Hey all, Chris here.
Despite the fact that I haven’t been writing here all that much, I’ve still been very active in the video field. In fact, I’ve been more active than usual, and over the past few months I’ve gotten two new toys that are helping me create some fun new content. I’ve posted about one of them, but today I thought I’d post a bit more in depth about why these two toys simply rock.
The Canon HV20 is CamcorderInfo’s number 1 camera of the year, and with good reason. The picture out of this camera is surprisingly sharp (see here: http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/3121/picture1ga6.jpg)
and crisp for what is really a consumer camera. It has a large selection of features that makes it appealing to prosumers too – manual whitebalance, manual (though somewhat tedious) focus, HDMI out, etc. And it’s super cheap – lower than $700 at most retailers.
The HV20 was an impulse buy for me, but I’m so glad I did it. I’ve already used it for an event and the camera was a trooper throughout the whole thing; it performed well in low light, captured colours great in bright light, and made it easy for me to capture footage in my next toy…
Final Cut Studio 2
Final Cut Studio 2 represents the democratization of film production. It still blows my mind that I am using the same software the Coen Brothers use to produce their films, and it only cost $1200. Sure, that might seem like a lot, but think about it – in the past, editing bays were tens of thousands of dollars. Final Cut Studio fulfills the functions of an editing bay, a DVD design studio, a graphics studio, and more within one software package. It truly has brought film production to the masses.
It’s this same utility that also creates, well, a massive learning curve. I’m coming from the world of Vegas, a powerful but far easier editor (I still wish it were available for Macs) so I’m relearning a lot of concepts. Vegas, when I used it, had no “Mark In” or “Mark Out”, so that entire concept is new to me. I’m used to throwing clips on the timeline and trimming them to my liking. It’s sloppy but it did the job for me. Final Cut is much more linear. And don’t get me started on Motion – I’m still learning how to put text onto the screen.
Fortunately I just received copies of Apple’s Training Series of books for Final Cut so I’m starting to learn more about the software. I think though, that the complexity of the application and the fact that it’s available for the everyday consumer is an example of why movies have become a free-for-all medium. The HV20 is a consumer camcorder that is shooting professional footage. That is unreal, and absolutely exciting for prosumer cinematographers.
I don’t know yet whether or not this democratization will result in better or worse films, I do know however that it means that more people like myself will be able to contribute to the conversation. I can’t really complain about that.