Below is an incredible steadicam shot from Larry McConkey on the production of Hugo. It’s great to see a behind the scenes like this, especially if you can recall what the final shot looked like. Listen to him exhale when the shot is finished, and Martin Scorsese joke about additional takes. We love using the camera as a tool here at TAR Productions and this is one of the most incredible uses of camera movement we’ve ever seen. In modern times, the Steadicam has been replaced by the more versatile gimbals, such as the Movi or Ronin.
Camera technologies have always been an overrated rage. Each and every camera release is touted to be the next “killer” camera and it seems to get a bit overwhelming. Why? Because the camera is a tool, it’s how you use it. Furthermore, there is a basic underlying philosophy in filmmaking that reads; show your audience what you want them to see, and how you want them to see it. There have been many camera tests and comparisons done, real world and studio, and I’ve never really been impressed with them. Whenever I see that film was shot with “this” camera or “that” I instantly have a feeling of dissatisfaction for the production because it is using buzzwords to over emphasize what should be your artistic endeavor. (Marketing pitches are sometimes exempt from this, as a client will want to get what he or she pays for, and rightly so) Do you ever see a Hollywood film touting it was shot on a RED in a trailer? But you will see all the movies shot on a RED camera on Red’s website (marketing). John Brawly recently did the best “test” I’ve seen in a long time, a double blind, real world test. Working with director Kate Dennis the pair did a wonderful job testing the camera’s range, color saturation and detail in a variety of settings (6 cameras, 6 lighting situations, 1 film). They do list what cameras were used, but not in any particular order, so it’s completely up to you what works best for you, in any given situation. If you truly want the double blind experience, watch the movie embedded below before browsing the vimeo page or reading the DP’s blog post. I have my opinions, and I can assure you that I was very surprised at what I liked and didn’t like about each one. Furthermore, it contrasted my previous opinions about some of the cameras used in this test. You can read about the shoot on John’s blog here. If you have 18 minutes to spare, and the patience to watch the same short film six times over, you’ll very much enjoy it. I would recommend downloading the Quicktime from Vimeo to watch a less compressed version.