I remember 2 years ago when I owned a GH4 and I loved it. It was lightweight,shot 4k,shot slow motion and the image was great. Every so often though I would always ask myself - "If I had a RED my videos would be so much better".
I said this cause me being 19 years old and thinking the camera was everything. I thought being able to shoot 5K and have the amazing RED sensor, my videos would suddenly raise in video and production quality, No matter what the story was (if there even was one). Just as long as it was shot on RED it would make up for all of that.
Obviously, part of this is true. The image would be cleaner and sharper but at the end of the day that doesn't matter. Have you ever left the movies or watched a video on youtube and walked away saying "wow I loved that video just cause it was so sharp" or "Did you see how clean the image was? That really accelerated the story"
IDEAS FIRST, GEAR SECOND
As someone who just dropped $3K on lenses last week this seems kind of ironic to say lol
The thing is gear is a great thing to think about. Lens and camera selection without a doubt is a piece of the project but it's not gonna make or break it, if that makes sense. The story could be absolute shit and even though it was shot in 5K and on $20K lenses no one would like it. On the flipside the video quality could be shit but with a killer script people could still really love it.
LET ME SHOW YOU AN EXAMPLE
One of my favorite filmmakers Andrew Lovgren shot a film in 2012 called "freeling". He shot it on a Canon 60D and 18-135 Kit lens. For those of you not in the camera world, that is a $400-$500 setup, Not a $15K RED Epic. He made it on no budget and it went on to be a huge hit upon the skateboarding community and eventually got AT&T to make a documentary about him.
Here's the point: The idea came first and gear came second. He didn't say "If I can't make this on the RED I'm not making it at all". He just fucking made it and that's so cool. I wish everyone thought like this and instead of getting caught up on gear and thinking if they can't shoot on Zeiss Super Speeds the film will just not be worth. This is so stupid.
CAN'T YOU HAVE BOTH?
The dope thing about all of this is yes, you can have the amazing story and the amazing camera gear, but this is not a thought you should have as a beginner or someone who isn't working with that many clients. What makes this year so exciting is that there is so many budget options for high quality camera gear. You can shoot 4K video for under $600, you can even use your iPhone to shoot 4k. Back in 2012 I had to pick between a Canon 5D or 7D. Both 1080 and only 720p 60FPS and I made it work. People just have too many options nowadays so they want the biggest/best/expensive camera without even giving a thought about their story or how they are gonna approach the video. Our 1st AC Hunter Gulan says it best "No one asked Picasso what paint brushes he used."
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS
Do this for me - Go watch your favorite movie/short film/music video and write down what you like. Anything and everything. I promise you, the last thing on your mind will be "The lens choice and camera they used". Chances are you don't even know what camera was used, because that one tool didn't the video, the story did.
Always think about this before each project and put your ideas first before having a nervous breakdown that you can't shoot in 8K lol. Thousands of film makers have made great films with shitty gear and this was before 4k was even a thing. Quality of story will affect how great your film is, not the quality of the image....