Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


The COW and My Third Canon

I get the Creative COW Magazine and it's one of the few I actually get around to flipping through. Needless to say, since I'm writing about it now, I'm so glad I did today! I read a great article that taught me something I completely didn't know, and now will be a better filmmaker for it.

One of my many biases is toward Canon cameras. I own four: GL2, ZR-85, XL H1, and a Digital Rebel XT still camera. I also own a LiDE 25 scanner too. I freely admit to my bias, but I love the cameras (and the scanner is great too).

I got my GL2 when I was in film school, and it was probably the best purchase I have ever made. I still use it today for most of my client projects and it has treated me like a king.

Then the HD craze exploded. When it came time to look into an HD camera, I was torn. I read everything I could find about HD, P2, HDV, compression, cameras, price tags, reviews, comments, concerns, cults, and side by side coparisons. People were all over the place. With a gulp I made the plunge into HDV with the Canon XL H1. The camera was beautiful. The image was beautiful. The worldflow was pretty nice, and the resultant image was good. But there were some problems. P2 was getting all the press, and people were bashing Canon on various forums (I've found a lot of filmmakers don't like Canon, which is really odd to me; right up there with a hatred for PCs and Adobe Premiere... I don't get it). So for the past few years I've wrestled with my purchase, questioning if I made the right move.

Today, my fears are at rest. For the time, I made the best possible choice. I will eventually get around to playing with P2 (when I have money floating around... wonder when that will be? ), but for now, the XL H1 is my baby. And she's beautiful.

I'll post some pictures soon of the fruit of my learning, but for now let me mention this: Custom Presets are an amazing tool I didn't know I had. Well, I knew they were there but never asked what they were there for. In a few words: To make your image rock.

Tedd Terry, of Fantastic Plastic Entertainment answered the question that had plagued me for years now: Why is the color on my GL2 so much better than my XL H1? The answer: I wasn't using the camera (most notably the Custom Presets) properly, if at all. I spent five minutes adjusting one my presets and my image looks absolutely stellar. Stellar.

Every once in a while you get a nugget of information that completely revolutionizes how you do things. This is one of those moments. Thanks so much, Bessie!

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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