Down to the last lens

 Huge Thunderdome style video wall being built at the Utica Aud for Country Music Concert

Huge Thunderdome style video wall being built at the Utica Aud for Country Music Concert

This is for all my fellow gearheads out there.  We've all been there.  Someone on our Facebook feed buys a new camera, B&H Instagram feed shows a new lens, YouTube says this is the best tripod, Amazon has a cheaper memory card, The other photographer took a shot of his new Doc Martins, whatever.  First thing that pops into my head is, "Oh man!  My stuff is never gonna look as good as that looks now!"  Right? 

 

Wrong. 

 

As a person who's worked in technical production for 15 years now, I've worked with lots of gear.  Fleets of tractor trailers full of gear.  Lights that can turn a dark room brighter than a summer day.  The question is, how much gear do you REALLY need?  Let's say today, I step into a time machine and go back to myself when I bought my first DSLR with a kit lens.  Would the stuff I shoot look anywhere near what I'm shooting today?  

 

I'd bet on it.

 

So does having the new gear make you better?  Well this takes me back to my Heavy Metal days when I was shredding guitar in front of 1000s of people(ok maybe 100s).  I had a tendency to get a new guitar and beat the crap out of it rendering its resale value $20.  But what did I care?  It was just a tool to get my message across.  I never owned a Les Paul, but played with a lot of people that did.  I could still sweep arpeggio them under a bridge.  Ah!  So it must come down to 3 things then.

 

PRACTICE

TECHNIQUE

MESSAGE

 

Being a musician gives you the gift of pulling emotion out of people with a tool.  The same goes for photography and filmmaking.  Sure you could keep spending money on new equipment and spend more time thinking about what lens or light you want to use over what is this story really about?  But people have made films with DV camcorders and won Cannes, won Sundance, WHY?

Because the guy with the camera put in his/her 10,000 hours of practice, developed good cinematic technique, and went over the message of the film a million times.  Gear at this point is icing on the cake.  Ever ate a cake made completely of icing?  Again, it comes down to the balance of these 2 things:

CONTENT/MESSAGE BEING TOLD ---------- PRODUCTION VALUE

Remember production value doesn't mean more gear(although I've used tons of it).  Production value can come down to someone experienced with visual storytelling, who put in the practice of his/her craft, and only brought one lens to the shoot.

Now if this doesn't inspire you to make film, this movie here was shot on a Panasonic DVX100(a DV tape camera)

 

 

Happy Shooting

Matt O