Cinematography : If it puts out a clean image, does it matter what camera you use? by Paris Holmes

Paris Holmes

If it puts out a clean image, does it matter what camera you use?

A lot of people hit me up telling me they like my reel and want to hire me to shoot but when finding out that I use a Canon 5d Mark II they change their mind. Thought I owned a newer camera.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hey Paris, this is Beth from the Stage 32 team. I just wanted to let you know I moved your post from Film, TV & Theater Discussion to Cinematography, as it fits much better there. Let me know if you have any questions, and all the best to you!

Brent Reynolds

That is unfortunate. It sounds as if the persons who considered hiring you wanted a package deal - you and your camera. Or perhaps they had a camera in mind and felt as if you did not have experience on that particular camera. Unfortunately, it can often get very political when it comes to these kinds of things. I usually deflect those kinds of inquiries unless

Paris Holmes

I don't think so bud. They like the way I shoot, they like the style. They just thought I was using a newer camera. I bet if I said I had a newer 2015 camera they would have hired me. A lot of people shy away from hiring a DP using a Canon 5d Mark II. It's okay though, I'll just hire myself

Sean D. Elder

What some producers forget is that a camera, much light a light, is a tool. One tool out of many tools that are required to make a film worth watching!! Oh well, work on your own projects until someone who doesn't really care about what tool you use hires you for your skills, and not your camera package!! If you want to learn about the other tools available; there are plenty of sites that have tons of information and video clips to support an educated eye's decision on what tool to use for the project. My $0.02!!!

Ben Sledge

There are reasons a producer might want to shoot on a specific camera, but they aren't always valid reasons. If you are good, hopefully producers will have a conversation with you about what their goals are and how you and your equipment align with them. That would give you a chance to change minds, or suggest renting a camera for certain shots, etc. Sometimes a producer does get caught up just in the hype of a new toy. Be flexible with your approach, learn other cameras, and be ready to explain your choices as a DP.

Samantha Mauney Aiken

Let people know that you can work a variety of equipment (or learn if that's not the case yet) and tell them that you will work with their preferred equipment if they want to rent/buy it. If all they want is a shiny new camera and someone to operate it, they aren't interested in your work anyway. I've called some people out on this.

Parker Reeve

One solution is to ask them what camera they want you to shoot with and then either have them rent that camera or you rent and charge that (plus 5%) to them.

Daniel Isola

I wouldn't let that discourage you. Let you work stand for itself, but it is important to understand what their specific needs and deliverable's are for their project. Make sure you market yourself with the ability to work with many cameras (start reading manuals & watching tutorial videos) and there is always the ability to rent what you don't own.

Royce Allen Dudley

People are idiots. 5D's still get used for very high level work just as Dragons get used for DIY nonsense. In the end, that fact matters not... you need to sell them on your work, and make sure they know you can use anything, and they need to budget seperatelyfor the camera they seek.

Bret Hampton

I've seen a lot of people asking specific cameras, Canon C300, Red, Arri I think because they don't want to pay rental and hope you'll work with your camera for the price of the rental itself. The top level DPs have their favorite cameras and budget for them, but Ithey try new ones when asked and are often glad they did as they learned something new from that experience. I think it's worth asking what camera they want, and why. If they can't give a reason then they don't know the difference, perhaps just figure if you have that camera then you're good.

Larry DeGala

Technically, it does matter. A talented colorist could take your RAW footage and make it sing. If you think it looks good now, wait till you see it after. Instead of bringing 12-bit RAW to the post production table, you turn up with 8-bit mpeg with the colors already baked in. You hobbled your producer and the production. Learn your color science as a DP and you'll know what your competition is bringing to the table (over what you bring to the table). My two cents. Good luck!

Brent Reynolds

I agree with you Larry in regard to color science - but if there is a budget for a colorist, and they like Paris' style, why quibble over the camera Paris has? Rent the one you want and let Paris work his magic. If he is not particularly up on a certain camera - you can find a DIT or AC who can help. There is always the manual, forums, and some hand's on. After all - I am addressing you insofar as you are speaking about RAW. In which case, what you need is a suitable exposure and good lighting. I think Paris can handle that (and storage).

Paris Holmes

I have am Ursa now lol

Patrick Freeman

I have to agree with Royce. People are idiots. If I'm hiring a DP I want to see his/her reel. What can they do, what have they done, what are they like to work with. There are millions of terrible scripts written on Final Draft. There are just as many terrible movies shot on 35mm. Quibbling about what camera you use is like bitching about the screenwriting software I use. It's pretentious nonsense used to disguise their lack of talent. If that's what's at the forefront of their mind that's not someone I want to work with anyway.

Royce Allen Dudley

My reply was last year. In 2017 people are even less clued in.

Enjoy ;)

Doug Nelson

As a Producer - I don't care what camera you use, I do care about how well you use it. I've seen some good stuff come out of a 5D (I've also seen some real junk out of a Red Epic). I have some personal opinions about the Canon glass - but I'm an old time Nikon guy - so what? My advice is to strive to become the World's best with what you got.

Larry DeGala

Paris, getting the Ursa is a smart business move. You have all those large monitors on both sides. You gain the confidence of producers, and they'll love you twice as much. As a "Power Shooter," sometimes you have to flex those muscles and nail the shot like a boss!

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

As a screenwriter/director/producer with (3) copyrighted scripts going into production, If it looks clean and sharp and clear and is excellent use of skill. Than why do I care or would anyone care what camera you're using. There is a lot of egos in this business and sometimes you have to check it at the door. Really. That guy who rejected you after liking your reel. Please! Maybe someone just pissed in his Cherrios that morning.

Tori Rice

Sadly they are probably expecting an actual Cinematography camera. Example: Red, or black magic ursa. Its expensive and not really worth the money since cameras are updating all the time. But if you want more gigs I would suggest to start out with the mini black ursa.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

They saw you had a dslr and thought their bts photos on instagram wouldn't have looked as cool.

i'm getting the ursa mini in two weeks. looking forward to it.

Royce Allen Dudley

The cinematographer creates the image, not the camera. The choice of tool however is not the same as a painter's because film by and large is a collaboration not a solo art.

That said, there are compelling reasons to chose a camera(s) over another based on project parameters, and intelligent producers allow a seasoned DP in on that decision. There are non-compelling reasons one may have to accommodate based on economic decisions, delivery parameters, or mere tastes of those with the checkbook.

The idea that a cinematographer "is" the camera he uses or owns is widespread, and people of that mindset cannot be dissuaded as they are utterly in the dark about the craft.

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