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Video is difficult


Andrew Reid

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41 minutes ago, austinchimp said:

I've worked solidly for 15 years or so now shooting and editing big sporting events internationally, and doing some corporate, and honestly while I think I'm ok at what I do, if I wasn't shooting something with millions of dollars of value flying past my lens, my work wouldn't be interesting. I'm not what makes it interesting. I try to do personal work sometimes and I find it a struggle and it's never something I'd share here, just memories for my family and friends mainly, or tests for myself. I don't think my daily life is that cinematic or interesting to people on the internet. I've tried to make peace with that.

I completely agree with all of this and echo that same experience.

The worst shot that I took in a Champions League final was always ten times better subjectively to a viewer (and to me too) than the best shot I ever took in a lower league match.

A man jogging along on some grass with a ball at his feet and no one within ten metres of him is a pretty dull shot unless that man was Lionel Messi and that grass was the pitch at the Camp Nou and the people that were ten metres away were part of a sell out crowd of 100,000 people.

I'd also 100% agree about finding interesting subject matter away from that environment and back in the "real" world particularly for someone like me who was into self isolation way before it became mainstream.

I'm partly "all the gear and no idea" when it comes to video but thanks to my somewhat, erm, challenging personality I'm mainly "plenty of lens but not many friends" so lack collaborative partners or subjects.

Its unfortunate but, as you say, best to make peace with it.

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So many times I wish I were a photographer instead You can get a beautiful shot with a camera that looks the same whether moving or still... But movement always has to justify itself.

Yes, video is very hard. The difference between, for instance, wedding video and photography is almost ridicilous.  I have seen photographers literally just burst firing away at the wedding cake

I think it would be usefull to separate the several areas of filmaking and not generalize. I did a few weddings during one summer and I hated it. People are unconfortable around cameras and just want

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8 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I'd say in the past, back in the pre-DSLR decades (say in the 1970's), that if you could simply get consistently a well exposed, and in focus image, then you could make a living from that. As that wasn't so easy to do.

But in 2020 that alone isn't sufficient. 

I can confirm the 1990's and well into the 2000's.  The type of cameraman making a decent living in my corner of the world never required any particularly creative skills.  In many ways, it still doesn't, but if you were a shooter with even a semblance of knowledge and some kind of refinement, you'd be at an advantage because you knew how to run the beast camera systems.  Film cameras, an Ikagami NTSC tube cam, "portable" 3/4" tape deck...that sort of thing.   

However, because you can point a camera obviously doesn't mean squat now that everyone's got 'em.

Yeah, back in the day just getting access to the gear and learning the basics of the craft could get you through.  I could push a GrassValley switcher to it's analog limits and edit quickly and cleanly on any linear tape deck system, so that skill set had value for a time.  But that's the other side of the coin for being enamored with technology and putting your focus on that side of things.  It's always going to change and advance.  Tiger by the tail stuff.

OTOH, the practice of composition, storytelling, lighting. etc.  That's pretty solid.  I don't think the "passive viewer" aspect of story telling is going away anytime soon.  We all still want to gather around the fire and be told stories. 

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On 5/28/2020 at 11:22 AM, IronFilm said:

I'd say in the past, back in the pre-DSLR decades (say in the 1970's), that if you could simply get consistently a well exposed, and in focus image, then you could make a living from that. As that wasn't so easy to do.

But in 2020 that alone isn't sufficient. 

How do you know what was going on in the 70s?! Are you a time traveller?! 

To be part of the industry was a life long commitement and needed 100% dedication to that. At least that was the case at the late 90's I started working, and the stories I was hearing from the experienced people. I was learning from real DoP that were working 10-15 years as assistants, I was booman to soundmen that are now 60-70 years old, and still working by the way. In the comedy drama series I was this year, the other soundman (we are 2 different groups working simultaniously) was my sound man on a film feature film back in 2000something (2000, 2001, 2002, have no clue!). There was a certain amount of respect, and the job was demanding, a mistake or two was critical for your future professional career. 

Now everyone is "educated" by youtube, so young people's standards today are what a 15 year old guy, or a 17 years girl are doing in their youtube channels.

People are used in youtube, phone videos, reality tv, terrible camera shake, there are NO basic rules of photography or videography, everything is ok..Only reality tv and phone videos are bringing the total value of videography/cinematography to an all time minimum..

Most of them do not care about mistakes, or their lack of knowledge or experience. Of course that is not 100%, but still the percentage of BAD young professionals these days is staggering. If I try to advise, or talk to them they just do not care, or being defensive, or offensive! Just a few listen, and usually they are the ones stick and earn more money.

At least, I have "earned" the right to talk them down to earth from time to time, for the good of the shooting day, and the job in general, but this in TV productions, on lesser jobs, I just do not care, or I am not expected to say anything.

 

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On 5/27/2020 at 10:11 PM, IronFilm said:



For example, back in the pre-DSLR world, if someone simply owned a broadcast camera (such as a new Sony HDW-750) then they could get a fairly steady stream of work due to simply owning that camera. As you'd be a rarity!
 

Applied doubly to stills and also for amateurs!

Pre DSLR days stretched into the 90s for many people in many places. 

In some ways it is more the pre INTERNET days that made a difference.

I started photographing bands in the pre DSLR days and it was a pain with film (expensive to buy a couple of rolls of film and get it developed for MAYBE a couple of ok shots that might be used by a newspaper), as for high ISO PFFFT. 

The newspaper here used to help  me get access sometimes  too (the editor is now the Australian deputy Prime Minister), 

6mp DSLRs were a godsend for me and while I cringe at a lot of the photos I still have from those days, because hardly anyone else was doing it, I got access to a lot of wonderful shows for free and often the best seat in the house or I got to go in the back way and to sound checks or at an outdoor multi day heavy metal festival on a farm, I got to sleep in the garage instead of a tent in a cow paddock ETC and just a LOT of fun.

If I was starting out now, there is no way i would get even remotely close to what i got.

When the Dixie Chicks were the biggest selling female act in history, I got a rare pass to shoot them (could not go as i got very sick on the way which was the biggest disappointment i have had) but I never would have been able to get such a pass today.

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On 5/26/2020 at 9:43 AM, Geoff CB said:

This is a huge aspect for a lot of people around me. I've also constantly been asked why I don't want to direct myself. The answer is that I hold people around me and myself to a standard that I can never reach, and never ever enjoy the process of properly directing.

I wished I had realized that sooner. 

I'm trying right now to probably do more color grading and being a cinematographer. But honestly, I love doing color work more than anything, and there are very few aspiring colorists compared to the huge volume of aspiring directors and DOPs.

I think far more people would find success if they follow a niche.

Another huge common occurrence are DOP's that are just trying to be directors, and step on the directors toes on set.

How much directing have you done within a paid gig?

I direct all my gigs and as previously posted hire out crews as needed. From here on out I'm running the A cam and have CO follow my directing. 

DOP and Camera Operator are two different things.  DOP doesn't want to listen to the director but at the same time if anything goes wrong he/she will fall back to "you're the director I followed your lead".

I have made it clear that the crew I hire knows I am the director and DP.  I know the shots that I need and want.  I love input before and during the shoot from anyone in the crew if they follow the chain of command and we work together as a team.  

If you let a DP call the shots then you aren't directing the talent and you aren't getting your shots.

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On 5/27/2020 at 8:11 AM, IronFilm said:

Bingo!

Is annoying enough just having a boom op under you who isn't living up to your expectation as a Mixer for what you want from him!
But being a director, and being disappointed by the entire crew (and cast!) because they're not living up to the high expectations you've got in your mind? That's a stressful day!

What?

 

That's not how directing works at all.

 

Maybe if you walk on set or shoot day unprepared you get let down. If you're in control of the creative and know who you hire and what you have to work with with in a set budget then your expectations should match what was presented to the client and what was put down on paper in the creative.

I don't buy the "I'm such a perfectionist so I don't direct".  That's a cop out because the director couldn't do it well. 

You don't make chili with the ingredients you use to make stew and expect it to taste like chili.  You work with the crew, creative and talent you have.  If the results don't match what you wanted you review what happened and why. I have been let down by crew before and you learn from it.

If you are a videographer and don't direct and not the DOP then you're a shooter for hire.

No way in the world would I ever let someone direct my gig's.  Talk about getting let down. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, noone said:

Applied doubly to stills and also for amateurs!

Pre DSLR days stretched into the 90s for many people in many places. 

In some ways it is more the pre INTERNET days that made a difference.

I started photographing bands in the pre DSLR days and it was a pain with film (expensive to buy a couple of rolls of film and get it developed for MAYBE a couple of ok shots that might be used by a newspaper), as for high ISO PFFFT. 

The newspaper here used to help  me get access sometimes  too (the editor is now the Australian deputy Prime Minister), 

6mp DSLRs were a godsend for me and while I cringe at a lot of the photos I still have from those days, because hardly anyone else was doing it, I got access to a lot of wonderful shows for free and often the best seat in the house or I got to go in the back way and to sound checks or at an outdoor multi day heavy metal festival on a farm, I got to sleep in the garage instead of a tent in a cow paddock ETC and just a LOT of fun.

If I was starting out now, there is no way i would get even remotely close to what i got.

When the Dixie Chicks were the biggest selling female act in history, I got a rare pass to shoot them (could not go as i got very sick on the way which was the biggest disappointment i have had) but I never would have been able to get such a pass today.

How did those early rock photo's come out?

I also started out shooting rock bands back in the film days of the 90's.

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1 hour ago, Super8 said:

How did those early rock photo's come out?

I also started out shooting rock bands back in the film days of the 90's.

Ok I suppose.    I kept a lot of shit and a lot of stuff I would delete instantly now got kept with 6mp DSLRs .      I do not have very much left from the film days I had a few used in the paper from film and then later with digital so some were not horrible I guess   

6MP dslrs were more from the early to mid 2000s (my memory is getting blurrier by the day i think).    2005 I had some on a Magic Dirt album and Grinspoon used one of mine at the entrance to their photo galleries on line (just a couple of  bands well known here if not elsewhere)

Grinspoon index photo (they added the leaves).

 

index.jpg

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16 hours ago, Super8 said:

 

I don't buy the "I'm such a perfectionist so I don't direct".  That's a cop out because the director couldn't do it well. 

I've directed 3 times, and each time I cannot let the project go. I cannot give myself a deadline. I need a producer or someone above me to tell me to STOP. I will tweak something until I hate it. Hating myself the whole time. I am hyper critical of myself when I'm in charge of everything.

I work far better, and have a much better level of mental health, when I'm working on someone else's project.

Does this mean I'm a bad director? Yes. Yes it does, which is why I don't enjoy it. It is why I'm not a director, and why not everyone should be a director.

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Yes, I have a little bit of that as well. I'm very critical of myself and others. But that's why I want to direct. I'm more critical of others and think I can do a better job. Sometimes I'm wrong...😅

I started a documentary project two years ago and I'm finishing it next month. My biggest lesson from it is that it's better to do than not to do. That famous sentence that perfect if the enemy of the good. Yes, I made plenty of mistakes but learned a lot. And next time i'll have those mistakes in mind. If I stayed at home, thinking of projects and criticing others in my head, I wouldn´t have meet a lot of great people and do some of my best work with this series.

I had some friends that didn´t believe on the project and bailed on the beginning. I understand some of the reasons for bailing, since it was a long project with no money at all. When they saw the rough cut, they regreted not being part of a project like this. A "big" finished project ( big as in length of the final videos ).

If you make the jump to a video, project, etc it's not only the reward of finishing something, it's also the places you visit and the people you meet on the way.

It's better do to than not to do. If you make something, it can lead to more opportunities in the future. With better conditions. And you'll have more experience to do a better job. If you do nothing, nobody will know of your best ideas and intentions.

As a direct answer to the title of this topic, video is difficult but that's why it´s so rewarding when you make one. 

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7 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

I've directed 3 times, and each time I cannot let the project go. I cannot give myself a deadline. I need a producer or someone above me to tell me to STOP. I will tweak something until I hate it. Hating myself the whole time. I am hyper critical of myself when I'm in charge of everything.

I work far better, and have a much better level of mental health, when I'm working on someone else's project.

Does this mean I'm a bad director? Yes. Yes it does, which is why I don't enjoy it. It is why I'm not a director, and why not everyone should be a director.

No that makes you a god director.  It means you take on too much and need a team to work with. 

If you're directing a 60s tv commercial compared to a short film then it's completely different. Also if you're directing, editing, color grading then you're not just directing at that point.  You're directing is over after you direct.  I do the same-thing as you do and the stress after shooting is over is not a directing thing.  You are the producer after that point trying to deliver the project.

If you give up control of directing then you're just an editor working with a director.  Nothing wrong with that.

7 hours ago, Geoff CB said:

I've directed 3 times, and each time I cannot let the project go. I cannot give myself a deadline. I

Does this mean I'm a bad director? Yes. Yes it does, which is why I don't enjoy it. It is why I'm not a director, and why not everyone should be a director.

If you plan everyshot and use storyboards then directing is easy once editing starts. You can't not plan things out and not get lost and stressed out.

I hire out small crews for additional cameras and sound. If I did the same with directing then I'm not getting my shots or the acting I want. Even with storyboards and checking all shots it wouldn't be the same.

Next gig I'm running A cam and directing and editing and color grading.

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I will rant a bit, sorry! 

I miss when clients knew they didn't know anything and they told me: "Do your job". And they payed 5x what it is payed now.

Now in this world of influencers-wannabes everybody has opinions, no idea what is needed to do what they want and ridicule budgets. 

Dream of escaping up, becoming a great documentary filmmaker! 

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On 5/30/2020 at 7:26 AM, Super8 said:

DOP and Camera Operator are two different things.  DOP doesn't want to listen to the director but at the same time if anything goes wrong he/she will fall back to "you're the director I followed your lead".

Huh?? The DoP absolutely 100% needs to listen very carefully to the director, as he needs to work closely together with the director if he wants to achieve the director's vision. 

 

On 5/30/2020 at 4:20 AM, noone said:

Applied doubly to stills and also for amateurs!

Pre DSLR days stretched into the 90s for many people in many places. 

In some ways it is more the pre INTERNET days that made a difference.

I started photographing bands in the pre DSLR days and it was a pain with film (expensive to buy a couple of rolls of film and get it developed for MAYBE a couple of ok shots that might be used by a newspaper), as for high ISO PFFFT. 

Exactly, working with film make it harder / more expensive to learn and gain those basic skills. 

Likewise, living in a pre-Internet world made it much harder to learn the basics and move up to an intermediate level skilled photographer. 

That's why a photographer or cameraman back in the olden days could earn a healthy livable income purely on the basis of owning the kit and having nailed down the basics. 

But now in 2020 a much higher standard is going to be expected if you want to make a good full time income out of it. 

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6 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Huh?? The DoP absolutely 100% needs to listen very carefully to the director, as he needs to work closely together with the director if he wants to achieve the director's vision. ...........................................

That's why a photographer or cameraman back in the olden days could earn a healthy livable income purely on the basis of owning the kit and having nailed down the basics. 

But now in 2020 a much higher standard is going to be expected if you want to make a good full time income out of it. 

DOP do need to listen to the director.  I was saying that they don't listen in the cases where they are shooters and are given everything they need to get the shot.

Most people that call themselves DOP are really just shooters.

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