Misconceptions about the Zacuto shootout - the obvious and the not so obvious
Posted 17 July 2012 - 12:52 AM
I want to offer my view of it and rebuff what I think are the misconceptions out there. I am sure Steve can chip in as well to correct me if I'm wrong.
Misconception - "Coppola did not pick "the GH2" as having the best technical performance, he picked the way it was used as being more appealing than the way some of the others were."
This is only half true. Any shot is a marriage of 'the way the tool was used' and 'the technical performance'. The resulting shot is the sum of all parts. You cannot give the camera no credit or say the camera doesn't matter, even if the lighting was a bigger factor, the camera still plays a critical role in delivering the image.
Misconception - "Gear does not matter. It's you."
"It's you" is the correct part of this statement and the part I think Steve is getting across. "Gear doesn't matter" is often used as shorthand for saying "talent matters most" which is fine but unsurprisingly the way people are interpreting it is often very literal, very black and white. Of course gear matters. Filmmaking is a marriage of man and machine, of the technical and the artistic. Both aspects matter greatly. "It's you... And a thousand other things". Let's not over simplify it.
Misconception - "Clean images look too plastic"
I've seen grungy stuff that is so out of place. Sometimes I cry out for that highly saturated HD look. A silky smooth image with no noise. Grungy images are just one of the paints in the filmmaking palette, they are not automatically more cinematic than a clean image. I personally like putting the life back in with old lenses, film grain overlays, etc. But it doesn't mean I will shoot everything like that. Just the stuff that needs it.
Misconception - "Content is king"
This is shorthand for saying that unless you have a narrative script which goes from A to B, you have no content. For me, a beautiful shot or a small unspoken moment can have as much content as 10 pages of dialogue. For these kinds of shot, how you shoot it visually is more important than the literal interpretation of the script. It actually transcends the content and the words on the paper.
If we count everything in front of the camera as 'content' and crown it king, that also is wrong - because you can have a complete dummy behind the camera with no feel for the language of cinema and piss that content right up the wall.
Misconception - "Grading is cheating / Grading doesn't matter / Grading is essential"
Again extreme arguments when the truth is never that black and white or one trick suits all. Overheard a quote elsewhere about the Shootout and think it is worth drawing attention too... "This is crazy that people are basically implying that the lighting and coloring was a form of cheating. Guess what camera looks good with no regard to lighting/post work? None of them." Whilst I don't agree that footage automatically looks rubbish if you don't grade it I do agree that to imply that grading and post work to lift the lower end cameras in the Shootout was a form of cheating is ridiculous. It is a viable and established technique in filmmaking and all the cameras were touched by the colourist even the F65.
Misconception - "Lighting is king"
Lighting is very important but sadly there are many many many people who have a very boxed in view of what lighting is. A key light, a fill light, a man literally moving an electronic light source into position. 'That is how you control lighting'. No it isn't! Your key light could be the sun. Your key light could even be the god damned moon. Your fill light could be a rear window, it could be the end of a tunnel or even a cloudy London sky. Woody Allen likes Europe because of our shit weather. Our shit weather is his fill light. Go and square that with your Arri Fresnel set!
Misconception - "It is bad to be more interested in camera gear than everything else"
Filmmaking is a collaborative effort that brings a range of people together. They are focussed on what they're most interested in, only the director, writer and producer have a very broad overview of the whole thing. If I hire a DP I'd be worried if he was NOT interested in the camera technology. I wouldn't want him as a writer that is for sure Some of these obsessives who talk about cameras and pixel peeping are future cinematographers. They are not merely hobbyists.
- nahua and Anil Rao like this
Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:03 AM
Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:07 AM
Remember the above is just my opinion - others may disagree. But I hope to have balanced my subjectivity with enough facts to make it useful to read.
- Anil Rao likes this
Posted 17 July 2012 - 02:34 AM
Best always and continue to lead the charge
Posted 17 July 2012 - 09:37 AM
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