Last week I presented a budget proposal to an orthopedic surgeon to record some surgical procedures at a local medical center. It was a very cost-effective and competitive budget. I know what other production companies charge for their services and none of them have the 35+ years of experience in shooting in a surgical setting that I have.
He got angry when he saw the budget. He said to me something that I have heard many times in the past. “I (or my kid) can do it with my own video camera”. I got a kick out of this. We have the video equipment manufacturers to blame for this myth. I explained to him that if he can do it himself then he’d be foolish to hire me. I cautioned him that he needs to consider that he needs a professional to produce the video for him because the patient will need his undivided attention during the recording. I also explain that I know my way around the surgical suite and know how not to break sterile field. Most importantly I know how to get the recording done while not getting in the way.
Too many people call themselves video producers now that they have hi-definition cameras or the new 4K iPhone. The obsession with the new inexpensive video technology obscures the fact that the content of a video is always more important than the camera used to make it. Content is king…always was and always will be. To me the great irony of making a well-produced video is that it succeeds because the viewer doesn’t notice HOW I did it. Special effects are not the star of the show. They work best when they enhance the telling of the story.
And here’s a tip for people who want to shoot better quality video with the smart phone. Turn the camera horizontally when shooting. If you don’t the images will look like they have been shot through a phone booth window. If shot horizontally, a shooter will be able to get more information on the screen in a natural way because the human eye sees in a horizontal format.
And yes, there is a feature film in production in Hollywood that is being shot on an iPhone. Sounds exciting! You can do it too! And just like them bring along lighting and grip trucks, a full crew, outboard audio recorders, tripod and fluid head, cranes, dollies, generators, caterers and craft services, location scouts, best boys, second units…