Camera Tests

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 20:
CAMERA TESTS


“The most powerful weapon in the world, as far as I’m concerned, is the camera.” — Paul Watson

The purpose of camera tests are to put a camera system through it’s paces to expose (if you pardon the film pun!) its strengths and weaknesses, thus creating a library of footage that will serve as a reference for your production.

The principal of camera testing obviously originates with testing different film stocks – but like each film emulsion, each digital sensor is different. With so many new digital cameras available on the market it’s difficult to know the pros and cons of each… and whether your preferred camera fits your preferred shooting style. You don’t want to just pick a camera and then hope it’ll work nicely in low light if you’re shooting night scenes. Or hope that it’ll be great at handling highlights if you’re filming in the midday sun.

Obviously most indie filmmakers don’t have the luxury of choosing from a range of cameras (or film stocks!), but it’s still vital that you test the camera you’re planning to use for your shoot – familiarising yourself with its optimum operating settings allows you to showcase the camera’s strengths while hiding its weaknesses — and in turn making your cinematography appear more considered and crafted.

Here’s a really cool video from KODAK that features an elaborate camera test designed to showcase improvements in the VISION3 Color Neg Film 5219/7219. Clearly you don’t have to go to such lengths but it’s a great template to help you design your own camera tests.

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5 Ways to Care for Your Camera Like a Pro

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REPEAT AFTER ME!

“This is my camera! There are many like it, but this one is mine! My camera is my best friend! It is my life! I must master it as I master my life! Without me, my camera is useless! Without my camera, I am useless!”

You can immediately spot a true Professional from a wannabe by the way they treat gear; whether it’s their own or hired, it makes NO difference. A true Professional relies upon their gear; without it they can’t do their job – their gear is their livelihood.

DIRT, DUST and WATER are a camera’s Kryptonite, and a true Professional will always put their camera’s welfare before their own.

DirtandDust_thumbI’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve stood drenched in the pouring rain, having given my coat to the camera – I can still work soaking wet, BUT THE CAMERA CANNOT!

I’ve also suffered heat stroke and sunburn after donating my trusty baseball cap to ‘the cause’.

My camera's favourite cap!

My camera’s favourite cap!

Of course, a water cover and umbrella are preferable, but sometimes the rain and heat can be so intense you just have to take one for the team.

We recently posted about the TOP 10 MUST-HAVES for any Camera Assistant Support Bag, and the importance of maintaining your gear.

Today we’re going to specifically focus on keeping your camera clean… and while we were filming in the heat of Africa for the LUCIA Documentary, dirt and dust were Enemy No.1!

So here are my TOP 5 TIPS for Pro Camera Care to make sure you don’t get left in the dust!

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