It’s never the gear that makes the movie. Right? Maybe a little?
In many ways, this conversation revolves around shooters picking up cameras or gear that at the end of the day is somewhat equivalent with things like what brand you choose not making a huge difference to results. But, what if you took this idea to the extreme?
Parker Walbeck’s crew at Full Time Filmmaker did that by handing a $50,000 RED V-RAPTOR 8K VV and production kit to an enthusiast and leaving the pro filmmaker with just an iPhone 13. You can’t get too much wider of a range in equipment than that.
Jake Weisler, a common feature of the channel, is the pro filmmaker in the contest and he is limited to the following gear:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- FTF GEAR Tripod
- 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector
The challenger is Alyssa Dye and she has been doing video for less than a year. Her gear list is much more substantial:
- RED V-RAPTOR 8K VV
- Cinema Lenses
- Production Van with Equipment
They are doing a product video for a client. It is going to feature an interview to talk about the brand along with some cinematic B roll to show off the goods. Jake is going to be Alyssa’s PA to answer questions about the gear but will not be giving advice on what to do with it.
The product for today is a new screen cleaner called water bears. Works with any screen or lens and can stick to anything without leaving residue.
First thing you can tell about Alyssa is that she was focusing on getting the shot set up by rearranging furniture and working with the talent to get things into a good place. Then, once she had an idea she started figuring out the gear. She did need a lot of guidance, but was asking the right questions. She even asked the destination for the video to get a read on what you need.
With everything set up for the interview it was time to start shooting. It took a second but she did start giving good direction to the subject as he was doing the interview.
Time for B roll. This she seems to do fairly on the fly. She picked up the camera and was just shooting a variety of different shots.
Obviously, Jake has some limits in how he can get set up. He doesn’t have a ton of lights or accessories to work with.
Picking up the iPhone and shooting vertically he works with the subject to find the best lighting. He also popped the camera into Cinematic Mode to see if he could get that shallow depth of field look. In the end he stuck with 4K ProRes though.
An interesting move is that he requested different wardrobe options to help separate the subject from the background.
Before the interview he is also asking a bunch of questions to get a feel for the audience and how he is going to be distributing the video.
With social as the target he is shooting vertically to make the most use of the iPhone’s limited video quality. Jake also believes that shooting this way can make the video feel much more organic, which can be helpful with product promotion.
For more direction, he makes it clear that he wants it to be very short – under 15 seconds – to make it work for social placement.
He then gives direction on what is being said, highlighting that the language should be more definitive and less iffy. You want confidence to sell a product. He then explains how a simple method is to talk about a problem and then present the solution (aka the product).
B roll he made use of the space and big windows to get some good light. A little more focused on fitting the edit. It was a very different creative approach.
The Client Review
The end results are both well done, they are just very different. What is helpful is that with social media being the target it might actually give an edge to the more natural-looking iPhone footage. The RED ad is still just a very clean and well-done ad.
As you start listening to the conversation about each ad it quickly turns into what the actual content is.
Nobody is talking about how the RED footage is sharper or how the iPhone footage still looks like a phone. It is about how the information is presented and laid out.
Both videos are good, but the pro wins with the iPhone video. Part of that is that it was better able to capture the nature of a social media feed and might be better received by the audience. Conversion and engagement matter more than having 8K resolution.
What did you think about the ads?
[source: Parker Walbeck]
- RED V-RAPTOR 8K VV Cinema Camera (B&H)