“The next few years will see photography and filmmaking redefined by technology. While there is no substitute for exquisite lighting – artists will now be able to explore areas once thought impossible to photograph.”
Vincent Laforet (writing in 2008)
Modern technology, with the Internet leading the charge, has in recent years forever changed the music business, the photography business, the newspaper business and the movie business. This, as I and many other people have written before, has and will cost people jobs—but at the same time it has, and will continue, to offer many creative opportunities for those willing to make the leap.
One of the more recent changes is the advent of HD video being able to be shot on HD-DSLR cameras. (Just think in terms of the old 35mm film camera like the Canon AE-1 on steroids.) These are relatively inexpensive with the lower end Nikon and Canon cameras coming in between $900.—2,000. without lenses. (Even the high end ones are only in the $5,000-6,000. range, which is in the ballpark of a lot of HDDV cameras out there.) They are still not in a place to replace traditional film and video cameras altogether, but they are producing some pretty high end results as Vincent Laforet and others are showing.
Last year I began to implement select footage from my Nikon D90 into my video productions and I think that will continue to increase in the future. Since this is a blog on screenwriting I won’t get too technical, but a couple things that makes these cameras special is that they are small and portable, have a larger sensor than most sub-$10,000. video cameras, and can record at high ISO speeds. Which basically means they don’t need a large crew and lots of lights to create amazing images. (The RED camera can’t touch these cameras in low-light conditions.)
Below is a short film that was directed by Vincent Laforet, Stu Maschwitz, David Nelson which they shot with a Canon 1D MKIV. Here is what Laforet wrote a couple months ago about the production on a post entitled Lights, Camera, Action:
“Here is the main point that I hope you take into account: the short film you are about to watch was shot in pretty much the very worst light that I could possibly find in an evening urban landscape. I did not chose ‘pretty lighting’ in a mall or under neon signs. That would have been cheating in my book.
The short was shot near East 6th and Mateo St. in Los Angeles – in an industrial part of the city. If you live in the area – go check out the area – you won’t believe the video you see below came from the poor lighting in that area. Sodium and mercury vapor lights. That’s it. Really awful lighting.
Not a single external light source was used / added. In other words I did not use a single flashlight, LightPanel, flood light – nothing.”
If you’re a writer think of the possibilities. If you’re not interested in picking up a camera, fine–I understand–but at least start aligning yourself with shooters and editors out there who can help bring your words to life in new and exciting ways.