Are You a Lazy Filmmaker or a Hobbyist?

Just a heads up - the following is a bit of a rant

LAZY FILMMAKER

Let's get one thing straight before I get the ball rolling here. There is nothing wrong with logging on to a filmmaking forum or Facebook group and asking other filmmakers for advice when it comes to certain things. If you are looking for advice on a lighting setup, asking for a critique of your latest project or reel, or a client has asked you to rent a certain camera for a shoot that you've never used and you'd like you ask people about their experience with that camera - that's all good. If you are actively researching a piece of gear (not a camera) you want to buy but need some advice from filmmakers who own that gear, that's cool. 

Maybe you are shopping for a baseplate, a mattebox, or a shoulder rig. You've done your homework and have narrowed down the choices. Now you want to get some pros and cons from experienced users. Nothing wrong with that. Now make sure you rent that equipment first, before buying it.

But the following kinds of questions are unfortunately all too common and tell me one of two things: you are either a very lazy filmmaker or you are just a hobbyist. 

Here are some real questions with real answers I would provide - 

Me: No. Do some research, rent the camera, then decide for yourself.

Me: Rent them both and decide for yourself. People on this forum don't know what type of things you shoot and what's important to you in a camera.

Me: For the love of god please stop this already.

Me: You should burn in hell along with Nicolas Cage and all his fans.

HOBBYIST

Now there are some forum filmmakers who love to answer these questions because they think they have all the answers, but in fact they are really doing these inexperienced hobbyists or very lazy filmmakers a disservice.

Everyone wants a camera for different reasons. They may want to shoot photos and video. They may have heard that 4K is totally rad and they just have to have it. They may want to shoot films, vlogs, docs, corporate films, or all of the above.

If you are a hobbyist or a lazy filmmaker they very best thing you can do for yourself is some research. There are thousands of articles, gear videos, websites, tutorials, etc where you can get answers to your questions. Research will help you narrow down what camera may be right for you. Opinions of other lazy filmmakers who spend their time on forums will not.

From there, you should rent that equipment for a day or three days or even a week if you can afford it, and use it in the scenario that best represents the kind of work you want to do. Testing equipment first hand is the best way to know if you want to own it - this is especially true of cameras. Most big cities have rental houses or you could rent online using LensRentals, Borrowlenses, or even KitSplit.

MY EXPERIENCE

I recently was asked by a client to shoot a video that was first person POV perspective. I was planning on shooting with my C100 Mark II on the DJI Ronin, but after breaking down the script, I realized that the rig would be too cumbersome to get into some of the spaces we needed. So I decided to rent the DJI Osmo with the X5 camera for the shoot. I did some research on the camera first and had it shipped to me from LensRentals.com

I'm glad I rented the camera. Now I know it's not a good replacement for my Ronin setup and would never have a permanent place in my kit. It did the job I needed, but it has far too many shortcomings for the type of work I do.

I feel bad for people who get hyped by other's opinions, plunk money down on a camera they've never used, and then have buyer's remorse when they don't like it or they realize it doesn't fit their needs. Don't be that lazy filmmaker.

You don't just marry someone without dating them first. You don't just agree to watch a film unless you make sure Nicolas Cage is not in it first. Do your research and break the lazy filmmaker label.

Don't get me wrong  - there are tons of great questions being asked about lighting, cinematography, editing, and films everyday. 'What camera should I buy' is not one of them.