Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

The Digital Dilemma. (Or How To Make A Camera Purchase In Todays Market)

At NAB 2012 Blackmagic surprised everyone with the release of their "3k" camera for $3k. And Canon showed off their Canon's 4k DSLR. In less than a year, the market has completely changed yet again with several big announcements from RedSony, and GoPro. It seems like every other week a new camera is coming out which leaves many people wondering what they should buy and what they should be shooting their projects on. Moore's Law is not making this an easy time for equipment purchases. And I want to share some principles with you will help you navigate this minefield ...

Principle #1: Be Realistic
If you are just starting out it is important to realize and accept that your first work is not going to be a masterful piece of art. When you look back on it in a year or two, you will see how awful it really is. This is not a bad thing, as we all start somewhere. It is just the reality of learning a new craft. It will take time to hone your skills. Due to this learning curve, I would suggest that you do not need to be shooting on the latest and greatest camera system. Instead, get the best that you can afford while not over-extending yourself. Then learn the craft using that system. What you learn with this system will be able to be applied to the next camera system you get. I highly doubt that in a three to five years, you will want to come back and remaster your first projects in their full 4k "glory." Start small, and affordable; 1080p will suffice.

If you have been working on your craft for awhile now, and you're looking to change systems, I would encourage you to evaluate what your clients needs really are in relation to the equipment you are wanting to buy. Does the push to upgrade really come from a need from the clients you work with, or is it just a need to use the latest and "coolest" equipment? Does that PSA really need to be shot in 5k? Will the end client know, or care if you shot in RAW? Will you really be going back to the source files in 5 years and remaster that corporate video, or will they want something new shot at that time?

While shooting on the latest and greatest is fun, it is important to be realistic about where you are at, as well as what the needs of the deliverables are for the majority of your projects. If you are spending more money on always having the latest and greatest gear, that means you have less money in your pocket, and the less profitable you will be - and in the end, this is a business. If you need to impress one client who needs to be shooting on the latest camera system, consider renting instead of buying.


Principle #2: Think Long-Term
The one constant in this line of work is that our camera systems are going to continue to change and evolve. If you can have a long-term outlook as you buy the parts of your camera system, you will be better off. Put your money into as many pieces of kit that will last as long as possible, and will outlive your current camera system. Just like your computer gets outdated every 6-12 months, the same is now true for camera bodies. If you are going to buy a more expensive system, be sure that you have the business model to support it. Otherwise, get something more affordable now, and then switch to something else when you outgrow it. You can alway rent the more expensive gear for the projects that need it. Remember, thanks to Moore's Law, in another 6-12 months we will have even better cameras to use at even more affordable prices than we do today. Do not invest in a highly proprietary system that you cannot recoup your investment in unless you are confident that you can make your money back in one year of ownership.

(You might also like: How To Buy A Lighting Kit)

Principle #3: Evaluate The Real Costs
Camera manufacturers are great at hiding the real costs of their camera systems. There are all kinds of hidden costs that can start to add up and impact your bottom line, and the bottom line of the projects you work on. As you look at a camera system, take a look at the following areas:
  • Accessories
    • What do I need to have to actually be able to shoot in they style I'm comfortable working in? Do I need all the bells and whistles, or can I get by with next to nothing?
  • Personnel
    • How does this camera affect the size and expertise of the crew I need? And how does this camera system impact the lighting requirements/budget?
  • Post
    • How does the recording format impact the storage, workflow, and the processing power it takes to use it? What kinds of deadlines and turnaround times do I typically have?
It is only after these areas are taken into consideration that you can have an accurate understanding of what the real costs are to a particular camera system.

Now let's take a look at three RAW camera systems and apply these three principles in evaluating the purchase of each camera system. Each of these packages has been put together with the emphasis on frugality. I have only included the absolute minimum you need to get started and I have left out a lot of accessories that many people like to have, such as rails, cages, follow focuses, etc. The point here is that while these packages are not pretty, you could be up and shooting with them tomorrow. These packages would not rent well outside of the projects that you work on, but they will get the job done. I have split the total package price into two parts, Short-Term (ST) and Long-Term (LT). The short-term costs are all of the expenses that are specific to that camera system, while the long-term costs are accessories that will outlive the camera system. If you can recoup the short-term costs quickly enough before the next "popular" camera hits the market at a lower price, then you will be on a good financial footing with your business. The long-term costs can be rolled into your next camera purchase, as they only need to be made once.

I have also included a line item for Ongoing Costs, which is the cost of media storage, and a line item for any Additional Costs that the camera system will add to the production. The media storage is based on backing up the footage 3 times, as is the standard practice, and one I HIGHLY recommend. (One copy= not backed up, two copies is flirting with danger, and three copies is fully backed up). The cost is calculated on a bare 500GB Western Digital Drive: $55.99 or $0.11198 per GB. (Remember, I'm trying to be as frugal as possible, when possible. Western does not have a perfect history, and you can find horror stories about their drives. No drive maker is perfect, which is why you should have three copies of your footage to protect you from the inevitable. But they have proven to be reliable over the long-term for a large number of people, myself included).

Let's get started ...
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Up & Running Costs: $5,804.00  [ST= $4,457.20/LT= $1,346.80]
Ongoing Costs Per Hour Of Footage: $33.59 ProRes (100GB)/$167.97 RAW (500GB)
Additional Costs: Time & DMT/DIT (If shooting RAW)

The MFT Mount would be a better choice in my opinion, however, that adds the extra costs of the lens adapters.

Sony batteries are used a lot on all kinds of devices on set. Having one type of battery that is popular/easily found can be extremely helpful if you find yourself in a pinch for power.

$69.95 ea Sony-L Battery x 4 [Short-Term $139.90/Long-Term $139.90]
Three of these should get you through a day of shooting, however, four will cover your bases. Two of these will be used for the camera, and two for the monitor.

$9.95 ea Sony Battery Charger x 4 [Short-Term $19.90/Long-Term $19.90]
If you are really tight on funds, you can knock this down to two. But having four means you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to swap batteries, which is worth the extra $20 to me...

$1,187 Small HD 5.6" (Strong Arm, & Sony Plate) [Long-Term]
Personally, I'm not a fan of this monitor. I'd rather go with the TVLogic, but that is more expensive, and I'm trying to keep this cheap. This would be my second choice. (Unfortunately, with no HDMI out, in this camera, you have to go with an HD-SDI monitor, which means more money).

$119.99 ea OWC SSD: 120GB x2 [Short-Term] (These drives have the best track record from what I've found)
This is not the size of drive I would get, but it will allow you to record about 150 minutes of ProRes, or about 30 minutes of RAW. If you are going the ultra-cheap route, then you will want to be shooting in ProRes, as RAW is going to break the bank. While there are cheaper SSD options out there, having reliable media is paramount. Cheap failed drives that lose a day's shoot are of no use to anyone...

$26.97 Startech Drive Dock [Short-Term]
Down and dirty, this dock will get the footage off of your drive and not break the bank. It is also not the fastest solution out there- that would be Thunderbolt. These docks are also meant for Desktop installation, so I'm not sure how long they will last if you are transporting them around on set a lot. They are cheaply made plastic housings.

$549 Sigma 18mm - 250mm [Short-Term]
A small, light lens with a long range, at a cheap price. This is not the lens I would put my money on, but it isn't unusable either...

$406.50 Carbon Fiber Tripod & Head [Short-Term]
Again, keeping it down, dirty, and cheap. This head and sticks will work with the system, but I wouldn't count on it lasting over the long haul. I'd rather put the money towards a different system.

Other Considerations To Make:
- This is a smaller sensor camera. If you are used to shooting with full frame camera like the 5D, then the crop factor will be 2.3x which may be a deal breaker for you. If you are used to shooting Super 35 (just about any other camera system out there), then the crop factor is only 1.6x. Personally, I'm used to the Super 35 format frame, so a 1.6x crop is not as big of a deal to me.

- As long as you are shooting ProRes, then you should be able to get through a days shoot for most corporate, commercial, short film, or small indie feature work with 140 minutes of record time. However, footage will have to be backed up at the end of the day back at your office. If you have to shoot RAW, then you'll need to invest in more drives with a larger capacity, or spend the money on having a DMT/DIT along with their computer system on set.

- Shooting in RAW will also increase the cost of the computer system you need to get decent results. It will also complicate the workflow as you will most likely have to use Resolve to transcode the files prior to editing. As of this posting, the RAW files are not natively supported by any NLE. If you shoot in ProRes, just about any computer system or laptop will be able to handle it without breaking a sweat.

Application Of Principles:

Principle #1: Be Realistic
This is a fairly affordable camera package to get into. And as long as it is shot using the ProRes codec, it doesn't have to break the bank or complicate life on set or in post. It also allows for the possibility of shooting in RAW if it is needed for a specific project.

Principle #2: Think Long Term
About 23% of the money spent on this camera system can be applied towards future camera systems. That means that 77% of the cost will need to be recouped in rentals, and hopefully in reselling the camera when you upgrade. However, you will be lucky if you can recoup 50% of that price when you sell the camera system.

Principle #3: Evaluate The Real Costs.
You can get away with a very small camera package that doesn't tie you into a lot of proprietary gear. As soon as the camera starts recording in its RAW format, the cost on set and in post substantially increases. This camera gets less "affordable" and less easy to work with. So don't be fooled by its low sticker price if you only intend to shoot with its RAW format.

 Red One MX
Up & Running Costs: $9,770.00  [ST= $7,228/LT= $2,542]
Ongoing Costs Per Hour Of Footage: $40.31 RedCode 36 (120GB)
Additional Costs: DIT/DMT & computer system to offload cards throughout the day

PL mount is the only option, which is not the greatest choice for those on a budget...

$495 ea Red 1.8" 48GB SSD x 2 [Short-Term]
Can we hear it for proprietary media? Fun times... A 48GB card will get you roughly 24 minutes of RedCode 36 at 4k HD per card. That should give your DMT enough time to copy one card before the second card gets full. The DMT/DIT will not appreciate it, and you'll be in a tight spot if a problem comes up copying the footage. A better choice would be to have three or four cards...

$250 Red Station [Short-Term]
Yep, you'll also need one of these to transfer the footage from the SSD.

$1,385 Battery Package (3 Total) [Long-Term]
3x 150w hour batteries, and 1 dual charger. Each one of these batteries should get you just under 2 hours of use. You'll need to stay on top of changing the batteries as you will be fighting a slowly losing battle. It takes 210 minutes to completely recharge one 150w battery, which is why I would not get less than 3. I've shot with only 3 batteries, and it will get you through the day-but just barely.

$290 Battery Belt Clip [Short-Term]
You need a way to get the power to the camera, and this is the cheapest option. You do not need any rails, or any other expensive mounting system. Just don't walk too far away from your camera...

$1,157 Small HD 5.6" (Strong Arm, & D-Tap) [Long-Term]
Personally, I'm not a fan of this monitor. I'd rather go with the TVLogic, but that is more expensive, and I'm trying to keep this cheap. If you can get lucky, getting a used Red 5.6" LCD for around $500 would be the way to go for this camera. (While you could also consider using an HDMI monitor, I have found the HDMI out of the Red One to be problematic at best, so I don't see it as a viable option. And that means the use of an HD-SDI monitor).

$500 Red Nikon Mount [Short-Term]
If you are lucky, you can score a Birger Canon EF Mount used from $900-$1,500, or find one of the few Canon FD mounts floating around on Ebay for around $200 - but good luck, as they are in short supply...

$549 Sigma 18mm - 250mm Nikon Mount [Short-Term]
This isn't the lens I would get, but for the money, size, weight, and the range it isn't completely unusable.

$649 Aluminum Tripod & Head [Short-Term]
I would not put my money on this system, but it will get the job done in the short term, as long as you do not add anything more to the camera package. As soon as you add another accessory, you will need to step up to a head that can handle 20+ lbs.

Other Considerations To Make:
- Compared to the two other camera systems in this post, the Red One is a MUCH larger, and heavier camera package. That means that everything you do with it is going to require a larger investment in gear and personnel. And forget about trying to steal a location, or not getting noticed. There is no mistaking this camera for a consumer piece of gear.

- Boot times with the Red One are significant. This was one of my biggest frustrations of working with the camera. If you need to be up and running with minimal downtime, then this is not the camera system for you. I have lost shots due to powering the camera down and swapping batteries. Do not over look this as you consider the appealing price of the camera body.

- This is an end of life product. That means Red is no longer supporting it, or devoting any more time towards its development. Accessories, and needed cables will be hard to come by in the coming years, as they are no longer being made. This is a big deal, as there are a lot of proprietary cables, and accessories for this camera. What will you do when a cable/accessory breaks and you can't get a replacement?

Application Of Principles:

Principle #1: Be Realistic
This camera is almost double the cost of the Blackmagic camera, and in my opinion, it is not offering double the benefits. The major benefit I see is the full super 35 field of view. Having no crop factor on this camera can be a huge deal in a small/tight location. But is your work really going to benefit from the 4k resolution? I'm not convinced that the cost outweighs the draw backs. NAB 2013 is just around the corner...

Principle #2: Think Long Term
About 26% of the money spent on this camera system can be applied towards future camera systems. That means that 74% of the cost will need to be recouped in rentals. I know in my market, rentals for this camera are next to nonexistent - people are literally giving away the camera. Don't count on recouping the purchase when you sell the camera either. You will be lucky if you can recoup 25% of the purchase price. This is an end of life product that has flooded the market over the last 5 years. Additionally, with Red's MAJOR reduction in price for this camera ($25,000 to $4,000 in just over a year) don't count on it retaining its resale value...

Principle #3: Evaluate The Real Costs
This camera requires additional personnel to use it. There is no way around that unless you drop a lot of money on additional proprietary media. You will need a DMT/DIT on set with you, and if you are working a lot, you will want to consider having an assistant with you to help carry and setup the camera due to its size and weight. The good news is that in post just about every major NLE can natively edit the files now, so you shouldn't have much added cost in that regard. And the storage costs are relatively affordable for being able to shoot "RAW." The other real cost consideration to make is the replacement of accessories and cables. With a lot of proprietary support gear on an end of life product, it is going to become increasingly difficult to get replacement parts.

 Scarlet X
Up & Running Costs: $16,393.00 [ST= $15,008/LT= $1,385]
Ongoing Costs Per Hour Of Footage: $60.47 4k HD @ RC 7:1 (180GB)
Additional Costs: DIT/DMT & computer system to offload cards throughout the day

The titanium mount would be the better way to go in my opinion, but this mount will save you some cash on the front end. (I experienced flange issues with the aluminum mount on the Red One, so I'm not a fan of their aluminum mounts).

$495 ea Red 1.8" 48GB SSD x 3 [Short-Term]
Can we hear it again for proprietary media? Fun times... At RC 7:1 in 4k HD these card will get you about 16 minutes of recording time each, or a total of 48 minutes. Your DMT/DIT is still going to be kept busy transferring footage all day, and there will not be a lot of room for errors/problems that come up. Four cards would be a better idea...

$250 Red Station [Short-Term]
Yep, you'll also need one of these to transfer the footage from the SSD.

$1,385 Battery Package (3 Total) [Long-Term]
3x 150w hour batteries, and 1 dual charger. Each one of the batteries should get you just under 3 hours of use. This means you will still need to keep on top of the charging, but you will not be fighting a losing battle like you would with the Red One. If you are tight on cash, you could go with 2 batteries, but then you will be fighting a losing battle with the 210 minute charge times...

$325 Battery Belt Clip [Short-Term]
Yep, you need a way to get the power to the camera, and this is the cheapest option. Just don't walk too far away from your camera...

$1,600 Red 5.0" Touch LCD [Short-Term]
Going this route will save you about $600 over going with the side handle to control & power the camera, a third part LCD with power, and enough RedVolt Batteries and chargers to say powered all day.

$549 Sigma 18mm - 250mm [Short-Term]
A small lens with a long range, at a cheap price. This is not the lens I would put my money on, but it isn't horrible either...

$649 Aluminum Tripod & Head [Short-Term]
I would not put my money on this system, but it will get the job done in the short-term, as long as you do not add anything more to the camera package. You might be able to get away with a clip on matte box. Remember, that the center of gravity of the camera system plays into how much weight the head sees. So a tall, but light camera system will actually be putting a greater load on the head then what it physically weighs.

Application Of Principles:

Principle #1: Be Realistic
This camera is almost three times the cost of the Blackmagic camera, and in my opinion, it is not offering three times the benefits. There are two major benefits that I see from this system: Full super 35 field of view, and high frame rates. Having no crop factor on this camera can be a huge deal in a small/tight location. And being able to shoot at higher than 60 frames a second can be a useful storytelling tool. But how often will you be shooting in slow motion? (In my work that is maybe 5% of the time. This means renting makes more sense for me). Is your work really going to benefit from the 4k resolution or would that money be better spent in production design, and developing your lighting skills? Personally, I'm not convinced that the added cost outweighs owning a more affordable system and renting when I need the high frame rates.

Principle #2: Think Long Term
About 9% of the money spent on this camera system can be applied towards future camera systems. That means that 91% of the cost will need to be recouped in rentals. In my market, rentals for this camera are dirt cheap. I honestly don't know how individual owner/operators are making a profit, or keeping their equipment up-to-date. And I would not count on recouping the purchase cost when you sell the camera either. You will be lucky if you can recoup 50-75% of the purchase price. With Red's reduction in price for this camera, it is devaluing the resell value of the used market. Who knows where prices will be when the new sensor comes out. And remember, that upgrade is going to cost around $6,000...

Principle #3: Evaluate The Real Costs
This camera requires additional personnel to use it. There is no way around that unless you drop a lot of money on additional proprietary media. You will need a DMT/DIT on set with you, unless you can afford to step away from the shoot and do it yourself. The good news is that in post just about every major NLE can natively edit the files now, so you shouldn't have much added cost in that regard. And the storage costs are relatively affordable for being able to shoot "RAW." Since this is a "new" camera for Red, and it shares accessories with the Epic, you should be able to buy what you need when you need it. The downside is that the accessories for the Scarlet tend to be a lot more expensive than other camera systems, and you can run into back order delays if you are ordering directly from Red.

Another part of the real cost of a camera system is the performance and reliability of that system. Red has come A LONG way in its reliability, and a lot of the original issues that their cameras had are gone. However, that doesn't mean that they are rock solid either. I have had an Epic completely freeze up for no reason at all, and it had to have its firmware completely reinstalled in the middle of a shoot. (Not a good thing, when you have 4 hours to shoot a spot with a NBA player). And I have had a Scarlet randomly do weird things with the white balance to me in the middle of a shoot. These cameras are ultra-fast, high-end super computers attached to a lens mount, and I have yet to use any computer system that is flawless... On set delays, troubleshooting, and having backup bodies are a part of the real cost of using this camera system.

So who is the winner?

There is no clear winner here as it all comes down to what your business model can support. If you have the work and the income to support a system that is a 91% short-term investment, more power to you. But if money is tight, and you are looking to be profitable over the long-term, then it would benefit you to consider other options. There will be newer and better cameras out next year at cheaper prices. Don't get hung up on always having the latest and greatest. Rental houses exist for a reason...

Now I will share with you how I have made my camera purchase...

My Camera Package Of Choice: $11,221.06 [ST= $5,233.11/LT= $5,987.95]
Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT Mount ($2,995) [Short-Term]
What I like about this camera system is that it is low overhead cost. It can sit on the shelf without having to worry about it getting rented out every month. I can shoot with it stripped down and not get noticed, or I can build it up to fit my style of shooting. I have the option of shooting in RAW for my own personal work. (I am hooked on shooting RAW when possible). And I can use ProRes for the smaller projects that need it. While I'm not excited about the crop factor or the limited frames rates, it doesn't put me off either.

Letus 4/3 to PL Mount ($473.95) [Short-Term]
My preference is to work with PL lenses, so on my personal projects, that is what I'll be doing. While there are cheaper 4/3 to PL mounts out there, none of them offer back focus adjustment like the Letus one does, and having an accurate lens is rather important to me, as that is kind of the point of using PL glass ... :)

4/3 to C/Y Mount ($19.19) [Short-Term]
C/Y mount lenses have fallen by the wayside in recent years. I can see why as there are are no fast zooms for it, and it is an older format. However, that also means that you can get some great looking glass for cheap if you know where to look. Even though I prefer to not use SLR lenses, at least I have the option when the budgets are small.

OWC SSD: 240GB x2 ($299 ea) [Short-Term] (These drives have the best track record from what I've found).
I went with the Extreme Pro 6G SSD's because this is the most crucial part of the entire system. Reliability and speed are the two most important things to me, and these drives deliver. I can save money elsewhere in the camera system. Going cheap here is being penny-wise and pound foolish in my opinion. With 60 minutes of RAW or 300 minutes of ProRes, I shouldn't have to worry about downloading footage while I'm out in the field.

$26.97 Startech Drive Dock [Short-Term]
Down and dirty, this dock will get the footage off of your drive and not break the bank. I don't have a thunderbolt port on my computer system, so I'm holding off on that option for now.

Anton Bauer / Gold Mount Battery Package ($755) [Long-Term]
Personally, I prefer AB Batteries as the connection is a lot more solid than V-Mount, and by using 2x 90Wh batteries, I should be able to power my camera and LCD all day. I'll need to keep on top of charging the batteries, but it shouldn't be a losing battle either. And since I can use the P-Tap to power my LCD, it means I only have to worry about one battery system, and one charger.

Sigma 28mm-70mm F2.8 & 70mm - 210 f3.5mm ($250) [Short-Term]
Ebay can be a great place to find lenses, which is where I picked up the 28mm-70mm for $100, complete with original packaging and hard case. I also found the 70mm-210mm on Ebay for $150. With a $21 C/Y to EF Adapter, I can use these lenses on any EF mount camera if needed. The only problem with this setup is the lack of a fast wide angle lense. But when I'm shooting with SLR lenses, I'm looking to keep costs down, which is why I'm avoiding investing in a lot of SLR lenses. Instead, I'll rent them when, and if, they are needed. (In addition to Ebay, another great place to buy used SLR lenses is KEH).

JuiceLinked Riggy ($399) [Short-Term] [Updated 11/17/2012]
Thanks to Frank Glencairn for pointing this gem out to me. Since I'm not planning on plugging my guitar into the camera, I need an adapter to get XLR mic's into the 1/4" audio ports. I could save more money by getting XLR to 1/4" cables, but this adapter allows real control of the audio (Watch this video.) and attaches to the camera cage making it a more secure and clean connection point. (I originally went with the Wooden Camera 1/4" to XLR ($199) adapter, but that only solves the conversion issue, not the other issues that are pointed out in the video.)

Letus Cage w/Accessories ($3,287) [Short-Term $450 / Long-Term $2,837]
My minimal setup for making this camera usable for my style of working: Cage ($450), Baseplate ($420)Cheeseplate ($149), Gold Mount Plate w/4 P-Taps ($120), Top Handle ($195), Top Rods ($65), Base Rods 12" ($90), Follow Focus ($899), Matte Box ($899). (Except for the cage, everything else will transfer over to whatever camera I buy next).

TV Logic 5.6" LCD w/P-Tap ($1,195.95) [Long-Term]
Personally, I've found this monitor to be the best on camera monitor in terms of size, power draw, and color fidelity in relation to overall cost. And since I can power it via P-Tap, that means I do not have to worry about a separate battery system for it.

Sachtler 7+7 Panaroma Head & Carbon Fiber Tripod ($1,200) [Long-Term]
If you scour Ebay for long enough, you can get some great deals on used tripods and true fluid heads. (OConnor & Sachtler). My setup weighs in around 7 lbs. and can support up to 26 lbs. - more than enough for the majority of smaller camera systems I may find myself using.

Application Of Principles:

Principle #1: Be Realistic
In any given month I will shoot on anywhere from 2-6 different camera systems ranging from the Arri Alexa, or Red Epic all the way down to the Canon T2i. I am most interested in using the appropriate tool for the job, rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just to get a rental out of it. I don't have the business model to support owning every camera system, so if I am going to invest, I need to make sure that its cost/expense will not unduly influence me into using it when it is not appropriate. I'm sure that next year, there will be something better I'll want to use, so I do not want to be sweating my financial investment in a single camera system. (I have owned a Red One and an Epic - which I have sold, and I couldn't be happier about that choice).

Principle #2: Think Long Term
About 53% of the money spent on this camera system can be applied towards future camera systems. That means that 47% of the cost will need to be recouped in rentals. I have no idea of what the rental market will be like for this camera, but with the low initial cost, I do not foresee it being very strong. However, the majority of the accessories I have can be used with any other camera system out there, and I am already renting them out for a number of other projects which is helping to offset their cost, and the overhead of the camera itself. If I can recoup 40% of the short-term costs when I sell the camera, I will be doing well with my initial investment.

Principle #3: Evaluate The Real Costs
For the low budget projects shooting ProRes on this camera will be the realistic option as RAW will most likely exceed the budget on set and complicate post. For my personal projects, I will be choosing to shoot RAW, but in order to not see an increase in on set financial costs, that means I'll have to be very disciplined in what I shoot. (Which is a different kind of cost). ProRes will not incur much additional cost for backing up of footage, but when I do shoot RAW, I'll want to be sure the money is in place to support the huge increase in data, that the time in the schedule will be there to process the footage, and that the people working with the footage know how to properly handle it. Overall, I do like that I have the ability in camera to choose in-between ProRes and RAW, that flexibility means I do not have to invest in an added proprietary module to get the job done. This will keep costs down, making me more nimble from project to project.

Remember two important truths when it comes to any camera system: 1. There is no perfect camera that will work for every project; 2. Next year there will be something newer, better, and cheaper. If you remember these truths while applying the principles to your camera purchase, then you will be setting yourself up well for the long haul. As much as we may like to create art, in the end, this is a business, and if you can't stay afloat, then having the best camera system on the market is not benefiting you.

What do you think? Are these principles helpful? What system will you be investing in?

Until Next Time - Get Out There And Shoot!
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