There was a meme floating around Facebook once. It was an infographic of all the gear used in the production of a rock and roll song.
It started with the rental of expensive guitars even more expensive vintage amplifiers and microphones. Then the inevitable decision between recording to analog, with all its inherent (and wonderful) flaws and vulnerabilities, which make it fantastic. Or going digital with provides a level of clarity and stability.
Expensive rental of Studio space. High hourly wages for engineers and production staff and an epic amount of money for a producer and someone to master it all down. Then to put it either on vinyl, which is the new rebounding tradition or send it to CD format.
The last part of the infographic was the most revealing however, because after all that money and cost to make a fantastic product that has a depth and breadth of meaning and emotion, its delivered via MP3 format on a device with skeptical audio abilities. And finally to your ears on a pair of headphones that cost $0.99 to make in China.
I found in many scenarios film is very much the same thing. I see guys running around doing videos for firearm companies with Red Epics and close to $70,000 worth of hardware. What’s the point if it’s all going to the YouTube channel. Even in 4k uptake is reasonably slow at this point and most people are going to watch it on their mobile device which isn’t going to deliver 4K anyway.
The picture in this post is my “Run and Gun” setup. It runs about $12,000 (half of that is a Chronos 1.4 high speed camera) for the entirety of the setup, not counting tripods or Steadicam gear. It fits in the two cases you see.
This rig also happens to include a full set of Sony lavalier mics, LED lights, a TASCAM digital audio recorder and enough batteries to shoot for two days straight.
Everything I need for a complete shoot practically anywhere including a blue screen rag would only add two more cases to this. In fact I’ll take a picture of the entire set up when I get back home.
The moral of this story is? Be careful what you’re paying for when you’re paying for media content generation. In many cases you’re footing the bill for someone’s technology obsession and not paying for the skill and knowledge that are required to produce a good product.
Not unlike gear in Law Enforcement and Military, the right tool for the job is key and ensures mission success, but it is the knowledge of the operator that should be getting the most attention.
Don’t judge a book by its cover or by how much gear it’s packing into the shoot.