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Oliver Daniel

The Effect Of Owning A Very Expensive Camera (for business)

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Okay I get it I don't know much and have not had any real experience with professional cameras, but still what drives clients is that you got a camcorder and use it for a wedding with a good amount of skill. Any camcorder that looks like an XL2 can impress clients. Most people would assume DSLRs are for photographs only. It would look akward to see a guy with duct tape rigs. But still, skill matters most and what there is to offer. You guys think too much in the filmmaker perspective like this would be shown on a theatrical screen which would most likely be 2k or HD. Think more in improving the couple's memories of a fun event they had together. Now you can bring your Red but you would have to down scale it to HD or SD. 

You're talking about wedding videos here. That's meant for a very select audience and hardly a grand production you would whip out a RED for or something. I have no idea why you bring that up in this topic. How about we don't stray from the matter at hand here? Just to set straight what it is we're discussing here:

The Effect Of Owning A Very Expensive Camera (for business)

[..]

Let's just assume you know what you're doing, you have talent and have the money to spend on a RED package. You not only sell yourself on your ideas and current portfolio, but also the fact you shoot on RED. Because you are skilled, have talent and resources, the images you provide will quite likely look stellar.

[..]

do you think this knowledge by the client that you shoot RED would create more business?

He's talking about music video production and corporate stuff (advertising). Now, someone wants a music video or ad shot... guess what? Chances are it's not their first. What ever happened to the last guys? Maybe those are too busy or something. Could be. But might well be that the client wants to up their game by selecting a production company to up it for them. And having some previous experience, they will tell the difference between a camcorder and a rigged up cinema camera, especially when the name 'RED' is involved. They probably have their own ideas in mind, with a creative marketing team. They just need someone to get their thoughts and run with it and turn it into an actual quality production. Knowing that you're good is one thing. Knowing you shoot on a RED is a dealsealer.

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You're approaching this on an amature level. The topic title clearly mentions 'business'. You know what a business cares about? Numbers. You know what a business is looking for? Quality (that includes creativity for the most part, but sure isn't the sole determinator).

Anyways. A band needs to live offa something, so they are in a way a business and the need to market themselves. E.g. they can't still have a MySpace profile be their website. They need to up their game and bring an attractive and responsive layout up to modern standards. Quality matters. And if you don't know much about coding, that's cool, that's when outsourcing comes into play. Mike, the drummer of the band, says he can ask his friend Jared, that lives with his mom, to build the band a website, you know... he's into computers 'n stuff, does a lot of drawing too. Such a creative guy. But he has only ever made a website for his gaming clan and his Dragonball Z fanpage. So the band manager politely declines the offer and calls in the true troops. The professionals. A business actually able to provide something that's up there and uses modern standards.

Same for video. They can't have stuff looking like it was shot on VHS, unless that's the thing they were going for (what are the chances, really?), but then, even then, they'd still hire professionals that would bring that look to the table. Main thing being: they get people that know what they're doing, not just creatively, but technically as well, they're pro's. And gear does reflect that, be it fair or not. It's an indicator of how serious the production level is. And maybe not everyone is looking for that. But there sure are some. And again. It's not about the creative part. We already said we got that down. We're simply discussing what the effect would be of having a very expensive camera and how that effects business. So either you keep shooting what you shoot and never mention it. Or you drop the R-bomb and say you can shoot stuff with a RED if they'd like that. And I for one do think that could land you more serious jobs a bit more easier (in some cases). Atleast, that's the question we're trying to answer here: do you think this knowledge by the client that you shoot RED would create more business?

We're not trying to decide what weighs in more: creativity or gear. I'm pretty sure we'd all pick creativity to be the key to success. But given that's no longer part of the equation... could gear make an additional difference?

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Well then, I was not reading it well. When I heard business first thing popped in my head was marriages. Okay why would musicians care about the camera used if all they would want is a recording of their music? I would care more about the creativity offered, because there has been very successful music videos shot on vhs. I don't think Slithering Throats the Death Metal Band is going to care.

Their label might. I've worked with a band now on 5 videos for LEGO. The first one, LEGO requested a RED ONE MX to be used, back in 2012. Last year I asked if we could use GH4's and Blackmagic Pocket cameras to keep the profile lower and to use gimbals etc. They agreed and it helped free up money for other areas like costumes. When I look back I can totally see a better looking image with the RED but no one even notices, especially the kids who watch those videos. Hell, LEGO didn't even comment on the image quality of the GH4's/BMPCCs.

If I had to guess I'd say clients can sometimes be nervous about how everything is going to look and some of them know the name RED. They'll mention it as an option to help free up some uncertainty. It can be a pain in the ass but it's just how it goes I'm afraid.

So, as a business decision, I personally wouldn't buy a camera that expensive. I would just rent.

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For business do some research in what everyone else in your field is using and get that, if you can afford it.

For personal use get any new toy that you fancy. Or not, and just stick with the camera you have and get creative.

 

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Their label might. I've worked with a band now on 5 videos for LEGO. The first one, LEGO requested a RED ONE MX to be used, back in 2012. Last year I asked if we could use GH4's and Blackmagic Pocket cameras to keep the profile lower and to use gimbals etc. They agreed and it helped free up money for other areas like costumes. When I look back I can totally see a better looking image with the RED but no one even notices, especially the kids who watch those videos. Hell, LEGO didn't even comment on the image quality of the GH4's/BMPCCs.

If I had to guess I'd say clients can sometimes be nervous about how everything is going to look and some of them know the name RED. They'll mention it as an option to help free up some uncertainty. It can be a pain in the ass but it's just how it goes I'm afraid.

Got a call yesterday...this is the first thing he said: "Hi, I want to shoot my video on the RED Epic. Can you do that?" My reply was: "You need to tell me everything else first, like, what's your name?" This client turned out to be a bit of a moron really and I chose not to work with him. 

I have a feeling the URSA Mini 4.6k is going to be incredible. If I end up buying one, if anyone asks for RED, I'll reply with: "We shoot with the new kid on the block - the brand new, just released Blackmagic camera. It's incredibly cinematic. We don't need RED when we have this!" It's likely that 99% will soak that one up very nicely - it's just the way you say it!

 

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Got a call yesterday...this is the first thing he said: "Hi, I want to shoot my video on the RED Epic. Can you do that?" My reply was: "You need to tell me everything else first, like, what's your name?" This client turned out to be a bit of a moron really and I chose not to work with him. 

I have a feeling the URSA Mini 4.6k is going to be incredible. If I end up buying one, if anyone asks for RED, I'll reply with: "We shoot with the new kid on the block - the brand new, just released Blackmagic camera. It's incredibly cinematic. We don't need RED when we have this!" It's likely that 99% will soak that one up very nicely - it's just the way you say it!

 

Yeah what you should do is rent an Epic and shoot something side by side with the URSA Mini. Keep it ready to show clients who are REALLY wanting RED.

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-shows up-

"Okay are you ready to film us doing music?"

"How do you press record?"

-everyone stares at the filmmaker with an implied facepalm-

 

Hahahahahahahahaha

 

I'm trying to look at the big picture with the original question. I live in an area where the working poor is more common so I'm thinking about them and as usual they do not get a chance to get their stuff filmed because they do not have the funds to afford the big things like a guy with a Red. So I would ask after do you shoot with a RED. What is your price? I hope you see where I am going with this.

There are different budget levels for sure. If a band has $500 for a video they'd be more than thrilled to have it shot on a T2i or GH4 etc, and they'd probably love it.

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There's a whole world of clients out there that don't know the first thing about cameras. On rare occasions, there will be someone involved who's played with DSLRs for video and asks tons of questions. Maybe people shooting national TV spots get into these issues, but for small corporations, startups, entrepreneurs doing web marketing, email blasts, Facebook video campaigns and internal communications/training - they pretty much want to see your reel or examples of stuff that is in line with what I'm proposing or what they envision. If an agency I work with gets the gig, I don't even show a thing - the end client trusts the agency.

That said - if I shoot with a kitted-out DSLR - matte box, follow focus, rails, monitor, loupe, a big geared prime or zoom and an audio recorder - it does look pretty cool on the tripod. Now the total costs of all that may be well under $2k, but I've had clients squeeze through a tight set in terror of bumping the camera and, literally, they've said "I bet that cost more than my house!" It doesn't hurt for a client to perceive that you're using very high-end gear. 

But you could be shooting a national TV spot for Revlon and tests showed the BMC pocket with a super-16 lens from the 70's gives the exact look, and the director wouldn't blink an eye - whereas one of my clients would be "hey, you just stuck a lens on a iPhone, right??" For the size of clients I mention above (and in a big city, you can make a good living at that level) setting up an $800 Kessler crane makes them feel like they're getting a lot of bang for their buck. Don't disregard this sort of perception from people without knowledge of the tech side, who are writing the checks.

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Now, someone wants a music video or ad shot... guess what? Chances are it's not their first. What ever happened to the last guys? Maybe those are too busy or something. Could be. But might well be that the client wants to up their game by selecting a production company to up it for them. And having some previous experience, they will tell the difference between a camcorder and a rigged up cinema camera, especially when the name 'RED' is involved. They probably have their own ideas in mind, with a creative marketing team. They just need someone to get their thoughts and run with it and turn it into an actual quality production. Knowing that you're good is one thing. Knowing you shoot on a RED is a dealsealer.

As someone who works in corporate marketing and also does what I can in terms of production, this is exactly right in my experience. It doesn't have to be Red cameras necessarily - could be Arri, Blackmagic, Sony, whatever -  but knowing that you're hiring someone with a track record and high level kit makes me very confident in giving them money.

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As someone who works in corporate marketing and also does what I can in terms of production, this is exactly right in my experience. It doesn't have to be Red cameras necessarily - could be Arri, Blackmagic, Sony, whatever -  but knowing that you're hiring someone with a track record and high level kit makes me very confident in giving them money.

Cool.

We were debating in the office today how a small boutique like ourselves, who have a history of music video production but can also do corporate/commercial work just as good (we have examples), would approach this market? This is where we are at. We've obviously done our research and have a development plan in place, thought it would be interesting to ask your view? Everyone's answer is different.  

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All else being equal gear can make a difference. 

it really depends on the type of work, and clients you're shooting for.

Corporate clients? 100% gear will make a difference. For narrative work? It's much less likely to make a difference to whether you get hired or not (again, depending if you're talking low budget or high budget). Friends of mine who do own cameras like Alexa's are hired because of their work, and then they book their own camera on the job so they can make more money - they're not hired because they own the camera, the production has budgeted for camera hire anyway.

 

also, most people don't talk 'all else being equal' because it is rare for that to be the case.

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Cool.

We were debating in the office today how a small boutique like ourselves, who have a history of music video production but can also do corporate/commercial work just as good (we have examples), would approach this market? This is where we are at. We've obviously done our research and have a development plan in place, thought it would be interesting to ask your view? Everyone's answer is different.  

Ah well as with all lucrative markets my opinion is that the corporate world is both difficult to crack and yet if you get your foot in the door it can be surprisingly easy to become a company's agency of choice just because in big business people often like to have a safe option. Once they know you can do a decent job it'll take a lot to dislodge you.

Which brings us back to the discussion about gear. I don't think for one second that most of the people with the power to hire you know much about camera specs or the latest and greatest technology. However they do care about results. There's actually a lot of pressure on people in the corporate world to 'do things'. Whether those 'things' actually make an impact or not is often not the point. The point is to be seen in the company to be a do-er, and to have something you can put on your list of 'achievements' when bonus time comes around. Which in marketing can translate to making/commissioning a cool looking and expensive video. And yes, it often is important that it's expensive.

When a marketing team commission a video they want it to be impressive, and to look better and sexier and bigger than the previous ones. Hiring a crew with a big and sexy looking camera is part of that, but another aspect (that's debated on this forum at times) is that there is such a thing in my opinion as an expensive look, which expensive cameras tend to give you. Sure you can make the greatest and most creative work of genius ever on a GH2, but something shot on a Red Epic carries a kind of weight in it's imaging that affects people even if they don't know what it is or why it has that effect.

If you're a marketing person you're more likely than not a little obsessed with image and look and feel. So it makes sense that an expensive crew with an expensive camera producing an expensive looking 'hollywood' type image is going to seem very attractive. Just my opinion.

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There's a whole world of clients out there that don't know the first thing about cameras. On rare occasions, there will be someone involved who's played with DSLRs for video and asks tons of questions. Maybe people shooting national TV spots get into these issues, but for small corporations, startups, entrepreneurs doing web marketing, email blasts, Facebook video campaigns and internal communications/training - they pretty much want to see your reel or examples of stuff that is in line with what I'm proposing or what they envision. If an agency I work with gets the gig, I don't even show a thing - the end client trusts the agency.

That said - if I shoot with a kitted-out DSLR - matte box, follow focus, rails, monitor, loupe, a big geared prime or zoom and an audio recorder - it does look pretty cool on the tripod. Now the total costs of all that may be well under $2k, but I've had clients squeeze through a tight set in terror of bumping the camera and, literally, they've said "I bet that cost more than my house!" It doesn't hurt for a client to perceive that you're using very high-end gear. 

But you could be shooting a national TV spot for Revlon and tests showed the BMC pocket with a super-16 lens from the 70's gives the exact look, and the director wouldn't blink an eye - whereas one of my clients would be "hey, you just stuck a lens on a iPhone, right??" For the size of clients I mention above (and in a big city, you can make a good living at that level) setting up an $800 Kessler crane makes them feel like they're getting a lot of bang for their buck. Don't disregard this sort of perception from people without knowledge of the tech side, who are writing the checks.

I have posted here a few times already about my recent Sony F3 purchase. I'll admit one big factor behind it was the intention to help distinguish myself apart from other "DLSR shooters". And it is a cheap cheap way to do so, I got the body for just US$1.2k after all.

 

No client I ever work for can name the differences between a F3 vs F23 vs F65 (slim chance in telling apart Sony vs other brands either), heck even most directors I work with (thus who at least have a passion for film, unlike corporates or clients) would not have a clue as to the differences between those three! So why squander money on a F65 that I can't afford?

 

But they can see a difference between the person who shows up with a Canon 5Dmk3 vs a Sony F3, and who are they more likely to call back again? (Assuming all things are otherwise equal)

Thus a big reason why I purchased an F3, even the my BMPCC is still perfectly capable. 

When I find 4K in the future being demanded, I'll hire/borrow for that. Then a bit further down the track, buy one once they too are very affordable on the second hand market. Such as a F5 or FS7 a few years from now. 

I'll not bother with buying a current generation very expensive camera until my work demands require it and can pay for it. 

 

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Here's another question to ponder. If you were a DP and promoted your services saying "I own an Epic, or Alexa" , or "I own an A7s", or "I own a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera" - what type of clients/work would you be attaining? This is assuming your excellent at your job.

I'm talking strictly as a DP. Not a full production company.

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That's true, but as a producer one of my main tasks besides being the creative director is to sell the idea to a client using any sort of jedi mind trick required :)

He he, yes, that´s exactly where my my little story about the Apple T-Book fits in :d

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The cost of film and processing for 65mm would be beyond rediculously expensive. 

 

Be cheaper to just buy myself a Pentax 645Z and a set of lenses, and an Arri Alexa 65, and a  Sony F65, *and* a RED Weapon 8K.

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owning gear is good if you want to shoot your own stuff and to play with a camera and figure out its quirks - it can be good - that's how I did it.

I still use gear on tons of jobs - mostly the monitors and support and all that. 

The actual camera and lenses at a certain point you can just rent.

But it's really good to know the fundementals of it all, and saves you money when you want to go out and make a film or let your friends make a film.  Rental houses will cut you a deal on your small stuff, but well I didn't go that route.

But with that said, it's an expensive, endless game - owning gear.  Stuff is always breaking.  Insurance costs.  It's a lot of work.  I enjoy it, but I feel that it keeps me from also thinking about more important things like this script I am procrastinating on or learning lighting.

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