More thoughts on YouTube, Filmmaking and Cameras

A post about filmmaking, YouTube, gear and what on Earth am I doing?

I spent this morning looking at a new camera from Canon. It’s fancy, it has all kinds of great features and it satisfies a number of requirements I have for a camera. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? Kind of. I do not believe that it has been released yet but given how the world of cameras works there are many, many reviews of this camera on YouTube. And I doubt I will watch any of them (but if I did it would most likely be Gerald Undone or Potato Jet).

I have not been writing about cameras as much as I used to and, in part, this is because I’ve stopped paying attention to the new models. I’ve discovered that for all of the interest I may have in new cameras and amazing features I do not need anything more than I have. Which is somewhat disappointing as the most popular posts I have all concern cameras. Only I’m not writing here to be popular. I’ve been vocal about trying to figure out why I am write here and my absolute confusion as to what I should post on this site. I am not certain of the answer still. I am certain that I do not what to be a reviewer or someone who chases after what is popular.

All of this thought about the new camera (The Canon R5C) made me think about how different things are now compared to when I first started learning about cameras online. When I bought bought my first proper camera (the DVX 100B) there were not a lot of websites reviewing these cameras. There certainly were not thousands of people on YouTube putting out weekly reviews. What was truly different then was that the cameras I was concerned with were being reviewed from the perspective of how good they were for making films.

By making films I mean feature films being the purpose of these cameras. It was exciting and interesting and all of these famous filmmakers were extolling the virtues of having less expensive cameras for making movies. Steven Soderbergh was shooting films on a prosumer Canon camera (which I shot my first music video on) and Sidney Pollack accidentally did the same (Sketches of Frank Gehry). A new company called RED was going to make a camera and their goal was to have it be inexpensive enough that anyone could make a movie with it, removing the largest hurdle for making movies (I should point out that Jared Land also created a website/forum that was instrumental in providing me with information regarding filmmaking gear).

Now when I see reviews of new cameras nearly everyone is talking about whether it would be good for YouTube. Or weddings. Or some other thing that is not making feature films. Which makes absolute sense as there are millions of people making YouTube videos now. More people are making a living from creating videos for YouTube and other social media platforms than they are from making feature films. It’s just that these same people absolutely do not need amazing cameras to do what they are doing.

About a year ago I found myself watching video after video from YouTube filmmaker Peter McKinnon. I had heard about him for a while and never really found myself watching what he made. For some reason I watched one of his earliest videos and liked it. So I started from the beginning and watched what he made in chronological order. The videos were interesting, they were fun and it was a good way to pass the time in the middle of a pandemic. Then I came across a video where he visited the YouTube studio of someone who went by MKBHD. I had seen his image before but did not know him. It was a decent video, not overly interesting to me but there were two points where it had my attention fully.

The first was when Marques Brownlee was discussing the “sound traps” in his studio which allowed him to record anywhere in the giant space and still have great audio. That was news to me, I had not heard of those before. The other was when he was trying to convince Mr. McKinnon to invest in getting a Red camera. In case you don’t know until two years ago Red cameras were expensive. That initial dream of making affordable cameras for filmmakers never really happened. The least expensive model now sells for about $6,000. The cameras that these two were discussing were all at least double that amount.

I’m delving deep into this one episode but the reason is the arguments presented – shooting in 8k resolution was “future proofing” and that these cameras were vastly superior – were not really valid to Peter McKinnon at the time. He was using a Canon 1DX mark ii (I believe) a $5,000 camera geared more toward still photography than video. Still, an excellent camera and one he had been using for quite some time to make his successful YouTube channel with. I watched a few more videos of Mr. McKinnon’s and what appears on screen? A Red camera.

I just wrote three paragraphs to say something that should be one sentence – if you are making YouTube videos where 90% of what you film is yourself talking to the camera don’t spend a lot of money. Despite so many of these people promoting their Aputure lights and Sennheiser microphones if it’s just your face talking at the camera you don’t need expensive anything. Good lighting will make a better looking image just as a good microphone will make your voice sound better but at the end of the day it’s just a person talking to a camera. If people are willing to watch you do that then you can certainly save thousands of dollars and have it look and sound a bit worse.

Obviously a good looking image is nice.

I seem to have gone off topic here, I apologize. My frustration regarding the world of YouTube, cameras and making short or long form films/videos/content is that all of the focus on gear seems driven by the companies making and selling it. That so many people have a business that consists of reviewing filmmaking equipment on YouTube speaks volumes as to how weird this has gotten. I find it incredibly difficult to find people making actual films whereas if I want to watch a review about the new Panasonic S5 mark ii there are dozens that will come up with my first search.

There seems to be a disconnect between making films and making content and it’s interesting to see that few people make both. Which is not to say that I have not found people that do (Mark Bone in particular comes to mind as does Brady Bessette) but it certainly is rare. In a previous post I shared a clip from a podcast from Corridor Digital with Freddie Wong who had been part of a YouTube channel (RocketJump) and decided to leave in order to make films. I am happy to report he has done this and below I am sharing a video he made with Aputure and his director of photography Bongani Mlambo. It’s short and it’s interesting take a look:

I feel like I tread and retread this ground often with little positivity to add. I’d like to end this post by saying there’s nothing wrong with using great gear. I found it interesting to see videos from Peter McKinnon last year where he started purging all of his large and expensive gear (The Red camera included) because he doesn’t need it. What I like about the above video is when they speak about gear used on this shoot (the video is on the Aputure channel so…) they aren’t talking about using the biggest and best gear. They are highlighting products from this company and explaining why they chose to use what they used. Somehow the feeling I get from someone saying, “I made this and here is how I did it,” is more palatable than someone saying, “If you are going to make something, use this,”. Perhaps that is just personal preference.

The Rabbit Hole That Is YouTube

A few thoughts about filmmaking gear, knowing what you want to do and buying a Segway.

As many of my recent posts have made clear I’ve been experimenting with new gear for filmmaking. Part of how I get started and learn about new gear is by watching videos on YouTube.

In these posts I often reference specific videos by people like Philip Bloom, who makes excellent, long-form reviews that seem targeted at people like myself. When I say people like myself I mean people who are interested in using the cameras/tools more for narrative or documentary filmmaking, rather than vlogging, wedding videos, real estate or corporate videos (and of course he makes reviews of products for those things also because… it’s the Internet).

I’m taking a moment to explain this in detail because I’ve widened my range when using YouTube and I am watching work by many different creators. Many of these people make their living from the videos they post on YouTube and it’s a very different approach and mindset.

It is this mindset that has interested me over the past day or so, in particular because of several videos I’ve watched. Today I watched the following video by Neumann Films

And this from Corridor Cast (which I think is the podcast for Corridor Crew) –

I watched the Neumann Films’ video because I am considering buying a new camera. Since the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k was recently released I looked at reviews of the camera.

The video is less a review and more a commentary about why people keep chasing new camera gear. The message being about evaluating what you really need and why you should reconsider buying anything. At one point Luke Neumann says, “Are you really thinking about buying this camera to make cinema? Are you making cinema? I’m not making cinema. I’m making short films and videos and tutorials for the web. I’m making things people are watching on their phone.”

Which I think is an important point to make. It isn’t that these videos don’t have value, it’s that there is this ongoing idea (for myself and many other people I imagine) that when we buy our next camera it needs to be capable of making a feature film. That the purchase needs to satisfy our current needs and the pipe-dream needs as well. Despite the fact that most people buying these cameras have nothing in the works to make these dreams a reality (in an immediate and actionable sense).

The Corridor Cast’s video is specifically about how having a successful YouTube channel doesn’t matter all that much if you goal is to make cinema (movies that are shown in movie theaters or on a major streaming platform is how I am defining this). I think many people will watch these videos and feel disheartened. I know that looking at the comments of both people seem either depressed or annoyed that having a successful YouTube channel does not directly lead to Hollywood access and success.

Which, prior to watching this video, isn’t something I had thought much about. Many people who create content for YouTube don’t strike me as people aspiring to make big budget feature films. Perhaps that is my bias.

A few weeks ago I watched an interview between Ryan Connelly (FilmRiot) and David F. Sandberg. It is interesting to think about this interview now because David Sandberg made the leap from web content to Hollywood films with what I think was a moderately successful YouTube channel (it certainly is moderate for YouTube now, so I have to guess back then it was much less so).

So in this context (and reading the terrible comments of the FilmRiot video) it provides an interesting example of how people do utilize the web to get noticed and go on to have a film career (which is not news, several high profile “discoveries” have been made via the Internet and lauded as a reason to put content on the web). I really thought the difference of approach between Mr. Sandberg and Mr. Connelly regarding the web (YouTube in particular) was worth noting. As far as I can tell Mr. Sandberg was not relying on web content as his primary source of income. Therefore he didn’t have to create weekly content in the way that a channel like FilmRiot does in order to amass subscribers and generate revenue.

What I find interesting, relating to my situation (and the point of this post), is that David Sandberg did not use the DIY gear and equipment that made his short films when went to Hollywood. In this interview he speaks at length at how different the process was and how he had to figure out how to make a film in a Hollywood way (while also confessing that he snuck off with the actors at one point and shot footage with his BMPCC – but that this was frowned upon).

If there is a takeaway from my YouTube dalliances it comes from the channel Make.Art.Now. The creator of that channel, Josh Yeo, makes excellent videos that are different from what I usually see on YouTube. He’s not posting short films, much of what he shares are reviews/tutorials or in-depth looks at projects he’s worked on. His channel isn’t monetized so I suppose what feels different with his content is that each video he posts stands on its own. He’s making content when he wants to and how he wants to, rather than within a set time limit to keep subscribers and keep making money.

Interestingly because of this approach I keep getting seduced by gear he shows in his videos despite it making absolutely no sense for me to purchase any of it. In particular he uses a Segway miniPRO smart, a self-balancing transporter. It’s a rather ridiculous looking thing that he himself confesses he would never use outside of filmmaking. But he does use it because when used in conjunction with a gimbal it allows him to get incredibly smooth shots – without using large, more expensive equipment. The Segway also is able to do precise, controlled movements that other devices, like the Onewheel, cannot do.

Jesse Driftwood with a Onewheel. He just looks so happy!

What I’ve learned watching these videos it’s how important it is to know what you want to do – before you start buying gear. A smart person (not me) would have a plan in place to make money before they buy anything. Forgoing that step it is also incredibly important to know what you want to do and buy accordingly. If you are primarily going to be posting videos on YouTube and you have a recent smartphone should you buy a camera? You could download an app like FilmicPro, purchase an inexpensive microphone for the phone and be up and running (I’m not saying this is the best option, but it might not be a bad one).

These questions lead to more questions and ultimately end in the world of ease of use and what works for you. For me, I have found a shift in my thinking regarding what is available to me and what is possible. In particular I’ve been looking at how YouTube is used versus what I thought people were doing – and it’s interesting.

A number of my subscriptions are for sites or people who used to share short form content (fiction or non-fiction) and how many of them have moved away from doing so. Even Philip Bloom, who I originally was watching for his mini-documentaries, posts very few now. It’s certainly worth thinking about.

I want to close with a video from my favorite YouTube channel which is structured in a clever manner. Great Big Story has genres or subdivisions on its channel which allows it to cover pretty much any topic. They also aren’t always short videos. They make excellent content and if you haven’t seen what they do you should check them out.

Rethinking My iPhone Choices

Right. More about this.

In my last post I tried to work out my thoughts regarding the Moment anamorphic lens and whether it made any sense to use such a lens. Here is my conclusion: it does not. Happy? I’m trying to respect your time.

This image is from a YouTube video, if you are interested in learning more about this setup here is the link:

I’d like to reiterate a point made in my last post – it is costly to try and make your phone into a camera capable of shooting films/videos.

To shoot with an Moment anamorphic lens you need:

  1. Moment Case (again this is the photo case, not the video case that provides upgraded battery life) – $39.99
  2. Moment Anamorphic Lens – $149.99

But you also really should have the following otherwise your footage won’t look very good.


  1. App to shoot with an anamorphic lens – $15 or $7(ish?)
  2. Filter Mount – $39.99
  3. ND Filter(s) – $60 [ I used my brain and remembered that B&H sells Tiffen ND filter kits, which include three ND filters of different strengths for less than the cost of the one ND filter featured on the Moment website (which is not to knock their filter, for all I know that one deals with infrared pollution).]

This is the point I reached in my purchases. I did not buy a microphone or gimbal – I came to my senses before things went that far. So, all be told I spent, roughly, $304.87.

(Important note: this gear will only allow for you to shoot handheld.)

I am currently in the process of returning these purchases and thinking about what, if anything I want to use if I decide to make a film for the upcoming FilmicPro competition. I had written a much longer post ranting and raving about this experience but I think I am best suited by posting a link to a post I made last year about this same issue.

It pains me that I forget lessons I’ve learned so quickly, but there it is. If, somehow, you find yourself in a similar position thinking about buying gear for your phone take a moment, look over these long-winded posts and consider whether it is really worth it.

Another Sony A7S Post

I keep poking at this in the hope I’ll be happy afterwards. Not yet…


Once again I am writing about cameras, specifically the Sony A7S. Why am I doing this?! Who could possibly care? It seems like you do, dear reader. Given that the vast majority of my posts are read by a handful of people, I’d like to point out that my most popular post (excluding the time that CNN linked to my See it Again of Hudson Hawk) is The Wonderful World of Cameras.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 3.59.25 PM

Both of my posts concerning the A7S are over three years old. I’ve had the camera for nearly four years and many people are expecting the A7S mkiii to appear any day now (which is strange because you would think camera companies would benefit from simply announcing cameras in a normal fashion rather than playing this “surprise!” game that they do).

Over the past three months I’ve been playing around with the settings and discovered, not surprisingly, that I’ve been doing many things wrong. Let me try and be organized about explaining this matter because perhaps it might help some of you as well.

First, I bought the camera and was new to Sony menus and the like. Knowing that how you set up one of these cameras is as important as how you then use the camera I went looking for some guidance. As I mentioned before this led me to Philip Bloom and a workshop that he held with B&H Photo. I am providing a link to Cinema5D because they have a write up to go along with the video which I found helpful.

I have been following Philip Bloom and his work for some time and I find him to be knowledgable and helpful. When he shares settings he uses for a camera he usually offers an explanation as to why he uses these settings. This is incredibly helpful!

That being said I should have continued exploring and looking at the options for the camera because, I think, what he offered in this workshop is a down-and-dirty, quick set-up guide for people about to shoot. What he offered was for people who needed something that would work immediately, not necessarily the “best” settings for the camera.

An explanation of Slog

Why do I say this? Well for one he warns people off from Slog 2. The camera was new at the time and the minimum ISO setting of 3200 was off-putting to many. I also believe that he had (which many people have put forth) his understanding of when to use Slog backwards.

In my recent journey to better understand how to use the A7S and get better results I started reading blog posts by Alister Chapman. At first I came across Mr. Chapman and his published thoughts because I was looking for LUTs for the A7S and he made a number that he gave away for free. In trying to read through and watch the content he shared about the A7S I found I was either in waters too deep for my head or, sadly, bored with his approach.

I don’t write that to diminish his offerings. In the past few months I have made a concerted effort, due to my better understanding of who Mr. Chapman is and what he is offering, to try and understand what he has shared online. His understanding of how this camera (and I gather all Sony cameras) work and how best to use them is thorough, detailed and impressive.

It was in reading thought his posts that I began, slowly, to understand what  Slog 2 is intended for.

Log gamma, such as Sony’s S-Log2, allows the camera to capture a much greater brightness range or dynamic range than is possible when shooting with conventional television gamma. Dynamic range is the range from light to dark that the camera can capture or the range that the monitor or TV can display within one image. It is the range from the deepest blacks to the brightest whites that can be captured or shown at the same time.

Up until reading this post and others I did not appreciate (as I notice many people also seem not to) that the idea of a log gamma curve is to allow for greater dynamic range. What this means is that you have an image with very bright parts and very dark parts and you want to try and capture all of them (and do it without noise and other problems).


Now a great many people in the forums I follow have written about only using Slog 2 at night, due to the minimum ISO of 3200. They then have gone on to complain about noise in the shadows and overall poor image quality. Reading through Mr. Chapman’s take on Slog 2 it became apparent that if you know what Slog 2 is intended for that these results are unsurprising. Shooting at night usually means less dynamic range in the image and therefore a different gamma curve would be better suited.

I had been attempting to use the LUTs Mr. Chapman made (and others) for years and I’ve often found that when shooting with the profiles recommended in Mr. Bloom’s workshop that the results are less than ideal. This is because most of the LUTs I use are made for Slog 2 and not Cine 2 or 4.

Because of this I have continued searching and come across a number of posts referring to custom picture profiles that Andrew Reid at had made.

When I purchased my Panasonic GH3 I was made aware of Andrew Reid because he sold a guide about how to set it up for cinematic shooting. Many people recommended the guide and I purchased it for $20. At the time I found it useful since I was new to this form of filmmaking. Since that time I have been made aware that nearly everything in the guide could easily be found online at other sites, for free.


This made me skeptical when I heard about his picture profiles but I looked at the site and watched a few videos. The results are often quite good. Upon further investigation it became apparent that he had not created LUTs for the A7S but picture profile settings that he was selling.

Thankfully I have been paying attention to such things for long enough to know that whatever he was charging it was not worth the cost. A few keyword searches later and I found myself on a site I used when I owned a Panasonic DVX100 – DVXUser .com.

If you are unfamiliar with it it is a forum site which now deals with a wide range of cameras and filmmaking topics. When I purchased my A7S I did not know the site was still active. It is and, contrary to the Facebook groups I previously belonged to, it has a lot of great content and the members are often helpful.

In particular I found a thread pertaining to the A7S and custom picture profiles. Unlike Mr. Reid, the people sharing these are not looking to make a living over tweaking a few settings. One of the many benefits of this altruism is that a thread can be created where users test the settings, share their results and help fix any possible problems.

This comes from a Cinema5d article about LUTs –

This is where I have landed, a number of custom settings that dig much deeper into the submenus (and sub-submenus) of the camera manipulating settings I do not fully understand. The profiles come with suggested settings (a useful thing to have and thankfully accurate) and I now have a sense of what to use and when to use it – all in order to get better results.

The reason why I have bothered to write all of this is because after three and a half years – I am consistently happy with the results I am getting. The camera is delivering images that I now am manipulating in post in a way that works (rather than the long periods of trial and error from before).


I have found in the online community there is often an assumption of knowledge that leads to confusion and lack of understanding. Belonging to a number of groups and forums I am comforted by the fact that I am not the only person who is unsure as to what Knee adjusts on a camera. Yes, I can look it up – but understanding how a particular camera with a particular gamma profile should be manipulated to produce the best image isn’t easy and it isn’t intuitive. Finding the information, without explanations and the reasons why choices are made, often clarifies little for me. I follow the instructions but the results are hit or miss because of my lack of understanding.

Why the people making cameras don’t also make guides like the one on DVXuser is beyond me. Customers like myself would be thrilled to be getting better results without guesswork and hours of manipulation in post production and those that enjoy testing and learning on their own could ignore these guides and carry on as they like.

A Post about the D.I.Y Approach to Filmmaking

Another attempt to try and explain my thoughts about gear and how to best use it.

I make an effort to write positive things on this site. If I have something negative to say I try and find a reason for saying it, one that I hope will be beneficial in some ways to others. For some time I have wanted to address the “iPhone Movie” or the no budget approach to making films.

When I watch a film I am not interested in how it is captured. The content, the story and how it is told are my primary interests. If I like the story and enjoy the film I then might start asking, “What did they film this on?” or “How did they do that?” These two questions are of particular importance to me because I am also a filmmaker of limited means – which is to say I am always on the lookout for inexpensive ways to make my movies. (Case in point – my previous post See it Again – A Message From the King was focused on the look of the film and how they achieved it. Discovering that it was shot on film was both affirming [this is what I am looking for and there is a simple way to do it] and saddening [since I do not have the money to shoot on film at present]).

Which is why when people use tools I already own, like an iPhone, to make films, I pay attention. Free is certainly within my budget.  Starting with that my hope is I can make something good.

A few years ago Sean Baker made the film Tangerine using iPhones. The film received quite a bit of attention including being nominated for four spirit awards (and winning one).

As you can imagine it caught my attention. Numerous articles and interviews appeared in which Mr. Baker shared the equipment he used (this article in particular pulls from many of them

Allow me to paste some quotes from this article below to make my point. Regarding his camera gear:

  • Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter for iPhone 5s (this gave them around a 2.40:1 aspect ratio from the original 16:9)
  • FiLMiC Pro App (this helped lock exposure, focus, white balance, but also gave them better compression)
  • Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 5/5s


For the 22-day shoot, Cheung brought only three battery-operated Rosco LitePads — 1’x1’, 6”x12” and 3”x12” — “just to be able to fill in and add some eyelight every now and then,” he says. Bounce material picked up at a 99-Cents Only Store was used occasionally. “We had no C-stands, no conventional movie lights,” says Cheung. “We staged our actors with existing light on locations, to some degree, and I turned those existing lights on and off selectively.

And what was used to capture the sound (all of which I am unfamiliar with but a quick search reveals this is not low budget gear):

Veteran sound mixer Irin Strauss used the Sound Devices 664 mixer/recorder along with some other high-end stuff to capture the best audio possible.

In addition to his 664, Strauss used a Lectrosonics SMV wireless system for his transmitters, along with Sanken COS-11D lavaliers. He employed a Schoeps CMIT5U shotgun microphone and, occasionally, a T-powered Schoeps CMC 4U for locations with low ceilings and little head room. 

So what’s interesting to me here is that although the camera and lighting gear used on this film is well within my budget, the audio equipment (let alone expertise to use it well) is not.

This story, this information I find incredibly useful. There have been other filmmakers who have used the iPhone but put on expensive lenses, monitors, rigs and accessories that make me question why they chose to capture their film with a phone in the first place. Below are two examples of this:

For Mr. Gondry’s film he employed a large crew and a number of larger-budget items that are not available to me. Not that he should have restricted himself to what John Sullivan can afford but, again, it makes me question his choice of camera. In his case, the behind the scenes videos distributed by Apple (which are no longer available online) make it apparent that the iPhone was used because he was working with Apple.

There have been similar posts regarding Mr. Snyder’s short film –

In his case this seems to have been a personal side project he made with friends. Again, I do not mean to disparage the film or his efforts but when they partially list what was used to make this short film –

Using an iPhone, along with the Beastgrip Pro, FiLMiC Pro, DJI Osmo Mobile, ExoLens by Zeiss, and Kessler gear…

It makes me wonder what, if anything, I can take from this that benefits me.

In 2012 there was The Revenge of The Great Camera Shootout ( which was the last time they had this test. Bruce Logan ASC, CSC was in charge of conducting the test between the following cameras (I am including their operators/experts as well):

Sony F65—Sony Representatives
ARRI Alexa—Rodney Charters, ASC CSC
RED Epic—Ryan Walters
Sony FS100—Den Lennie & Mick Jones
Sony F3 w/slog—Nancy Schreiber, ASC
Canon C300—Polly Morgan
Canon 7D with Technicolor settings—Michael Negrin, ASC
Panasonic GH2 (Quantum v9b Hack)—Jonny Zeller & Colt Seman
Apple iPhone 4s—Michael Koerbel

Essentially what they set out to test was if all other things were equal, lights, lenses, setting, how would these cameras compare to one another? They shot a scene in which certain factors (like the lighting) could be altered and others could not. Afterwards they did a blind screening for audiences to see which images they preferred. Ultimately there was no clear winner, with some audience members (Francis Ford Coppola for one) preferring the iPhone footage.

I share this only because of the date – 2012. Where it was established that if you put a $20,000 lens in front of an iPhone and have great sets and lighting you can get great results. What is of interest, to people like me, is how do you get good results without these things? Or put differently, what should I spend my limited means on in order to get good images for my film?

A recent blog post at PremiumBeat ( does a pretty good job at this. The author, Bud Simpson, sets a budget ($5,000) and shows you how to meet it with specific gear. In addition he explains the choices he made and what you can expect from these pieces of gear. It is a starting point designed for people of limited means and experience. It also attempts to address the “hidden costs” of working with video. There are things you need and things you very much want to have that are not obvious if you are new to this world.

Case in point – neutral density filters. When I bought my first camera I had no idea what an ND filter was or why I would need it. After several months of shooting at noon on bright, sunny days I started to become clued in to the fact that my footage was not great. A post like the one on PremiumBeat takes this into consideration and at least alerts the reader that you might want to set some money aside for these things.

My frustration since starting down this D.I.Y. path five years ago is that so often the advice being offered doesn’t make sense to my situation. Numerous companies and individuals offer their take on what is “best” and will produce “cinematic” imagery. So often their idea of inexpensive is not the same as mine. That or they do things which strike me as ridiculous – spending well over a thousand dollars to outfit an iPhone with accessories and peripherals, when you could buy a camera that would need none of these things for the same price.

As an owner of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera I can attest to the wonderful image that can be had. That being said, it is a cinema camera – something that when I was researching what to buy was not made abundantly clear (meaning I did not understand how a cinema camera differs from a DSLR). If a reviewer had pointed out that if you want to change settings like ISO when shooting, you have to dig into the menus to do so it might have helped me to understand that this is a problem for me. The same with white balance. Knowing this and thinking of shooting documentary style footage would have made me stop and wonder if this was actually the camera for me. Instead I spent days reading the write-up at and still came away wondering if the camera was right for me.

Although I have wandered off-topic my hope with this post was to try and briefly address the not obvious costs of using something like an iPhone to make a film. The short lived but much loved, Weapons of Mass Production ( did a review of the iPhone 5 when it was released. They made a great looking trailer and showed how they did so. In their conclusion they stated the pros and cons of using the camera and made a comment “but trying to shoot your movie on a phone is a miserable experience”. Which is think is one of the few honest pieces of advice I’ve heard about the process.