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Let's Get Something Straight...

Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 11:18am

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Aculag

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Rating: +4

I hear stuff like this all the time: People saying things like, "Now that you have a high quality camera, you can make good movies." or, "Make sure to use a high quality camera for that."

Grow up. Yes, the art of making movies is a visual one, but just because you have a high quality camera doesn't mean your movies are going to be any better than they are with your 15 year old JVC VHS camcorder. Granted, they'll LOOK much better, but if your movie isn't any good anyway, making it LOOK better isn't going to help you out much. You can get some really nice looking footage from your 15 year old JVC if you treat the footage properly, but that's not the point. The point is, take your heads out of their "Must be high quality video in order to be good" hats, and lets all try on these new-fangled "The price of your camcorder, or the size of it's chip doesn't matter as long as you have a good movie in the first place" hats. They fit nicer, I think, and they don't leave a huge red mark on your forehead. I hate that.

Ps. Ever noticed how you can really tell something was filmed on a little handheld camera, because of the way the movie SOUNDS? Here's a hint...
*COUGH*externalmic*COUGH* biggrin
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 11:22am

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AndrewtheActorMan

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THANK YOU! NICE POST!
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 1:41pm

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JohnCarter

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Actually, you are quite right. THere's apro filmmaker that filmed 2 feature length movies with a toy camera from Fisher Price (unfortunately out of the market nowadays). It used audio tape instead of normal video tape. THe image quality was generally poor and black and white, but he amnaged to pull off something quite interesting with it.

Equipement doesn't truly matter in the grand scheme of things. It is how creatively you use it. Creativity IS the operative word here. A good camera doesn't make good movies. A good filmmaker does. Same with script. A bad script will never make a good movie. A good script will not make a good film in the hands of a mediocre filmmaker. Hence, a good camera will never contribute a good film if the filmmaker sucks...
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 2:15pm

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Andreas

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You're so right.
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 2:31pm

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Ice_Man

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a toy fisher price camera? that's priceless!!! biggrin biggrin
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 4:40pm

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Retromedia

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a toy fisher price camera? that's priceless!!!>>

The boom guy on a film I made earlier this year had just this very camera and used it to shoot "behind the scenes" stuff for his own amusement. It utilized audio cassette tape to record the images and the image was very slurry and bizarre looking.

It's called a PixelCam and he's also involved in a Festival devoted to video made with this camera (but that might have actually been a joke -- I didn't check it out personally).

Fred
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 11:03pm

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Aculag

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Sounds like one of those might be worth tracking down... Could be cool.
Posted: Sat, 11th Oct 2003, 11:55pm

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JohnCarter

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It's true. There's a festival of movies made with PixelCam. I don't remember the URL though.
Posted: Sun, 12th Oct 2003, 11:21pm

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Aculag

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Yes, the camera is called the "PXL2000" as well. And, unbeknownst to myself until only a few minutes ago, I have actually used this camera! And they're quite cool. You can find them on ebay.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 12:53am

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AndrewtheActorMan

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I wonder if u could make it into a webcam....does hook up with USB?
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 1:01am

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streetsk8erdc

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video quality has a pretty big impact on the movie though...people get more intereseted in watching the movie when its good quality and sound quality is good...when i watch movies that are all pixely and can barely hear the people i just get turned off by it and wanna stop watching...if i shot the same exact movie with a under 1000 dollar camera and with a 3 ccd dvx-100 .....the under 1000 dollar camera movie would be alot worse than the dvx-100 movie...and people would be more into it and interested when watchin the dvx-100 one.....u cant say that video quality doesnt make a difference....there are alot of movies on this site that would be so much better and more enjoyable with good sound and video quality...in my new movie im using techniques to make the video look good and everyone i show footage of it too say something about the quality first and how proffesional it looks...and they wanted to see more...but then i showed them the original footage thats crappy and they couldnt even stand watchin it ........video quality has a big effect on movies
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 1:22am

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JohnCarter

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You are right that quality may affect the viewer but if you use it creatively, the bad quality can become an asset. It's been done countless times.

As for sound, a good camera doesn't make good sound. A good microphone does.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 1:46am

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Aculag

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Yes. Hence my spastic coughing in the first post.
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 10:02am

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Coldfuse

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im really intrested about this Pixel 8. The idea that ur able to use casset tapes to record is sweet. I mean ok 90 min tape is worth 5 mins of recording. But it gives a dying format a new less of life.

*ok a tip here cos i will never take it up* If someone was able to devise a product nowdays like like pixel 8 im sure if marketed properly as the new say disposable type camera, im sure many wouldm take it up. cos u can get cassestts for monkey prices. i would love to get one! or use it.

http://www.athens.net/~macjava/pxl2000page.html
Posted: Mon, 13th Oct 2003, 6:42pm

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tommach

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Take your 2000 dollar camera, shot your stuff, then take it to premiere and grain the hell out of it, that will give you your pixel cam.

Story, without a medium, is only a story that no one knows

Medium, without a story, is 24/7 webcam video

together, magic.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 3:34pm

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Ichi The Killer

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Sorry but I disagree,

This is of course true if you are an amateur and only intend to make films for fun...

HOWEVER, if like the minority of people (on this web site at least) who intend to go on to a professional level then what you've been saying just isn't true. Picture quality matters immensly and anyone thinking of trying to break into the movie industry using a 15yr old camera are kidding themselves, no one will look at your work twice if you hand them a VHS tape with a film thats grainier than instant coffee.

As for the latest digital cameras with their numerous CCD chips and mini cassettes has everyone forgotten that the minuite you get into the industry you'll be using "Real" movie cameras you know what i'm talking about those big things that take cartridges and that plasticy stuff... you know... celluloid FILM.

Again, If you're an amateur then of course it doesn't matter about quality but make no mistake the moment you go out into "The big bad world" and have no knowledge of the equipment or the techniques to make quality work then you'll get eaten alive...

Just thought I'd let you know as i've been through a similar situation...
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 3:47pm

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Sollthar

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I fear Ichi is right.


Nevertheless Aculag is right too. What mainly decides if your movie looks good is proper light and proper cinematography.

If you give someone who can handle lights and knows his deal about cinematography a crappy VHS cam and someone who just uses the normal daylight without thinking about it and has no clue about how to set something in scene you give the best cam out there, guy A will get the 100 times nicer footage.

Even with video, you can get decent quality pictures. But you need to know HOW. And your camera does only help a tiny little bit.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 3:54pm

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Simon K Jones

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Ichi The Killer wrote:

As for the latest digital cameras with their numerous CCD chips and mini cassettes has everyone forgotten that the minuite you get into the industry you'll be using "Real" movie cameras you know what i'm talking about those big things that take cartridges and that plasticy stuff... you know... celluloid FILM.
All your other points were right on the money, but this one is interesting. I'd be willing to bet considerable money that by the time most of the people on these forums now get into the movie industry, film cameras will be a thing of the past, or only used for nostalgic/specific aesthetic reasons.
Posted: Tue, 14th Oct 2003, 6:56pm

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Ichi The Killer

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True 35mm cameras will one day be a thing of the past (for recording purposes)... whether 35mm film will become totally obsolite depends upon the distribution companies and theatres and whether they feel digital transmition via satalite or DVD projection is a worthwhile medium.

However, to say that by the time people on this site (whom I believe to average at around the 15yr to 18yr mark) will not need to or can't use those type of cameras and techniques is again not entirely true. Films like 28 days later which have utillised digital cameras (Canons XL1s series) have still had to make the film with exactly the same "techniques" as they would using a traditional 35mm or 16mm film camera...

Why?

Because in the end they still had to transfere there footage to a 35mm print for distribution so regardless of what camera was used the techniques had to remain the same such as lighting and shutter speed settings etc...

This is why

1) High quality footage IS important because errors in lighting and such effect the final print regardless of how much doctoring you make in post because light reacts differently on celluloid film than on digital tape (although yes i'm sure a professional FX company like ILM could fix this but thats not the point we're trying to avoid the problem not fix it)

2) Because post-production is a different process when cutting for celluloid film even if your film is shot digitally and being transfered onto 35mm print later - the techniques differ, for example adding a simple dissolve on a Non-Linear Editing System is very simple... however dissolves physicaly work differently on celluloid and if you don't know what you're doing you could have just wasted $2000 on a print.

So, yes your right that one day celluloid "Cameras" will simply be collectables and memorabillia... whether 35mm "Film" will be is completely speculation as that is totaly down to the distribution companies, theatres and to some extent the audience.

Therefore I stand by my theory that all film makers should learn the principles of "Real" film by using celluloid and learning from it.

plus it doesn't have to be expensive you can do it the way i did by getting an old 8mm camera and cheap stock and try shooting a film that way you'll learn far more about lighting and film making in general than by using any digital camera

Edit

Sorry if thats a bit long winded biggrin
Posted: Sun, 15th Feb 2004, 1:28am

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JohnCarter

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Hey! I found a PXL-2000 for a decent price and it's actually modified to record on DV! I'll be using it on my next project. The image you can get with this are truly surreal!!!
Posted: Sun, 15th Feb 2004, 12:15pm

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stqagehanduk

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I'd agree. the picture quality on my humble little Sony Digital8 is okay but the sound is terrible ...

I'd extend this to include the use of digital trickery as well. If you can build it, make it or fake it in front of the lens its aprobably going to look a hell of a lot better than running straight for the computer, and getting the lighting right or using something as simple as an ND filter is going to give you better quality than ssuming you can just fix it or tweak it in post.
Posted: Sun, 15th Feb 2004, 6:46pm

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wdy

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The main focus shouldn't be some cool 3CCD high quality video camera it should be lighting, sound, acting, script writing and proper planning. When some reviews a movie you hardly ever see them complain or mention that the quality of the video was crappy...they usually tell you other things such as your lighting and how you could have improved your sound. Lighting and sound are two the big give aways in identifying an indpendent film from a blockbuster. So lets not worry about your camera for now, although if you do have the kind of money it maybe considered to invest in just remember though quality of the footage doesn't make it good. If i made a video with my canon gl2 of just me dancing sure it would amazing quality but what would the point of the video be? and would it really be that entertaining... I think you catch my drift.
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 2:19am

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Aculag

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And, if you're filming with video, for some reason, a lot of people tend to use red and blue lighting to enhance the mood. Has anyone else noticed that? It just plain looks bad on video...
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 3:12am

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ssjaaron

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Aculag..... confused ...Your my hero.
my dad was going into the film industry, but then he got Married neutral lol to my awsome mom. but any way he always is saying "it does not matter how well the quatlity is, even though it is very important, it matters how well it is shot." smile
and i have been trying to live by that for some time. but it is always nice to have a really nice camera with you to inhance your footage. wink
well hope this Important post by Aculag inspires all of use.
thank you and good night biggrin

-ssjaaron unsure
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 10:58am

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Simon K Jones

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The camera is just as important as lighting and every other aspect of cinematography. It's all very well to say that lighting, camera angles etc etc are the most important thing, but you're not going to get something to look like Lord of the Rings whilst shooting on hi8.

The trick is to tailor your projects to your equipment. Skill can be improved over time, getting finances to upgrade equipment is far harder. Make something that actually benefits from the quirks of your camera equipment, something that actually benefits from a grainy, murky image, perhaps. See it as a technical challenge to work around and incorporate.
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 2:03pm

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elementcinema

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Another thing is is that if you are stuck with a crappy camera, you wont learn all of those advanced techniques with a "high quality" camera.

BUT, there are good movies out there that didnt need too much of a high quality camera. 28 days later for example. I believe the whole thing was shot with minidv or something (not the greatest quality) but the cinematography was really good! the story/plot was crap, but whoever shot the film was good at what he/she does.

Another thing is that sound is a BIG factor and you arent gong to get the best sound with a higher quality camera. Aculag do you have a cold? *cough externalmic cough* i think i have it too biggrin
Posted: Tue, 17th Feb 2004, 4:35am

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Bryce007

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It seems like i already posted in a highly controversial and (apparently) unliked thread about how you shouldnt worry about buying another camera until you can use the one you have to the fullest extent...
Posted: Tue, 17th Feb 2004, 7:26am

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Aculag

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Yes, but it also seems like this topic was posted in october of last year. So yours came later.