Camera & 16mm Film Advice
Published : 7th February 2005
I am graduating very soon, and as of now my plan is to buy my own camera and work for some of the independent films in my area, possibly making my own film depending on how much money and ambition I find along the way. I am still not sure if I should go with regular 16mm, assuming most low budgets probably aren’t going to be doing blow ups to 35mm, or if I should go for the super 16mm in the (possibly high) hopes that a 35mm print is in my near future. I know that several cameras can be converted from regular to super, but as far as I have seen this is fairly complex and expensive. Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.
Also, I'm contemplating what type of camera to go for, of course this can be decided but regular or super 16. I have used a CP-16R here at school and am comfortable with it and have found some used for a good price, though I'm still not sure if there is a better camera out there. My budget is also somewhat uncertain as of yet, I know a $5,000 setup is certainly within it while a $20,000 Arri SR-2 may be stretching a bit, but I would love to hear any opinions on options anyone has...
Thanks in advance for any help I can get.
Soon to be ex-student DP
class="style9">>My budget is also somewhat uncertain as of yet, I know a $5,000 setup >is certainly within it while a $20,000 Arri SR-2 may be stretching a bit, >but I would love to hear any opinions on options anyone has...
OK, here's an opinion. Don't buy anything. Rent. For even $5000, you can cover quite a number of jobs and not be tied to just the equipment you can supply. You'll learn a lot more about a lot more varied equipment that way.
The truth is you're just out of school, with no professional track record, unproven and unpolished. Nobody gets work on professional productions just because they own equipment. Besides, this is not one of the best times in history to be buying equipment (unless it's low end video or post equipment, and even then...) as things are changing every day.
IATSE Local 600
Jeff Clegg wrote :
class="style9">>I am graduating in less than a week, and as of now my plan is to buy my >own camera and work for some of the independent films in my area
Super 16, definitely. You can always transfer/print R16 from it. You might consider an Eclair ACL, which is very versatile, much less expensive than an SRII, and much cheaper to convert to S16.
Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614
As some one who bought a camera I can't say it was stupid but I can't say it was wise either.
If you are hot-to-trot on buying a camera. Go slow. Let the money sit in the bank. Investigate. Rent a camera or three. Talk with anyone and everyone that owns/rents/sells.
Not being an equipment owner, take this with a grain of salt, but I don't think it is wise to buy equipment and THEN look for work for it (and you).
It makes more sense to be working enough to know IF you purchase something, how quickly it will pay for itself. If you are steadily working in 16mm, it may make financial sense to buy a 16mm camera and then rent it out along with yourself.
Unless you are buying something for non-commercial personal use and won't be spending a lot of money.
Anyway, I've never owned anything other than my first Super-8 camera and a few light meters. If I bought anything right now, it would probably be something like a DVX100A for personal use (sort of the DV version of what I used to do in Super-8 for my own projects.)
David Mullen, ASC
My two cents,
Do not buy anything major. Certainly not a camera. One day they'll want DVCam/MiniDV the next 16mm the other 35mm then high speed then HDCam then DVCPro then Digibeta etc. etc.
The only equipment I own is a few light meters and for the past few years a Mini-DV for personal stuff and scouts and just recently an underwater MiniDV as those are not as widely available in rental. Not owning has never hindered me in getting work nor do I feel that had I owned gear I would have had more work either.
There will always be rental companies who will be ready to bend over backwards to rent you the most up to date and, normally, well maintained gear at the best possible rates. In my opinion, why bother with owning and all the fuss.
Not to mention that the inherent skills that makes us good as DP/artists usually, in my case for sure, don't tend to make us a good business administrator.
Daniel Villeneuve, c.s.c.
Directeur-Photo/Director of Photography
demo à / at : http://dvdp.ca
Much too depends on your market and the demands. There was a time in my market when buying a camera would pay for itself within a year or so(film or video).Now I would be very hard pressed to buy out anything.
What I would do if I were to buy anything in my market is a good truck, lighting and grip equipment. That aspect of the industry will not change as much as film or video formats but you will ALWAYS need to light and move the camera around your subject. You can always rent on whatever your client thinks he wants. I get calls from people all the time that ask me what kind of camera I shoot on and I'm always ambiguous about what I tell them because the wrong answer could be the kiss of death to that gig.
Many of these people who are doing the hiring know just enough to flash buzzwords around and be dangerous. I would be very cautious about investing a large sum of money into anything that might end up as a nice piece of living room deco art.
class="style9">>Do not buy anything major. Certainly not a camera. One day they'll want >DVCam/MiniDV the next 16mm the other 35mm then high speed then >HDCam then DVCPro then Digibeta etc.
Recently I took the good advice from this list and did NOT purchase a DV camera. But I did purchase the accessories to outfit one as suggested. I watched Ebay and found that the accessories hold their price fairly well in the used market. Not so much with outdated video cameras. I'm not sure how well the used 16/35mm camera market is holding up these days.
So I purchased a tripod, some sound gear and mounts, light kit, matte box and 4x4 filters. Now when I get a video shoot I can use much of my own stuff and borrow or rent a camera. I could probably sell all the accessories for about a 10-20 percent loss if I needed to sell them. But it still would be cheaper than renting these items for a few months while I have a definite need for them.
>Not to mention that the inherent skills that makes us good as DP/artists >usually, in my case for sure, don't tend to make us a good business >administrator.
That's a fact dude...