Got Camera Fever? Get Back to Telling Stories

Chris Arnold
August 9, 2016

Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a camera addict.

It’s been 6 months since my last camera purchase, but even that feels like too long.

I’ve purchased over 10 cameras since 2008. I have my eye on a new camera that captures the light field in any given scene and allows me to choose the depth of field and focus in post. I don’t just want it… I’m pretty sure I need it.

Do you remember that holy day in September 2008? Vincent Laforet presented “Reverie,” a gorgeous short film shot with a DSLR camera that also records 1080p video. Welcome to the world, you beautiful, little 5D Mark II.

Finally, there was a camera that produced the ever-so-desired “filmic” look with tantalizingly shallow depth of field at a price tag that you wouldn’t need to sell your soul to buy. Time to invest a few dollars and begin telling the flood of stories that are on my heart, right?

“The One Thing that matters most in our craft: telling great, timeless stories.”

And yet, the thrill of storytelling potential only lasted for what seemed like a full moon. We played. We laughed. We loved. But, she was no longer enough for me. The moon set, and the floodgates of innovation opened once again.

Before we could even start making beautiful stories with this piece of boundless potential, we were told she was outdated. Old. Inefficient. Incapable of capturing stories worth telling.

What we really needed was the all-new Camera X to truly and fully tell the stories bursting from our hearts. Days later, it was Camera Y that became all the rage. Then Camera Z, then…then…

Better resolution. Higher frame rates. More pixels! More bitrate! More attachments! Hundreds of cameras! Endless combos to consider! RAW, baby—we all need RAW. In 2010, we went gaga for a brief-but-exciting slew of 3D stereoscopic cameras. (Because 2D stories are boring, right?) And then, there was RED—the company that reinvented the art of teasing. Just when you thought 4K was enough, RED tells you that you really ought to shoot that story in 8K. “Future-proof” that story of yours, they said.

Okay, okay! I’m having a bit of fun. New and innovative tools are good, and I do encourage camera companies to continue at their insane pace of innovation. But, I find myself disheartened with this excessive focus on technology, options, and equipment itself, rather than the One Thing that matters most in our craft: telling great, timeless stories.

“The world doesn’t need another ‘Cam X vs. Cam Y’ video. The world does need compelling and moving stories.”

To all you young-blooded filmmakers out there who have yet to be sucked into the endless void of monthly camera announcements, you are my only hope. Save the Art of Story. Start making innovative stories, rather than uploading yet another camera comparison video.

The world doesn’t need another “Cam X vs. Cam Y” shootout video. The world does need compelling and moving stories of courage, hope, and true friendship. Stories of overcoming the hardest of circumstances. Stories of incredible unconditional love. Stories that shed light on the darkest corners of humanity and prompt real change.

Good storytelling doesn’t come from the lens; it follows a Heart with a Desire, prevented by Conflict, and carried by Plot into overarching Purpose.

That should be the true aim of any “camera addict.” Trust me; I would know.

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