A few days ago, a friend of mine brought a DJI Osmo to film alongside his usual DSLR set up. The client questioned them: “Why are you filming on your phone?”
Sure, he was using his iPhone as a monitor, but the Osmo is a handy replacement for a gimbal setup. It’s considered a piece of professional equipment by us, but does a client have a different expectation? I could see Sony’s a7 range being compared to a point and shoot if you didn’t know what was under the hood. In turn, LED lighting is getting smaller and thinner.
Obviously, the dream client understands the process (and also asks for no re-edits!) but nobody can rely on this luxury. If you’re working in the corporate space, you may end up dealing with people who equate a big camera to the quality of your work.
Just last month, I brought a larger than usual rig in order to attach some radio mics to my main camera. The client remarked that it looked complicated, which it was, and “must [have been] very high-tech.” I was shooting on a regular Canon DSLR — nothing special. However, it meant that the client trusted my ability. Arguably, I could have shot on Black Magic’s Pocket Cinema camera and achieved a better look.
Does this matter to most photographers and videographers? Probably not, as long your clients are on your side. Does having bigger equipment add to your value in the eyes of an untrained marketing professional? Unfortunately, that may be true.
It’s part of the reason that I’m reluctant to replace my DJI Ronin-M with something like the Osmo. It’s more compact, it gets the job done, and it saves time, but it’s not going to get my clients to trust me, even if I’m using the $1,700 Zenmuse X5.
What are your experiences with slimmer equipment? Have any clients called you out, thinking that your equipment wasn’t professional enough for the job?