Thursday, October 28, 2010

What phone have you got?

Today, i got into a bout of 'What Phone Have You Got'. You know the drill... a friend asks what mobile phone you use, and then proceeds to tell you that you should have got what he got. It's quite often an iPhone user... but not always. I personally use an HTC Desire. It does everything i want and i'm really happy with it. I love my MacBook Pro, iMac and PowerMac...but for me, the iPhone wasn't what i needed. Anyway, none of that matters... the only reason people get into this debate is they want re-assurance that the 2 year contract they just bought into was the right choice....even if it wasn't.

This reminded me of the same arguments i see time and time again on the forums about DSLRs vs RED or 7D vs 5Dmk2 or 550D vs GH1... it's all about the same thing. "I just bought into this system and i'm going to brag about it's merits until you agree it's the best choice".  I was reading recently about a revered DoP who just bought a Sony F35 rather than a RED.  He was getting all kinds of crazy comments saying how he was stupid not buying into RED...especially as RED was so much cheaper. Now i've read up on all of this many times over. I know the F35 is capable of much more than the RED is... it's got more latitude and an easier post process... not to mention the RED's apparent softness in comparison. But that's not the point. The point is, people who didn't know what he was planning to shoot or why were criticizing his choice of camera system. I'm sure lots of you have noticed how 'scary' some of the RED users can get about their beloved system... it was pretty full on.

Now, i'm about to start work on a big project and i'm planning on using a few different cameras, but the one that's getting me the most hassle is my 550D. Yes, i know it's a crop sensor. Yes, i know it uses H.264 as an acquisition codec...and that's not ideal...and yes, i know it's not a RED. But... i don't care. It does what i want it to do. I've tested it in all the various settings I need it to work in and i think it blows the crap out of anything else i've tested. It's brought to mind something that happened to me over the last few weeks in the USA.

For those that don't know, i make my 'bread and butter' living from being a touring sound engineer. I've just come back from a tour of the States where i ran into some really old skool sound engineers in some of the venues. When i rock up with my MacBook Pro and soundcard instead of a big rack of processing gear, i get all kinds of smart remarks and sideways looks. That all stops as soon as they hear my mixes. I know there's a whole world of esoteric audio gear that is 'what everyone uses'. I used to use it. But i've moved on... i use the best tool for the job: - My MacBook Pro. It never gets lost in the baggage system (cos it's alway in my backpack). It never gives me backache when i carry it. It sounds as good, if not better than my old rack and it gives me tools that aren't available any other way.

In other words... it's like the DSLR of the professional audio world. I knew there was a reason i liked DSLRs. They're small, light and to the people that matter (the audience) they are as good as anything else.

I must add, i've spent all day today re-writing parts of the script to 'Their Law'. It's all essential stuff pointed out by a producer friend who had spotted some issues that needed looking at. And that's the rub... equipment should be merely a tool to get the story to the screen. The story is THE most important part of any film... and a good story is worth spending as much time as possible on. Cameras and workflows come and go...but the story will be talked about for years if you get it right.

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