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Do I need an expensive camera to make it in film?

I currently use an iPhone Xr as my camera to record with, I'm currently wondering whether or not I need to save up all my money and invest in something expensive, or if a Phone camera will work.

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Leslie’s Answer

Hi Orion,
It depends what you think "make it" means. As others have pointed out, you can make films with an iphone and enter some festivals with that format which may result in an award. Is that making it? I think you can get a lot of practice and hone you skills to a point with a limitation of an iphone camera, but ultimately, you will want a higher quality camera with a range of lenses to work on bigger budget shows. Learning to operate and rig larger cameras for larger budget films can be learned as a 2nd AC or camera PA on a big budget show, eventually a 1AC, then graduate to DP. That's the general ladder to climb to be competent to work on large budget shows. In my book, that is "making it".
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David’s Answer

I think the answer depends on what you hope to accomplish and where you want to go with your filming. I expect there are genres in film where you could get by with a cell phone and good post processing. But, if you want to compete with the big boys, you will have to invest in more sophisticated gear.
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Tiffany’s Answer

An iPhone camera can do the job for now but you should also save up and invest in a quality Canon Camera too.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Orion
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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Orion,

I don't work in the film industry, but I do make short videos for fun and have worked in the photography industry. My experience tells me that you don't need anything more than an iPhone XR to get started in a career for film.

The great thing about smart phones these days is that they have democratized film making to everyone. If you were to ask this question 20 years ago, the recommended step probably would have been to get an apprenticeship with a pro or to get a job at a camera store to get yourself more experience with equipment that new film makers cannot usually afford. These days, these phones are so capable that you can get pretty far with just a smart phone.

Look at it this way. The movie Insane by Steven Soderbergh was shot almost entirely on an iPhone 7, a phone that is 2 years older than what you have (he also shot the movie High Flying Bird on an iPhone). There are countless more, and it shows that it's not the hardware, but the skills of the person behind the hardware that determines how good the film will be.

What I recommend is that you learn as much as you can by practicing, volunteering, and by taking classes. Once you have learned everything and are tired of the 28mm equivalent focal length, then I think, you should invest money in other hardware. Also, don't forget the software and production side of things. Learn everything you can through iMovie or DaVinci Resolve (free version), as you'll find that the pro versions of these software build upon the free versions, and thus, when your skills are past what these free software can provide, you'll find yourself comfortable in the pro versions.

Anyways, I hope that was helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions!

--
Dexter
Thank you comment icon Thank you for giving me advice. Orion
Thank you comment icon Anytime, Orion! Dexter Arver
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Orion,

Can You Make Your Mark in Filmmaking Without a Pricey Camera?

In the realm of film production, it's often asked if a costly camera is a necessity for success. The reality is, while a top-tier camera can provide certain benefits in image clarity and adaptability, it's not a rigid necessity for crafting successful films. Numerous filmmakers have carved their path to success using more budget-friendly gear, including smartphones like the iPhone XR.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Smartphone Camera for Film Production:

Advantages:

Cost-Efficiency: Utilizing a smartphone camera removes the need for pricey equipment, making film production more attainable for those on a tight budget.
Convenience: Smartphones are compact and user-friendly, enabling filmmakers to seize unplanned moments and film in unique locations.
Quality: Contemporary smartphones, such as the iPhone XR, boast remarkable video quality with features like 4K resolution and advanced image stabilization.

Disadvantages:

Challenges in Low-Light Settings: Smartphone cameras may underperform in dimly lit conditions compared to professional cameras with larger sensors.
Restricted Manual Controls: While smartphone apps can offer some manual control over aspects like exposure and focus, they are still less comprehensive than standalone cameras.
Audio Quality: In-built microphones on smartphones may not match the audio quality of external microphones used with professional cameras.

Considerations:

When pondering whether to invest in an expensive camera or continue using your iPhone XR for film production, bear in mind the following considerations:

Budget: If acquiring a high-end camera would put a strain on your budget, it might be more prudent to utilize what you already have and concentrate on refining your storytelling abilities.
Skill Level: Mastery of the basics of film production, such as framing, lighting, and editing, is essential regardless of the equipment you employ.
Target Audience: Your audience's expectations also matter – while some viewers may not discern a difference in image quality, others might have more refined tastes.

Conclusion:

To sum up, while access to a pricey camera can provide certain benefits in terms of technical capabilities, it's not a necessity for success in film production. With the progress in smartphone technology, devices like the iPhone XR can generate high-quality footage suitable for a variety of projects. Ultimately, your storytelling prowess and creative vision outweigh the cost of your equipment.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

American Film Institute (AFI): A prestigious film school offering invaluable insights into the artistry and technique of film production.
Filmmaker Magazine: A magazine providing industry updates, interviews with filmmakers, and advice on various aspects of film production.
Digital Filmmaker Magazine: A resource for filmmakers covering topics such as equipment critiques, filming methods, and post-production advice.

These sources were used to compile information on the significance of equipment in film production and the effects of using smartphones for film creation.

GOD BLESS!
James Constantine Frangos.
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