Great Power, Responsibility Etc.

Cassie is starting a new documentary project, and there’ll be lots about that on here in the coming months. She has an old Sony PD150 MiniDV camcorder, which was quite the thing back in the early 00’s. (That will be going up on eBay soon, so if you’re interested, let me know.)

Tapes and Standard Def no longer cut the mustard, so we had to get a new camera. Cassie is the expert here, but I’ve had a pretty quick induction to the features and requirements of documentary film making from a technical standpoint. We went to a couple of camera stores, and it seemed that one option would be to get a high-end DSLR, rather than a dedicated video camera. This was because you get better light sensitivity in a DSLR than in a comparably-priced video camera – ISO settings over 10,000! In addition, a DSLR would provide us with a good camera we could use for other things, like taking pictures of our dog. Very important. In addition, the form factor was something that Cassie wants to explore in the documentary itself, so there’s an added bonus.

After much deliberation, we went into Calumet and bought a Canon 5D Mark III, plus extra batteries, memory cards, and a stabilizer rig with shoulder pad and pistol grip, to allow you to hold it like a camcorder.

After talking to the very helpful Zachary in Calumet for a while, before buying the 5D, we went to The Pork Store Cafe and had lunch with some folks we haven’t seen for a while, and to let the decision settle in our minds. We did some research on line, and the weird thing is, the camera isn’t on sale yet. All the usual review sites just had previews and tentative hands-on posts, rather than actual reviews. The Mark II was very successful and got great reviews, so we’re sure it’s going to be great, but it was coincidence that we happened to be buying the latest sought-after camera on the day it was released.

We set it up at the weekend, and I played around with it some, but we haven’t yet put it through its paces. Neither of us are photographers – Cassie is a videographer, and I piddle around. But now we have this amazing thing, and frankly I’m a little daunted. Reading some of the comments on the review sites, it makes it seem like if we don’t put this thing to the very best use, then we are not worthy of owning it. Apparently stats-quoting gearheads with kit lists in their forum sigs have the monopoly on owning stuff like this. Well, screw you. We bought one of the three available in the store, and we’re not even professionals! In fact, this is the first DSLR I’ve ever owned! My Dad had an EOS500, but I never used it. What’s ISO?

I think this is a symptom of the usual classic Petty guilt. We have this amazing ability to feel guilty or unworthy when we have something good. Basically, Cassie and I will try to get the best out of this significant purchase. But don’t you dare suggest we shouldn’t be allowed to have it.