Filmmaking has always been an art of passion. We do it because we love it. Over the years cameras and gear have played a big part in how we look at the world thorough the view finder. With the recent news that Kodak is going under. I though it was a great time to just take a look at some of the turning points and evolution of cameras for filmmaking in hollywood and at home.
Hollywood filmmaking has always had some of the best gear possible to work with. They general are also use and pioneer many of the technology we use to day. Cameras intrigue us all from small children to hollywood directors. It’s not only the DP that get’s excited about working with them. There is something of a draw to filmmakers about cameras and seeing the world from a different perspective. The basic concepts of filmmaking have not changes but the gear has.
Many of the cameras in the past were very large, mainly due to the large film cassettes needed to capture images. Hollywood films often used large cameras to capture the story or vision of a film.
The first real camera that allowed to bring filmmaking to the independent filmmaker and home was the Bolex. This camera shot on 16mm film was incredibly popular through the 1940 & 50s. Even up to the late 90’s students were using them to learn the craft of filmmaking. Record times got longer too, anywhere between 2.5 mins to 10mins via Kodak stock.
In 1983 Sony introduced Betacam these were large over the shoulder type cameras that shot on tape rather than film. This was much cheaper to work with as, there was no negative process. You could see what you shot almost instantly. Rival VHS may have won the home war for viewing But Betacam became the industry standard for television use. Later Sony would also introduce HD versions known as HDCAM.
In 1995 Sony again revolutionized the industry by bring us MiniDV. A cost effective way to capture video. It set a new standard with the smaller handheld style camera and small tapes This also allowed users to transfer films to PCs or Macs for editing.
2003 -2008 were a boom as we started to see HD acquisition in the from of HDV. This was a group of manufactures from the likes of Sony, Canon, and Sharp believe it or not. We also saw the introduction of tapeless media recording from Panasonic and Sony in the form of the P2 and Sony EX3.
2007 is when hollywood saw the introduction of professional 4K acquisition in the form of RED One. This was a very small camera that record 4K images comparable to the larger cameras used by hollywood. This changed the way technology, editing , and the way we look at filmmaking today.
Canon in 2007 introduced the Canon 5D MKII. Little did they know this little camera would change the way filmmakers and the average consumer shoot films. A still camera that was capable of shooting 1080p video and able to use the large arsenal of still lenses Canon had. What it lacked in audio, and compression in made up in price and image.
Today we see HD filmmaking everywhere. The average consumer can pick up an small HD camera from their local store, or even shoot 1080p film on their iPhones. All this became capable thanks to previous generations of cameras and gear, and what about hollywood?
Well things are changing there too. Cameras are getting smaller and cheaper. Both Canon and RED are ready to change the market again. With RED launching a very small Scarlet X no bigger than a DSLR. On the hand Canon ready to revolutionize the filmmaking industry again with their Canon C300, very similar to a DSLR, but now with proper audio and a much improved compression technique.
This indeed is a great time for filmmaking, as we have all the tools needed. all we need now is the drive to make our visions come alive.
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