If you haven't already figured this out, it sucked to be Rob. During the
next few months, I would call Rob in NYC constantly to have conversations like the
Rob - You will probably want to get some.
Me - Yes, what kind should I get?
Rob - Well, what kind of lighting do you want?
Me - You know,... lighting that looks good.
my head, I would give Rob a call. Sometimes, like the above, I would
be thinking about
something I needed. Other times, I would see something that looked
an Arriflex C. Arriflex is a good
Rob - Arriflex is a good company.
Me - So should I rent this?
Rob - Well, does it have crystal sync?
Me - Um, I don't know. I'll ask.
Rob - Okay.
An equipment list, I realize now, is not a given but rather the result of a very extensive series of questions. But, before you can
answer those questions you have to have a vision. And
you have to
have a level of knowledge that allows you to express this vision to the people
you are working with. And to get this knowledge, you have to know what questions to ask.
But, before you can figure out what questions to ask, you have to know what you are doing.
Point of fact, if you want to shoot a 16mm film, you can do it with any (working) 16mm camera around. Heck, you probably could do it with an old tuna can that has a small hole punched in one side. Now, messing around will often lead you to knowledge in a slow, indirect path, but I wanted the express elevator to stardom. I was already convinced that just by making a film, people would swear they heard trumpets when someone happened to mention my name in conversation. This was
another thing that
experience would school me about, but that is definitely another story. The point is, I had no time to end
up with the wrong camera.
What Rob did for me was explain that when looking for a camera, certain models might have better image stability, mobility, reliablity, etc. then other models, but this will likely have to be balanced against cost. Even on the bigger budgets, unless you are James Cameron, no one is going to build a special camera just to realize your personal vision. To decide what will be sacrificed, you must ask questions about your production, and more importantly, know which questions will get you answers that are relevant.
Let's take lighting, for example. If you are mostly shooting outdoors during mid-day, you will likely be able to get away without any lights. If you are shooting indoors or at night, even once, you will
likely want to
get some. If you have a small room
and want to do blanket lighting, you can get a few floods or some Kinoflows.
If you are going for larger rooms, you will need more. If you would
like to (and have someone who knows how to)
parts of the room, you would want to add some spot lights.
You can generate such a list of
questions for every aspect of
of the film and then present it to a reasonably knowledgable person who
can turn this into an equipment list. But if you are like me, you'll find
yourself wandering around the set going,
"More light there and there. What about that light, can
we use that?"
And if you were smart enough to get someone like Rob, you might get a response like, "That's an incandescent, it won't work." or "That's a light meter, not a light." and though it may be embarassing, at least your film will look good.