Keeping up with filmmaking news and technology

Keeping up with filmmaking news and technology

In our journey as digital cinematographers, we will be exposed to several different types of cameras and recorders. It’s sensible to discuss the definition, technology and history of the modern digital movie camera. Some are: Arri Alexa, Sony CineAlta, Panavision Genesis, Red One, Red Epic, Red Scarlet, Black Magic Cinema Camera (2K and 4K), Black Magic Ursa.

It may seem at times that we are delving too deeply into technology. Not at all. If we look at film-based cinematographers who succeeded in 35mm motion picture acquisition, we’ll find that they were (and are) fully immersed in the technology of film. They have a keen understanding of the medium, its properties, capabilities, and history. They constantly meet and try to improve their understanding of the latest technologies. This is akin to digital cinematographers meeting at yearly high tech tradeshows like NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) at Las Vegas and Cinegear at Los Angeles.

“As digital cinematographers, we should follow in the example of film cinematographers. We should find ourselves exceedingly immersed in our medium, knowing deep intricacies that don’t commonly occur to casual followers.”

This allows us to grow exponentially as the medium changes, rather than stagnate and cling to yesterday’s high-tech. It also gives us a focused comprehension of the medium’s jargon, which facilitates communication between professionals. It’s always expedient to use a single word rather than a whole sentence to describe a concept. When we use whole sentences, explaining every detail of what we mean, rather than a single known technical word, it’s a tell. We’re letting onto the fact that we’re not in the mix.

For example, if a producer walks up and proposes that we film his next feature. We at that point begin discussing options, inquiring further what he’d like to do with the film. He says he wants to take it to the theaters. If at that point, we suggest renting a theatrical-quality movie camera that was hot 5 years ago, we are letting onto the fact that we’re not in the mix. Even within the family of a particular camera model, we want to know the difference between the last year’s model and this year’s. New versions of a particular camera are usually given some form of clear designation. For instance, Canon uses the “Mark” designation and then a roman numeral to clearly separate versions of some of their cameras. We have the Canon EOS 5D, then the Canon EOS 5D Mark I, II and III and so forth.

So, in order to do justice to our chosen field, we should immerse ourselves in filmmaking as more than a hobby, and stay up on current events and technology.

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