Author Topic: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture  (Read 36187 times)

Audionut

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2014, 09:09:42 PM »
They are the same chart.

The image in the post I linked, is simply a screenshot of an earlier version of the spreadsheet.  I recall this being advised in the thread.  However, I have edited the first post of that thread, to make that more clear.  :)

Steven

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2014, 10:07:41 PM »
I asked why you want to shoot raw, because it brings quite a lot of problems with it.
I shot a short film with my 5d3 in raw, we had quite difficult circumstances that asked for quite long takes and we often had to repeat a shot so I went through the cf cards pretty quickly and could not even check if all the files had been recorded fine... (I did record a backup via HDMI to a recoder though...). The whole thing took place in a driving car, so it was really an unpractical situation, no data wrangler could help me with backups and file checking. (I had borrowed and rented around 10 cf cards and was switching all the time, some cards suddenly didn't perform like they should), the external recorder was running a 256gb SSD, recorded 1080p 422 10bit and hold the whole day...
 
Of course the resolution is almost perfect 1080p (if you keep the iso low), you can recover the highlights and shadows (if you keep the iso low) and change the white balance to your likings. Special effects like keying or changing the color of whole objects is also is made possible by the data the raw files offer.
But in the end the look of the film will be more effected by the colors and light you chose in front of the camera. So I would prefer to shoot with a another camera, that offers true 1080p resolution and lets say a prores 422 10bit codec for better gradeability, that records more than only 15minutes per memory card and does not have all those funny quirks the ml raw cameras have...


Frank7D

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2014, 10:57:47 PM »
But then, is it even possible to use exFat formatted cards on the 7D? The charts don't agree. Someone give me a straight answer... (and no of course, the purchasing decision won't be based on that at all. Just curious.)

Doesn't work, AFAIK. It certainly didn't work for me when I tried it on my 7D.

aace

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2014, 05:16:42 AM »
A few more things to consider. If you decide to get a 50D and 7D you will need to purchase batteries for the 50D as they are different from the 60D and 7D. You do have the option to get a power adapter that works on AC power http://www.amazon.com/Canon-ACK-E6AC-Adapter-Mark-Digital/dp/B001KBZ3PK. Also raw obviously produces large files. You're gonna need a lot of cards, some way to dump the cards between takes, and a ton of hard drive space. I easily filled a 1TB hard drive with the MLV files alone. Be mindful of the storage needs of raw when making your purchases.

tonybeccar

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2014, 05:19:01 AM »
I have to confirm.. but I am 99% sure that the exFat cards work on 7D. It still splits the files into 4GB chunks but I remember I did a short in RAW and the cards were formatted as exFat as I didnt have the option for Fat32, I am 99% sure again...

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2014, 09:19:35 AM »
I asked why you want to shoot raw, because it brings quite a lot of problems with it.

I realize that, but the end result is worth it.

Full latitude in color grading, highlight recovery, VFX, greenscreen, image quality... long list of benefits to shooting in RAW when making a feature if you really want it to look professional.

Of course the resolution is almost perfect 1080p (if you keep the iso low), you can recover the highlights and shadows (if you keep the iso low) and change the white balance to your likings. Special effects like keying or changing the color of whole objects is also is made possible by the data the raw files offer.
But in the end the look of the film will be more effected by the colors and light you chose in front of the camera. So I would prefer to shoot with a another camera, that offers true 1080p resolution and lets say a prores 422 10bit codec for better gradeability, that records more than only 15minutes per memory card and does not have all those funny quirks the ml raw cameras have...

Well I'd prefer to shoot with an Alexa, but that's not happening in the immediate future... ;)

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2014, 09:20:38 AM »
They are the same chart.

The image in the post I linked, is simply a screenshot of an earlier version of the spreadsheet.  I recall this being advised in the thread.  However, I have edited the first post of that thread, to make that more clear.  :)

Yah, I figured that out shortly after I asked the question, haha... darn those screencaps!

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2014, 09:35:32 AM »
A few more things to consider. If you decide to get a 50D and 7D you will need to purchase batteries for the 50D as they are different from the 60D and 7D. You do have the option to get a power adapter that works on AC power http://www.amazon.com/Canon-ACK-E6AC-Adapter-Mark-Digital/dp/B001KBZ3PK. Also raw obviously produces large files. You're gonna need a lot of cards, some way to dump the cards between takes, and a ton of hard drive space. I easily filled a 1TB hard drive with the MLV files alone. Be mindful of the storage needs of raw when making your purchases.

Oh, oh, different batteries? I don't like that :P Of course the lower resolution bothers me more. Maybe I'll have to borrow a second 7D for the days where it would be better to have two cams. I have a friend who owns one, but it's brand new and he's scared to put ML on it so far... I bet when I do it first, and show him what the footage looks like, he'll jump on board though ;)

I have ordered two 64GB 1000x Komputerbay cards to start with, which will give us about 30 minutes of recording time. If we are mindful of what we shoot, and delete bad takes in camera, that should be a realistic amount of shooting time to get us through half the day, or a short day, before dumping the files during the lunch break. I will see if more cards need to be ordered depending on how things go. I keep in mind that most of the time on set is not spent running a camera, but setting up lights, talking to the actors between takes, doing hair/make-up/costumes and rehearsing the blocking. Then of course there is the driving between locations, and the staging. If we actually shot a full 30 minutes worth of footage in a 4-6 hour chunk of work time, I'd be thrilled.

Basically, with the file sizes being so huge, and the cards so expensive, I think of this as the digital equivalent of film film. You don't just let 35mm film roll on and on as people mess around. You really prep for a take before you "hit record." Of course with 35mm film you can't just hit a delete button after a flubbed line and get that cost of film back. So there are still huge advantages to high end digital video. The film analogy is something I would also bring up about everyone stressing they can't check the footage right away. This ability to check the footage instantly, is very new as far as the history of cinema goes. If directors have done it "blind" for 100 years, then we can step up to the plate as well. (Or step over to the computer on a break, and check it there. :P)

For storage space I have two 4 TB external hard drives. One to hold the data, one to back up the data.

Last thing I really need to get/upgrade is USB 3.0 connection for the computer. Currently it only has USB 2.0, and the transfers would take way too long.

Kharak

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2014, 01:20:29 PM »
When you extract the DNG's from the RAW or MLV file, You'll really feel like working with the digital equivalent of a film roll.

 Frame by frame ;) 

I love it!
once you go raw you never go back

Steven

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2014, 04:41:51 PM »
I wasn't referring to an Alexa, rather a black magic or something similar (but all the cheap solutions bring tons of their own special  quirks that have to be dealt with, so sticking with a system you already know sounds reasonable).

So anyhow, looks like you have a good background and approach (handle it like a shoot on film stock).

So the things left to say would be: Testing the two cameras a lot, so you know all the problem scenarios.
Recording raw while monitoring via HDMI might also behave differently, then without (does it even work at all?).

Shutting down the live view when ever you can, especially on a well lit set the cameras heat up quickly and I think i noticed an increased noise due to risen temperature on the 5d3 and the 7d has one of the worst sensors...

Maybe check at what ISOs the 50d and 7d have similar noise patterns for better matching of intercut shots.

When backing up, use a checksum tool, might save you a lot of trouble...

ML Raw still produces bad frames sometimes, you don't find out until you checked the recorded files...

Komputerbay cards do not seem to be very reliable, some users say they run rockstable, some report corrupt files and some even corrupted cards that lose the entire data. Extensive testing of the cards beforehand will save you from losing material but even then a risk will stay...

Due to the lower resolution than 1080p you will not need the fastest card available so borrowing cards from friends/colleages or a rental becomes an option. Take a closer look at the Sandisk 32+GB 120,90 and 60MB/s cards too. Transcend 1000x also perform alright.

MLRawViewer is a cool tool to take a quick look at shots taken directly from the camera.

For safety I would only use USB 3 card readers (with newest firmware) and stick to one reader only that is known to work, some UDMA7 cards get corrupted by readers.

I guess many of my points were already considered.

SC_Trojan

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #60 on: May 16, 2014, 08:17:59 PM »
Aria,

I applaud you for asking questions.  That is a good start.  But in your responses to suggestions offered, it seems clear to me that you might want to re-think exactly how this no-budget, under $10k feature is going to work from a producing perspective.  In my opinion...with the budget you have, you are setting yourself up to fail.  And as a producer...you always should be setting yourself (and your team) up to succeed. 

Some have suggested to you ways to acquire more expensive cameras for shorter periods of time that would give you better results.  1 was to rent.  Which you suggested was not possible due to a 6 month shoot time.  As a producer, when I hear 6 month shoot time my eyebrow gets raised.  Some hundred million dollar tent-poles don't have a 6 month shoot time.  Why is that necessary?  Is this a documentary where you are following someone down the amazon river for half a year or something?  Or is this a scripted feature? 

I don't really care what the answer is...I am just posting things to think about.

I also think that in general...the best person to answer your questions are your DP.  Or are you shooting, directing, producing, editing this whole thing yourself?  If you are doing the one-person show here I would strongly encourage you to reconsider that as the beauty of filmmaking is that it is a team effort and the sum of the many creative parts will always make something better than any one part can do on their own.  To know which camera is best to use...one really should read your script...have meetings to discuss shots and then decide which equipment can best capture what is needed.  If your script is all shot in the bright sun in a desert setting...one camera might to.  If it is all inside...perhaps a different one.  If it is all on a green stage...then something else.  Just looking at specs and dollar amounts alone will not get you the result you are hoping for which will lead to much frustration in Post. 

Which leads me to Post-production. 

So many filmmakers today fail to properly budget for post-production.  They think once the film is shot and they get through production...that is all the money they need.  Then they spend months in post-production hell learning that post production is usually MORE expensive than production.  Especially with regards to sound.  It is a fact that sound is more important to the audience perception of a film than picture.  Our brains will forgive not-so perfect images (almost rationalizing them as creative choices)...but WILL NOT forgive poor sound.  You could shoot on an iPhone and if the dialogue is clear and the sound design is massive and enveloping...people will be wowed, entertained and moved.  But then again...sound is getting away from the point of this forum's focus. 

My point is...you may need to re-think from a producer perspective how you are going to solve the problems in shooting your script.  That may lead you understand that a $10k is not adequate and was not put together with proper research.  Perhaps other fundraising efforts might need to be approached.  (Do they even teach how to raise money to young filmmakers any more??)  It may also lead you to decide that more people need to be involved in the process...like a DP you are close to and not an internet forum of folks you don't know.  And it may also lead you to re-thiking how to shoot this feature on a timeline that would allow you to rent equipment and not have to buy it.  Which means re-thinking a 180 day shoot.

I wish you the best on this project.  Know that I share these thoughts not to discourage you...but to stir thoughts about possibly looking at things a bit differently.  As a director, one is all about the creative process and guiding the ship.  As a producer, one should be about solving problems, understanding limitations and figuring out what you have to give up on one side of a budget to get what you need on the other.  But don't get yourself into a corner where the "budget" is all spent in production and nothing is left for post...promotion (a website, festival submissions...screeners, etc...). 

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #61 on: May 16, 2014, 09:49:16 PM »
... it seems clear to me that you might want to re-think ... you are setting yourself up to fail.  And as a producer...you always should be setting yourself (and your team) up to succeed. 

Some have suggested to you ways to acquire more expensive cameras for shorter periods of time that would give you better results.  1 was to rent.  Which you suggested was not possible due to a 6 month shoot time.  As a producer, when I hear 6 month shoot time my eyebrow gets raised.  Some hundred million dollar tent-poles don't have a 6 month shoot time.  Why is that necessary?  Is this a documentary where you are following someone down the amazon river for half a year or something?  Or is this a scripted feature? 

I don't really care what the answer is...I am just posting things to think about.

I never said we were shooting 180 days in a row. Don't make ridiculous assumptions.

You accuse me of being incompetent as a producer, but you "don't really care what the answer is" to your questions? Wow. Nice... that's really a great way to deal with people: judge them first, and walk away before the truth has a chance to correct your prejudices! That way, you can never be wrong!  ::)

Actually it's fine that you "don't care" what the answer is, because frankly I don't feel the need to explain myself to a stranger on the internet who knows absolutely NOTHING about the circumstances of this production, but feels entitled to criticize anyway. The proof is in the pudding, and I'll let the film speak for itself when it's completed.

...the best person to answer your questions are your DP.  Or are you shooting, directing, producing, editing this whole thing yourself?  If you are doing the one-person show here I would strongly encourage you to reconsider that as the beauty of filmmaking is that it is a team effort and the sum of the many creative parts will always make something better than any one part can do on their own. 

First of all, I didn't come to the ML forums asking technical and specific questions so that someone who's opinion has not been vetted by an impressive list of IMDB credits, could talk down to me about the "beauty of filmmaking" as a collaborative art form.

Second, perhaps you have heard the word "auteur." Arguably the greatest directors of all time wore multiple hats across departments, as DP/director, Producer/director, writer/director, director/editor, director/composer, director/lead actor, etc. Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin among many others.

Third, your presumption that if a film maker directs and produces, or directs and is behind the camera, they have somehow failed to leverage the "team" aspect of film making, is a gross injustice to the dozens of actors, crew, assistants, set designers, costumers, special effects people, technicians, and community supporters involved in any feature film. It doesn't matter if a director wears one hat, or six, a feature film is NEVER, EVER a "one person show."

So many filmmakers today fail to properly budget for post-production.  They think once the film is shot and they get through production...that is all the money they need.  Then they spend months in post-production hell learning that post production is usually MORE expensive than production.  Especially with regards to sound.  It is a fact that sound is more important to the audience perception of a film than picture.  Our brains will forgive not-so perfect images (almost rationalizing them as creative choices)...but WILL NOT forgive poor sound.  You could shoot on an iPhone and if the dialogue is clear and the sound design is massive and enveloping...people will be wowed, entertained and moved.  But then again...sound is getting away from the point of this forum's focus. 

No kidding. Everything you've said has been away from the point of this forum's focus.

And again, I am really not interested in being dressed down by a stranger because "so many film makers" fail to properly budget for post-production or don't understand the importance of sound. Please don't assume things about me, or this production without actually having ANY facts. Good manners would be first asking a question ("how are you doing your sound?" or "how are you doing your post production?") not presuming I am an idiot because you've run into some idiots.

I'm not going to waste what little free time I have answering your implied questions/points, because I am not on trial here for how I'm co-producing this film. Frankly, if you were in my shoes, I doubt you could shoot a 30 second commercial for $10,000, much less an indie feature.

I've personally had friends who shot no-budget features for a mere $3,000 over the course of 2+ years, and another year in post, and won festival awards. I can't IMAGINE what you might have told them had you run into them before they got started. The world would have never enjoyed the beauty of their work. #indiepride

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #62 on: May 16, 2014, 10:01:22 PM »
I wasn't referring to an Alexa, rather a black magic or something similar (but all the cheap solutions bring tons of their own special  quirks that have to be dealt with, so sticking with a system you already know sounds reasonable).

My dreams of an Alexa are entirely tongue-in-cheek ;)
I looked into the Black Magic Pocket Cam, and it's unworkable. Batteries must be recharged *IN* the camera. It takes much longer to recharge the battery, then to use it up... so... how does one go shoot for 12 hours, then try to do it all again the next day? Buy a second Black Magic Pocket Cam to use as a battery charging station? LoL. I don't know what the designers over there at BM are smoking.

So the things left to say would be: Testing the two cameras a lot, so you know all the problem scenarios.
Recording raw while monitoring via HDMI might also behave differently, then without (does it even work at all?).

Shutting down the live view when ever you can, especially on a well lit set the cameras heat up quickly and I think i noticed an increased noise due to risen temperature on the 5d3 and the 7d has one of the worst sensors...

Maybe check at what ISOs the 50d and 7d have similar noise patterns for better matching of intercut shots.

When backing up, use a checksum tool, might save you a lot of trouble...

Yep, lots of testing ahead. I'll keep an eye on the overheating issue - it's strange that some people report it, while others say they've never had a problem. I wonder what's up with that.

The 60D and 7D have identical sensors (from what I understand) so the ISO pattern should be the same. The price difference is for better rapid-fire photography on the 7D, the better build of the body, the weatherproofing, etc.

I'll look into a checksum tool.

Komputerbay cards do not seem to be very reliable, some users say they run rockstable, some report corrupt files and some even corrupted cards that lose the entire data. Extensive testing of the cards beforehand will save you from losing material but even then a risk will stay...

Due to the lower resolution than 1080p you will not need the fastest card available so borrowing cards from friends/colleages or a rental becomes an option. Take a closer look at the Sandisk 32+GB 120,90 and 60MB/s cards too. Transcend 1000x also perform alright.

True, but as many on the forums have done, I'll send back any Komputerbay cards that are duds for replacements. The 2x or 3x price difference is just too much for Sandisk or Lexar.

For safety I would only use USB 3 card readers (with newest firmware) and stick to one reader only that is known to work, some UDMA7 cards get corrupted by readers.

I guess many of my points were already considered.

Just ordered the Transcend USB 3.0 reader that was recommended elsewhere on the forum. Also ordered the needed USB 3.0 upgrade for the computer. Yay :)

True, but it's always good to double check and point out any potential problems ahead of time. I really appreciate knowing the potential issues thanks to you all who've used RAW on the 7D. I'm sure it will save me a lot of troubleshooting time.

ariaelf

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #63 on: May 16, 2014, 10:02:36 PM »
When you extract the DNG's from the RAW or MLV file, You'll really feel like working with the digital equivalent of a film roll.

 Frame by frame ;) 

I love it!

Oh yah ;) Love your siggy. "once you go raw you never go back"  8)

SC_Trojan

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #64 on: May 17, 2014, 12:48:52 AM »
I never said we were shooting 180 days in a row. Don't make ridiculous assumptions.

Great...then you can rent and don't have to buy.  Unless you are just looking for an excuse to buy.

You accuse me of being incompetent as a producer, but you "don't really care what the answer is" to your questions? Wow. Nice... that's really a great way to deal with people: judge them first, and walk away before the truth has a chance to correct your prejudices! That way, you can never be wrong!  ::)

Nope...never said you were incompetent.  You read into it what you chose to.  Probably on the defensive from previous posts on this thread that also pointed out some things you seemingly don't want to hear.

Actually it's fine that you "don't care" what the answer is, because frankly I don't feel the need to explain myself to a stranger on the internet who knows absolutely NOTHING about the circumstances of this production, but feels entitled to criticize anyway. The proof is in the pudding, and I'll let the film speak for itself when it's completed.

If I had a dime for ever time I have heard that one...seriously.  I am just going to attribute this whole response to the hubris of the young. 

First of all, I didn't come to the ML forums asking technical and specific questions so that someone who's opinion has not been vetted by an impressive list of IMDB credits, could talk down to me about the "beauty of filmmaking" as a collaborative art form.

Fair enough.  But your reactions to previous folks when coming on a forum...asking for opinions on your "feature" and then dismissing all of the opinions given to you about the problems at hand only serves to show your lack of experience.  You have shown that you don't really want to know what people think but just want some stranger "permission" to go buy some cameras you have already decided to buy.

Second, perhaps you have heard the word "auteur." Arguably the greatest directors of all time wore multiple hats across departments, as DP/director, Producer/director, writer/director, director/editor, director/composer, director/lead actor, etc. Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin among many others.


Trust me...your responses show you are no Orson Welles or Charlie Chaplin.  But maybe your ability to make a silent film with your $10 grand will be somewhat of a comparison.  It is the movie BUSINESS...not movie art. 

ok...THAT was a snarky response.  But the best way to avoid snarky from those you have asked opinions of is to show some humility. 

Third, your presumption that if a film maker directs and produces, or directs and is behind the camera, they have somehow failed to leverage the "team" aspect of film making, is a gross injustice to the dozens of actors, crew, assistants, set designers, costumers, special effects people, technicians, and community supporters involved in any feature film. It doesn't matter if a director wears one hat, or six, a feature film is NEVER, EVER a "one person show."

It does matter...if you want to climb the ladder in Hollywood at all.  No bond company would approve a single person being the head of every major dept.  Doesn't work that way. 

No kidding. Everything you've said has been away from the point of this forum's focus.

Not really...your feature film's budget (especially with all of the folks you listed saying my comments were doing an injustice to) is woefully inadequate.  That says a lot.  Here is a tip.  Find a way to pay your people and get the stuff for free.  Not the other way around.

And again, I am really not interested in being dressed down by a stranger because "so many film makers" fail to properly budget for post-production or don't understand the importance of sound. Please don't assume things about me, or this production without actually having ANY facts. Good manners would be first asking a question ("how are you doing your sound?" or "how are you doing your post production?") not presuming I am an idiot because you've run into some idiots.


ok...I did make some assumptions.  Enlighten me.  How much of your $10 grand is locked away for Post-Production? 

I'm not going to waste what little free time I have answering your implied questions/points, because I am not on trial here for how I'm co-producing this film. Frankly, if you were in my shoes, I doubt you could shoot a 30 second commercial for $10,000, much less an indie feature.


Is it week 1 of American Idol here or what.

I've personally had friends who shot no-budget features for a mere $3,000 over the course of 2+ years, and another year in post, and won festival awards. I can't IMAGINE what you might have told them had you run into them before they got started. The world would have never enjoyed the beauty of their work. #indiepride

No one gives a crap about festival awards.  Seriously.  They give a crap about your ability to handle a team...not squander someone else's millions of dollars, and make money.  Filmmaking is a highly mechanical, industrialized process. 

People have given you some great ideas about why you should not use the 7D with ML....or shoot raw...or that your feature budget appears inadequate.  At least taking some of those responses into some self-reflection might do some good. 

Have fun with your $10k.

ted ramasola

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #65 on: May 17, 2014, 01:34:20 AM »
keep it classy guys.
5DmkII  / 7D
www.ramasolaproductions.com
Texas

Audionut

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #66 on: May 17, 2014, 01:35:25 AM »
Nope...never said you were incompetent.  You read into it what you chose to.


It is only obnoxious, because you choose to respond that way.

Members here spend their free time to offer advice.  Unlike a number of other forums, I believe that ML contains mostly helpful members, who have better things to do, then going around annoying other people.


You specifically asked for advice on what to shoot with, and you got it. Once you receive your response, just be thankful and then do what is best for you rather than argue as to why the advice isn't good enough.

ariaelf, I have tried to be polite, but you obviously have no care for showing politeness yourself.

Regardless of your own personal opinions, of the intent of those people responding to your questions, one thing is for certain, the manner in which you choose to respond, in no way, could be considered harmonious to healthy discussion.

This thread should be a clear indicator.

People here actually have lives, that don't revolve around making yours uncomfortable, or otherwise harassing you, because they seemingly have nothing better to do.

If you want to continue to believe, that people here, serve only to harass you, that is fine also.  You should then consider not participating at these forums, and finding a forum where members are more aligned with your opinion of respectful behaviour.

Kind regards,
Audionut.

Audionut

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Re: "No Budget" feature film looking for best DSLR cam for RAW capture
« Reply #67 on: May 17, 2014, 01:36:16 AM »
keep it classy guys.

This thread lost some of its class, way back on page 1 Ted.   :(