Question for the camera ops & DOPs; What camera set up do you use and why?

This is in the interest of sparking discussion... The question is NOT, what is the best camera! Every camera has a time and a place... (other than that Go Pro in the Hobbit)
Frederick Jewson Commercial Director
  • Videographer
  • Camera Operator
  • Director of Photography

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  • James Williams - Cinematographer Cinematographer
    Well the FS7/5 are designed to be held and easily shoulder mounted. the buttons are all layed out on the body for fast access and call me old fashioned but i dont like operating on touch screens, i find it fiddly. not to mention you then have fingerprints all over your monitor. The DSLR style shape of the camera makes it hard to hand hold in most situations as hand hend shooting typically means shooting from the hip, but with no swivel grip you can't possition your hand on the blackmagic in the shooting style, and if you manage to work it out, you then cant see the screen without attaching another monitor. To make that camera functional for my workflow I would need to spend roughly the cameras value again in rigging/monitor/power solutions and external media. I'd rather work with a camera which is designed to do the job I am doing, rather than get a camera and then have to rig the sh*t out of it to make it work for me. I do like the image from the new black magic's I won't argue there at all, but I could anly really see myself using them on locked off applications where I don't have to handle it tripod/gimbal/jib, but I do lots of hand held and so I do heavily take into account a cameras ergonomics when testing systems.
    I will admit that the FS7 isn't the most enjoyable camera to navigate (the menues are very slow which drives me mad) but the camea is very well designed for shoulder mounted doc work. The FS5 is a breeze for everything though.
    No perfect cameras i'm afraid, but defo check out the Mavo LF if you haven't given it a look, it's a really nice camera to operator and the quality surpasses anything black magic are doing, best of both worlds imo.

  • Frederick Jewson Commercial Director
    @James Williams - Cinematographer

    Great response - especially with your thoughts on BM - A perfect cause for discussion as I've had the opposite, yet same, experience - ease of use with BM and lack of ease with the FS series. I wonder if it's due to what we are used to or if there are any specifics you've had from your experience? How would you describe the images differ, enough to outweigh erganomic issues?

    A further question to everyone; Is the interface/ergonomics one of the key factors for people when moving between cameras?
  • James Williams - Cinematographer Cinematographer
    For documentary and corporate I go with FS7/FS5 and parfocal cine zooms. For creative projects I've recently been using the Mavo LF which has really been impressing me, it's one of the most pleasant operating experiences I've had with a modular system and the image is really beautiful. I've been pairing it with converted vintage Zeiss Jena lenses and that's been a real nice match for my eye. Dabbled recently with black magic but the experience of those cameras isn't worth the juice for me, they need better ergonomics.
  • Alex Bender cinematographer
    Hi Frederick. Personally I prefer to use the Arri Alexa systems. The image quality and colour rendition is wonderful, with a very easy to use work flow that most post houses are familar with.
  • Ka-Lok Ho Brand Content Strategist — Consultant — Filmmaker
    C100 MK2. Probably as close as it gets to a dream camera for me. Ergnomically exemplary. Built in NDs, yes please. XLR inputs, fantastic.

    4K is not really an issue, when the 1080p is already downsampled, so the image looks fantastic. It's great for larger productions if you want to build out the camera and smaller indie, quick turn around projects too.

  • John Harding DOP, Video Editor
    Currently shooting with the C200. This is perfect for the mix of clients we currently have - some are after quick turn around social media content, and occassionally we shoot high spec shorts and flagship brand films. We use the MP4 for the former, and the RAW lite for the latter, in a camera body that is light, simple, and easy to shoot with.
  • Marc Webb Photographer/cinematographer
    I use the sony full frame systems, for great versatility within both the video and photo space, these cameras are incredible and so efficient