Unless you are a “gear head”, you probably don't care about the technical side of filmmaking, but even so, the technology of today always amazes me…that, and the fact that it only takes a couple of people to operate it.

Take us here at Americonic Films for instance. We are about as lean as it gets, comprising two core people; Glenn Scott Lacey and myself, Steven Dempsey. Even with the exceptional and dedicated people who assist during the shoot we are still a tiny crew. It all works so well because we are a mulitalented bunch. Glenn is a film composer, director, editor, schmoozer and solution-finder. I am a camera operator, lighting director and, well, that's about it but we do kind of share roles when it's needed. So really, our combined skills could be spread out over at least six or more people. But because we love doing what we do and keep going until we literally fall down, we don't ever regard this as actual work. No way, it's play…(n.b. on our invoice it's still billed as “work”).

But back to the technology part. It's now possible to shoot a really really high quality video using just a still camera and some decent lenses. Canon introduced the first full-frame video-capable camera about 5 years ago and the technology exploded in the world of independent filmmakers. Before that, I was attaching all kinds of adapters to my regular video camera to get the “film look”. Hey wait, what's a film look and where can I get one? Well, for some reason people think that when the subject of the frame is in focus and the background is out of focus, it looks more appealing (or filmic). You see this kind of aesthetic in most movies and TV dramas and, up until recently, only movie cameras using actual film could make a moving picture look this way.
Regular still cameras have been capable of shooting this way for eons but companies like Nikon and Canon only recently figured out how to make these still frames move. The benefit to people like us is that we no longer need a fork lift and associated crew to move our gear. Most of it can be carried quite easily by our lean team. Not only does this give us many more options in terms of location but most of all it allows us to work faster and more efficiently. Of course, you can't just pick up one of these cameras and suddenly make beautiful pictures…at least not on purpose. There is a wealth of knowledge that goes into framing, exposing and moving the camera as well as learning the actual language of film and knowing how to direct actors, etc…oh, and don't get me started on how much work goes into post production.
Still, I never become complacent about the fact that I have everything I ever wanted now and the capture quality of my beloved 5D MarkII, the camera that really started it all, continues to blow my mind.
Despite the copyright watermark on the photos, they were taken by Nicholas Nascimento.

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