What Goes Into a Video Shoot

What Goes Into a Video Shoot

So, I sit here killing time as my footage from the last shoot imports.  And I'm realizing that people don't really know what goes into a video shoot.  Beyond the actual shooting (which I'll cover too) there are lots of tons of other things going on and being planned.  Wonder what?  I'll use a recent shoot for a client (see the finished product below).

PRE-PRE PRODUCTION

Every project starts with an email, phone call, or text.  It usually goes like this "Hey, I've got a project we're thinking about doing a video for.  We're talking to a couple people, but can you put together an estimate together and do you have time for this project?"  There's usually a call to go over what ever assets they have (script, storyboard, etc) so far.

The estimate is pretty easy at this point.  I know, pretty accurately, how much it costs me to have my office open for an hour.  That includes the office space, electricity, internet, computers, cameras, audio gear, lights, software, even the desk (it's called the Cost of Doing Business).  So it's a pretty simple calculation... how much time will it take X CODB + hard costs (VO, music, stock) = The total cost of the project.  There's some profit factored into my CODB, so if a client comes back and says "can you work with us on this?" there can be some flexibility.  But it makes zero sense for me to take a project way below my costs, so I pass on stuff from time to time.

TREATMENT / BIG IDEA

Everything starts with an idea and it's a good thing to know what you're getting into ahead of time.  Hopefully there's been a script or storyboard developed, but a lot of times we'll help with that side of things too.  It's important to get that idea down on paper so the right people can approve it.  For the shoot the other day, they were really buttoned up.  Beautiful storyboards and script.

PRE-PRODUCTION

This is the planning stage.  Most of the time, it's the most important part of the whole project.  It's when you go through EVERYTHING in the project and plan it all out.  For the shoot I was doing, it included two big things.  A call to go through the storyboard and put together a shot list with the client.  And the biggest part... finding a laundry room we can shoot in.  Sounds easy enough, right?  But think of your laundry room.  It needs to look perfect first and foremost.  But then you need room for a tripod and big camera, 2 or 3 lights, props, me and an assistant, a person to be "talent" (from the agency), and 2 or 3 agency people to approve what we're shooting.  It took a while to find.  I hit up every person I know, the agency went through people they know, I searched dozens of Airbnb listings.  Finally we found a great laundry room.  It was a little far from the agency's office but timing was tight.  We had like a week and a half for all of the pre-pro.

THE GEAR

Before I get into the actual production, the other part of pre-production is identifying what it will take to get the shoot done.  I also firmly believe in having a back up for everything.  Here's a list of what we brought...

  • Sony FS7 Camera - we were shooting 4k and needed slow motion
  • Canon 5d Mark III - brought as a backup and for stills if needed
  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II
  • Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS
  • Canon 70-200m f/2.8L IS USM II
  • Metabones Speedbooster EF > Sony
  • Metabones EF > Sony - backup adapter
  • Kinoflo Diva - key light for the shoot
  • Astra Lite Panel BiColor LED - back / fill light
  • Lowell DP 4 Head Lighting Kit - backup lighting
  • Small HD 5" monitor w/ LUT support
  • Sachtler Tripod
  • 3x C-Stands
  • Leatherman
  • Gaff Tape
  • Lots of Batteries & accessories

THE PRODUCTION

The day of the shoot went pretty smooth.  My assistant showed up early and we got out to the location around 8am.  I like to show up at least an hour prior to the client arrival so that we can get stands, lights, cameras, everything up and checked before they walk in.  This is good for 2 reasons.  Primarily, I get to check everything before someone is looking over our shoulders.  We test before we head out, but it's a safety so we can solve any problems without the client being alarmed.  Secondly, it leaves less time for the client to sit around.  We want them to be in and out as smoothly as we can.

Client walked in, we tweaked lighting for the product they brought and got to the shooting.  During pre-pro we had set up a shot list and I'd ordered it into the most effective sequence for what we needed to get.  But we're always open to input and additional shots.  For this, we had a lot of those to make sure we were covered.

We shot for about 4 hours and sent the client on their way while we broke down.

POST PRODUCTION

So now the fun begins.  Most clients think you can jump right into the editing process.  In fact there's a half day or day of things to do prior to shooting.  Here are the steps...

  1. Take all the cards (which are well labeled for what order we shot in) and import them into the job folder.  Depending on how long we've shot, this can take a while.
  2. After that, I make disk images of every card.  If something gets corrupted during import or an emergency happens, I have an exact copy of the card we shot on and I can re-import.  I hold onto those until the project is completely wrapped.
  3. Once all that is done, the imported files are then renamed to match the project.
  4. Then everything gets backed up from my main working NAS to a backup NAS and an offsite NAS.  To lose something I'd have to have 2 drives in each of those fail all at the same time.  That's why I back it all up first.
  5. Then the footage gets imported and sorted into Adobe Premiere and we're ready to edit.

At that point I assemble a rough first cut that goes to the client via Wipster.  I can't say enough amazing things about Wipster.  Clients can comment directly into the video and it's matched to the time code.  It's amazing.  We go through a number of rounds of revisions and then we're wrapped.  When it's wrapped I send the clients MP4 and MOV.

So that's some of what goes into each shoot.  There are a million other little things, but if you're thinking about a video project you'll know most of what goes into it.  Here's the finished piece...

MacBook Pro (touchbar) vs Mac Pro (garbage can) - Part Two

MacBook Pro (touchbar) vs Mac Pro (garbage can) - Part Two

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Yesterday's blog took you through our decision making process.  In the end, it didn't matter a ton.  We needed something mobile as well, so we bought us a MacBook Pro.  We had an aging one and thought "why not see what all these dongles are about".  So, on Black Friday, we ventured to the local Apple Store and bought a 15" 3.1 GHz i7 w/ a 1TB SSD, and 16 GB of RAM.

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So I've been wondering how the Mac Pro we bought last year, and the MacBook Pro we just picked up would work out in a face off.  SO, I put together a very un-scientific test.  I picked a recent project.  Rendered it on my Mac Pro, then rendered it on my MacBook Pro and pointed a camera at it to record the amount of time it took.

The Project

This is a recent project I'm working on for a client.  It's 5:37 in length, and it's got a great mix of assets.  We only shot one of the 3 interviews, the client provided the other two.  So it's a mix of FS5 4k footage (native file), A7s II 4k Footage (transcoded to MP4), and 5d Mark III 1080 footage (native file).  It has still images in GIF, JPEG and TIFF.  Some of the footage has Lumetri Grading on it, some of the stills have Red Giant Universe Plug-ins on them, some Premiere transitions, some Film Impact transitions, there's a WAV VO and a MP3 temp music bed.  There are some stock video comps in MP4.  Oh, and there's a linked After Effects comp or two, also with effects applied.  It's just a crazy mix of stuff and I thought it'd be a decent test.

The Setup

So I was trying to figure out an even way to do this.  I edit off a 48 TB G-Technology Studio XL RAID.  It connects via thunderbolt.  So one at a time, I restarted the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro and had only Premiere running.  I connected directly into the Mac Pro and via a USB-C > Thunderbolt adapter on the MacBook Pro.  Like I said... this is unscientific.  I'm sure I could have adjusted things to make everything perfect but I wanted a real world scenario where I'm working and rendering.  Both computers exported to the same H264 2 pass VBR file.

The Results

First up, the Mac Pro.  It took 20 minutes and 55 seconds to export the video to the full 1.06 GB MP4.  About what I anticipated as I've rendered that file a bunch of times throughout the project.  No pre-rendering anything, just fired through it.  I was surprised by the MacBook Pro's results though.  The same file took more than twice as long, clocking in at 45 minutes and 39 seconds to render the file.

The Conclusion

I don't know.  I'm not a tech person, I just wanted to get a feel for how things would match up.  It wasn't as even as I thought it would be considering the technology in the Pro is 4 years behind the technology in the MBP.  Did it make me want to rush out and return the laptop?  Of course not, it serves a certain purpose in our workflow.  But I will dive into settings a little more to see what I may have missed that wasn't even.  If they end up being 100% even, it makes me feel even better about the decision we made last year.

Why I'm Cancelling MoviePass...

Why I'm Cancelling MoviePass...

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I've had MoviePass for a week or two now and I had high hopes for it.  I run a video production company, and am very interested in all things cinema.  There are a ton of movies I want to see in theaters, but I don't go because of the cost.  For less than the price of 2 tickets, I can own the movie not just see it with strangers.  So when MoviePass came around with a movie a day for $9.99 a month, I figured I'd give it a try.  I've been to two movies in the last week, and I'm going to go to at least one more to see how it balances out but I'm pretty sure I'm cancelling.

My Viewing Preferences

Before I go into the breakdown of the whys it's important to know the who.  You're either going to want to keep reading or stop reading if you can relate.  I'm the type of person who typically watches a movie at home, in the dark, no popcorn, no phone, and usually after people go to bed.  I want to be able to sit and focus on a film.  I've seen maybe 3 or 4 movies in the past 10 years in the theater, but I get the gist of the appeal and updates.  It's not like I'm a hermit, I just don't think the cost is justified.

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ThreeBillboards01.PNG

The MoviePass Experience

I have to say, while I'm not enjoying the theater experience (more on that below) I only have one issue with the Movie Pass experience but it's a big one for me.  You can't select your seat ahead of time.  Yes, I knew that going in but I didn't realize the annoyance it would bee until I went to see Three Billboards today.  I got there about 40 minutes early (at noon on a Tuesday) and the only seat I could get was front row.  Granted it had nice reclining chairs but it was still far from ideal.  However I lived a half hour from this theater and didn't really have a choice.  It was either bail on it and drive back a half hour or deal.  I dealt with it, but it took away from the movie.  I'm not sure how they can fix this.  Heck, I'm not sure how they can stay in business.  But outside of that I booked a movie on my walk into the theater, 2 minutes later when I swiped my card it was all good to go.  From that standpoint it was seamless.

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The Theater Experience

This is where it all falls apart for me.  I'm not a social movie goer.  I'm not going to hang out with friends or whatever else.  In fact I don't really care to watch movies in general with other people.  So then when I go to the theater every little sound or whatever catches my eye.  I saw The Post and the women next to me checked their phones a half dozen times (and sat right next to me after coming in during the previews despite the movie theater being 1/4 full).  Today I saw Three Billboards... and every crinkle of a candy wrapper, every time the woman next to me covered her face, every time someone went to the bathroom, it all took me out of the experience of watching the film.

I'm not sure what the solution is, other than buying movies at home.  Which is an annoying process when Oscar films are rarely available for purchase before the Oscars (a HUGE miss IMHO).  But for now, without the ability to select a seat ahead of time and annoying people in the theaters, I think I'll be cancelling my MoviePass subscription.

MacBook Pro (touchbar) vs Mac Pro (garbage can) - Part One

MacBook Pro (touchbar) vs Mac Pro (garbage can) - Part One

MBPvsMP.jpg

It's a battle!  More mild curiosity.  A little over a year ago we needed to swap a computer.  We had an iMac that had been a work horse but just wasn't cutting it.  And we were left with a tough couple decisions.  Mac vs PC, iMac vs Mac Pro vs MacBook Pro.  Waiting it out vs buying something. 

Mac vs PC

Since this was going to be my main work station, I can answer the first one easily... Mac.  As much as I want to try a PC out, I've been using Mac OS since like 1998 and I'm not ready to switch.  I just know the Mac world way better than the PC and when a client emails me they need a change I want to be able to turn it around, not be learning a new OS.

Waiting vs Buying

A long time ago someone said to me "you can't buy that camera, a new one is about to come out!!!!"  I said "oh, did they announce something?"  And the person said "no, but there has to be a new one coming."  I held off a week and then thought about it again and was doing some research and came upon someone saying something along these lines... "you can't capture content while you wait for a new camera".  That struck home.  I could wait all year for a new piece of gear, but in the mean time I'd miss capturing other stuff.  I bought the camera and it took 8 months for the "new camera".  In the mean time the one I bought had paid for itself.

Similarly with Mac gear.  I won't buy a new iPhone right before the fall announcements, but in general there's always going to be something new on the horizon.  When I was making my decision the iMac "Pro" and "redesigned" Mac Pro were rumored to be out.  But I can't make decisions on rumors.  From the time I bought a computer, the iMac Pro took over a year to actually get into hands (and then is ridiculously priced) and the new Mac Pro is still just an announcement with no ship date in sight.

iMac vs Mac Pro vs MacBook Pro

This is the real crux of the decision at hand.  I went Mac Pro.  I'm not even sure why, but so far I like it.  We went with a 6-core processor, knowing down the line we'd do an after market processor upgrade to the 12-core, 64 GB of RAM (from MacSales.com), 500 GB SSD, and D700 video card.  It's been speedy, despite being "old parts".  It's worked really well for us as long as we've had it.  And when something new comes up, we will have options.

MacProSpecs.png

Which brings me to our next blog post... we needed options.  Recently we needed a more mobile solution and went with a MacBook Pro.  I'll put them "head to head" in my not so analytical, much more real world test.

We need this update immediately!

We need this update immediately!

Most clients understand that changes [revisions] take time.  But not everyone understands how video works.  This is especially true if you're working with someone new in the company or a client that hasn't done a lot of video work in the past.  It's not to say someone requesting changes is wrong, just that there are MANY more moving pieces to video than say changing a font on an ad.  It's important to help educate so that projects can go smoothly from all sides.  So... here's what goes into it.

The Timeline

This is the most important part of any project in my opinion.  Prior to the project start you need to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what is due and when it's due.  Things that people don't think would take time, could take a long time.  If you need us to get voiceover demos in, that's about a week.  We need to submit for demos, the talent needs time to record demos, and we need to get those in and review them.  And you want to make sure you have time to get multiple people's demos.  Music seems easy "hey, go find a track that sounds kind of like this popular track but it needs to build here and not there".  That can take a half day on its own.  You have to find the music, download a comp, see how it will edit together, put together options, send them over, etc.  Make sure everyone knows the timeline before the project starts.

We Work For You, But Not Only For You

This one takes some quality client management and a soft touch.  When we quote a project, that's what it will cost to get it done.  But that doesn't mean we're on call 24-7 for the whole duration of the project.  A quick 60 second video using stock footage might cost $3,000 (depending on many factors) and have a 3 week timeline with reviews and everything.  That doesn't mean for those $3,000 you're getting someone's time all day every day for that three weeks.  You're getting the portion of their time it takes to do the project based on the agreed upon terms.  If you need 24-7 coverage, that's certainly something we offer, but it's going to cost significantly more.

The Changes

This is where a lot of the confusion comes in.  Ask a graphic designer to change what a title says and it might take 5 minutes to make the change and save a JPEG.  Ask a video editor to make the exact same change and it might take an hour or two.  It all depends on what else is in the video.  A 5 minute video with lots of different formats, filters and linked After Effects comps might take 45 minutes to render.  So if you need that change made and we're sitting at our computer and can drop everything you're looking at 5 minutes to make the change, we need to watch the whole video at least once to make sure nothing else got moved inadvertently (another 5 minutes minimum), 45 minutes to render, 10 minutes to upload, then we send out the link.  That's over an hour (minimum) to make the same change that takes 5 minutes for a JPEG.  Then add in if we're working with a company's internal creative team and they need to make the change (maybe the fonts have been outlined).  You then have to factor in that person's availability and us getting a file and then starting our end.

So What Should We Do?

We're here to help and will do rush turn arounds as quickly as we can.  But in all our estimates and contracts we request 24 hour turn around for revisions.  That lets us manage work load, make sure the changes are done the best way possible.  If you know you'll need it sooner, give us some lead time so we can plan around that.  The last day of a project we anticipate last minute changes and plan, but mid way through that's impossible to do.  Know that without that planning there can be rush costs incurred.

What Should We Do Part 2?

The most important part to keeping the project flowing smoothly is sticking to that timeline we talked about up top.  We know things come up (holidays, vacations, emergencies) but nothing is more demoralizing than getting a last minute change so one last person can sign off on it.  Dropping everything to handle it and then the person who needed the changes "hasn't had a chance to review it" and we end up waiting days to get that feedback.  That will mean the rest of the timeline is off kilter as well and we'll have more rush days ahead.

So to recap... create a timeline everyone agrees to, stick to that timeline as much as you can, understand that while we love having you as a client and value you we have other clients we do work for as well, and be sure that when we do go above and beyond to get your changes done that the person who needs them can get to it in a timely manner.

Licensing Popular Music Tracks

A few times a year I get a request from a client about licensing a popular music track for their video.  It usually comes about because they say "we're just doing a sizzle video, let's use X from Y artist I heard on the radio".  I say "to do that properly you need to license the track, which will cost 10's of thousands of dollars at a minimum".  Usually at that point I can convince them to go to stock music.  Sometimes they still want to explore the commercial track at which point I make them sign an agreement saying they'll handle all licensing (and any legal situation coming from their not securing the appropriate licensing) on their end.

So just what does it cost? 

I was talking with a former colleague over the weekend and we both shared some stories.  So while these are not steadfast guides, they're good indicators of what licensing tracks cost.

I discussed licensing recently with an extremely well known artist's estate.  They handle licensing requests as he's, obviously, passed away.  You'd know the name and the song instantly if you heard it.  My client wanted to have an artist record a cover and we'd license the rights to use that in a video for a meeting and posting on YouTube.  Maybe getting 2,000 views based on last year's video we did for them.  The artist representative said they start licensing at 6 figures and it goes up from there depending on many factors.  A lot of cash, but a very well known artist and song.

My colleague got a similar response when trying to license a song from a well known current rock band that headlines festivals.  His client wanted to use the song in a video on their app.  The client is well known, but it's not like a TV spot or anything.  The cost... $250,000.  A quarter mil for a video that wouldn't even be posted online, only in an app.

So what about smaller bands?  They're certainly less expensive, but still not $100.  I heard of a smaller band with a decent following making low six figures to license a music track for a movie trailer.  Even a no name band I heard a story about made $6,000 to license a track for a reality TV show at the end of an episode.  It was one of 10 songs by a variety of artists in the episode.

Then what are the options?

Most videos don't have the budget for those kinds of songs.  And that's fine.  Typically they don't need them and these days there are tons of affordable options.  If you've got some budget (a couple thousand dollars), your best bet is a custom composition.  We work with musicians who create great original pieces that can be tailored exactly to your video.  Want it to build at an exact moment, they can do that.  Need it to change the tempo after the intro, they can do that to.  Plus it's unique to your content.

After that are the royalty free/rights managed sites.  The best is MusicBed.com  They license tracks on behalf of the artists that submit songs on their site.  There is some great stuff on there and you won't hear it everywhere else.  The down side is that depending on the use and size of your company the licensing gets convoluted.  I just got a custom quote from them for a client that's about 4,000 people.  They wanted $1500 for a year, $2000 for 2 years, $3700 for perptuity.  I think they need to switch to a percentage of the budget based on the size of the company, but that's just my opinion.

Then you have your more traditional royalty free music options with PremiumBeat.com Pond5.com GettyImages.com etc.  They're good options and you're not going to pay out the nose for tracks.  Typically $25-100 per track.  The down side is anyone can license the tracks and you'll hear them in a lot of places.  Premium Beat specifically has some great stuff but you'll hear the same track you use in different places.

So there you go.  LOTS of options and my company AVCollective.com can help you find a great track, get the licensing squared away, and build your video for you.  Whether it's a traditional royalty free track or the top hit on the Billboard list.

Cost of Doing Business Calculator

I'm revisiting some of the topics I posted on my personal blog and making updates and sharing them here.  This industry (and our website) is more than just client/agency it's about sharing knowledge within the industry and how someone like me, who has been doing this for almost 2 decades, can share what we've learned.

One of the biggest challenges any creative working on their own faces is estimating.  You need to be able to accurately estimate and have a basis for the costs you send, not just pulling them out of thin air or doing what your friend does.

The first question to ask yourself is how long each step will take.  This is something you learn over time.  I've been doing creative projects for a long time and I've learned how long it takes me to execute each step.  I've worked with people who take much longer than the "average editor" to do an assembly.  The client shouldn't pay for that.  But I've also met people who are extremely fast, and there has to be a balance between how long it takes and how long it takes the average person.  Once you have that number, you need to figure out how much you should be billing per hour.

That per hour cost is where I've found a lot of ambiguity.  I know people who make it up or ask the budget and then say that's what it will cost.  I've met people who just use a friend's number, but don't have the same overhead (office, gear, computers, etc).  And I've met people who know what it actually costs them for every hour they work (or don't) on something.  I fall into that final category.  Not because I'm someone who loves paperwork, I hate it.  But because I need to know the point at which I lose money.

So, I use a Cost of Doing Business (CODB) calculator.  I think I got it from Philip Bloom, but I may have sourced it somewhere else.  I downloaded it a few years ago and have tweaked it to what I need... CODB Calculator Currently the spreadsheet is filled with random numbers.  You plug in your costs and can see the daily rate at the bottom factoring in everything.  In my personal version I add 150 days/year and 100/days a year.

What it factors in is what EVERYTHING costs.  From internet to cameras to computers to stamps.  Then you're able to estimate how many days you have shoots, edits, etc and see exactly what you need to make per shoot to pay your bills.  If you charge less than that, you lose money and will close doors.  If you charge that, you'll break even.  If you add a percentage, you'll make a profit and be able to take a day off for a vacation, etc.

Once you have that base line, you can then apply it to all your estimates.  As you grow, your costs grow, and thus your rate grows.  If you start shooting everything 4k, your camera costs go up, thinking of adding a second person?  Factor their salary/insurance/computer/etc in and you'll see where you need to be per month to afford them.

And almost as important as knowing your hourly rate... TRACK YOUR HOURS.  I know, it sucks.  But you need to be able to see if your estimates are accurate.  If you say it will take 40 hrs, but it takes 80, you need to be able to adjust up next time.  If you say 40 and it takes 20, you know you can say yes to that next project the client has when the deliverables are similar but the budget is less.  If you're a professional, you need to know what to charge and you can't be making that number up out of the air.

Never Say No.

One of MANY comps we made. [Used by permission of  Esko . )

One of MANY comps we made. [Used by permission of Esko. )

At my company, AV Collective, we do a lot of video work.  But we pride ourselves on being like an extension of our clients' companies.  Meaning we want it to be as seamless as calling the person a few cubes over when you need something done.  The other day we had a project come up that is the PERFECT illustration of this mentality.

It was a regular Thursday morning when I got an email.  We'd been working on a big video project for a client and had gotten some bottle comps done (12 of them) for one of the shoots we did.  They looked awesome and sparked an idea with the client I wish I'd come up with... Let's do enough bottle comps that we'd be able to hand them out at the meeting.  GENIUS!  Except that the place who did the original comps didn't have the bandwidth as we now needed 200 and we needed them in the mail in a week.  Normally a company would say "sorry, we do videos" but in a previous life I ran a mount room and did a LOT of work like this.  So the wheels started turning.

In under a day we got a printer on board who'd rush the labels through for us.  First problem solved.  Logistically it made more sense for one of our team members to fly to the location of the  meeting, buy the bottles and then clean/wrap them on location since shipping 300 (the number we started with) would be almost $7,000.  Then the number got cut to 200 and it was discovered that shipping a day earlier would save about $6k on shipping.  Which is great cost wise, but cut our production time significantly.

Monday and Tuesday was "bottle acquisition time".  By end of day Tuesday we had the 200 bottles courtesy of the internet and going to MANY Walgreens, CVS, Mariano's, etc.  We went to the client on Wednesday and de-wrapped, re-wrapped, and packaged 200 bottle comps to get them out to Miami in time for the meeting.

It was a crazy amount of work, especially considering we still had to execute the video simultaneously (we had 2 shoots and the edit to do in there too), but all went off without a hitch.  An old boss of mine taught me to "never say no" which as been a guiding principal in what we do at AV Collective.  It would have been much easier to say "sorry, we do videos and photography... good luck with your bottles."  Instead we were able to say "of course we can make this happen, just let me work on logistics."

And the feedback was worth the late nights... "Everyone is totally over the moon about this video. They think it is culture changing for our organization. Don't underestimate the power of a little video!"

Why we switched to a Sony FS5 from a FS7

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Unless you really like talking about cameras, this will probably bore you.  But I'll try to keep it as top line as I can and I'm not really a pixel peeper anyways.  This week I made a switch I'd been thinking about for a long time.  I sold my Sony FS7 and purchased a FS5.  It was a tough decision and to a certain extent I already miss the FS7 but in the end I think it'll be worth it.

There were two major reasons for the switch.  Those are money and size.  Size is an easy one... the FS7 is a beast and I would frequently be sore after a day of shooting.  The FS5 is the perfect size.  Small enough to carry around, large enough to put on your shoulder.  The second reason is money.  I don't usually talk dollars and cents, but if someone is considering one vs the other I figure it might be helpful.

I sold the FS7 w/ cards and everything for $6750.  I was into it for about $7500 (bought used), but I used it on every shoot for 2 years so it had more than paid for itself.  I purchased the FS5 used for $3900.  So far I'm netting $2850.  BUT, my big concern was about quality loss between the two camera's codecs.  No argument that the FS7 has a better codec.  So I was concerned about that.  Which is why I did the raw upgrade for the FS5 ($500) and bought an Atomos Shogun Inferno setup ($1800) and sold my SmallHD 501 (for $1,000).  So all in all I saved $1500 and in the end got a BETTER image quality than the FS7 which would require more money/add ons to get the RAW/ProRes out.  I can use the ProRes for interviews, and the native codec for events/other stuff.

Which gets to the third reason I switched.  XQD stresses me out.  I know it's necessary for the size of the codec the FS7 uses, but as someone who always shoots on location and frequently shoots out of town, the XQD format is stressful.  Here's an example... last year I shot all day for a client.  I transferred the cards as I went because I was taking the last flight out of town to Vegas to shoot for another client the next morning.  Got through the day, loaded up, airport, security, flying, get to the hotel in Vegas to discover that somewhere between the load out and that moment I had lost my card case.  I think it was when security went through my bag, but regardless I was missing 6x 128gb XQD cards.  LUCKILY I had left 2 in the camera, because I was out of luck.  I had a shoot in a few hours and there is literally no way to get XQD cards quickly in most locations.  By the time I ordered new ones the shoot would be done.  Vegas didn't have any place I could rent them from, and certainly no place local to buy them from.  If I hadn't left 2 of them in my camera I'd have been out buying a new camera at the local best buy to get the job done.  With the FS5 I'm shooting to SD, and I can always get a replacement in an emergency.

I know, I know.  10 bit 4:2:2 400mbps vs 8 bit 4:2:0 100mbps.  But still.  For most things it doesn't really matter and when it does I shoot ProRes and I have the ability to try RAW.  Plus for events and stuff I'm saving a TON of space on my RAID.  A 128gb card in the FS7 lets me shoot 62 minutes of 4k.  I get 15 minutes more (77) at half the size (64gb card) with the FS5.  And frankly, who's going to know the difference when it's someone standing at a podium talking to a power point.

So that's my camera story.  I have a tendency to buy and sell a lot of cameras, so I'm sure the FS5 will move once the C200 gets some kinks worked out.  But for now I'm psyched.  And if you're wondering about my camera history, here's what I've owned (still and video)... Olympus E300, Canon 20D, Canon 5D, Canon 5D mark II, Canon 5d mark III, Canon 5d mark IV, Sony EX1, Canon C100 mark II, Sony rx IV, Sony FS7, Sony FS5.