When I was in the fledgling stages of photojournalism I would blame my equipment alot.
If I only had this lens, or that camera body, or a certain tripod or whatever, I would be able to create photos like the big guys. As I left full time photojournalism to live a more balanced life, I found myself drifting back to storytelling. Several years later here I am: a budding filmmaker/storyteller/content creator at the University of Washington.
Now that my aim is film, that eternal question comes up again: how important is equipment?
As you can tell, my class has been using the diminutive Flip Video camera. And just like the technical constraints that Lars von Trier created in 1995 with ‘Dogme 95’ to make film more creative and real, I am finding the technical constraints of the Flip Video camera have made me a better film maker.
Because I have limited technical choices I am forced to concentrate on using what I already have in the most creative way possible.
Yesterday I set out to film the exact same mini-film using a Canon XH-A1 and a Flip Video camera. I actually taped the Flip Video to the side of the Canon XH A1 to ensure that each shot was exactly the same. Both sets of identical footage were edited exactly the same way: down to the frame! I wanted no bias in this test.
Both cameras were set to auto everything (the Flip Video is always this way) and only minimal color correction was applied in Final Cut Pro to make them both roughly the same color tone. I also cropped out about 30% of the Flip Video footage to make it have a 16:9 aspect ratio like the Canon XH A1.
When you see the side by side of HD vs. Flip remember that I have removed 30% of the Flip’s resolution!
16 hours later I have answered in my eternal equipment question.
I have to say the results surprised even me.