An Interview with Philip Bloom, DSLR Filmaking its past and its future. Philip Bloom’s though

 An Interview with Philip Bloom, DSLR Filmaking its past and its future.

Philip Bloom’s thoughts and experiences around the culture of shooting with HDSLR’s is insightful. One of the best interviews I’ve heard that explains just how DSLRs came into where they are today for independent digital filmmaking.

Love the closing statement:  “The image quality is just too damn sexy to disappear”.

As a filmmaker, How do you define yourself?

A newsletter from Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy arrived in my email inbox this morning asking this very question.

As content creators of moving images, if our intention is to charge clients for our film making services then this question should be contemplated.

I call myself a “Hybrid Digital Filmmaker” – having originally come from a background as a photojournalist.  I have been telling stories since the late 80’s with still images.  The transition to moving images reignited my passion for the art form.

According to Lennie, How much is there in a name or title? Well, if you read any of the popular film making blogs, it seems that it’s commonplace to call yourself a DoP or Cinematographer.

I have issue with how liberally shooters label themselves with an important title like that given the mediocre quality of their work.

Lennie continues with listing three different definitions within the Digital Filmmaking community:

Definition 1: The Director of Photography is the Cinematographer who is responsible for the process of recording a scene as instructed by the Director. Duties include selection of film, cameras and lenses, as well as selecting the lighting. The Director of Photography directs the Gaffer’s placement of lighting.

Definition 2: A Cinematographer is a person who has expertise in the art of capturing images either electronically or on film through the use of visual recording devices. Also responsible for the selection and arrangement of lighting. The Director of Photography is the movie’s chief Cinematographer.

Definition 3: Cinematography is the art of photography and camerawork in film making.

So, how do you define yourself? And more importantly, how do your clients see you? Do they really care what you call yourself?

Have you heard the phrase ‘Perception IS reality’. Be sure to give this statement pause to contemplate how it can affect your image for others. If you want to be “cool” in front of your peers, then maybe DOP is the right title (just make sure you can deliver what it says on the tin). IMO, too many shooters use the term quite often when in reality they have no idea what it takes to earn that title.

However, here’s a far more important consideration. Ask yourself this, what are clients looking for?

Clients and customers ONLY care about one thing: themselves and their problem and… are you the right solution to fix that problem?

They have on or a mix of the following:

  • A Need 
  • A Want
  • A Desire
  • A Pain
  • A Concern

What they REALLY want is a solution. The question is, can you come up with an imaginative and engaging film that tells a story and addresses those needs and desires the client is seeking a resolution to?

Without the experience to truly tell their story, you are remiss in calling yourself a DoP, Director, etc.  Ego tends to be the driving force in using such titles.  And it seems the more one has gone into debt for in the accumulation of equipment, the more shooters feel entitled to call themselves filmmakers, DoP,’s etc.

Our skills as  Digital Film makers can and should draw on influences from the cinema, and that level of differentiation will impress any client – so long as it delivers the message and answers the question and solves the problem they had in the first place.

I spent this morning talking on the phone with Gail Mooney. Needless to say, she opened MY eyes to follow my heart, my passion for telling stories that truly matter instead of the sensationalist pablum for the sheeple masses fed to viewers on broadcast television. Her latest blog posting, ”Opening Yourself Up To Possibilities”, came at just the right time for me.  I now feel compelled – and READY – to begin work on a documentary project I’ve been afraid to start.   Her advice to me:  ”Follow my purpose – have faith in my skills.” She made me realize something profound:  I will become more alive when I work on things I truly care about. Thanks Gail :)

Opening Our Eyes – a film about people making a positive difference in the world

SONY Upgrades the PMW-F3 to “Mini-Alexa”

Sony has released details of their paid firmware upgrade for the SONY PMW-F3 and the buzz around it is bring a happy dance to those who use it now or for those looking to move in that direction.

The CBK-RGB01 upgrade for the F3 will allow for 4:4:4 uncompressed output over 3G-SDI (the next-generation of HD-SDI) or dual-link HD-SDI, four pre-loaded look up tables (LUTs), five custom LUTs, and most importantly an S-LOG workflow — essentially it’s more of a RAW workflow, which Sony is claiming improves dynamic range by a staggering 800%!

All of these new features come at a price: $3,300. While this may seem to be alot of money for a firmware upgrade, filmmakers interested in those enhanced features will be working on well-funded projects. As a comparison, a 4:4:4 recorder like the Cinedeck costs $10k alone.

While it’d be nice to have the upgraded features enabled by default, Sony is playing it by allowing shooters to get their foot in the door for a lower priced stock F3 camera, with hopes that those very filmmakers will pony up for the future upgrades.

This upgrade justifies the SONY F3 being called a “mini ALEXA” when you consider the Arri Alexa is a $75,000 camera body and the SONY PMW-F3 body sans lenses with firmware upgrade is $17,000.

IMO, The SONY PMW-F3 is bringing a level of technical quality that is more within reach of dedicated digital filmmakers.