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  • Alex Press

Do not upgrade your camera until you read this!!

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog again on droneandphoto.com. Today I am sharing with you the reasons why I decided to upgrade my camera but only when I determined it made sense. I created the post because I am a member of several groups on Facebook and everyone is always talking about gear as if it will make them a better videographer - spoiler alert - it won’t. Better gear does have its roll, but if you are really considering starting a business in this field it’s better to put some of the money aside that would be for gear, for advertising and accessories.


Focus on story and creativity first


The first camera I used was a Sony and that used Floppy disks and I was in high school. I created a project with it for my Tech Studies class and the resolution was horrible compared to today’s standards. At this point I didn’t know the difference of CLOG and shooting 30 FPS and this isn’t the most important part of making a video, it is the story. Firstly you need to understand that if I have the best gear and no story to draw in my viewer, I am a shitty cinematographer.


Buy the right accessories first


It is possible your videos are coming out like shit because you do not have the right accessories. For example I would rather record with a cheap $300 camera and cheap lapel mic, then my R6 using the built in microphone. I know that no matter what, the camera mic is going to give a lot of feedback and pick up surrounding noise. This really will disrupt the quality of your video so invest it in this gear first. Also get the proper lighting, soft boxes and LED panels. These are vital to lighting up the subjects and especially important if you are doing weddings and events.


Does your camera perform well in low light ?


I upgraded to the Canon R6 for the main reason that it performs well in low light. As I now get hired for more complex jobs with different requirements, it is important I do not have a lot of noise in low light environments. Of course I am also paying attention to bringing the proper lighting and equipment but when you do what I do with multi- million dollar homes that have a short window of time to shoot- there is no room for error. I often get requested to do night shots to show off landscape lighting. My last camera had some noise and required additional editing in post for it not to look as good.


Do you need 4K, 8K?


Another reason I upgraded to the R6 is because it shoots in 4K at 60 FPS. This is important for my niche of real estate video because I can pull still frames out of the video, I can slow clips down to half the speed for a smooth effect and I can crop in and zoom from one camera creating two angles. These features are nice to have but it is not make or break it. In fact there are a lot of disadvantages to shooting in 4K. It is much more strenuous on your computer and time consuming- many computers cannot even handle it. It also is shrunken down to 1080 or 720 on social media. 8K would add another complication to the editing process. On top of that most screens do not plan in 8K- but 8K is better for zooming in as well as grabbing stills. For what I do it is overkill.


Are you completely booked with clients?


Lastly you should not be purchasing expensive gear, if you want to do this as a career and have no client base. Sorry to say people are not going to hire you because the camera you have and most likely they don’t know what it is or will care. Upgrading should be out of necessity not shiny object syndrome.


Spend the money on ads


I get clients every month with Google Ads and you can too. It costs money to play and you will be kicking yourself if you do not run ads and spend all your money on gear !! To have a successful business you must have revenue coming in. You can do Facebook ads or a wide variety depending on your niche and budget.


Better your knowledge in film


Buy courses to learn from and expand your knowledge to become a better film making. Unlike gear, the skills you learn will never become obsolete. You can expand on these skills and become a well established filmmaker that charges a hefty fee for your premium services.


Rent Gear


If you are working on a big project and need the top quality camera, you will probably need rigging, and an entire crew- you will probably want to do what many of the most established production companies do and rent gear. By renting gear you have an entire arsenal of what the company provides. Do you need an underwater camera, a slow- motion camera, a jib, etc.?? You can lease equipment and add it to the bill. If you are not close to any facilities that provide this service, there are companies online to assist.