by Michael Neel & Greg Ansin
What should I shoot my movie on?
First, ask yourself: what is the final broadcast medium of your film? The web? DVD? Digital Theatres? Imax? Because there is a BIG difference in price range in these broadcast mediums.
If you still do not know, another question to ask is: what do you want your movie to look like? Sin City? Blair Witch Project? The Shining?
There are always new formats coming out. Most are very useful, but make sure that you aren’t just using the new format because it is new. Many formats have been around for years for a reason: because they work. Always weigh how something looks which how much it costs.
If you have chosen your Director of Photography, talk with them about their experiences with formats and get their advice. Then make a decision based on what it would cost to use a given format for your entire film. Do a lengthy test shoot (or two). Ideally, do a scene or two from the movie, or a trailer. These are good ways to see your format in action, and if it fits what you want to do.
Does this format work? Do a cost break down and see what it would cost to make the whole movie in your chosen format.
If it works, go for it and trust the format. A good movie can be shot on a hand held consumer camera or cellphone if the story and production are good.