Ride On, Pilgrim || CASE STUDY Day X2

I shoot a 5D mkiii. 

It just feels so dirty to say, you know? You watch all these amazing and inspiring DPs/Cinematographers and their breathtaking content, and they're posting bts photos of their rigged out Dragons and Alexas hanging from their Easiyrigs... and here I am toting a Canon DSLR camera wishing to be accepted into the club. You know the kid that showed up to hockey practice with his shin pads over his jeans and wearing a bike helmet? That's me. I feel like I'm being dog shamed, like I'm sitting awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen floor looking up with a sign around my neck that says "I shoot a Canon 5D when I make movies."

I was talking to my wife yesterday and I told her I just feel like a failure. I struggle with fitting in places, I have kind of the hand-me down gear, and I'm trying to DIY myself to a place where I can call myself a "professional." Sound familiar? I hope so. I think so. I know I'm not the only one, but it feels like that a lot. I watch all these guys I look up to on a daily basis post content to Instagram and I turn off my phone and stare at my 6 year old laptop with photoshop open building a treatment for a passion project that won't get me paid in hopes that down the line someone sees it and wants me on their team (it's supposed to be a run-on sentence, to make a point. Gosh.). 

But, dang it if that's not a beautiful place to be. 

Look, I started my creative career in the music business. I did music - Sean Waldron. And I wanted it so badly that I put my eggs in that basket. I spent money I didn't have, I risked job security to pursue venue opportunity, and years later it didn't pan out. So, here I am switching lanes to do video, but the problem is my top of the line Martin acoustic guitar won't shoot 23.976 fps. So, balls. No money to upgrade the 5D to a "better" camera. And you've heard it as many times as I have... "The best camera you can use is the one you have." Perfect, tell that to Audi and Nike. 

But, DANG IT IF THAT IS NOT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO BE!

I'm forced right now out of necessity to be creative in an undesirable or unpopular situation - what the heck can I do with what I have and what I know to make content that looks bigger and better and faster? This forces growth, because growth comes from pressure and tension, and there's a lot of pressure right now to provide for my family and pay my bills, so I have to figure it out. I learned about Magic Lantern Raw and was always afraid that it would brick my camera, but to turn heads I'm sure that Raw video is the way to go - better dynamic range for post, clearer and cleaner than 8bit 1080p compressed, so I hacked the camera and shot an entire project with it in NYC. Turns out, it's freaking amazing. The post process is just shy of a nightmare sometimes, but I'll take that over having a halfway decent picture. 

I had a meeting with a local (Denver) startup about shooting some branded content for them, and turns out the guy knows David from the project and loved how it looked... so proof in the pudding that stepping out of the comfort zone produces some pretty fantastic results.

Anyways, before just recently my setup consisted of the 5D and a 16-35mm lens. That's it. I shot the project mentioned above with some borrowed lenses, and decided when I got back from NY that I needed to figure out a way to get gear. I wanted a set of leica lenses to cine mod (I know, like everyone else in this business), but I didn't have $4000. So, long story short I figured out a way to trade in gear and other equipment (table saw) in order to get a Canon 24-70mm, a monitor (AC7... and for those that have trouble calibrating take a look here), and some other filters and such to have a decent setup. That all has led me to today...

 

Sean Waldron