The advent of the digital image has changed everything. We all know it. Among the many changes coming from the passage from strips of plastic film covered with photosensitive material (film), or magnetized (magnetic tape, cassettes) to smaller and smaller memory cards, there is one change which, in contrast to the thrust propulsive digital, has been responsible for a "behavioral" involution of filmmakers (and photographers). No one seemed to realize that. The digital explosion stopped the chore of buying continuosly videotapes and film rolls!
Some of my readers could think.
Do not worry. I'm one of those filmmakers who will always thank the digital for avoid us the need of buying videotapes. But as Nature teaches, each new conquest, every evolution of more convenient new adaptations always has a compensation. There is always the other side of the coin and in this case, the obvious advantage of not having to buy videotapes anymore is in contrast with the negative filmmakers "de-empowerment".
But let me explain: whether you were a high-level professional, an enthusiast amatour, or just a beginner novice , having to deal with the supply of tapes or films required the operator to evaluate carefully when to press START and, moreover, when to press STOP. The tape was something very precious and not just becaue it was very expenive, but also because it didn't have the infinitive memory of the current memory card devices (this was a very important aspect while you where working). If you were in particular areas where it was hard to find tapes, the management of tapes " stock" became a vital aspect of the production. It happen to me to run out of the dairly established tape and I had to evaluate if using one bound for the next day in order to shoot a specific situation/scene knowing to reduce the number of tapes bound for the following day. It was a really trouble situation.
The importance given to the cost of a tape (meaning both in an economic and logistic sense) had the great merit of forcing anyone who approch a video camera to wonder if his actions was correct, monitoring continuously all aspects of the filming (exposure, composition, camera movement , etc.). It was the famous "attention for the details ".
The use of tapes forced filmmakers to do the right thing at the right time . It was a real " Darwinian selective pressure " which, in the end , allowed the survival - as a documentary maker - of those who had the strongest motivations and determination to be true filmmaker.
With the digital explosion, the environment of filmmaker is completely changed and this selective factor has completely lost its influence/effectiveness.
Those who believein the miraculous abilities of the digital post-production to "correct " what has been done, is denying and underestimating the role of technical/expressive skills needed to shoot at high level even in bright digital age.
The advantages coming from the modern technology which make possible the achivment of good results underline the need of attention that must be paid in every detail exspecially if you wish to have success. Today more than ever before.
Never think to adjust the job you did in the post production session as often do learners while filming. It's important to do a good job from the very beginning. If it is true that there will always be a chance of improving while editing, an unperfect picture can became an accettable one but never a masterpiece.
Do this exercise : prepare a small shooting session and pretend to have a beautiful 16mm camera. instead of your digital video camera and to have a limited number of minutes of film. Get out and start shooting following your scheduled work, without exceeding in time. Never check on what you shoot while you're on the set.
At the end of the shooting session go to your computer and look at the pictures you took. Judge yourself and have a great time!
The skill of catching what you want without repeating the sequence 100 times , brings another important advantage that will be useful if you wish to be a filmmaker : the ability to create the scenes you want without producig a large amount of footage.
If the possibility to choose between different options represents a positive aspect, especially for directors and editors, being forced to watch hours and hours of useless material is something that irritates and that makes you lose precious working days.
In the world of professional video, time is money!