Cinematography : Best Cameras? by Chaun Lee

Chaun Lee

Best Cameras?

I see the iPhone 12 made the list. What are some of your budget-friendly favs?

Vital Butinar

My partner and I do a lot of different types of shoots and a few years ago we decided that we had enough of DSLRs and wanted to buy a camera.

So I did like a half a year or research and analysed everything from high end cinema cameras like Arri's and Reds to consumer products like Jvcs and in the end came to one conclusion.

It was that buying gear is expensive and if you don't use it all the time you're basically loosing money. So we talked about it and figured that it was pointless to buy something super expensive because we would never recoup the cost, but figured out that for projects that have the budget we would always rent and that's what we've done.

At the same time we decided to get something we could afford that does the job well enough compared to the high end gear and doesn't break the bank (we do this with all the gear).

So after analyzing everything available we decided on the Pocket 4K that just came out because we could actually afford it and it seemed like a good choice. But after having it for two years and using it on countless projects I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisione ever made.

A cinema camera is not for everyone, maybe not documentary or people who do a lot of video and stuff, especially not vlogers and similar. But for someone who makes films, music videos, etc. it's a really great tool because you know that what's shot is something that you'll be able to use if you know how to use it.

Compared to a DSLR where you know what happened and how it looked on screen but the compressed footage might have been useless in the end.

Never again do I want to shoot something like a music video or a film on a DSLR or phone or something. Because it's just too much of a headache in post production.

But then again for someone who doesn't need the specifics it's pointless and you can do a great enough job with even an older DSLR or a phone.

I do love some of the features of the GoPro because it's usable to some extent when you need a shot that nothing else will do and still get great quality footage out of it.

Chaun Lee

Thanks Vital Butinar for sharing your experiences. The Pocket 4k has gotten a lot of great reviews. I'm thinking of purchasing one

Vital Butinar

Sure thing Chaun Lee. The Pocket 4k is a really great camera but it's not a video camera like an iphone or a DSLR but a cinema camera and requires post production work to get the image you want out of it.

In our case this is usually true so we love it, but for a fast turn around not as much.

I mean we've been able to push the image so far that I can't believe.

So if you shoot a lot of your own stuff and editi, grade it, you definitely won't be sorry as long as you invest time to learn the color science and how to grade the footage.

Best bang for the buck I'd say.

Chaun Lee

Awesome. I'd love to see some of the stuff you filmed with it

Vital Butinar

Sure Chaun Lee. You can actually check out our website mostly everything is there under what we've done.

All of the stuff done in 2019 and forward was done by Pocket 4k.

Chaun Lee

Ok, I'm definitely impressed.

Vital Butinar

Yeah the Pocket 4k gives a nice image but it takes work in preproduction and in production to make it look really good.

Leya says she loves it more than almost any other camera because it's light weight and gives a great image. Of course more expensive cameras and glass gives you even better stuff but it always comes at a price or at extra time.

Roth Rind

I just did a film entirely on the Pocket 6K using the latest Gen5 color science and I must say... color me impressed! I am a huge fan of it.

Vital Butinar

Roth Rind oh yeah. I played around with gen5 on oru 4K on a recent project. Really cool. Gen4 was amazing but 5 gives even more latitude.

How do you like your 6K, we put a focal reducer on ours making it a Super35ish and I love it.

But recently started thinking about the 6K Pro because of the NDs and screen, but I'm worried about the huge file sizes which aren't small even on the 4K.

Karen "Kay" Ross

You're looking at the entire reason I upgraded my phone LOL! With the iPhone 12 Pro Max, I will not be upgrading again for a long, LONG time. Especially when you combine it with FiLMiC Pro (app), it really does get stellar shots.

Roth Rind

@Vital Butinar, it's a pretty nifty camera. Love working it. Honestly the focal reducer is gonna give you that 1-2% image shift, but it really all comes down to the glass we use and color correction after the fact. At the end of the day, most cameras are just the tool, it's the craftsman that makes it look good!

Karen "Kay" Ross

Thank you for that reminder, Roth Rind! I suppose that is the biggest drawback of using an iPhone - you don't really have great use of different glass (or lenses, for those who might be reading and don't know the term). And I am ALWAYS on the lookout for people who do color! We just did a location scout and the first thing we did with the images and footage was sent it to our colorist to start playing with the palate.

Vital Butinar

Oh yeah Roth Rind. Cameras are tool and it's up to the person who use it to create something and in the end it's like you said that you make use of what you have.

Honestly I love these little cameras and how much we can colorgrade with them. :)

Vital Butinar

Karen "Kay" Ross you know that Leya and I do that too. We location scout and then creat test footage and try out the colorgrade and this seems to work out great! :)

Karen "Kay" Ross

Great idea, Vital Butinar! If for nothing else it feels like you're already playing with the edit, so it can get you pumped for the end product!

Vital Butinar

Karen "Kay" Ross true, but you know for me it's more about finding the right angles and light for the story, trying out the colorgrading. As far as editing goes I actually prefer to be surprised when I start editing to see how everything fits together.

It's really funny because I now trust Leya complacently and she knows exactly what I want when we shoot so I already know the footage is the best that can be and I can focus on the actors, who's performance I already see when we're shooting so all we do is check if we have everything on set.

But the magical moment is when we start editing and find that it fits together even better than we could have imagined and that's the part that I love getting that positive surprise. :)

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