Micro Filmmaking

When the Vine video-sharing app was released in 2013, most people dismissed it as a filmmaking application. After all, Vine’s video quality was lousy because of the heavy compression, and you could only capture six seconds of motion. But in the year since its release, it has become the new "snapshot," with filmmakers and companies using the platform for both art and commerce. And because Twitter owns it, it’s probably the easiest—not to mention the fastest—form of video distribution. Vine is the latest form of micro filmmaking.

Micro filmmaking isn’t a recent thing. The 16mm or Super 8 experimental filmmaking scene of the ’60s and the Danish Dogme 95 movement were early forms of micro filmmaking in the sense that anybody could pick up a camera and make a movie. But never before has filmmaking become so accessible to so many people, with low-cost cameras they can wear around their necks or put in their pockets. The release of Vincent Laforet’s Reverie in 2008 helped launch the DSLR revolution, giving low-budget filmmakers the ability to create cinematic-looking movies. Shane Hurlbut’s Act of Valor, shot on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, proved to people that you could create an image that was on par with what studio filmmakers could produce.

Another major event for micro filmmaking was YouTube and the advent of social media. With the Internet, anybody could be a "star" because you were able to distribute your content to a global audience 24/7—and for free. Perhaps the camera that hit at the right time was the GoPro HERO. Not only did exhilarating extreme sports videos shot with the GoPro go viral, but cat videos, too.

Finally, we also take a look at the camera that perhaps trumps all cameras put together in terms of volume shooting. The iPhone 5s has proven, at least for still photographers, that the best camera is the camera you always have with you.

This month, we examine the latest accessories and software that will enable you to create more cinematic or immersive video with your DSLR, GoPro HERO3+ and iPhone 5s.


Although the revolution has subsided, DSLRs remain the camera of choice for low-budget shooters
By David Willis

The image quality, low-light abilities, lens availability and relative affordability of DSLRs have made them popular with filmmakers, but creating a video with a DSLR still leaves a lot to be desired. The cameras are severely limited as professional solutions by short clip lengths and motion artifacts like picture skew and jelly motion during pans, as well as poor ergonomics and lackluster audio capabilities. Because of these disadvantages, an entire industry has erupted around making video-capable DSLRs much more capable for working with video. The compact ergonomics of a DSLR, for example, are excellent for hiding a camera or shooting from tight spaces, but long-term handling of a camera designed for stills is absolutely frustrating. A DSLR is designed to be held to your eye so you can quickly track a subject, while camcorders are built for long takes with designs that center the weight on your shoulder or back.