Latest post Fri, Feb 5 2010 3:25 PM by Kenton.VanNatten. 22 replies.
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  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 1:20 AM

    • Dreamer D
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    Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Hi all.  Sorry, but I need to rant. 

    Okay, so I'm a college student, and have Avid Xpress Pro on my PC.  I know I need to upgrade, but I am finding all these requirements just to make a decent short film extremely frustrating.  First of all, people now look down at you if you want to shoot on a good reliable SD mini-DV camera.  I am working on a project that I want to do outside of school (got a good script and want good talented people), and so I've been networking -- but everyone tells me that I have to shoot HD, and that a RED camera is the best option.  Well, mini-DV is what I learned on, and my school doesn't lend out HD cameras.  I'm not in a production class this semester so can't borrow one anyway.  I have worked on an HDV project at my former school's campus (I transferred from one that has better equipment than the one I'm in now).  But no one seems to think HDV is good enough.  Why does it have to be a RED?  I want it to look good, but I don't want to wind up with a hard drive that just sits there because I can't do anything with the files.  Besides, no DP with a RED will work cheaply or for free. And I am not about to go out and buy a new camera, because the technology's constantly changing and even a $3000 camera, which is a big chunk of cash for me, is considered low-end.  I think, more than any other equipment, I would rather invest in my editing system. 

    However, even after I upgrade my software to MC, I won't even know if my system would handle just HDV, never mind RED, so I will probably have to upgrade my PC too somehow. And I will probably have to upgrade everything in three years again. I love editing with Avid, and I don't want -- nor can I afford -- to hire an editor, because I want to edit it myself.

    My script is getting great feedback, and I'm an older student - above average in terms of ability/talent I would say, and not the typical scruffy young film student.  This is a low-budget short that I want to make to get my name out there, enter festivals and so on, and it seems like I can either spend what little cash I have available to me on upgrading my editing system -- or on the project, but it seems I can't have both right now.  It's just an 11-page script and I find it utterly ridiculous that it might cost me $15k to make.

    Can you imagine bringing your car in for a tune-up and being told that your model is no longer supported and you need to get an upgrade to a higher version, which will require a more expensive garage to support it?

    I'm beginning to believe that all the talk about digital filmmaking being cheaper is just a bill of goods, and the democratization of media is a joke.  Are we all going to find out in ten years that we would have saved money by sticking with actual film?

    What do I do?

     

    Avid Xpress Pro v5.8......Dell Precision Workstation 390......Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13GHz/Dual-core)......Windows XP Pro (SP2)......2 GB DDR2 ECC SDRAM... [view my complete system specs]

     

    I edit in my dreams*

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 1:24 AM In reply to

    • BLKDOG
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Dreamer, technology moves fast and yes, something new is always around the corner but telling a compelling story that touches people rarely requires the latest in technology. Many, Many great stories have been told with DV cameras and Xpress 'Pro and I am confident that your will be too!

    It's not the tool that build the house, it's the carpenter....

    Good Luck.

    Project Manager, Avid Professional Services - Americas [view my complete system specs]

    In agreement, Unity. In Disagreement, Discussion. In all things, Charity.


  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 1:36 AM In reply to

    • Dreamer D
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    BLKDOG:
    Many, Many great stories have been told with DV cameras and Xpress 'Pro and I am confident that your will be too!

    It's not the tool that build the house, it's the carpenter....

    Omigosh, thanks Blkdog, I really needed to read that because I was ready to curl up in a ball and cry.  I guess when I go to these networking things to try and meet people, they're all trying to impress everyone and it makes me feel like what I'm doing is not good enough.  I just want my project to look and feel professionally done but I can't spend as much as these DP's with RED cameras want.  I should just stick to my guns and use the camera I can afford, and the system I have.  For now.  The thing about upgrading is I will also need a tech person when I'm ready to make this a really slick editing suite.  And that will take more money.  I'll wait til after I get a few more projects done on my own, I guess. 

     

    Still, I hate all the upgrades that technology demands.  You can't rely on anything to last very long at all anymore.

     

     

    Avid Xpress Pro v5.8......Dell Precision Workstation 390......Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13GHz/Dual-core)......Windows XP Pro (SP2)......2 GB DDR2 ECC SDRAM... [view my complete system specs]

     

    I edit in my dreams*

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 1:58 AM In reply to

    • powerfreak
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    What school are you in? (just wondering).

    I still use my Canon XL1 all the time (and make $$ off it). If you have a good DP, DV can look fine (as long as it's 3ccd). You are better off having talent with old toys than having all the latest, greatest toys with no talent.

    You don't need to go with RED...it seems to be the flavor of the month...but I know good DP's that don't like them, think they are a PIA. HDV is a good option...but like DV, the big drawback is the stock lenses. If you have the budget, prime lenses on an HDV camera make for a great combo.

    I'm near NYC (1 hour north), shoot me an email if you have any questions...I'll try and help out.

    Avid MC8.7 w/ Matrox Mini. Self built system...Dual Xeon E5-2620 CPUs....Supermicro x10DAX MB...64g Ram...Nvidia GeForce GTX1070...G Speed-Q external storage... [view my complete system specs]

    The world is just a cesspool...but all my skies are blue

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 2:20 AM In reply to

    • NICKB
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Dreamer You say you have a good project with a good script and you want talented people to work on it, if that is the case you are the producer and producers are lucky, they need no kit other than a mobile phone, let the camera and DOP worry about the RED camera and the editor worry about the edit system all you need to do is sell your project to them.

    Anyway i do hope you are doing this in stereoscopic otherwise i am not sure it will cut itSmile

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 4:50 AM In reply to

    • Dreamer D
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    NICKB:
    let the camera and DOP worry about the RED camera and the editor worry about the edit system all you need to do is sell your project to them.
    As producer/director/editor, I have to worry about everything!

    Avid Xpress Pro v5.8......Dell Precision Workstation 390......Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13GHz/Dual-core)......Windows XP Pro (SP2)......2 GB DDR2 ECC SDRAM... [view my complete system specs]

     

    I edit in my dreams*

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 8:33 AM In reply to

    • luca.mg
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    DreamerD, whatever You can afford use it and don't bother with the technical stuff, film is a matter of story telling, I'd rather seeing a good film shot on DV than a weak one shot on red, and most of all if You can spare some money invest them in props, scenery, costumes, make up, special effects, talents, extras, soundtrack, a crane/dolly/steadycam, aerial or underwater shots, or whatever is most needed to improve the picture in terms of better translating Your vision on screen, whichever camera has actually been used to shoot it. Red is a status symbol, it's very superficial and using the latest or the hottest equipment does not automatically make You become a great filmaker. Go break a leg.

    Symphony 2018.12.3, BM Intensity Pro 4k, Windows 10, i7-5930K, 32 GB ram, Quadro K620 [view my complete system specs]

    peace luca

  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 12:57 PM In reply to

    • AK-Jake
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Yo, Dreamer-

    I'm a fellow hobbyist (and former semi-pro) myself.  I know EXACTLY what you mean.  You couldn't have picked a more expensive NORMAL hobby (I can think of more expensive ones...Top Fuel Dragsters, Cocaine and Hookers, collecting Ferraris, etc), and you think you need all this gear to make your film.  Well, it's true:  you DO need a lot of gear to make a film, but you can do it super-duper cheap in the beginning if you do it right.

    First of all, all these networking events you're going to are most likely made up of PROFESSIONALS or people who want to BE professional.  You can't stack up to them in terms of toys, because they pay for their toys every day they go to work.  I looked into a RED One myself a few weeks ago, but gave up on it because I couldn't justify the money.  (I was looking at over $30K.  Yowza!)

    So here's what you do:  tell those snobs to shove their RED's up their you-know-whats, go on Ebay, and find yourself the nicest Panasonic AG-DVX100 (or 100A, 100B models...B is best), or a Canon XL-2.  Heck, find yourself an XL-1S for that matter (no 24p though).  Fire up XPro and make your film...and damn the rest!!!

    Study Robert Rodriguez.  Read his book "Rebel Without a Crew."  Amazing.  He made his first feature film "El-Mariachi" for $7K back in the summer of 1991.  It became a runaway success in the festival circuit, and a few years later he was making "Desperado," "From Dusk Til Dawn," and others.  Tarantino broke around the same time as him...and now they're close friends and filmmaking partners.

    Rent the DVD that features "El Mariachi" and "Desperado" on the same disc.  Both feature his 2 "Ten-Minute Film School" segments on there that break down scenes he made and teach you how he did it for cheap.

    Now quit trying to keep up with the pros and wannabes, grab whatever 3CCD camera you have (24p for the best look), brush up on your XPro skills, and go make your movie!!  Yes  And remember...you can always up-res your DV footage to a pretty convincing HD picture in the future. 

    Go get 'em, Kid!  Cool

     

     

    Avid Symphony Nitris 3.x (DNA), HP xw8400, 3TB Avid Media-Array; Avid Xpress Studio HD Complete 5.1.3, HP xw8000, dual-3.06 ghz Xeon's; 2 GB of RAM;... [view my complete system specs]

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  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 1:06 PM In reply to

    • Haze
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Dreamer D:
    I guess when I go to these networking things to try and meet people, they're all trying to impress everyone and it makes me feel like what I'm doing is not good enough.

    There are plenty of bad films shot on the RED camera.  There are a ton of well done films shot on mini DV.  Content is still the king.  Don't worry about all the DP's blathering on about new technology.  A bunch of geeks that love to hear themselves talk.

    As a consumer I recently upgraded to an HD service at home.  While HD looks lovely I'm amazed at the amount of SD content being shown on the major networks.  The commercial breaks during these national shows generate millions of dollars in revenue, yet the producers don't feel inclined to deliver in HD.  My point is that if these producers aren't feeling any pressure to deliver in HD you shouldn't be losing sleep over it.

    Focus on refining your story telling skills and you'll be fine.

     

    Avid DS 11 | Z800, Symphony 6.5 | HP xw 8600, MC 6.5 | HP Z400, Unity Storage [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 2:12 PM In reply to

    • Tom Pearson
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    i have shot films on a red  i have shot films on a panasonic hpx500 with good glass and it looked better i have even shot a short film on a jvc gydv5000  just go with interchangeable  glass the big difference and i have not once had a distributor ask what camera it was shot on

    Mac Pro 3.5 gig 6 core 64 gig ram D700 radons with ssd os drive with a 20 tb raid, Artist Mix and Artist color Artist control [view my complete system specs]

    Tom Pearson

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  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 2:15 PM In reply to

    • Tom Pearson
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    ps .  just use a pro mist .5 or a black frost filter.5  it will make your look more like a prime lens and your actors  will love you for it 

    Mac Pro 3.5 gig 6 core 64 gig ram D700 radons with ssd os drive with a 20 tb raid, Artist Mix and Artist color Artist control [view my complete system specs]

    Tom Pearson

    Director/Writer Big Picture Films

    Sound Designer/Sound Editor Hollywood Sounds

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  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 3:16 PM In reply to

    • Paris MkVI
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Dreamer, I agree with and fully support the good feedback the others have offered. Here's a real life reminder of what matters, even if the story is aged some.

    I was looking to hire a producer/shooter in 1995. I received the usual pile of resumes and demo reels.  Hoo boy, some of those demo reels. . .

    Then I popped one in and knew immediately I had to interview that individual. When it came to shooting and storytelling, this person clearly "got it".

    You know what? Their tape was clearly the worst one technically. It was shot and edited with consumer VHS equipment. It had all the issues a tape like that would have. It was all this person had to work with.

    But this individual made the effort to edit with as much excellence as those available tools provided. The piece was well-shot and composed and well written.

    I hired that person, and never regretted it. In fact, even as their supervisor, their eye for things inspired me to become a better shooter.

    Make excellence with what you have. Excellence in craft will shine through, even with less-fancy hardware.

    "Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men." (Proverbs 22:29 NIV)

    MCA 2.8.3 on Dell 490 • 4GB Ram • Quadro FX3500 Driver 6.14.10.9185 • Avid rs146 x 2 striped as one • 2 internal 500 GB SATA drives. Edit monitor: Sony... [view my complete system specs]

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  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 7:04 PM In reply to

    • -mp
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    reamer D,

    The good news for your budget is:

       1.  As a student, you can buy Media Composer 4.0 Academic for just $295 USMSRP and receive free upgrades to every new version released for four years after purchasing.

    http://www.avid.com/promos/studentupgrade/index.asp?intcmp=AV-IN-MCSU-18

     

       2.  The 3rd party software not included with MCA is available separately to students for $199.95:

    Includes the following 3rd party add-ons for Media Composer Academic:

    • Boris Continuum AVX - Comprehensive library of customizable video filters and transitions
    • Sorenson Squeeze - Multimedia export with customizable compression templates
    • SmartSound SonicFire Pro - Automated music track creation
    • Avid FX - 2D & 3D compositing, titles, animation and effects
    Boris includes an uprez filter. I stopped tinkering with it after I saw the render times are impractical for my needs (100s of hours per semester). Also, I assume they're not the only options.
    http://www.academicsuperstore.com/products/Avid/Media+Composer/1342115   (& others)

       3.  DV requires less computing resources; no need for data drive arrays, etc.
       4. The Avid forum, an excellent resource, is free (other then your internet access cost)

    Break a leg, /mp


    System 1: Dell Precision 670 approved system (for Avid Studio Academic 2.8)currently undergoing rebuid. System 2: Mac Pro approved system MC 4.x). ... [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 7:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Ignore the idiots, don't let yourself get tied up over technology you can't afford and get on with making a great film. If the film's great, no one who matters will ever care what you shot it on!!!!

    1xMacPro dual quad 3.0Ghz 10GB RAM with Symphony6 + Mojo DX; 1xMacPro dual quad 3.0Ghz 8GB RAM with MC6+ Kona LHi; 1xMacPro dual quad Westmere 2.4GHz with... [view my complete system specs]
  • Thu, Feb 4 2010 7:45 PM In reply to

    • Marianna
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    Re: Frustrated with constant need to upgrade

    Post Republic:

    Ignore the idiots, don't let yourself get tied up over technology you can't afford and get on with making a great film. If the film's great, no one who matters will ever care what you shot it on!!!!

    Perfectly put!!!!  Don't get bogged down in th minutia (sp?)..  as Post said..... " If the film's great, no one who matters will ever care what you shot it on!!!!"   Plus we are all here to help you along the way should you need it.

    Good luck and we all want to know how it comes out.

    Marianna

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