The Democratization of Film — What Makes A Filmmaker in an Age of Accessible Equipment?

The Democratization of Film — What Makes A Filmmaker in an Age of Accessible Equipment?

By Doug Gritzmacher

Director of Photography, Cinematographer
Denver, Colorado, Google+

By Doug GritzmacherDirector of Photography, Cinematographer
Denver, Colorado, Google+

$1,468.
 
That’s the lowest price I could find for a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera on eBay. Add in a decent lens and for less than $2,000 you can be a filmmaker.
 
Or can you?
 
That was the question posed to a forum last month at the Breckenridge Film Festival. I attended the fest to accompany “Out of the Fire“, a documentary feature film for which I am director of photography and directed by my friend Courtenay Singer. After that film’s second screening, I walked across the street on beautiful Fall Saturday in the Rockies to the Breckenridge Auditorium to hear what the panel had to say about this provocative question.
 
Make no mistake about it, it is a question directly tied into the aforementioned camera, the “5D”. In 2008, Canon released the 5D …

Canon C300 in the house

Canon C300 in the house

By Doug Gritzmacher

Director of Photography, Cinematographer
Denver, Colorado, Google+

By Doug GritzmacherDirector of Photography, Cinematographer
Denver, Colorado, Google+

This week I welcomed into my collection of gear the Canon C300 video camcorder. The C300 was released in the Fall of 2011 as an answer to Sony’s F3, released a year prior. Both cameras record on Super-35-sized sensors, which is a size previously available only via the Canon 5D and the Red One, both of which had their share of obstacles  — lack of basic functionality in the case of the 5D; price tag and overly complex backend structure in the case of the Red One.
 
Still, the F3 was not an immediate hit when it was released. My guess is that the price tag, after factoring the cost of lenses, made it not that much cheaper than a Red. But it was still much easier to use and the inclusion …