Not long ago, a freelance cameraman had to nearly break his back just to haul the camera, lighting, tripod, and other gear required to produce a quality commercial or corporate video. Add the tapes and post-production equipment to the mix and freelance film production was nearly impossible to get into. You were locked out of the biz unless you had a production company backing you up. And you certainly weren’t going to be able to keep the editing gear on a desk in your home office.
But now, with technology “in the hands of the people,” video producers can make TV-ready commercials with only the gear in their pocket. With phones smaller than a piece of toast, you can film in HD, record sound, and even edit while waiting at the doctor’s office or watching your kid’s ballgame.
Technology—it’s one of the biggest blessings of the business. You don’t need a truckload of gear or a video crew to make even a full-length documentary. You just need a DSLR, a laptop, and some gaffers tape.
It’s a dream.
And it’s a nightmare.
Because when barriers to entry come down, a LOT of folks get into the game. And while production value doesn’t always go up, the sheer volume of content does—at a rate of 100 hours per minute on YouTube alone. When people with amateur skills offer services at a lower cost, rising above the noise becomes harder—and more important.
You can do a lot with an iPhone and a steadicam, but don’t expect a global Fortune 500 company to hire you if that’s your only gear. It’s still critical to stay current. The challenge is deciding what technology to invest in (buy) and what to rent.
Karl Van Amburg of Sonoma Productions has the C300 and Sony EX3, and says, “It’s like having an ice cube in your hand as the usability of the cameras is melting away.” Technology is changing so fast that it’s hard to invest and have the gear remain viable.
In our next posts, we’ll be explore what rental houses can teach you about camera equipment and five things to consider before buying it.
About Crew Connection
Crew Connection connects you with video production crews across the country and around the globe. With more than 25 years of experience and thousands of shoots with film crew pros to our credit, you can trust our expert coordinators to match you with the right freelance video crew and equipment—every time.