In the 2008 documentary It Might Get Loud, U2 guitarist The Edge talks about the experience of buying his first serious guitar. It wasn’t specs or branding that made him walk out of the music store with the Gibson Explorer with which he would create U2’s signature sound. It was, instead, something he could only describe by saying-
“There are stories in here.”
For movie-makers, buying a camera can be a similar experience. There are pages of specifications, comparison grids cross-walking dozens of features, blog posts, reviews, brand loyalty, support accessory compatibility, and of course, price. And yet, there also needs to be a very subjective and even emotional appeal to the image, a connection to very personal and stylistic preferences.
We need to feel that there are stories in the cameras we choose.
Without that sort of attraction we’re not directing movies, we’re just directing traffic.
And of course we can never lose sight of the fact that cameras are investments, first and foremost. More importantly, these are investments that we are asking our customers to pay for when they hire us. From that perspective, the questions of value and return on investment are center-stage.
While it’s true that cameras no longer necessarily represent the 6-figure investments they once might have, it’s also true and more compelling that the timeline for realizing that investment is much shorter. Film cameras had useful lives that lasted decades. Broadcast quality Betacams could easily last five years.
This decisioning process is a lot like those chess games played with three stacked boards. Many moving pieces in many dimensions.
All of this is not meant to sound troubled, or troubling. The fact is, buying a new camera remains for us, a thrilling experience.
Which is why we are delighted to announce that there will be a new addition to the Video Wisconsin family. Joining us soon will be a Sony PXW-FS7. It’s a 4K camera that will help us begin future-proofing our projects and ensuring the longevity of the assets we produce for our customers. It has the capability of producing cinema-grade images, and the portability and flexibility we need to travel the world and navigate the challenging projects put in our paths.
Plus, we believe there are stories in there.