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Corporate / pro video control of indie filmmaking community


Andrew Reid
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Let me be brutally frank. I don't like what is going on in the DSLR community in 2013.
 
I don't like all the DSLR community celebrities or their marketing & their self-promo shizzle. I don't bow to Zacuto, don't love Eric Kessler like a brother and don't want to ever go to NAB. Is it OK to say this? Am I allowed?
 
I think this commercial exploitation of the indie filmmaking community by the Pro Video one, is wrong.
 
The inability to question leading figures, for fear of damaging your career or reputation, is wrong.
 
The inability to have an honest, open debate, without being smeared as an 'attacker' is wrong.
 
The inability to criticise a product or person constructively (or even humorously) is wrong. 
 
Filmmakers and bloggers should not fear for their career or have any concerns whatsoever that having unpopular views will affect their ability to further their filmmaking.
 
Yet the rarified exclusive first class cabin of the pro video community at the head of our indie filmmaking jumbo is very small, and gossip spreads. I know filmmakers who have said something which rippled around in days, and before they know it, they're unpopular merely for speaking their mind and a few opportunities went begging as a result.
 
Remind me - who controls the indie filmmaking scene?
 
Is it the pro video community or is it the filmmakers?
 
I think it's very important to make the distinction.
 
I'd like to think it is the filmmakers, but right now I'm being proved wrong.
 
The nature of social media is all about figures and digits related to number of followers, number of likes - in summary, it is all about popularity metrics.
 
One in particular has has over 10x more followers on Twitter (nearly 70,000 in total) compared to celebrated British filmmaker Mike Figgis (6400 + Leaving Las Vegas). Ironically, Mike isn't very active in the pro video community, which has come to control the indie filmmaking one - because naturally he gets on with his own independent films most of the time.
 
That leaves very few filmmakers of note in the indie filmmaking community itself to serve as leader of it...
 
Alas into this void step the marketeers and self-promoting shooters from the Pro Video community who scratch the backs of camera & accessories companies in order to raise their profile or to get ahead in the business.
 
You may say it doesn't matter, but I've never seen Mike asked to be on a Vimeo judging panel, promote a rig with his signature on it, shoot a marketing video for Canon or be an ambassador for a camera. It's likely he doesn't want to, but I think it is a shame because it means we're not putting the right people on a pedestal.
 
The other reason for this problem I think, is that there seems to have opened up a very direct link between marketing and filmmaking, between celebrity and aspirational goals.
 
Bloom for example was one of the first on the Pro Video scene putting sample videos out there and showing us the virtues of the new cameras, beginning with the 5D Mark II and the GH1. The first GH1 clip I ever saw came from him. What happened next was very strange. A link formed between the image and the aspirational values it contains - and the person. People can seemingly not separate the aspirational values of the consumer product from the person using it.
 
This has also come about through an infusion of consumer cameras into the indie filmmaking community. In the past, cinema cameras were merely very obscure high end tools which couldn't be bought - they were thus separate from any personality cult or aspirational marketing.
 
Now people buy a camera and they are subliminally buying into the cult of personality too.
 
It's really worrying, because it has created a flock, a huge number of sheep and followers, whose idea of climbing a career ladder is to say 'yes, yes, yes' and 'I concur'.
 
These people unquestioningly bow to the leaders of the DSLR community like Laforet, Canon and Zacuto in much the same way people in communist countries are under a spell, controlled by their authoritarian leaders and administrators.
 
Those who don't want a group hug, are left eating alone at the school canteen, or worse held up as an example of a heretic, which can be quite career damaging especially if your filmmaking career could benefit so much from the exposure of a Vimeo staff pick or a bit of sponsorship from Zacuto.
 
All in all I think it is a worrying point we find ourselves in at the moment and the only tonic is to try our best to be objective and put the art of filmmaking itself ahead of the people and companies.
 
I guess there goes my filmmaker profile page on the Zacuto home page ;)
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I really can't stand Zacuto or anyone who endorses their grossly overpriced and COMPLETELY overrated products. Also Kessler but I can only judge that opinion on the customer service/warranty horror stories I'v read online.

 

I find the (brandwhoring?) of Bloom completely obnoxious, you can't click on any of his blog pages without being bombarded with 15+ adds for sh*tty Zacuto/Kessler/PB branded products.

 

On the other hand, I don't mind Laforet. I think he is more open about his partnership with Canon which he has had long before he got into DSLR filmmaking. If you go to his blog you will find pretty much no adds except for the section where it is clearly labeled "Blog Supporters" Canon, Kessler etc. There is a blog post about the Move which I think is a product he was genuinely excited about.

 

I am however skeptical about his new website that is all about gear.. This could potentially become a whole website dedicated to advertising certain brands (Blog Supporters?) But for the moment I still like Laforet.

 

All in all I prefer this website for things like news or product recommendations. I think there are some strong opinions posted about certain products but that it's pretty much an open forum for agreeing or disagreeing with what's been posted.

 

All that said.. I don't visit either PBloom or Laforets blogs anymore I pretty much just post and read news on EOSHD (I'v started browsing VK's Personal View site too). I will ocasionally check the other pages every 2 months or so just to see if anything worthwhile has been posted (very rarely has there been).

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Amigo

 

Do you remember what filmmaking meant?
(To you?) (To me?) (To you?) (To me?)

 

 

hv20, hv30, hv40, DOF adapter, gh1, gh2, hacks, RAW ....

 

WE ARE PUNKS!

We are living glorious days!


who needs another pro?


Give me a fistful of Alex Cox's!

 

and


let them rest in peace ;)

 

 

Peace

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Amigo

 

Do you remember what filmmaking meant?
(To you?) (To me?) (To you?) (To me?)

 

 

hv20, hv30, hv40, DOF adapter, gh1, gh2, hacks, RAW ....

 

WE ARE PUNKS!

We are living glorious days!


who needs another pro?

Give me a fistful of Alex Cox's!

 

and

let them rest in peace ;)

 

 

Peace

 

girls-getty_1376498i.jpg

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Something happend? I really would appreciate an insight view of the blogger world (really!)... some sort of flame war going on?

Never heard that we now got a leader neither :) There is no such thing as THE "Indie Filmmaker community"... There are thousands of indie filmmaker communities... on the Internet and mostly, not on the internet... These figures, like Bloom, they know stuff, they share stuff, they rise, they get attention, and the use this attention and probably sell themselves... who cares? I can imagine that you can get very excentric for beeing constantly both attacked and loved... it´s like going on the street and every fucking person throws their oppinion in your face...

 

And of course does the industry try to make their products known, some more loudly than others and if a blogger got bribed to praise something... well, that´s why you don´t just read one oppinion... and his ethics will not be forgotten... These whole self marketing videos are more funny than annoying to me... every explaining videos nowadays begin with: Hi, I´m *name* from *name" and today I show you how to press the record button...

 

guess the bottom question is, how to make money with what I´m doing. The Internet where you get everything for free! If you share knowledge, if you dedicate yourself to test gear, this is all wonderfull and much appreciated! Does it bring you money... well... Your digital guides are a nice idea in my oppinion. In the future I guess Microtransactions are the way to go... 2 Cents for Andrews 2 Cents...

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I reckon just do yo thing. The celebrity camera blogger thing is a bit embarrassing, my influences are film makers, when one of these guys makes something that isn't dull as dish water I'll eat my hat. Saying that will never affect my career, otherwise it'd be a career I wouldn't want, and I'd quit ;)

 

Personally, I pretty much don't care what anyone else makes as when it comes to what I make, I make the films I wanna see, and talk to fellow film-makers for technical tips and watch movies for influence, and practice to get better. If what I make is out of fashion, fuck it. I'm not a banker, I don't work for numbers.

 

I don't need to pretend one bit of gear is best or be loyal to one or change every five minutes. I need to find me i need to find my voice in vision, how i tell stories and light and compose, in how i make the viewer feel (the hardest thing to do). When I get a paid job and the client wants bread and butter I give it to them, but no one else ever sees it with my name attached. When it's my work I seek to be unafraid, and to blend my influence and my own expression into something new.

 

Most of those who worship are just lacking in confidence. They imagine that sucking virtual c**k will get them some kinda giant career step. It's teenage fantasy. The greatest teachers are films themselves, or the quiet, smart people who know lots and just get on with it. Blustering pseudo celebs who self-aggrandise but produce bland plastic work will be remembered for what they are: salesmen.

 

There's a whole scene of "I'm better than you because X" in film and music and everything creative. I'm always annoyed the kind of clean cut guys who have all the technical kit, love talking about permissions and rules and licenses and so on because it makes them feel part of something special, but then produce bland dross. Unsurprisingly they always moan about kit being cheap and kids being able to create, because they're scared that meritocracy might actually arise. The classic dude with his Canon 1D with L lenses and Zacuto rig (and more money than sense), but no ideas, sniffing at kids with 550Ds. Meanwhile a big chunk of A Field In England was shot with a rented C300 and a lens cap with a hole in it.

 

My goal is, in every way, to always be the opposite to that kind of "exclusive club" film-maker in my personal work.

 

I've even pulled it off on paid jobs, you just need the right client. This weekend I have some stuff screening on a stage backdrop at Secret Garden Party, all shot on 600D. It cost me 12 quid in materials and I used one lens. The world is full of people actually doing creative stuff. The internet, however, appears to crammed full of digital "id" (in the Freudian sense) and adverts.

 

Too many people expect to become great or learn lots just by sucking up to a blog or copying an "accesible" online "celebrity".

 

What they need to do is find real selfless teachers (there are some online), and to go out and make what they see in their head a reality. Use the cheap kit to break boundaries, work with what they have, not aspire to the next more expensive model. Tell stories, shoot footage, learn rules, break rules. Find their own path...

 

I'm rambling now, but you get the idea. The truth will out, and the cream will rise...

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What you're describing here is not the indie filmmaking community, it's a camera-gear-lust driven movement that has very little to do with filmmaking at all.

 

Honestly, I don't think those video-blog-stars have much of an effect on indie filmmaking at all (unless you consider lame camera tests edited to copyrighted music with accompanying fancy titles "indie filmmaking"), if anything they have an effect on gear heads, but I don't see any serious filmmaker pointing them as their great influences anytime soon. Those indie filmmakers might even know who they are and may have seen a video or two when researching a camera, but most of these bloggers have little to offer (or at least have offered very little so far) when it comes to proper filmmaking advice on how to tell a good story and make a relevant film.

 

Let's be honest here for once, regardless of how much we love the tech and wish for the dream camera to come along at a price we can afford, the choice of a camera for a narrative film is probably the least important element of its making, and as long as these people keep acting like it's the the only important factor, they will never represent "the indie filmmaking community".

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DSLR communtity is full of too many people who are like sheep and only follow other peoples views they have no views of their own -

do your own thing and break away from the crowd

- do someting that cuts through the clutter

- buy random stuff to test to see if it works for you

- you dont need someone to tell you you have to buy something!!

- its the only way to really try stuff and find kit that works for you!!

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in my view the

GOOD WAY is

Staying humble, transparent to a point and open to dicussions.

Open to all products without bias

Clearly stating sponsorships

Talking about personal preferences is not bad since one cannot after all own and use evertyhing

Not whining or taking things personally. Dont be a control freak either.

Not licking big companies behind as a default is good starting point.

 

Then again

If one is open to all gear... the main focus in one's hobby and work is likely the gear. Is there time for anything else?

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What you're describing here is not the indie filmmaking community, it's a camera-gear-lust driven movement that has very little to do with filmmaking at all.

 

Honestly, I don't think those video-blog-stars have much of an effect on indie filmmaking at all (unless you consider lame camera tests edited to copyrighted music with accompanying fancy titles "indie filmmaking"), if anything they have an effect on gear heads, but I don't see any serious filmmaker pointing them as their great influences anytime soon. Those indie filmmakers might even know who they are and may have seen a video or two when researching a camera, but most of these bloggers have little to offer (or at least have offered very little so far) when it comes to proper filmmaking advice on how to tell a good story and make a relevant film.

 

Let's be honest here for once, regardless of how much we love the tech and wish for the dream camera to come along at a price we can afford, the choice of a camera for a narrative film is probably the least important element of its making, and as long as these people keep acting like it's the the only important factor, they will never represent "the indie filmmaking community".

 

SPOT ON. 

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I think the whole thing is redundant. If you want to be a filmmaker write a great script and film it. Back patting in gear forums is completely removed from that, they are not related at all. I love these and other online communities for sharing info and helping us all get more film making done for less. But it's a mistake to think that any of the big camera gear personalities have any sway in film industry, look at their imdb credits folks. I don't see how the two are related at all. Seriously.

 

1. Pick your gear

2. Get on with filmmaking

 

All these online gear cronies have their own agendas and that's fair enough, but none of them has made a film of note so far as I know, which should tell you something about where that path will get you.

 

Blaze your own trail.

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The problem with sponsored sites/forums is that they eventually start censoring free speech and criticism under the slogan "Let's all be professional, folks" as if being nice is more important than being right. I love EOSHD forum because it has the most free environment for discussion. 

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The problem with sponsored sites/forums is that they eventually start censoring free speech and criticism under the slogan "Let's all be professional, folks" as if being nice is more important than being right. I love EOSHD forum because it has the most free environment for discussion. 

This isn't true. This forum has banned and censored people as well, because of disagreement with the prevalent thoughts / beliefs here.

 

It's playground antics by two opposing sides who are predominantly gear fanatics rather than film-makers. At least that's what i see. I do like this forum though and there are plenty of good posts amongst the silly ego driven fights. This is a tech forum, not a forum about filmmaking, tech people fight over stats and numbers. How many fights here have been about quality of work? It's all about who's shooting what, which camera is better yada yada, which camera company is screwing over who and so on, and some of that is productive sometimes, but 'unbiased', no way! 

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This isn't true. This forum has banned and censored people as well, because of disagreement with the prevalent thoughts / beliefs here.

 

It isn't because of disagreement with the prevalent thoughts at all. It is to prevent ascendancy into un-constructive information infesting my site, personal attacks and people just hanging around looking for arguments.

 

Some people are contrary for the sake of it, and it's very annoying.

 

Some of the best and most constructive ideas comes from differing viewpoints from my own and I have no intention in censoring them.

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It isn't because of disagreement with the prevalent thoughts at all. It is to prevent ascendancy into un-constructive information infesting my site, personal attacks and people just hanging around looking for arguments.

 

Some people are contrary for the sake of it, and it's very annoying.

 

Some of the best and most constructive ideas comes from differing viewpoints from my own and I have no intention in censoring them.

I think you might believe some people are contrary for the sake of it, but there have been people who have continually disagreed with you with valid and logical reasons and they have been banned. That is a fact. You might view them as being contrary for the sake of it, but then you would if you wanted to justify your actions/decision to ban them no?

 

Anyway, lately this seems to have become a more open place to different opinion so there is definitely progression, however i think the continuing war with Philip Bloom, Zacuto or whoever the new representation of this conspiracy theory is etc is absolutely useless and continually brings this site down. If you have a positive outcome/change to report regarding this crusade please do bring it out into the open because i've yet to see it.

 

There is by far more weight placed on specs here than there is on the artform of Cinematography / Lighting. We've got MKIII RAW now, but show me one piece of work by any of the DSLR frontmen or board users that looks as good as the episode of House shot on the MKII! And lets not say 'yeah but they have massive budgets', there's simple lighting in there with basic tools that looks fantastic, which anyone else could do, and yet people will constantly slate the MKII as not being good enough for pro work. I don't get it.

 

What is the Indie Film-mnaking scene and why is there this entitlement from people that they somehow own/represent it in it's true form? The indie film-making scene are the people actually making films, rather than pointing out who is wrong or right, they are people creating art and what a far better choice that is for use of this short time on earth. 

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Andrew, it looks like you resent not being seen by the DSLR community in the same way Bloom & Company are seen, it looks like you resent not being sent cameras to review and having to wait and buy them like everybody else, but you know you have to play their game if you wanna get that, you can't talk shit of most makers and cameras for one reason or another and then expect them to treat you as just another publicity venue, which is what the other DSLR bloggers are for them. There's nothing wrong with not playing their game and speaking your mind, but you can't have both, so if you decide to be a free spirit and not play the game those guys play, then you need to stop bringing this up constantly, you're giving it too much importance and showing inferiority, let them be in their own little world and you just focus on yours, whatever it is, because the fact is you can't have it both ways.

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Bruno.

What I resent is having my daily filmmaking work interrupted by the need to respond to idiotic comments.

If I was interested in doing the whole narcissist thing like Bloom I'd have plastered my face over the website by now. Maybe put more cat pictures up too.

You and I don't agree on most things.

I say as much... I have tolerated your contray opinions for months and months.

At some point, if you have a stranger in your backyard throwing rocks at the window you have to get rid. It isn't censorship but self defence.
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Have you even read what I wrote?

Personally I think it's a good thing you're not doing what they are doing, but why keep bringing them up?

They're living in their small little world, it seems to work for them, I don't want anything to do with it though, as I don't think it has anything to do with indie filmmaking ot any kind of filmmaking at all really, but can't you just ignore them?

And seriously, interrupting your daily filmmaking work to reply to what you think is an idiotic comment is quite idiotic to say the least.

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