What do you have?

I love to follow the NAB show that is currently going on in Las Vegas. The different companies bring out the new cameras, gadgets, software updates and so on. It’s exciting, because technology is moving forward, and we are getting bigger and better tools to make movies and tell out stories.

On the other hand, I get a bit sad. I look at all the new goodies coming out. The cameras, lenses, gimbal stabilizers and so on, and it all seems so far out of reach!

I am a low budget filmmaker. At the moment, I don’t have the money to invest in a lot of gear or to rent anything better. I own a Canon 550d, two lenses, a tripod, a shoulder rig and some audio gear. To be honest, I don’t always like my camera, and wish I had better gear all the time. But the truth is that I am really lucky to even have what I have.

One thought that struck me a while back when I was wishing and dreaming about a new camera was this: If I learn to use the gear I have now, I set myself up for a win when I get the chance to upgrade. If I can’t tell a story properly with a $450 camera, then I probably won’t be able to tell the story with a $2500 camera or $20 000 camera.

One movie that I really like is “Monsters” directed by Gareth Edwards. The reason I really like this movie is because it was written, directed, shot by Gareth Edwards himself. On set, which was different places around South America, most of the time the crew consisted of him, the two actors and a sound guy. His camera was a Sony PMW-EX3 with a 35mm adaptor at the front, giving him the option of putting DSLR lenses on it. Several times in the movies, the quality of the images itself isn’t good at all because of how the camera handles low light. But none of that really matters, because the story gets told and mr. Edwards just decided that he had an idea, and he was going to use what he had access to, and just make the movie. (Btw, I highly recommend to check out the behind the scenes for the movie.)

Alright, to wrap it up: My point isn’t to despise better cameras or to make you think that “I never should upgrade to better gear unless I am able to tell the story first.” In fact, better equipment are greater tools to tell the story! What I found is this: Usually he people who have done something great in this world was not hindered or stopped because of what they didn’t have, but they took what they had and made something great out of it.

So what do you have? Would be great to get some comments about gear and even see some videos that you have made with what you had access to! It can be anything from a high end production to a home video. Leave a comment and let me know.

– Morten

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4 thoughts on “What do you have?

  1. Hey Morten,
    love Your thoughts! Not too long ago my attention was on cameras, lenses and all things production value. But over time I realized that all of that doesn´t really matter – because story is key. You just have to look at the viral hits on Facebook and youtube, most of them are produced badly, but because they tell a story they get watched, liked & shared.

    For the easter services in our church we shot a video recently with a mix of 500D / 70D footage and an audio mix of H1 / H6 sound. And if you watch closely you may be able to tell the difference – but regardless of production value – the story told touched people and hopefully do their part in bringing people closer to God. – No matter the camera.
    https://www.facebook.com/clwbonn/videos

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    1. Hey Vincens!
      Great to hear from you and that’s so true!
      Watched the video, and yes, even though the cameras are an issue in technical quality, the video looked great and it tells the story. Especially like the lighting for the interviews (the one of the woman playing the piano is really nice) and the outside shots with the guy on the bike at dusk looks great.
      Please keep me updated on your projects! Love to see what my friends around the world are up to.
      – M

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  2. Hey guys!
    I can definetely sing a song about this topic as well.
    Just bought some new headphones from Bose and after considering it for a longer time I decided for the older and cheaper version. Our gear doesn’t have to be up top on the quality list to be used in the most excellent way!

    Just wondering what else hold me back from investing more time into making.

    Today a friend of mine encouraged me with some great words, that will probably motivate you guys as well:

    “So, if film-making/directing is what you breathe, making you feel alive, then it’s what you MUST make time for, no matter how busy your season gets. Whether it’s 5 minutes a week, or 30 minutes per day. It’s your calling.

    The bible encourages us “Do not despise the day of small things.” (Zech 4:10) When we are faithful (to God, to others, and to our work) with little, the Lord blesses it, and gives much. The destiny that God has for you begins with a small step.

    So create— storyboards, scripts, scenes, set designs, characters, plots, cinematography breakthroughs, etc, and have the best time doing it! No matter how small or how large of a vision– wherever there is a vision of a son/daughter of God, God will provide the resource. And do not get discouraged– but become one in whom God can trust in the midst of discouragement.

    Happy filmmaking!”

    Let’s keep connected, boys. There are still Cannes-movies to be made…

    PS: Watched your video as well, Vincence – well done man! Left a comment on the page.

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    1. Yes! Great thought! That’s one of the reasons I started this blog, so I would have a place to practice my writing skill. And yes, looking forward to the day when we all get together and make some spectacular!

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