Since I joined Creative Cow few things I have worked on have garnered as much interest as my work on the Zacuto Shoot Outs. I have been lucky enough to have once again asked to join Steve Weiss, Jens Bogehegn, Scott Lynch, Mandy Rodgers and the Zacuto Team for their latest effort, dubbed the "Revenge of the Shootout"
Like last time, I expect people here on CreativeCow to both offer support and vitriol, especially since I am credited with both assisting the overall Production Workflow, while also being the onsite camera tech for the Alexa shoot.
Watching the final project online is nothing like being onset for these shoots, this one held at the Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago earlier this spring was a massive affair, with over 600 participants, using 9 different cameras a Sony F65, Arri Alexa, Red Epic, Sony FS100, Sony F3, Canon C300, Canon 7D, Panasonic GH2 and Apple iPhone 4s.
Zacuto is not working with just anybody, I am genuinely honored to be included with DP's of this caliber. It's not just that I get to work with Bruce Logan ASC, Rodney Charters ASC/CSC, Nancy Schreiber ASC, Polly Morgan are among the many people that worked on a variety of subjects that are intended to move and enlighten you. < Search IMDB.com for more info on each DP >
"Revenge" is not about how much better one camera is than another, this time Steve and Jens focus on creating a environment that allowed each individual shooter to shine, so it is not just about the camera this time around. The DP's this time were brought in based on their working knowledge of each individual camera, then allowed to modify the rather complicated base lighting setup to best suit the camera and tools each was working with from camera through post.
The cameras until now have only been shown blindly, each defined with a letter. This installment of the web series finally unwraps the cameras and really opens the eyes of many of the viewers shown at the screening sessions. As far as I know, not a single person has been able to accurately choose every camera, (I personally was only able to pick out the iPhone4s, the Alexa and F65 from the pack, mainly because those are the tools that I work with regularly)
The Part that I found most interesting was not how each shooter accomplished the task, but also how much additional time was needed to make the changes onset, but "Revenge" also goes into great detail on the Post process and how long each camera took to achieve that look in post using a Baselight grading system at Filmworkers Club here in Chicago. This goes way beyond the basics and to me it showed one of the issues with using prosumer cameras vs those designed for "actual production". That means that if you are a small shop / one-man-band kind of setup that shoots and edits your own content, the tools are here now allow you to create at every price point, but when we are talking real production projects, the higher end camera actually excel at fitting into the existing workflows most larger productions use.
The cameras used ranged from $200 USD to $100,000 USD and the thing that really stood out for me? The more expensive the camera system, the less physical time it took to relight and then color correct the footage in post. The increased costs of the handling of those highly compressed prosumer formats can double or even triple the amount of time and expense needed for both editing and final finishing and the post production notes available as part of this test < http://bit.ly/NFmCkW
> hold that stat up to the light for all to see.
Let me also state for the record that I worked on this project Pro Bono, with shoot meals being the only renumeration.
And for my friends at Zacuto, I would do it again in a second.