We’ve got a lot to prove in Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. Some of it will surprise you, some of it will shock you, and some of it will change the way you work forever. Let’s make this clear: This is not the shootout you’re expecting. Will you see the empirical testing where we set the lighting, keep it constant, and run all the cameras through so pixel pushers are happy knowing they’ve made the right purchase? Sure. What’s new and different is that we’re going to show you what you can do with each of these cameras on the same set by letting expert DPs who’ve mastered these cameras get creative with them. They’ve figured out the best profiles, they know how to light for their camera while keeping color timing in mind. This shootout is about two things- what a camera is capable and what a DP can do with his abilities to make it look great with all of his skills, experience and talent. The key element here is talent. There are no winners as with all of our tests, since winning is dependent on your abilities. **We know several shots are out of sync, we are currently correcting them, and the revised show will be uploaded later today**
This 90 minute documentary will be presented in three episodes that will air on the 15th of June, July, and August. It’s critical you watch all three episodes to fully understand the total message. Each segment will feature three of the nine filmmakers describing their approach to the creative shot. Information, techniques, and personal insight will be revealed in episode three that tie into episode one. The three segments are interwoven and to only watch one episode is cheating yourself of valuable information and the full experience.
Episode One. Nine cameras. Nine cinematographers. One complex party scene with a 14 stop range. Each DP was asked to shoot the scene based on their knowledge and expertise of a particular camera. There was no reference camera used. The impressive line-up of DPs and the camera arsenal included:
1. Sony F65 — Sony Representatives
2. ARRI Alexa — Rodney Charters, ASC
3. RED Epic — Ryan Walters
4. Sony FS100 — Den Lennie & Mick Jones
5. Sony F3 w/slog — Nancy Schreiber, ASC
6. Canon C300 — Polly Morgan
7. Canon 7D with Technicolor settings — Michael Negrin, ASC
8. Panasonic GH2 (hacked and non-hacked) — Jonny Zeller & Colt Seman
Each DP brings their talent to the lens as they mold and shape light to their preferences, setting up their specific camera with the optimal color profiles, and how they finish the footage in post-production during color timing. The camera isn’t dictating how these shots turn out; it’s the DPs knowledge and mastery of these fundamentals and the camera they’re working with. You’ll be presented with all the test footage not knowing which camera is which and be asked to select which ones you prefer.
Later this summer in Episode 2 test administrator Bruce Logan, ASC, will reveal the labeled footage and you’ll hear the reaction from audiences around the world. Perceptions change quickly- some for better, some for worse- when they learn their picks may not be what they expected. Some celebrity guest’s picks may shock you!
In the final third episode the cameras will be put through an empirical test with locked down lighting. We’ll see how the cameras measure up on paper and get into the science and technical aspects of how these cameras shadows, highlights and resolution.
Not only will you hear from the featured DPs, you’ll get exclusive access to legends in the industry as Zacuto’s Steve Weiss interviews them as they share their thoughts on what it takes to make it as a successful cinematographer. The education from these interviews alone is enough reason to tune in. You won’t want to miss the surprises we have in store for Episodes 2 and 3.
So, is Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 a test? What exactly are you in for?
“It shows you, (that) in the right hands, you can make a beautiful image,” says Weiss. He pointed out you can tell a good story on a bad camera and have a hit, but all hope is lost when you try to use a top of the line camera to tell a bad story. It’s always about story, isn’t it?
Weiss goes on to say it’s about mastering the camera you have, learning how to light properly for your camera’s strengths and limitations, getting your color settings dialed in, knowing how to adjust the grade in post. This, along with understanding how, when, and why you should move the camera and choose a particular angle are more important than the camera will ever be.
It's been eleven months in the making with over 600 participants including cast and crew as well as thirty sponsors. We spanned the globe from Chicago to LA, San Francisco, Australia, and London to bring you interviews from top players in the industry.
Steve Weiss, web series director, along with his DP/operator of 27 years, Jens Bogehegn, interview Bruce Logan ASC, Haskell Wexler ASC, Janusz Kaminski, Stephen Goldblatt ASC/BSC, Rodney Charters, ASC/CSC, Peter James ASC/ACS, Victor Kemper ASC, Steven Fierberg ASC, Richard Crudo ASC, Francis Kenny ASC, Daryn Okada ASC, Bob Primes ASC, Stephen Lighthill ASC, Nancy Schreiber ASC, Michael Negrin ASC, Steven Poster ASC, Frederic Goodich ASC, Polly Morgan, Philip Bloom, Vincent Laforet, Elliot Rosenblatt, Mick Jones, Colt Seman, Jonny Zeller, Michael Koerbel, Ryan Walters, Den Lennie, Alan Thatcher, Lan Bui, Gary Adcock, Mark Androw, Chuck Lee, Tim Smith, Natacha Merritt, Jimmy Cadenas, Jonah Mueller, and Gayle McCormick among others on a variety of subjects that will both move and enlighten you.
Pull up a seat, have an open mind, listen, and learn. It's not the gear that determines greatness anymore. It's you!