Thread: Does Owning a Red Make You More Attractive as a Cinematographer?

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  1. #21  
    REDuser Sponsor Gunleik Groven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Most View Post
    Does owning a Red camera make you more attractive as a cinematographer?

    Only on Reduser. In the real world, having a great eye, artistic flair, a deep knowledge of the art and the craft, ability to work well with others, a keen sense of storytelling, a sensitivity to the needs of actors, an ability to multitask effectively, an understanding of the needs and creative desires of the director, great lighting skills, a good understanding of visual effects, a good understanding of editing, and the ability to prioritize and work quickly when required are what make you attractive as a cinematographer. The camera you either use or own means very little. Your reputation and your work are what count. Ownership of a camera - Red or otherwise - only allows you to do your own projects at a slightly reduced rate. When working for others, skills and track record are what count, not the toolkit in the back of your car.
    I, too 100% agree to this.

    Owning a RED did set me a position to work without asking "to be allowed" on getting better at things, and THAT helped me land a lot of the gigs I am most happy about. That would not have happened if I didn't get the RED ONE back in the day.
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  2. #22  
    Senior Member JeanChristophe Dupasquier's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Depends on where you live and work I guess. For small to medium clients you might become "the guy with the RED", as it kinda was for me for a while. I did buy my first Scarlet-X not only because of image quality but also for marketing / personal branding reasons. This combined with a bit of social media goes a long way in today's world. And small clients take you seriously when you shot up with "that big camera".

    Also: I had to up my skills, so in a way the Scarlet/Epic made me want to become a better DP. Sounds stupid but it was (still is) a big motivation to work with these amazing tools! For me at least :)

    And of course it's great for personal projects or as Phil wrote, for last minute calls. If you can answer such calls with "sure, I'll pack my gear and we'll be shotting tomorrow morning"...that's pretty cool (for you and the client)!

    My 2cents
    Hope that helps
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  3. #23  
    Difficult to say but. Most famous and highly paid DP´s does not own any film camera.

    To me it tints your expertise a bit. A DP that tells the production that his lenses, camera or what ever gear should be used for the production is more of a sales person for his own little rental shop then a Director of Photography. The later of the two should steer the camera department in best direction possible, mixing that up with putting your own gear in use can be looked at as you are actually not doing whats best for the production.

    Simply a consultant that sells something is never a consultant, he is more of a sales person that advice people to buy his stuff. I think some productions are ready to buy whats for sale and some wants the DP to be clean in the sense that he is not cutting you a deal on camera gear or such instead he helps the production to get the best gear possible.

    Now sure there are DP´s that owns gear and use it on their productions and everyone involved is fine with that. Same as an artist use his own paint brushes. But it quite often leaves the producers with a doubt that they been sold on something they did not want to buy. Especially when there is problem with the camera gear, files are corrupt etc. And no need to say but those things happen sooner or later than as a DP it might be very vice to not be the owner of that failing mag or camera. A lot of times its much better to have the rental house as a buffer in case of such fails.

    The above is very likely why many DP´s owns cameras but leaves them at the rental house and does not tell their clients that they own them, that way they can charge for the their camera and split the income with the rental house that takes care of all the logistics and also stands with the hat in their hand if there is any sorts of problem.

    It´s also the small things. If you are responsible for the camera it´s your fault that the production get halted just because you forgot to pack your mag reader before you got on the plane and such.

    But sure there are productions that choose DP due to the camera he/she owns. But normally those productions does not really want to pay in full for that camera.

    Atleast to my experience. So all depending on what kind of clients and productions you aim to get and what relation you got your client base.
    Björn Benckert
    Creative Lead & Founder Syndicate Entertainment AB
    VFX / Flame / Motion capture / Monstro
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  4. #24  
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    Maybe in LA and other specific markets. It always surprises me the number of DP's who devalue their own experience by crediting their camera for the success. It's more liekly they are inspired becasue they committed the money and have to make it work.
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  5. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Friedlander View Post
    .... and in certain markets like LA, it's almost a prerequisite to get work.
    I don't know what segment of the industry you work in, but in the one that I work in (mainstream motion pictures and television production) that's a ridiculous statement.
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  6. #26  
    Senior Member Marcus Friedlander's Avatar
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    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by M Most View Post
    I don't know what segment of the industry you work in, but in the one that I work in (mainstream motion pictures and television production) that's a ridiculous statement.
    Unfortunately, as much as I'm working towards this goal, I do not yet work in the mainstream motion picture industry :(. Though I will hopefully be there soon! (Also, while I have you ear, I want to thank you for all the behind the curtains type information you are able to provide to the community!)

    To answer your question, currently, most of my work is either ULB features, or random Craigslist jobs or music videos for friends to fill in the gaps between features. And for that particular world, owning my own camera has opened doors that would never have even been options otherwise.

    Without a doubt, the items you listed below are BY FAR more important to a cinematographer, than the camera that they may or may not have. And I can happily say I've spent many more years working on a similar version of this list, than I have learning how to work RED cameras.

    Quote Originally Posted by M Most View Post
    ....In the real world, having a great eye, artistic flair, a deep knowledge of the art and the craft, ability to work well with others, a keen sense of storytelling, a sensitivity to the needs of actors, an ability to multitask effectively, an understanding of the needs and creative desires of the director, great lighting skills, a good understanding of visual effects, a good understanding of editing, and the ability to prioritize and work quickly when required are what make you attractive as a cinematographer.
    However, the reality of the current job market is such, that I never would have been given the chance to shoot my first feature at 21, if I couldn't sweeten the deal by bringing my own cinema camera. That is the shitty reality of the hyper competitive low end of LA's film industry. Because so many people want to be filmmakers, supply is FAR outstripping demand, which is allowing employers to be FAR more selective. It's very similar to the fact that you need a graduate degree and 3-5 years job experience to be eligible for jobs that used to need bachelors degrees only.

    What I've found though, is that the increased supply has also made those with the talents that you listed, SIGNIFICANTLY more valuable, because so many more bad filmmakers are working today, than ever before. The director that hired me for my first feature just hired me back for his next one in August, because he enjoyed working with me, not because I still own an Epic Dragon, even though he could have found someone cheaper on Craigslist with the same camera package. But, the irony of that statement is, I never would have even existed in his mind in the first place, if I didn't apply for that first feature with an Epic Dragon in my back pocket, and the willingness to cut a deal.

    As much as I REALLY wish it were different, that seems to be the reality of the situation, at least how I've been experiencing it. I really hope it's different for others hahaha!

    To continue using me as an example, if I tried to run a business, or even just pay rent for that matter, by pitching myself at 21, solely on my artistic strengths, I would have gone bankrupt before shooting my first feature, or be forced into shooting a bunch of BS corporate work. Because, no one would trust my intangibles at 21, unless I had something tangible to back it up. So I had to play the game if I wanted to get where I wanted to go.

    Luckily though, only a couple years later, I already have enough credits to start interviewing for much bigger jobs that don't care about equipment. But again, I never would have gotten there if I hadn't shot my first feature, and the subsequent ones as well. And I would never have shot my first feature if I didn't have my own camera package.

    The way I saw it, my options were to either, wait years for me to be "old enough" to shoot features (which is a ludicrous statement but something that has been used against me before.) or shoot a bunch of commercial or corporate BS that I had no interest in shooting, and then try and make the jump into features that way. Or, I could take the path I chose, which is to buy a camera, use the value of the camera to leverage my way into the field that I want, and then either sink or swim based on my own abilities. I perform best under pressure, so to me, the correct option was obvious :)

    Again, I really really really wish the industry was not like this, but it seems to be the reality. If you really want to make yourself cringe, go take a look at the Craigslist LA "gig" section. The postings you'll find are a fairly good summary of the state of the bottom end :(

    (SIDE NOTE:) On second glance, the broadness of the statement does lend itself to being a bit ridiculous. Having used to work at a rental house, I'm well aware of the realities of the high end motion picture world, so I apologize for not being precise enough. I should have clarified my statement by saying, with the exception of the 1% type projects, for most other projects in LA, it seems like owning a a camera package is a prerequisite for job eligibility.

    That being said, it's probably fair to say that, given the context of the question, an answer based on the "normal" type of productions, instead of the "super high end" side seems to make sense. The question of, does owning a RED make me more attractive, probably wouldn't be asked by an ASC member, but rather someone fighting for Craigslist gigs.

    P.S. Thanks again for the inside information you are able to provide to the community!

    P.P.S. If you are interested in checking out the work that I've done, here is a link to my reel:

    Last edited by Marcus Friedlander; 10-15-2017 at 01:31 PM.

    Marcus Ian Friedlander

    RED EPIC DRAGON #03179 "Squillium the Dragon"

    "Perfection is the goal, excellence is the standard."
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  7. #27  
    Senior Member Brett Clements's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Gold Coast - Brisbane - Sydney
    Owning a RED makes you aim higher; take more risks. Clients want some form factor. And that doesn't come in an iPhone or an A7. The Epic W is the best camera I've ever operated. And I've been around the block.
    Brett Clements
    CEO - PlatinumHD Gold Coast
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  8. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarek Zabczynski View Post
    You might develop a case of "Red Arm" so that could always help. Who needs a gym when you shoot Red? Lol.
    New profile pic bro.
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  9. #29  
    Member Alexander_Klose's Avatar
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    Aug 2016
    Germany, Bayern
    I think its more that owning a RED gets you the ability to shoot what you want when you want with one of the best cameras in the world.

    That leads to learn a lot about the eco system and how to treat the sensor to get the most amazing quality out of it. I shoot a lot these days with different cameras from dslrs to RED. If you own a camera you can practice in another way and learn all the little things that make the big difference. And thats what I think clients really see on set and in your work.

    But sometimes its also that you are the only one in town so If they want to use a RED they come to you.
    All we need is magination, a brain, a lens & a minimag

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  10. #30  
    Senior Member Arthur Woo's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    New York, NY
    There are two ways of looking at camera ownership and how people perceive you as a DP.

    1. The people who have been impressed when they find out that I own a RED are people who don't have that much experience in the industry and are wowed by things that cost a lot. Or they're just people who want to use you for the camera, not because of your skill set.

    2. The other group of people who care that I have a Red are line producers in charge of hiring. Sometimes they cut better deals by hiring a DP who has their own camera package. In this case you are more attractive because you make their life easier in terms of saving budget. But you have to be good enough that the director/producer want you because of your skill, and your camera package is a bonus that might swing you in favor over someone at a similar skill level but doesn't own a camera.

    With that said, I don't tell anyone I own a red unless they ask. For me it's a high quality personal cam that occasionally gets used on jobs.
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