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 following:
    Me - Hey. What do I need to do about lights?
    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.
Not only were these conversations common, but they covered a myriad of topics. Pretty much anything that popped into
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 interesting:
    Me - Hey. I found some guy who is renting
    an Arriflex C. Arriflex is a good
    company, right?
    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.
The biggest problem with having these enourmous muscles....
    Me - Yeah. Right. Got it. So.... And what is crystal sync?
It must have been quite lovely for Rob. I mean, not only did I not know what I was doing, but I didn't even know enough to have an intelligent conversation about it. I had done much in theater and video (plug, plug), but either that experience didn't translate at all, or I am just an idiot. Or both. In retrospect, it seems like there would be a book out there, a reliable book that would point you down a simple path. I didn't have such a book, and I don't think Rob knew of one, otherwise I am certain he would have bought it for me.

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
...was having to feed them all the time. 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) emphasize certain parts of the room, you would want to add some spot lights.

You can generate such a list of
That and bringing his arms in tight enough to cover his mouth when he sneezed.
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.