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Old 05-14-2017, 04:37 PM   #1
sammy81z
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Use only industry cameras to get a major film distributor?

Blackmagic Design and Panasonic are superb companies that have produced superb cameras over the years, namely the Production Camera 4K and Ursa Mini 4K, 4.6K and Pro from BMD and the GH3, GH4 and GH5 from Panasonic. In terms of cinema lenses, Rokinon has some affordable Cine lenses. This thread is not in any way meant to be negative to the above cameras or lenses but it seeks to ask another question below.

Have you ever heard of or seen a blockbuster feature film that was filmed 100% with Blackmagic Design cameras or the Panasonic GH cameras as noted above? 100% is the key word here. Not partial as in B camera etc. but 100%.

As we know, the digital Arri Alexa camera and the Red Epic camera have both been used in many blockbuster feature films. Zeiss Compact Primes have also been used on several films.

Therefore if independent filmmakers would like to make movies that have the potential to be purchased by major film distributors, would it not be better for the filmmaker to save up a bit more to purchase a fully decked off Red Epic camera and kit and Zeiss Compact Prime lenses (or renting the camera and lenses) instead of saving up to purchase a Blackmagic Design camera or Panasonic GH camera?

It seems that aspiring filmmakers are not thinking outside of the box and are simply making movies with BMD and Panasonic cameras, and the movies don't seem to be picked up by major distributors for a major release.

I think if one is serious about this business of filmmaking, that person should go mainstream professional in terms of equipment or go nowhere.

Once again, I ask the question, have you ever heard of or seen a blockbuster feature film that was filmed 100% with Blackmagic Design cameras or the Panasonic GH cameras as noted above?
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:29 PM   #2
WalterB
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No.
Monsters was shot on EX3, but that was some while ago.
And not really a blockbuster.

For blockbusters they don't want to use those cameras, because of all kind of reasons, but if you make an amazing feature with a GH5, it will not be ignored because of the camera used.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy81z View Post
It seems that aspiring filmmakers are not thinking outside of the box and are simply making movies with BMD and Panasonic cameras, and the movies don't seem to be picked up by major distributors for a major release.
Or, it could be that they're working within their means in order to see their visions through to competion. This is under the understanding that the painter matters more than the brush.

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I think if one is serious about this business of filmmaking, that person should go mainstream professional in terms of equipment or go nowhere.
Just another excuse not to try in the first place? Why do people get so hung up on stuff like this? Grab a camera and make a movie. It may suck, but if it's good it will draw an audience. Maybe not a huge audience, but each next project will grow the fan base. And if it sucks, use that experience to do it better the next time. This has NOTHING to do with the camera.

NoFilmSchool regularly follows up Sundance and other major film festivals and awards with breakdowns of what cameras were used on the winning films. They aren't all Red and Alexa.

Last, if your film is really good (screenplay, cinematography, editing, sound design) and if you market yourself the right way and if you have the right connections, nobody is going to care that it wasn't shot on Alexa. And while I'd love to say that the cream will always rise to the top, there are plenty of great indie films out there that get passed over because marketing and personal connections are as important as, if not more than, talent. That's an unfortunate truth, but it's the truth.

Last edited by AcousticAl; 05-14-2017 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:16 PM   #4
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I think most smart distributors will worry about other things than the camera, such as what mics and field recorders it was recorded on, what post processing software was used on it, the final format, and codec quality, etc.

Things like that. One guy I know said that if a distributor wants the movie shot a certain camera, you can always tell him you are shooting one a certain one, and then use a much cheaper one, and the distributors will not know. That's what he said anyway.
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Old 05-14-2017, 07:34 PM   #5
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I think most smart distributors will worry about other things than the camera, such as what mics and field recorders it was recorded on, what post processing software was used on it, the final format, and codec quality, etc.

Things like that.
No, no, NO!

They aren't going to care about any of that. The other thing people get caught up on too often is the idea that there's a magic formula for getting your indie film picked up by a distributor. There's not! And if a distributor is looking at picking up a finished film, they aren't going to trifle with anything but appropriate deliverables.

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One guy I know said that if a distributor wants the movie shot a certain camera, you can always tell him you are shooting one a certain one, and then use a much cheaper one, and the distributors will not know. That's what he said anyway.
And we all know how you'll never hesitate to quote that one guy you know, even if it's bullshit.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:07 PM   #6
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People often forget the importance of quality sound work. That starts in preproduction and should be one of the higher priorities all the way through. Many of the truly indie films that made an impression had terrific sound to begin with or the audio was redone - albeit on a "budget" - at the studios request, and often at the studio facility.


Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.



At the small-budget indie level every dollar/minute you spend on production sound saves you ten in audio post.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy81z View Post
I think if one is serious about this business of filmmaking, that person should go mainstream professional in terms of equipment or go nowhere.
If I'm a distributor, my main concern is sales potential. After that, I would consider how good the movie looks and sounds. I don't care how you achieved it.

Danny Boyle shot 28 DAYS LATER with a Canon XL-1. That didn't stop distributors from releasing a standard def movie into theaters.

As for your question, I have no clue. You may want to check out this website:
https://shotonwhat.com/
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:04 AM   #8
sammy81z
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoopicman View Post
If I'm a distributor, my main concern is sales potential. After that, I would consider how good the movie looks and sounds. I don't care how you achieved it.

Danny Boyle shot 28 DAYS LATER with a Canon XL-1. That didn't stop distributors from releasing a standard def movie into theaters.

As for your question, I have no clue. You may want to check out this website:
https://shotonwhat.com/

Thank you and all for your posts so far.

By the way, 28 Days Later was not 100% shot on the Canon. Arri camera and lenses were used per the below.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289043/...ef_=tt_dt_spec
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:08 AM   #9
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In my opinion, there is merit to the idea of renting equipment and/or renting a DP with equipment (assuming you don't yourself want to be a DP) over buying equipment for your project.

Each project comes with it its own needs and its own aesthetics, and you should ideally be making decisions on equipment and format etc. based on those.

That said, for the most part if something looks good it doesn't matter what it was shot on. There are movies that have been released and TV episodes that have been broadcast on network TV that have been shot on 5D's or similar.

Blockbusters don't shoot on GH5s (for the most part) because they can afford to shoot on Alexa. If you could afford to shoot Alexa, would you choose your A-cam to be a GH5? I wouldn't think so. But plenty of big movies use Blackmagic and the A7(s) series as crash-cams, pick-up cams, etc. etc.

In fact, I can almost guarantee you've watched 5D, Blackmagic or A7s footage in a blockbuster film intercut with Alexa, RED or otherwise and not even noticed.

At the end of the day, what something was shot on pales hugely in comparison to whether to story's any good.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
I think most smart distributors will worry about other things than the camera, such as what mics and field recorders it was recorded on, what post processing software was used on it, the final format, and codec quality, etc.

................
LOL
Is your instinct telling you this or are you assuming from your own bikeshedding perspective?
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:51 PM   #11
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I may be wrong but I believe parts if not all of Sin City was shot on a Panasonic DVX100 MiniDV.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:52 PM   #12
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I may be wrong but I believe parts if not all of Sin City was shot on a Panasonic DVX100 MiniDV.
Nope. CineAlta.

I don't believe there are any "blockbusters" filmed 100% with Blackmagic
Design cameras or the Panasonic GH cameras.

There have been a few theatrically released movies shot with "prosumer"
cameras (even MiniDV) and I fully disagree with sammy that a filmmaker
should go mainstream professional in terms of equipment or go nowhere;
a truly foolish statement. While a feature shot on those cameras have not
been blockbusters, many filmmakers have gotten their first notice using
equipment they can afford.

But it sure is interesting that I can't find a theatrically released feature shot
on the Blackmagic or the GH - "blockbuster" or not.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:24 PM   #13
jax_rox
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But it sure is interesting that I can't find a theatrically released feature shot
on the Blackmagic or the GH - "blockbuster" or not.
Upstream Color was shot on a GH2 and I believe was release theatrically - thought whether you make a distinction between 'released theatrically' and 'released theatrically by a distributor' I don't know...

It is about the only one I can think of that was exclusively shot on either camera...
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:58 PM   #14
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What sells are captivating characters and an involving story.

Assuming that you have the script and the actors to pull it off, the rest is using your budget to best advantage. You need to rely on your department heads. Instead of you worrying about which camera, you tell your DP the look you want, and he figures out the best camera (and lights, etc.) within his budget to get that look. The same goes for all of the other departments - production design, H/MU, wardrobe, production sound, security, transportation, crafts, etc., etc., etc. Plus visual and audio post. You tell them what you want and let them worry about the technology. But always remember, budget dictates all. Indie filmmaking is all about compromises.

What it all really comes down to, however, is talent in front of & behind the camera and being fully prepared, no matter what your budget. "Hollywood" budget films are planned down to the very last detail; if you actually sit through and read the end credits of one you will understand why. Doesn't your project deserve that kind of attention? In fact, since you are working at a financial disadvantage, shouldn't you do even more? Most indie types are too anxious to start shooting. Extensive preproduction makes for an easier shoot, and that increases your chance of capturing lighting in a bottle.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:13 AM   #15
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Festen.
Shot on a camcorder.
Still a great movie, because the drama is intense and the characters are engaging.
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