I get quite a few emails from people interested in becoming indie producers and filmmakers. Here’s one:
Thank you for your webpage and all the valuable information it contains. I had a question please: I want to be a totally independent guerrilla filmmaker, and was wondering if
the Pansonic HVX200 would be good enough a camera to start with? Is the true 24P the most important factor here?
I had intended to shoot with an HD camera of some sort, and then use the software that gives video that
I appreciate your time and assistance. Thank you.
Thanks for writing. I think independent film making goes beyond the hardware. It’s true that HVX200 will get you closer to getting filmlike video than say … Sony FX1. However, film and video are two very different media and you cannot expect a $20,000 production to look like a $20,000,000. It’s bound to look “different.”
That’s why, I think you should pick a subject matter that will let you “exploit” the advantages of the digital medium and hopefully mask its weaknesses. For example, you might want to try a “reality” format for your feature. Intrusive, in-your-face camerawork with a lot of close-ups will put emphasis on video’s strengths (check out Waterborne at Google Video).
Hint: Get diffusion filters, if you plan close-ups as video is quite unforgiving to ANY skin imperfections. A good make-up artists is a plus!
I encourage you to rent HVX200 for a weekend and plan a shoot around it. There’s no better way of managing your own expectations for the final result. Once you see the results, you can either select another cam or perhaps change your script a bit to accommodate the specific “look” you get from the camera.
Remember that high-end cameras give you flexibility and protect against errors but at the end, all cameras are the same. I’ve seen some amazing photos coming out of Kodak’s single-use cameras. It’s just that a high-end Canon gives you consistency and flexibility. The same thing applies to camcorders as well.
Hope that makes sense