Cinevate Duzi Camera Slider Preview

For a guy who loves a moving camera it's anybody's guess as to why it's taken me this long to purchase a slider. But that day has arrived with the Cinevate Duzi. After a few days of shopping around and deliberation I ordered the Duzi and 3 days later it showed up on my doorstep as I was enjoying my morning coffee. Even though it ships from Thunder Bay, it came surprisingly fast.

A slider is akin to a dolly in that it allows the camera to move smoothly left/right or forward/backward while filming. The Duzi is only 24" long but it is capable of adding just enough movement to enhance an otherwise ordinary shot.

Cinevate Duzi and morning coffee
Cinevate Duzi and morning coffee

I LOVE being able to move the camera during filming which is why I use the Glidecam so often. With the slider the camera can move even steadier over a shorter distance and the movement can be slow and subtle, which is difficult to pull off with the Glidecam.

Coming in at $399 plus any of the bells and whistles that go with it (all-terrain legs, carrying case, sling, etc.) plus a head to attach the camera onto, this was an easy decision to make. The Kessler CineSlider comparably is $1099 and is 3' or 5' long. For a quick setup and the ability to grab 'n go quickly, the Duzi appears to be simpler and more convenient.

Now I get to take it out and play. The weather's good for trying out some exterior shots and there are a few shoots coming up that the Duzi will come in handy on.

Stay tuned for more shots and notes on how well it works out.

Why I Refuse To Upgrade My Canon 60D

Short film shot with Canon 60D

This may be a bit ranty but I feel the need to express the feelings I have towards this incessant need for filmmakers to continuously crave the "best-of-the-best" cameras for their next project. And this will also justify my complete comfort in still using a Canon 60D (a cropped sensor model DSLR that was released a few years ago) as my go-to camera. When RED launched their camera it was all anybody could talk about. There were filmmakers were little experience and also clients with zero knowledge who were insisting that to shoot on anything but a RED camera was not only foolish, it automatically meant your movie was not going to be the best it could be.

My Mom Bought Me A Red
My Mom Bought Me A Red

The same effect was seen when DSLRs hit the scene, especially (and still to this day) with the Canon 5D Mk II or Mk III. When I arrived on set for a shoot recently with my 60D in hand, the other shooters who were armed with their 5D MkII full-frame cameras looked unimpressed and some even commented on my inability to get a full-frame camera.

If I could somehow post the video without singling out the people involved, I would happily challenge anyone to watch it and try to pick which angle was mine, the lone cropped-sensor camera amongst the full-frame big boys.

The school of thought that everything must be shot on the latest and greatest gear in order for it to be high quality goodness for the eyes and ears is ludicrous. Yes, there are amazing images captured on the RED, the Blackmagic and the Alexa. But does that mean that you can't shoot your picture on an inexpensive camera?

Ryan Connolly and the boys over at Film Riot proved this way of thinking wrong with a short film called Operation.

This tense short film was shot on an iPhone 4S. You can see how they achieved this from their BTS making-of video. The point of this example is that they pulled a high quality short film out of a smartphone.

Even on most features shot on RED it's not uncommon to see pick-up shots and second unit camera work being done with a DSLR (even a Rebel T2i, like a previous project I worked on). And it's very difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Long story short, when trying to choose a camera for your film it's not always smart to only settle for a high-end, Peter Jackson-level camera when you could just as easily be shooting with something more accessible. The focus shouldn't always be on the tool, rather than the artist wielding the tool. There are amazing movies shot on small cameras (smartphones, crop sensor DSLRs) and there are also really crappy movies shot on big cameras (RED, BM, Alexa). Whether you choose one over the other will not determine the outcome of your shoot. Only how you use it.

Will I shoot every project on my Canon 60D forever? Of course not. It is still important to keep up with technology as much as it is to stay well-practiced on technique. But only when the time is right and the wallet will allow.

Acoustic jamming with The Vanishers (VIDEO)

One cold, winter night I got a call from my friend Paul. He and his band, The Vanishers, were lined up to play at a place downtown (the eBar is a popular place for live music) and wanted to record an acoustic set quickly before the show. Myself and two other camera operators showed up, armed with our gear and after a handful of minor technical issues (a broken field mixer being one of them, good thing I had my Zoom H4N recorder on hand), we were able to record two quick takes of them performing Mother Goose.

Also to give you an idea as to why I enjoy downtown Guelph so much, we recorded at the back of The Bookshelf (a popular place for...books) and they welcomed us in with a smile and wave as we setup and shot without disturbing any of their business. In fact, I'm pretty sure some of the customers sat in to watch the show.

The Vanishers
The Vanishers

If you ever get the chance to, I highly recommend checking out the band. If you're a fan of throat-punching, country-fried rock 'n roll...well, you're in luck because that's what they play. Follow The Vanishers on their Facebook page and catch their next show.