May 1, 2009

My Video Cameras: Part 2

Camera #3: Samsung SC-D453 (2005-present)
MiniDV Camcorder

It was just after Christmas in 2005 that I decided to spring for a MiniDV camera. I'd been shooting several projects in film school on MiniDV and after collecting a small collection of tapes I thought I would benefit from having a DVcam of my own.

There was nothing complicated about my choice. I picked this little Samsung because it was compact, no bigger than my hand, and it seemed ideal for traveling with. Truthfully, I didn't feel I needed a major quality upgrade so much as I needed a format upgrade to output my video to the new MiniDV standard. Plus, for homevideo sake and after carrying around my Sony in LA and Vegas, it was nice to have something a lot lighter.

The first thing I did with this camera was a project titled, A Chill in the Air in January 2006. It opened a lot of doors for me, and was directly involved in my next camera upgrade that spring. To this day I still use this camera for casual shooting and experiments. I took with me to Vegas again, and use it mainly to capture homevideos. It's still a sleek and easy to use little piece of equipment.

Camera #4: Sony HDR-FX1 (2006-present)
High Definition Video (HDV) Camera

When I was on the verge of nearly winning the National Film Board Citizenshift contest with A Chill in the Air, I got into a conversation with my parents about my camera. I had sent them an email about how I dropped and broke my picture camera, which they read as me breaking my video camera.

When I discovered I'd lost the NFB contest in the final round, my parents surprised me by saying they'd been looking at cameras for me - as an early university graduation/consolation present. After several weeks of back and forth they ordered me my new camera.

When I got home from university that spring it came in the mail - and I can't explain how awesome it was. It felt like a real step up, that all my early experience compounded to say 'you've finally earned this' - that staying determined really does payoff. It was a huge show of support from my folks, who seemed just as proud and confident that not only did I know what I wanted to do, but that I had the chops to succeed.

This camera has really marked my transition from student to independent filmmaker. From Educated Detours to my Rushmore travelog to Elliot, the Buick Series, Give it Time, Gizmo Tree and beyond, this camera has allowed me the means to truly play - and get paid.

I think it feels twice as good to have this camera after all these years because it feels like I've really worked my way up to it. Receiving it as a gift from my folks felt like I'd proved something to them and to myself - that my approach was more than just a part-time hobby, that this was the start of a career.

It's still an amazing and very flexible piece of equipment. I've used it when hired as an independent videographer, for festival submissions, for personal experiments, and most anything else I possibly can.

Equipment is all about options, and at this point I feel able to achieve the majority of what I want to do within my own personal studio. It's been a long road to feel this sufficient regarding my productions, but a step at a time has turned into quite a journey. I can't wait to see what comes next.

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