The Number One Camera for Our Autism Film
The most difficult thing for a production crew to find is the right camera for the job at the right price. There is no perfect camera, and you’re always thinking of trade-offs. Well, after 6 weeks of discussion and reviews between the Director of Cinematography Rene S. Duran and Executive Producer Richard Everts, the clear winner is the Sony XDCAM EX3.
First, it’s quality is the best you can get for under $10,000 retail. It shoots in full 1080p HD natively in 24fps with 1/2″ CMOS Sensors instead of the typical 1/3″ inch you see in prosumer cameras. This is important because it can more easily be transferred to film for theater distribution (it shoots at 23.98 FPS for you technophiles), it meets broadcast quality standards for TV Channels like Discovery and PBS, and it shoots forgivingly in poor lighting conditions.
Second, instead of tapes, it uses Sony SxS cards, a tape-less format which speeds up the on-site workflow and post-production editing process, a must have when gathering nearly a hundred hours of footage. For those not in film, that means we save nearly 100 hours of time sitting in front of a computer digitizing the footage. That’s 100 hours we can spend correcting colors, audio tracks, editing transitions, and a host of effects.
Lastly, it’s extremely portable with an easy shoulder mount and weighs in at less then 8 lbs ready to film. Can you imagine running after children and other active individuals for 40 straight days with a 15 or 20 pound camera? With the EX3, we have a quick beat on moving around and capturing those key moments that make a film pop.
For our filming purposes, we’re using 2 Sony EX3’s for our shoots. We’ve rented the equipment from 2 great companies who’ve given us excellent deals based on the work we’re doing. For nearly the same cost of purchasing equipment that would not be broadcast quality, we were able to rent top notch cameras for a set time. The trade-offs are always in timing (we can not deviate from our filming schedule) and unfamiliarity (a week of rental for crew to train). However, the final decision was that these trade-offs were less important then people taking the film seriously, if only because we did as well when deciding on the quality of our presentation. After all, if we don’t think we’re worth top quality, why would anyone else?
We’re excited to use the Sony EX3 system as our choice for the film. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be discussing more of our tools we’ll be using on our filming shoot so you can get an inside look at what it takes to make a 40 day miracle.