it look like something no one thought a dollar
hammer (where the head falls off every fourth hit)
could! ANd he is qualified to own a $50 hammer. Most folks who max-out their credit card really don't have teh need for such cameras because the camera is not goign to make them any better at the art.
I shoot with all sorts of cameras. Most of the time I
use cameras that are between $40k and $250k in
cost. But recently I was asked to do a series on
DV. And the result was that no one can believe
how amazing I make the show look with a DV
camera. Sure I bitch and complain to myself cause
it's not what I am used to but it's never about the
commodity, but about the artist. And while the tool
doesn’t offer what I am used to, I not only make
the best of it, I find a way to make it perform more
like what I am used to.
If someone wanted to learn how to paint and
bought a book and an all-in-one painting kit on
Monday but got frustrated because it didn't feel
professional, is buying camel hair brushes and silk
paint going to make them a better artist on Friday?
No just as a camera is not going to make you
better at what you do, only fill your insecurity.
When I started it took me about five years behind
the lens before I finally felt like I was part of what
I was shooting. In other words, I was one with the
camera instead of afraid of it. Today I am
considered one of the most respected hand-held
shooters in the country. Is it because my camera
has great balance or that it has a great lens, or
that it has 1080 lines of resolution? No, it's
because I spent 20 years shooting thousands and
thousands of hours with a 30 pound camera on my
shoulder. And sometimes a four pound camera.
So what's it like to take a 4 pound camera and
try it? Amazingly easy for me like a 30 pound
camera because I practiced, not because I had
the biggest camera on the block.
So yes there are hammers for every job, but
in the end, it's always about the artist who
sometimes does a lot with the right tools, but
can also make due when he doesn't always
have what he is used to. And often the results
The moral of the story: Stop worrying about
the next greatest thing and start practicing
with what you got. A format or a camera is
not going to revolutionize anything. Only the
people who use it will.
More great movies are made with less than
more, always! In the forties and fifties they
put enormous cameras in steel blimps on
heavv-gauge steel cranes with car tires and a
total weight of 1700 pounds yet watch a film
like “Singing in the Rain” and watch how
gracefully the crane moves thorough four sets
in one seven minute take, better than what a
Steadicam could do today. Technology doesn’t
make better things, it never did.
Want to become more professional, practice!!
No one learned how to drive reading a drivers
manual. And no format is going to
make what you shoot look better. Only you have that power.
Or said another way, how do you get to
Carnegie Hall? Perhaps with a “Hochstein”
Antonius Stradivarius violin made in 1715?
No, practice silly.
Or let me say it one more way. If you want
to learn how to play a violin, should you buy
a real Stradivarius?
No not everyone is a carpenter. So will a guy
with little experience, who buys a very
expensive camera make him a carpenter? I
don't think so, but marketers (hey that’s
close in spelling to mousketeers) really don't
care if you go into debt. They have a job to
do. They want to sell you equipment.
I just want to shake a few folks to let them
know that it's never about the camera so if
you don’t have $10k lying around, don’t put
yourself into debt thinking a camera is going
to make you a better shooter or give you
So where am I going with this? All I’m
saying is that it was never the camera that
gave me experience but the use of all the
cameras I used that did. I should add that
this is an art and as much as some folks try,
they will never really get it. Some might say,
yes but I want the best I can afford. I say
great, a good DV camera will do what you
need? But what about HD, I want high
resolution? Bad news, unless you keep your
signal in HD, you don’t see any difference.
Yes, an HD camera shown on a regular TV is
just regular television.