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eduard schneider filmmaker with zacuto

And Then Came DSLRs... My Decade in the Video Industry

by Eduard Schneider It’s been 10 years since I got into video content production, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone by! A bunch of friends and I were inspired by Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, so we decided to make a music video to honor it. It was shot on bluescreen, in horrible DV resolution (and thus 4:2:0 color space,) and, from today's perspective, with ridiculous post-processing power. But, our enthusiasm was greater than the technical barriers and we made it stand out! That experience motivated me to go further and became an independent filmmaker as a fulltime job.

The Beginning

Before NLE's, the cost and hassle of dealing with professional tape decks or film transfer to digital media was not an option for me. It was expensive and had a fussy workflow. I hoped my first HD equipment would last for 20 years. Standard definition had ruled for several decades, but eventually, my beloved HVX200 looked too video-ish. In my HVX200’s defense, it had the least video-ish look of the video cameras back then! The Letus Extreme35 adapter brought a shallow depth of field look and the organic “film grain look” into the convenience of digital times. eduard schneider filmmaker with zacuto There was a short period of well-established boundaries between video shooters. There was me with the other shallow-depth-of-field shooters and the ENG/event shooters on one side and the big shots using cinema cameras on the other side.

And Then Came DSLRs

Then came the revolution of the full frame DSLR's, and it became obvious that sensor technology was evolving quicker than we had ever imagined. Micro four-thirds cameras were so small and lightweight, as opposed to the big and heavy cameras of the past. Mind-blowing low light capabilities in mirrorless cameras and new, finally affordable cinema cameras rocked the industry. So, as I’m sure is the same for many of you, the cameras I’ve used these past 10 years came in radically different shapes and sizes. They have had one thing in common though - the Zacuto accessories which have made it through all those years.

The Rise of the Accessory Industry and Zacuto

Quality optics and quality camera accessories often make the difference between good and great in a mid-range camera. The can lift lower-range cameras into the film camera arena and highlight the best attributes of higher-range cameras like ALEXA and RED. They can also often offer a lot more long-term satisfaction for a filmmaker because they don’t become outdated as quickly as cameras these days! When it came to camera rigging accessories, it was clear to me right from the beginning that Zacuto was my only option. I wanted quality, sleek design, and versatility in use. I have kept every single Zacuto piece I have ever purchased. They are still useful; I puzzle them together like Lego. My rig never looks the same twice, because every film project has its own camera requirements and components.

My Gear Over the Years

One of my first Zacuto rigs was the classic Z-Cage, which helped me through various jobs for Porsche and Mercedes in times when electronic gimbals were not mainstream. I then used a Scorpion shoulder-mounted rig which gave an ENG feel to so many small and lightweight cameras like the Canon 5D or Lumix GH5. Now, I use the new Next Gen Recoil Pro rigs, which bring the camera back as close as possible to your eye and offer the perfect balance for nearly any camera. eduard schneider filmmaker with zacuto scorpion rig When I look over the scratches and dents on my old Zacuto gear, I remember all the battles we went through in guerilla filmmaking and the exciting film projects shot documentary style. I remember all the music videos, short films, and documentaries, and I can't help wondering how nothing ever broke! The gear scars are a reminder of the hundreds of deployments in rough terrain, cold, hot, humid, dry weather, always on the run, racing against the clock. So, I wear those scars with pride when I'm on set. DP friends sometimes crack jokes about me showing up with my old Z-Finder EVF but to this date, there is no smaller, more lightweight and feature packed EVF out there. No other EVF runs so long on a single LPE6 battery! Of all the equipment I have owned through these 10 years, Zacuto products are the only ones which remained always useful and never outdated, no matter which camera I used. eduard schneider filmmaker with zacuto It's an honor for me to endorse the Zacuto brand at my studio and at my workshops. Being not only a customer but also a friend since the early days is a great privilege for me. Happy 10-year anniversary, Zacuto! You’ve been with me all the way!

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