What format should YOU shoot in?
Now, I know picture quality is important. We are making movies after all and movies are a visual medium. It’s what separates the story from being a book. Now, I know a lot of people will give me shit for this (many have already) but if you’re wondering which camera/format to shoot on, think about this. 28 Days Later was shot on the Canon XL1.
If you know that camera, you know that it is Standard Def and it has no 24p. Of course, they were able to up-rez it and convert the frame rate to 24fps. But with the range of plug-ins, etc that are available today, so can you. Maybe with not as good results, but you still can. Or get yourself a Canon HV20 and you now have a full raster HD (1920×1080) picture in 24p for approximately $800.
Think about that for a second. $800. $800 friggin’ dollars and you have 24p and a full raster HD picture.
I’ll repeat it again.
FULL RASTER 1920×1080 24p FOOTAGE FOR $800.
Let that sink in a bit. If that’s not enough for you, you can get a Panasonic DVX100b with more manual controls for approx $2,700. Nice. Panasonic also has an h.264 format HD camera coming out in the fall I believe for $3700 or so. (Panasonic HMC-150)
Now, before we get lost in specifics, my point was that 28 Days Later was shot on the Canon XL1. No 24p, no HD. It’s SD. If I remember correctly, it was the most profitable movie of that summer. Most profitable, not “took in the most money.” It’s cost to make/profit taken in ratio was the best of any movie to come out that summer.
Here’s another fact. Movies shot on the DVX have been released in theaters. A DVX-shot movie won Best Cinematography at Sundance… TWICE.
What’s my point? As an indie, low or no budget filmmaker, sure you can fuss and wait to see what the next big technology is, but while you’re waiting, the world is leaving you behind. People like me are shooting things, winning contests, and getting our name out there. You can too.
You can wait for the next big thing, or you can become it. You’re choice.
Of course, if you have the budget, get the best camera you can afford. You want your movie to look as good as you can afford, or better. Just don’t center your production around it. We shot on the DVX100a and won the Diary of the Dead DVD contest. Some other people shot on HD. Don’t take that as me bragging. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t think you’re at any type of HUGE disadvantage.
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