I love the freedom and extra possibilities that digital in all its manifestations has brought us, but what a bloody load of extra work.
We just finished shooting a long project. A month of pre production, a month of shooting, another month of post.
Yes we can all become nerds and get caught up in software, hardware, codecs, formats, cameras, dollies, movement, etc. etc. though really all this stuff is only there to add to the creative process, not detract.
In fact the best motion advertising I've seen in 15 second play is made from a still image with a voice over and a small title.
Beautiful stuff and it works as well for the ad as if they had shot it on 35mm film with 2 million dollars in production.
The one thing I've learned about motion (and I have a lot to learn) is the story makes the difference. If you don't have a writer, or can't write yourself do start making friends with one, or two or three, because the story is king, no matter how short or long.
The second thing I've learned is find the right talent for the job. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Even if the talent is real people, make them comfortable with their lines, treat them as if they are the highest paid hollywood star and listen to their suggestions.
The written word doesn't always translate into believable or interesting dialog.
The third thing I've learned is a good sound technician, better put a good sound artist is vital. We've worked on location for the month and two days ago was the perfect example of a the perfect storm. We scouted a restaurant because it had a quiet day street, a covered overhand for weather, was fast to light as we had multiple talent per shot and had simple beautiful lines which made multiple camera set ups easier.
Then the day to shoot happened and it rained then stopped, then they started construction next door then they started digging a hole in the street to fix a water main break, just when we were ready to shoot.
By asking everyone would hold most of the racket down durning our takes and the sound tech saved so many takes I can't begin to explain. When we get to final cut we may have to loupe a few but all in all the sound guy saved us from disaster or moving the schedule which was almost impossible.
Now as far as equipment, I haven't tested and used everything but I love the look of the RED's I own. I don't like the cost, especially don't like the form factor, but damn they look like cinema film.
I also have a full set of 5d's which are great for low light and the new Sony fs100. I love shooting that Sony with Zeiss lenses, because I think it is the perfect size and weight for about anything you could imagine, but damn the file is sensitive. It's always on the edge of blowing a highlight and the menu system offers a lot of color/tone settings but getting a handle on them takes a while, just setting the shutter speed takes the patience (which I have little of) and the hand coordination of a brain surgeon, (which I also don't posses), but the camera can be a life saver just like the 5d's.
Still, (no pun intended) there are two ways to look at this still to motion convergence. We can be overwhelmed with the learning curve or be positive and use what we know to shoot differently than film crews but maybe more creatively.
I'm personally stoked and like shooting motion, love the challenge, love the control, find every bit of it interesting, though I must admit directing, shooting some and setting composition and movement for three cameras leaves me totally drained by the end of the day.
There is a reason most directors have double dark circles under their eyes.
Now I go into post and I'm just as excited about that as the shoot, because that's where all the hard work is rewarded, or (heaven forbid) any mistake is glaring.
Either way, it's moving forward and I love it.
Maybe I'll feel different in 30 days.