I want to get on my soap box for a few minutes. I’m so tired of working with amateur film makers who think the type of equipment being used is important. And it’s across the board. The best film equipment is what ever you own. That doesn’t mean using a credit card and going into debt so you have great equipment. I have seen some great movies filmed on old iphones. Today’s phones are even better quality. The only thing technically that you need to make sure you have is good audio. The reality is that doesn’t need to be very expensive. A zoom recording device is only a few hundred dollars. Pick up a used one they are all over for $100.  That is all the equipment you need.

You don’t need fancy dolly’s or lights. You can use real lights with your phone. Trust me. Before you go spend money on equipment go film. Make movies. Film a few shorts. Take a scene or a few pages from your script and do a table read. Or film the page. Practice the edit. Just what ever you do stop thinking that if you spend money on equipment that will help you make a good movie. The only way to make a good movie is write a great story and practice.

I once did a 48 film contest with a guy I meet in a directing film class. I was excited to work with him. I liked his artistic sensibility. His girlfriend joined the team too as the editor. I was so excited to have an editor on the team. We even found two pretty damn good actors. One guy I had meet before. The actress had worked with him and I think this filmmaker knew her too. Call time no one is there but the actor I had meet before. An hour later everyone shows up. I stayed up all night writing the script and it would have been nice to get an extra hour of sleep.

Then he throws the news on me that his 4k camera that he is so excited to use is actually a 4k drone. And you can’t use the camera without the drone on.  So lucky me I got a 4k camera but no audio. If I knew this I would have wrote a script with zero dialogue. I thought 4k was a good idea because we could do some panning and adjusting in post. His editor girlfriend had convinced me she was skilled at this. So in the end we had a worthless unwatchable short that I’m not sure was worth even bothering entering.  We got the short finished but the amateur behavior caused it to be 48 very miserable hours of almost continuous work.

So  trust me. Skip the 4k video. Skip the fancy equipment. Skip a lighting kit. Pick up a few $20 DSLR lights from amazon. If you spend any  money invest in a $100 microphone. I’m guessing you could probably get good audio if you practice and figure out how to use your equipment properly.

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