What video camera should I use? With Todd Franklin!

We chatted with our homie Todd Franklin about what you should use to make your film or video with...

There’s a whole lot of different video cameras out there. What should I film my video shoot on?

In today's world, there is a vast amount of cameras to choose from, ranging from a few hundred pounds to £100,000+!!! And though it does make a difference having good kit, it isn't essential. If you have the technical know-how and a good story, visuals etc, then you can film something on a much cheaper camera if you are just starting out.

Do I have to film in 4k for it to look good?

Definitely not, 1080 HD is still a format that is widely used and detailed enough to the eye. I film in HD frequently unless a client would like 4K resolution. Most people can't watch videos in 4K anyway, due to not having 4K display screens. Though, there's more flexibility in 4k as you can zoom into the end footage in post production without losing too much resolution. This technique can be used for a 1 camera interview set up, you film a wide shot of the subject in 4k and can zoom into the footage. Filming can be very heavy on your storage memory as it eats through data, you also have to have a good enough computer to edit 4K on. Now that there are 8K cameras on the market, 4K will become the new norm.

Can I not just film on my smartphone?

Yes you can, and Steven Soderbergh has done just this! Filming a few feature length films with an iPhone which have had cinema releases too. He uses clip-on anamorphic lenses specifically designed for smartphones. I haven't seen these films, though I'm not too keen on the idea, I'll give them a chance. There is a lot of controversy due to the nature of people in the industry stating it's ruining traditional filmmaking. I think as cameras improve on phones now, it is possible to get fantastic results, but it hasn't been mastered yet in my opinion, you just don't get the cinematic feel and depth with a phone as you do with cinema quality lenses on a professional camera.

Tell us about the different types of cameras.

There are many types of cameras, there's broadly two categories, analogue and digital. Analogue is using celluloid where the light is burned onto the film and then processed. The processing even with analogue film nowadays is all digital now as backups,  transportation and archival is all cheaper and safer than messing about with actual film negatives. There's VHS, Mini DV and more that have bridged the gap between analogue. Then there's digital, which has taken over in the past 15 years. This is a much cheaper way of filming as celluloid film is expensive and harder to maintain than digital. You can get better quality from digital, but there are plenty of people that love conventional methods using film, because of its authenticity and rawness, some people say digital is too clean.

There are smartphones, DSLR's, semi professional cameras and the high end professional cameras. They all have their own sensors which act as "celluloid". The larger the sensor the more detail you can capture. Different brands are better made than others and the market is flooded with different types of cameras, some that are better at particular tasks eg. slow motion or low light filming.

What cameras do you use?

I have a Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4K. This is my workhorse, it's a very reasonably priced camera with professional output, it's not too bulky either. I'm about to upgrade to the newer model of Blackmagic Ursa range as I love the brand and the ease of use.

I also use RED cameras and the Arri Alexa Mini when there is a bigger budget. These are on the high end of professional cameras. The Arri Alexa Mini is a beautiful camera with a lot of dynamic range so that more detail can be captured. This is the camera that I would love to have, but with a price tag of £50,000+ for just the body only.... I think I'll have to save up a bit more!

Thanks Todd! Check out some of Todd's links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/todd.franklin.92

Edited for clarity by Esme Johnson.


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