My phone shoots in 4K. Who needs a filmmaker?
Nearly every one of us has a camera in our pocket these days. A lot of these mobile devices shoot 4K video, vivid colour and focus to infinity. So why shouldn't you just film this project yourself? Why isn't anyone sharing that video you made of your product and why aren't sales spiking? Why shouldn't your uncle who dabbles in video shoot your wedding as a lovely wedding gift to you and your new spouse? Why have you landed on this page?
The answer, in my opinion, is that the creation of data doesn't equal the creation of content. If you google how much content is uploaded to YouTube, you'll read that 300 hours of content are uploaded every minute. This is a bit of a misnomer. 300 hours of data are uploaded every minute but how much of that data has real content?
I believe this boils down to one philosophical question: Do you have something to say or are you just trying to say something?
300 million people upload Instagram stories every day but how many of these stories are truly compelling? I know that I skip a lot more of them than I watch and even the ones I watch don't leave me to thinking or feeling much of anything.
These posts are the result of someone with nothing to say just trying to say something.
I liken it to small talk at a party. If you sit across from someone at a table and start to talk because of an awkward silence, 'odds are you aren't about to delve into an intellectual, spiritually awakening life-changing conversation.
One huge disadvantage to the digital era in which we live is the ability to over-shoot with no perceived associated cost. Over-shooting is the result of not having something to say. It's the small talk from across the table.
We think we no longer have to think about saving valuable film. In fact, the thought of a second of film costing money is ridiculous to most of us. Filming is free, everyone knows that.
I've literally never shot video on film. Ever. That is why it is so important that I pretend I have to.
I didn't always practice this principal and the result was 4 terabytes of 4K footage from an international tour that I still, 3 months later have not been able to find a creative direction to edit and deliver to the client. I have a ton of data and the content is in there someone but now I have to find it retroactively which takes a lot longer than telling your story with intent from the beginning.
While "filming" may not have a monetary cost anymore as we shoot video digitally, it has a huge creative cost. If I told you that every second of footage will cost you $1.31 (which is true if you shoot today on 35mm Kodak colour negative film) would it drastically change the way you treat your video projects, social media, viewing of live events and just about everything else you use your camera for?
Would you take the time to plan every angle, every focus pull, every camera motion before recording? Would you rehearse shots more diligently without rolling? Would you think about what every shot is saying?
This is the way a filmmaker has to think. Not because it makes your video too expensive if you don't. It's because it makes it worthless.
Knowing the importance of this principal tells us that when you work with a professional filmmaker for your project you aren't hiring a "camera guy." You aren't just renting gear and someone to operate it. You're collaborating with an artist who treats their project as the piece of themselves that it is.
You're working with someone that has something to say and they're going to be damn sure people listen.