Cameras Make Headlines – The C300 and Scarlet

I must admit that I’m a pretty hardcore video technologist. I love video and film perfection. Please take whatever that means with a grain of salt when you read my brief musings on the hot shit that was recently announced from two great camera companies.

If you read my blog, then you probably already know enough of the details and specs of the BIG 2 newsworthy cameras that were just announced – the Canon C300 and the Red Scarlet.

These are amazing, beautiful cinema-style cameras that can create film-like motion pictures.  They are priced in the $15-$20k range once you get all of the required kit to make them work for production.  One has XYZ and the other has this bell and whistle that the other doesn’t.  They make fanboys scream and they confuse old timers that think film is God.  One thing is for certain is that you can shoot as long as you want for “only the price of a shiny new car“.

Don’t get my cynicism wrong.  I’d gladly accept a donated C300 for my personal production arsenal.  I also love to see competition in the marketplace.  Capitalism works best when there are people fighting for your hard earned dollar.  The problem I see is people’s reaction to these new expensive toys on the market.

I see a lot of people (myself included, “me too”) react to announcements like this one and think – “If only I could or would purchase this camera THEN, I could really make something amazing“.  This is a flawed mindset that I fall victim to far too often.  Our DP here at the agency, who also moonlights as a shooter for NFL films, told me something that has stuck.  It’s just another light tight box!

Basically, the idea is that a camera is a camera – a tool.  What I love about the current state of video cameras is that you can just as easily grab a $550 Canon T2/3i off the shelf and tell an incredible story without selling the farm (or going into massive debt which is more likely).  Cameras like the C300 and Red Scarlet make news today and that is a fact.  What I’d like to see is visual artists, DPs, directors, and editors making the news.

How many current directors can you name?  How many camera models or software tools can you name?  I think you get my point.  The question should be Tarantino vs. Cameron, not 1’s and 0’s with x sensor verses 1’s and 0’s with y sensor.

There is a place for these new fancy toys, but most people and small production companies don’t need them.  Getting the right moment, the right light, and the right talent always wins – even if it’s shot with a Flip cam!

Go out and create something amazing with what you have.  I say this as much to myself as anyone that’s willing to listen to me.  You have the best peice of technology that nobody else can buy – your brain and personal creativity.  All it takes is time and effort.

So who wins?  Canon C300 or Red Scarlet?  I’d pick you or myself over those cameras any day.

  1. That’s a hard but helpful perspective on cinematography. The tool doesn’t make the artist.

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