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OT: Am I over-reacting?

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Scott Sheriff
OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 5:08:06 am

I recently responded to a UG request to play 'show and tell' with a recent project that I shot and edited, at an upcoming meeting. Had some initial back and forth email with the host regarding the nature of my project and now I'm waiting to confirm my presentation. In the meantime, I was tipped off to a posting on the Cows RED forum by the host, as follows:

"If the band doesn't care about their image, and want their video to look like a home movie, shoot with HDV: the consumer format of choice. In fact if you read the Sony press release when they announced the invention of HDV, they pointedly said that it was intended to be an HD format for consumers. Of course Canon creates a higher end 3 chip HDV camera, and we're off to the races with a crappy format chosen by the uneducated "pros" that will pervade until the pro's finally say no."

Now I'm starting to rethink accepting the invite, since I am one of these HDV wielding uneducated "pros" pervading the industry, and the host is aware of it. Sure HDV is a 'Prosumer' format, but I'm a little put off by the amount of disrespect in this post towards those of us using it. I'm not sure if I'm interested in a 7 hour roundtrip drive, on my nickle, to give a presentation for a host that seems to think that if your not shooting with a RED, your a schmuck.
Any thoughts?


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Mike Smith
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 12:31:55 pm

Your concerns seem well grounded.

Free demos or talks can pose an interesting issue. Normally you could hope the you gain exposure with an audience including potential work sources, though your are effectively working for no pay.

If you judge that the host could be looking for a "patsy" to humiliate so he can boost his alternate technical approach, then the gig might not be that appealing. And if you judge the audience is not likely to pay off for you with new work, you'd have to wonder just what you were doing it for ...


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grinner hester
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 2:33:51 pm

I don't guess I understand the question.
If someone is inviting you for a gig but have no budget for you, it's as easy as saying "sorry, I have to work."
Does it matter if they approve what you shoot on when paying bills they've admitted they can't afford to pay?
I've personally never met an uneducated pro with an HDV camera. We bought em because they are cheap. Compressed HD is better looking and easier to sell in than what most of us came from... beta. It's kind of a no brainer, really. What would my clients get from a red camera? A bigger bill... and I'd get less bookings a result. mmmm no thank ya. I have bills to pay. Ironicly, I don't have time to hang in meetings off the clock.




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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 6:42:34 pm

Or you can look at it as a way to show that it is not the tools but the way you use them that defines success. If you really know your tools well, nine times out of ten you will beat a guy that spent more money but hasn't got a clue.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 6:58:22 pm

Thanks Grinner & Mike,
Ah, yes, but my problem is that I have already accepted the invite, which initially came directly from the User Group (which I'm a member of) via their email. You know in a down economy, not all of us are as busy as we would like to be. So thought this might be a good networking opportunity.
The reason I'm being so coy about the details is that the coordinator for the UG is a very well known person, and a frequent contributor on several Cow forums. I only found out this after accepting the UG email request. At first that made it seem even more beneficial, until the posting in the RED Camera forum was brought to my attention.

So I guess my choices are:
1. Shut up and go. Act like it's no big deal.
2. Cancel, because of a 'job' that suddenly came up.
3. Confront this person with the posting, citing it as the reason your canceling.
4. Go, your over-reacting to the posting.
5. Stay home because people that choose to shoot HDV are schmucks, and who cares what they think.

I already know what I'm leaning towards, but it's always good to get a second opinion/reality check from your peers.


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Eric Susch
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 7:30:37 pm

Base your decision on the audience and not the host. Personally I would go because a few years back I was cajoled into presenting at a user group and it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did.

If it turns out to be a sandbag then just put your professional attitude front and center in your presentation. If the host mocks you it will just make him look like a jerk. Trust the audience. They'll figure it out. ...And don't ever apologies for your equipment. It's the work that matters.

I've seen this type of equipment snobbishness before but RED as a company really seems to be about the opposite. They're the rebels making high quality stuff with cheaper equipment. Stick to that argument instead of "how big your chip is" and you'll do fine.

____________________________________
Eric Susch
http://www.LetsKnit2gether.com
http://www.EricSusch.com
Follow me on twitter @EricSusch


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Mike Cohen
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 1:47:17 am

[Eric Susch] "And don't ever apologies for your equipment. It's the work that matters."

Nothing more to say IMO.

Mike Cohen


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grinner hester
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 10:53:09 pm

man, I'd just blow it off. Doesn't sound like a fun way to spend a day to me. You can tell em you are booked if ya like but I think I'd just tell em it sounds lame.




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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 11:20:13 pm

Look, I think you are going, pretty much have committed to it in public now; otherwise, why in the heck would you mention it here in the first place, where the other guy or his friends can find it in a casual search. Freud is in the driver's seat and he's telling you you already decided to go.

And I think you should go. Worst that can happen is the other guy will make an ass of himself in front of peers if he mistreats you, after you showed up in good faith. If your work is something you don't need to apologize for, if it is solid work, then go and show it. I have never been in a movie audience where the people sitting in the chairs gave a hot damn what make or model of camera was used. They care if the movie is good, is it a good story, told well. If you did that, you have no worries.

Back when betacams were new, we only had one and all the guys in the shop coveted it for assignments. Everybody else had 2-piece porta packs of a umatic deck and 3-tube Sony M7 camera. I drew short straw one day and had to take the old gear out, while our younger guy got the "good stuff" and we both covered aspects of the same event. So I prepped the camera as well as I could: cleaned the lens, checked and set the back focus, set the white balance properly, reduced the gain a little bit and adjusted the gamma and knee... all the little things you do on such a camera. I put the time in to make my tools as sharp as it could be. In the field I was careful with my framing and manual iris and lens settings, shooting in the "sweet spot" of that lens, and lighting carefully. That's probably too much foreshadowing...

We get back and the boss is casually watching our stuff on a repeater monitor in a patchbay room, can't see what type of deck is playing the source footage. He starts to upbraid me a little bit in front of the other guys for obviously pulling seniority on the younger shooter and taking the better betacam that had been assigned to him. Then I got to smile and say: "It's not betacam: I shot with the old three-quarter, and I shot it damn well."

Indeed, the beta footage came back a little over-exposed; the shooter was not yet used to the camera's better sensitivity. And the white balance was not quite right.

Just an anecdote by way of illustration that you should not fear whatever tech the hosting guy has or wants to hype. You just smile and agree that it's a very nice setup... and then you let your work speak for itself. Trust me, you peers will hear the message loud and clear. The red may indeed be superior to what you used. So what. The man is more than his tools, and if you are this good with HDV gear, you should turn out to be a genius whenever you get access to more high end equipment.

You're being silly to fret so much about this, go, have a good time, I command it, and be sure you eat up all his snacks and drink all his liquor. Don't forget to bring a ton of business cards, you'll do well.


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Shane Ross
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 9, 2009 at 11:47:47 pm

I vote GO. HDV was designed as a "consumer" format...initially. But then Sony, JVC and Canon make pretty high end HDV cameras that no consumer could afford to buy, nor have the knowhow to operate. As Mark said earlier, it isn't the format that is important, but how the artists can USE that format to make great pictures. An HDV camera in the hand of Joe America will look like home video. But in the hands of a skilled camera person who knows how to compose a shot and light a scene...cinematic! That can be a key point...how the artist behind the camera can make a "consumer format" into a professional looking project.

28 DAYS LATER...feature film that hit theatres shot on DV! That is a consumer format too!
CRANK 2...feature film that hit theatres that was shot on HDV with a Canon camera.

I'll admit that I bag on the format a lot. It is a very problematic format....processor intensive, prone to all sorts of artifacting, is noisy. But then DVCPRO HD is also noisy. After working with HDV exclusively for a year, it isn't as bad as my initial preconceptions. But I do prefer other formats to it. IT isn't as bad as people make out.

And they are bagging on the FORMAT, not anything you are doing. SO go...go man. Show them what you did with this "consumer" format.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Scott Sheriff
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 10, 2009 at 1:40:32 am

Thanks to all for the advice, and the reality check!

I guess the lack of professional in that comment caught me off guard.
I have seen plenty of criticism of gear/formats (how 'bout that crazy Cannon 7D thread the other day). Glad to see most folks have the common sense to keep it civil in such a public forum.


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Stace Carter
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 10, 2009 at 6:01:54 pm

Um, have you seen this one? Should make it simple for you:

http://thebestcamera.com/

Cheers,
Stace

Apple Certified Trainer


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Scott Sheriff
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 10, 2009 at 6:55:31 pm

Stace,
You got that right! Took me a minute to figure it out.
4K doesn't mean squat if you miss the shot waiting for FedEx to deliver your gear from the rental house.



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Phil Balsdon
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 10, 2009 at 10:06:58 pm

If you think your work stands up as a good piece of cinematography, film making, videography, call what you like, take it along and prove to the audience that it doesn't matter what kind of image recording device or post production NLE system you have it is your own skills and experience that make it what it is.

I'm tired of the hype about new technology and this camera in particular, all digital cameras are an analogue device that turn light into a digital signal but the better your skills to work with the camera (lighting, exposure, framing, depth of field choice etc) the better the result. What's his theory, you don't need to spend years at film school and learning your craft anymore just buy "GREEN Camera" and edit on "Enthusiastic Cut Pro" and you'll win an Oscar (and all film schools will close down).

If you are rock band don't even bother making a clip until you're famous enough to afford thousands of feet of 35mm film the processing and a full crew with Panavision cameras, because anything else will be inferior and the public will reject you on the grounds that your pictures were a little noisy.

I recently shot a commercial for client for whom I usually shoot with HDCAM or Varicam. The budget for this particular job was very tight, the final choice came down to a higher quality camera, my limited lighting kit in a house down the street or my JVC HD111 and a gaffer with lights in a studio. I chose the latter, thankfully my client is wise enough to realise what makes a good image, their agency client was happy and released the commercial nationally.

Sorry that's more of a rant than a post, but be confident and demonstrate that skills are far more important to the end result than a big number like 4k.


Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Mike Cohen
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 11, 2009 at 1:52:50 am

I went to a film festival back in the Spring of 09. One of the comedic shorts had written prominently in the credits "Shot on the RED camera."

It was one of the worst 10 minutes of video I have ever seen. And aside from two nicely blocked dolly shots with shallow DOF, the rest looked like home video and was edited like a Shamwow commercial.

It's the content.

Given the choice between an above average DP with a surveillance camera and a VHS deck or a college kid with a Varicam, I'll take the first one.

Mike Cohen


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Richard Herd
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:11:27 pm

Besides, Red isn't REALLY 4k. I mean if we call the Red 4k, then we should call the Thomson Viper 12K.

4K was supposed to mean 4k lines of red. 4k lines of green. 4k lines of blue. Right?

Red is a Bayer pattern sensor, not what 4k is supposed to mean.

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/the-truth-about-2k-4k-the-future-of...


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Bob Cole
Re: OT: Am I over-reacting?
on Nov 13, 2009 at 5:10:59 am

Yes, you are over-reacting. The post you mention is a bit over-the-top, but who among us has not been a little fulsome on this website?

But a 7-hour drive... that's what would make me "busy" that day.

Bob C


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