Camera Hype. What really matters.
I can't tell you how many times I'm asked what sort of camera I use. I'm not asked about my composition or about my lens selection, everyone wants to know what sort of camera I use.
Does this really matter?
At the onset the answer is: it doesn't. This is a frightening thing to admit as a filmmaker but the truth is that the market is flooded with very capable cameras at very reachable price points. But the fact about it is that no matter what camera is used, a fundamental understanding of photography needs to be had. You could have the worlds finest camera operated by someone that doesn't know what they're doing and you would be disappointed in the result. Conversely someone can produce a great result on equipment that isn't flashy or expensive. Buying a fancy camera doesn't impart knowledge of lighting, exposure, white balance, or composition.
That is the tricky thing when you move from still images to video. With still photography you set up for one image. Of course this requires a certain amount of talent, technical knowledge, and skill. Videos are series of still images that must be thought out; the framing, the lighting... you see where I'm going with this.
Case and point; the video below:
I made this short little piece to prove a point to an acquaintance. What did I use to make this? Comment below and I will let you know if you're right.
More important to what camera someone you want to hire is using are things like exposure/lighting, composition, movement, and the how to overall feel of the video is presented. Does this filmmaker know how to capture and convey the desired emotion of the given moment? Watching their "reel" or example of work, do you get the sense that you really want to work with this person? Super fancy camera or not, they obviously know how to deliver results that gain attention; they got yours.
I've been using a variety of cameras since the 90's both film and digital and while all of them helped me developed me as a photographer and filmmaker one didn't grant me some magic skill. Can one camera be more capable than another? Absolutely. Yes. Did one camera help me develop specific skills or capabilities that another camera simply couldn't? Also, yes. What I gained from years of experience and pushing my cameras to their limit is, camera capability is not linked to the skill of the person employing said camera.
So you might be wondering what cameras I have in my arsenal? I employ Blackmagic design cinema cameras because I love the crazy dynamic range of their sensors (amount of color data the camera captures) and RAW workflow is very simple with DaVinci Resolve (color grading software). We also employ a Canon C200 and the 1D x mkII. The dynamic range is not as wide as the Blackmagic Cinema cameras but they are better for fast paced locations. Plus the 1D x is perfect to capture 4k video and incredible stills.
In the past I owned and used the Sony a7r ii because of the crazy high ISO and low light capability. I moved on because I was not particularly a fan of their S-LOG profile when color correcting.
I'm curious to hear what camera you use and why you love it? Remember, there is no wrong answer. Each camera is unique to the application and photographer or filmmaker needs.