By John Bucher and Jeremy Casper
Everybody wants a full palette of colors to paint with, though chances are you might not be able to afford the glorious images you’ve envisioned for your feature. Today’s technology, however, offers even the no-budget moviemaker an array of affordable camera options to rival the images screened in multiplexes the nation over.
One of the first questions to ask yourself when choosing a camera package is: Where is this film going to be seen? An average distribution scenario for a film shot on a $15,000 budget might be a few screenings at several film festivals, and self-distribution online. On the other hand, higher-end movies, in order to recoup their production costs, have to screen on as many platforms as possible. If a film is going to be projected on large screens or even streamed on Netflix (which now requires all of its new projects to be acquired in true 4K, or at least 4,096 pixels wide), it’s going to require a better camera. And that moviemaker has to be mindful of technical requirements and image specifications that her lower-budget peers won’t have to worry about.
Whoever you are, whatever your film, there’s a camera out there that’s right for you. We’ve drawn up four different levels of production budgets and the types of cameras that work well with each tier—and we asked a few friendly DPs for a second opinion.
Budget Tier One: $15,000 and Under
The $15,000-and-under microbudget threshold is where most moviemakers cut their teeth and gain the experience that will eventually propel them into more significant projects with bigger budgets. Don’t worry, though—you’ll be taken seriously with any of the following cameras.
Canon has for years provided several options in their EOS line that capture high-quality imagery without breaking the bank. “We shot [Zal Batmanglij’s low-budget 2011 feature] Sound of My Voice
From:: Movie Maker/Cinematography