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Need advice on dealing with new directors


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#1 Jon Amerikaner

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 10:02 AM

With the relative easy to get a more cinematic look with inexpensive HDSLR rentals, I am having a hard time convincing a few first time directors to put budget towards them.

I have one director who wants to spend all his money on a crane and a rain machine, which will look beautiful with an HDSLR. But he thinks that the camera quality doesn't make a difference since he has such a "great vision" and special effects.

What can I do? Is this my place? Is it worth five days of hard work to add one crane and a few rain shots to my reel, even though they will be shot with a 3CCD HDV camera? I know any practice is good practice but...

Help here...

Thanks
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#2 M Joel W

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:06 PM

With the relative easy to get a more cinematic look with inexpensive HDSLR rentals, I am having a hard time convincing a few first time directors to put budget towards them.

I have one director who wants to spend all his money on a crane and a rain machine, which will look beautiful with an HDSLR. But he thinks that the camera quality doesn't make a difference since he has such a "great vision" and special effects.

What can I do? Is this my place? Is it worth five days of hard work to add one crane and a few rain shots to my reel, even though they will be shot with a 3CCD HDV camera? I know any practice is good practice but...

Help here...

Thanks


If the short is very effects-heavy, a dSLR may not be the best choice. The skew can make motion matching virtually impossible and extraordinarily time-consuming. Ask the director why he has chosen that camera, how it fits into the workflow he envisions, what specific aesthetic concerns were behind his camera choice (if any), and even if you do not agree with him then you will know what you'll have to compensate for if outfitting a dSLR. Maybe he wants deep focus and really long lenses? HDV would be nice for that. Or if it simply comes to giving up some of your fee to rent a better camera...ask yourself why you've chosen the project and what matters most to you.
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#3 David Desio

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 09:08 PM

If it were me, I'd look at the vision of the director and think about which tool would work best. If he springs for the camera rental, does he lose the crane and rain machine? if so, then you'd have a kinda bland (in his opinion) feeling piece that has really shallow DOF. I'd say that your job is to argue your point but in the end its up to you to make it look good and no camera on the planet can take crap and turn it into gold. If he wants HDV, then try and figure out a way to work with the deep DOF, get creative with the composition, dont think of it as a handicap, rather a look that while you may not like it aesthetically and on a personal level; is something that the director may want. If you really feel that his choice of camera is a detriment to the project, say so. Then explain why, but find a better argument than "it will look more cinematic" because that is a very subjective argument.
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#4 Chris Durham

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 02:42 PM

I have one director who wants to spend all his money on a crane and a rain machine, which will look beautiful with an HDSLR.


Not so sure. Line skipping and rolling shutter issues on a DSLR could potentially have a negative impact. If it were a CMOS video camera you'd have the same issues (rolling shutter anyway), but 3CCD shouldn't. Assuming he wants to shoot on at least a prosumer camera I wouldn't worry about it. What camera is it? If it has better chroma subsampling it will certainly be better for visual effects. Depending on Codec compression/bitrate it may be better for vfx as well. That leaves you with Shallow DoF as your big DSLR advantage and at the end of the day, that's often just a lazy way to make a pretty picture.
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Aerial Filmworks

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