Camera/film types?


(Blair Hunter) #1

So I was perusing the new winter 2018 No Film School grant list and this one caught my eye:

It gives out rolling camera kits which would be very very useful to me! But it asks you to state your “desired format” and I realized I have no idea what that means or how to determine what my desired format is. What’s the difference? I think I’m gonna be filming myself mostly normal narratives and maybe a few horror things because they’re great ways to practice cinematography, if that helps.


(Bri Castellini) #2

Uh @DarekKowal @hermdelica @naje.tv ? Who else is an equipment nerd? not me… though I’d be interested to know the answer to this one!


(Herman Wang) #3

In this context, I suspect “desired format” is not meant in the technical sense. So “narrative” and “horror” seems more like the right track to me. If I’m correct, you’d probably also want to mention length, eg short, feature, or series


(Blair Hunter) #4

Ohhh. You might be right. But since I’ve seen people talk about camera types before (in context of other grants) do you have any advice about that? I used to say “1080p” and people looked at me like I was an idiot lol


(Herman Wang) #5

Maybe the question is meant to differentiate between a regular HD/4K camera vs a 360 camera for VR?


(Blair Hunter) #6

Maybe? Like what is the difference between a black magic camera, a RED, a Canon DSLR, and other DSLRs? Or shooting format? I know different lenses give you shallower depth of field or better focus for short or long shots but that’s, like, it, haha. So for example… what format would I shoot a horror web series with?


(Herman Wang) #7

There are all kinds of subtle technical differences between those cameras, but in the “I want to shoot something” sense, they’ll all get the job done. My school of thought is firmly in the realm of “the best camera is the one you have”.

My personal preference for format is 24fps HD. I find it’s more cinematic-looking than higher frame rates, and 4K is probably not worth it for web series because the size of the raw footage will drown you :slight_smile:


(Blair Hunter) #8

Since I don’t have a camera yet, I’m open to any and all subtle differences so I can choose best :slight_smile:

Can I change the frame rate on any camera?


(Herman Wang) #9

If there are cameras out there where you can’t change the frame rate, I wouldn’t buy them


(Blair Hunter) #10

Fair enough! So basically… find a camera and film? I shouldn’t worry about anything else?


(Herman Wang) #11

When I was camera shopping, my strategy was to find one at the highest price I was willing to pay, because my intent was to use it for as long as possible (going on 8 years now). As long as it was HD and used non-proprietary media (in this case SD cards), I was happy.

Looking back, my only regret is that I got a camera with a fixed, non-swappable lens. My ideal bare-bones kit would contain two lenses, one with shallow DOF and one deep. Shallow gives much better-looking shots and deep is more usable in shots where the camera and/or actors have a lot of motion.


(Herman Wang) #12

It’s a little like cars.

There are all different types out there with different features, but they’ll all have the basics, they’ll all get you to grandma’s house.

In the end, there’s really no “best”, there’s just “best for you”.


(Jonathan Hardesty) #13

Yeah, I’ll echo what’s been said here. When I see “desired format” I mainly think of where I want it exhibited and go from there. If it’s a webseries, 1080p 24fps is the main two settings that matter, and a lot of cameras can do that with little variances. So you could say something like Narrative webseries in HD 1080p 24fps. And like @hermdelica mentioned, getting a shallow and deep lens will take you far.