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Stephen Sanchez

Reference camera for stills?

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Posted (edited)

I'll preface by saying I don't do narrative works too often. I live mainly on direct response spots and product B-roll in Florida. So I am likely very ignorant to some common practices. 

I've noticed a few LA feature DPs carry around what they call a "reference camera." It's just a stills camera they have on set. But what does that even mean? Is a screengrab not enough?

Is this just to archive every setup? Is it like bts shots? Or from camera pov? If it's from camera pov does it serve the same purpose as the "frame store" feature in the Zacuto gratical (i.e. is it just for comparison purposes)? Or is it just to look cool on set and get outsiders to ask questions?

Thanks bunches!

Edited by Stephen Sanchez
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For me, when I have a stills camera on set, it's generally all of those things rolled into one. It becomes a viewfinder, BTS camera, and documents lighting setups.

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I usually have my Fuji XE2s with me on set. I mostly use it for candids and bts, but it’s also handy as a viewfinder if you put it in 16:9 mode.

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Posted (edited)

If you use one of the Canons that run Magic Lantern (the EOS-M is the smallest - in fact it makes an XE2 seem large) then you get a "super viewfinder" with programmable zebras, false colour, vector scope, a really nice spot meter, etc. They make very nice tools for viewing lighting and they can do all the other jobs a viewfinder or hybrid camera can.

Edited by David Mawson

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