I teach no-budget filmmaki


I teach no-budget filmmaking and I think about these sorts of questions all the time. I would agree with just about everything that everyone has said, and of course, without more info on your project, it’s hard to generalize. But of course, I will! The first thing I’d say, from a no-budget perspective, is use the camera you can get your hands on. The 5d is less expensive to buy and lots of people have them. If using the 5d means you’re going to get your project made, that camera should work, keeping in mind the issues stated above with dof and some other issues. I would recommend the 7D or even one of its less expensive cousins (60d, t2i, t3i, t4i); your dof isn’t as extreme and personally, I’ve seen several recent projects on the big screen at festivals shot with these cameras and they all looked terrific. Forget the nonsense about rolling shutter and line skipping–those artifacts may be there, but if you’re making a low-budget indie festival film, nobody will notice or care, for the most part. To make these cameras easier to use, you can add PL adapters, cinema lenses, matte boxes, follow focus, etc.

I shot my last feature on the EX1 with a Letus adapter and we were extremely happy with the results, and the workflow was a breeze. But to get the needed shallow DOF with that rig was cumbersome. That rig was heavy, a pain to build and not very ergonomic. So, you will have sacrifices and work-arounds with any of these technologies, but the good news is they can all do a pretty terrific job. Far cry from the days 10 years ago when we were trying to get cinematic results using a PAL PD-150!

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