DSLR and filmmaking

DSLR video has had a tremendous impact on us over here at Rumur. The image quality is so much better than standard HD cameras that it has inspired a whole new wave of ideas.

Before we made our first feature film, “Half-Cocked,” Suki said to me, “If we can make it look anything like your photos, we’ll be all right.” At the time I was taking a lot of black and white photos of bands and life on the road as a musician. With my background in documentary photography and Suki’s in classic Hollywood storytelling, we set out to create a document of that world. I think we did a pretty good job of translating the look of those photos, and the feelings they evoked, into a feature film.

With our second feature, “Radiation,” we expanded into color, and we lost a little bit of the naturalism of my earlier rock photos, but the film reflected my move into color photography with a point and shoot Yashica T4. Our gaffer (lighting guy) on the shoot was used to working on bigger budget projects and commercials, and I think that his efforts to go for more nuanced lighting upset the natural flow of our filmmaking.

Around that time, the first affordable DV cameras appeared on the market, and we moved into documentary filmmaking. With our own video camera, we dispensed with the need for a crew and started making projects ourselves. While DV was basically professional quality, it didn’t produce inspiring images without a lot of work and control over situations. It didn’t inspire me visually, but I was inspired intellectually by the freedom it gave me. I’m very proud of the films that we put together using our workhourse canon XL1, but I was never inspired by how they looked.

A couple of months ago I got a Canon T2i, before heading off on a job to create a trailer for a possible reality show. I figured that I could use it for a few establishing shots. However, as soon as we saw the first images, we knew that it was all we would use. We had some trouble with sound issues and overheating of the camera, but the images just blew us away.

Since then I’ve been shooting photos and videos like crazy and it’s inspired a whole new love of cinema for me. I’m thinking visually again, instead of just pragmatically. My strength has always been in working with the light I have rather than lighting to create a look. As such, this camera is such a gift for me, and I can’t wait to start putting up more projects that we have created with it.

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