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Old December 12th, 2010, 11:36 AM   #16
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No longer is the equipment the limiting factor.
I don't think the equipment has been a limiting factor for a number of years. There are other factors which remain just as difficult regardless of the camera that a film may be shot with. Now, it'll just be taken that a film is shot on something more than a HDV camera.

The shooting format was often used a s filtering mechanism, so that distributors etc didn't need to do any further work on a large number of productions they probably couldn't sell. It's like the line producers use about you've done too much script development to a writer.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #17
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I don't think the equipment has been a limiting factor for a number of years.
Sorry, I wasn't being clear, I'm talking lower budget here. 10 years ago a XL1 or PD150 was about all you could get for 5K and you simply couldn't produce a picture that would get anywhere near 35mm film no matter how talented you were.

Now, cameras like the AF100, F3 and even DSLRs can produce an image almost indistinguishable to film, at least for a layman. The user rather than the camera is often the weak link.

I watched "Monsters" last night at the cinema. It was shot on an EX3 with a Letus adapter. Many (not all) scenes looked just as good as 35mm originated footage - pretty incredible IMHO.

Whilst I think the Sony F3 is partly motivated by Red's success, I think you guys are right and that the lower end like the AF100 and NEX-VG10 are more a reaction to HDSLRs.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #18
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I'd argue that the right DP with the right gaffer, crew and G&E can make XL1 footage look film-like. But I do get your point--you still need to convert the footage to 24p and possibly color correct the gammas, etc., to get a more film-like color. Many of those features are standard on modern day cameras.

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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:33 PM   #19
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Quite a few successful DV films didn't look anything like film, but got theatrical releases. The camera is only a small part of the equation of why a low budget films succeeds.

I'm not saying the technical aspects are to be ignored, but it's only the tail.

I gather the title of "Monsters" is causing false audience expectations in what I understand is a character driven road movie.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #20
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I rented Monsters on iTunes in October, and it was fantastic. Great story, great acting, great visual FX. It's a character-driven road piece, yes, but set against the devastation caused by giant alien monster octopus.

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Old December 12th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #21
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The camera is only a small part of the equation of why a low budget films succeeds.
Brian, I totally agree. I'm only saying that with these new cameras, the talent is the more often than not the limiting factor in terms of image quality. Financial and critical success are another ball game all together and whilst a good image can help, for certain films, the crappiness of the image has been part of the concept - e.g. Blair Witch.

There are many, many barriers preventing "democratization" of the film industry. What the latest cameras, including Red have done, is remove just one of those barriers. Monsters is a stunning and rare example of a film that has succeeded in breaking all of the others.

Like many here, I dislike the false notion that owning a Red or (insert any other camera of the week) will make you a great DP/filmmaker and all of your films will be successful.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #22
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I agree with Mike. Just over two years ago, if you wanted a 35mm look, you either needed a RED ONE or you needed an HDV camera with rails and an adapter. The former was $17.5K for the body alone. The latter (with something more than an HV20) was cumbersome, needed a lot of light, and could easily set you back $10k.

Now, we can get a roughly S35 sensor size with good light sensitivity in a small package for under $1k. You can outfit it with cheap, off-brand lenses, go for L glass, or even get CP.2 cine lenses.

DSLR's aren't perfect. You need to stabilize them. You need to avoid content that will alias. You need to light it well to keep the 8-bit codec from letting you down. But those limitations don't keep you from telling your story.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 01:50 PM   #23
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@Mike - I learned that "cameras don't make you better" lesson many years ago.

@Jon - Amen! When I dove into HDV in 2003/04, I was told it was limited (as was DV in 99), but I never let it stop me. I learned the limits and focused on the strengths, but mostly the story and acting.

Monsters did well because the story, acting, direction, cinematography and sound (they discuss how important great sound is), oh and FX are all great. Especially the story, acting and overall quality.

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Old December 12th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #24
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Absolutely the tools are now there. How important the 35mm depth of field is compared to use of sound and a compact low cost quality 1/2" camera and other elements is open to debate. Personally, I'd put use of sound above a 35mm DOF.

Interestingly the director seems to have to decided to come at this type of genre from a different angle and I think this is one of the keys of success on a low budget film.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 11:24 PM   #25
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Not every story needs shallow DOF. But not having shallow DOF as an option had been a big limitation on what we could achieve - until recently.

Personally, I think being able to control DOF is critically important for low budget film. By being able to blur backgrounds, we can make a so-so background look quite good. To get great looking images with everything in focus can be a real artistic/time/money/location challenge.

In the two years since I bought my 5D2, I've learned that it's not about shallow DOF. It's about control of DOF.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:12 AM   #26
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Critical is rather strong, more nice to have, there are other factors which come first, although 1/3" can have rather too much DOF for certain styles.

Critical is what I'd use for a good script, cast and crew, that's regarded as 80% of what makes a good film, the rest is actaully making the film.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #27
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Smaller the sensor, the wider the lens has to be, hence the deep focus when zoomed out. Other than a 35mm adapter, you can always cheat it by pulling back the camera, zooming in and opening the iris all the way. And use either a polarizer or ND filters to control light coming in.

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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #28
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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #29
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That's pretty friggin' cool! Exactly what they said it would essentially be, since April 2008.

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Old December 14th, 2010, 09:39 PM   #30
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They are so tight lipped, I wonder what pricing will be on those things?
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