The phone rings. “Hey what cameras do you have?” “Well, I have the Panasonic HDX900…used on many shows around the world”. “Oh, well we want to shoot on the Canon D5…this is a very stylized piece”.
I get this quite often…requests for a certain camera. Understandable, if it’s due to workflow, format or cost. But…style? Really?
Style isn’t something that comes from a chipset. There’s no “style” switch on a camera. Style is something that comes from the eye of the person shooting, not from randomly pointing and pressing record. It’s as if, “hey if we have XYZ camera, that will make it look great”. Never mind the guy holding it, he’s inconsequential.
I equate this with something very simple-pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The trick is pretty simple….Uncle Harry does it at the kid’s birthday party. And David Copperfield does that trick too. Same hat. Same rabbit. Yet one gets a slice of cake and some kids screaming as his payment. The other gets $145 per ticket in Vegas to do the trick. Why?
Style. Copperfield puts more style into the presentation than Uncle Harry. Harry has whatever compact flourescent that happens to be in the room for light. Copperfield has a truck full of stage lighting. Uncle Harry has to raise his voice to be heard. David has a 60,000 watt sound system and wireless microphone. They do the same trick, yet one is paid more and gets more acclaim for it…..because his style of performing the trick is much more thought out, and executed.
Same with shooting video. I can make pretty, stylized shots with an HDX900. With a Xdcam, an F3, a RED, or a D5, or even (given time) an Etch-A-Sketch. Could you hand Uncle Harry a Arri Alexa and get the same results? Years of experience and shooting have taught me how to make great images with any camera. Shallow depth, vivid color, clean audio…that comes from experience and knowledge….not because you have the latest camera (that is already outdated by time you have it in your hands).
It’s not the wand….it’s the magician that waves it.