Having the Best Equipment Doesn’t Make You Better.

"Video quality is powerful but it's not the whole thing." Paul Xavier speaks about how the message of your video is more important than the gear you are using.

I like this video a lot because it's true. Years ago, I was on a different boat and thought quality was the one thing I needed to be creative. If I had the better camera, I could do this or if I had better quality, I'd be able to edit in a more creative way. However, this actually had nothing to do with the work I wanted to create. Whether the work was good quality, okay quality or bad quality, I found ways to deal with it as I learned more about what it was I was actually trying to do. Create aerial photography and videography that I personally enjoyed.

Through this process, I was able to create an image or video that could express something to someone else. Since it was for me, I only had the pressure of myself and not my client. When I started to work with clients more and more, I realized that this whole "quality" thing was more of a gimmick than anything else. Every camera is advertised to shoot this glorious 4k file, yet a lot of people still don't know what 4k is. It's not better quality, it's more pixels. With the ability to shoot quality like that, you still aren't guaranteed to unlock all the Hollywood clients and be a successful videographer. You need to know how to use your gear to your benefit and provide for the client or yourself.

When Xavier talks about "amplifying" he mentions you can deliver a more powerful message through your video depending on how you tell your story. Quality is obviously an amazing tool when it comes to being a creative and it allows us to push our work further. Through time and experience in our crafts, we use these tools more and more to make the most of them. Through that, we can add to our story telling just a little bit more in post production by being able to scale in, move the clip in unique ways and perfectly align the composition. However, a good story can still be told despite all those extra pixels.

In the end, it is the message we provide through our videos that matter, not the equipment we use to shoot them. How many clients honestly care about the gear they pay a trusted professional to use on the job versus the final video? Story is something that we must constantly work on and take time to understand. You can own whatever gear you want, shoot with whatever gear you want, and deliver the unique value that you provide. 

For more from Paul Xavier, check out his website and Instagram.

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6 Comments

Amen. 90% of on line video is technical rubbish. So what sets you apart is the quality of your story your photography and your editing. Getting the right technical quality for the medium you are presenting on is next. Shooting poor technical quality will to start to nullify and distract from the story. Going further down the tech scale will eventually overshadow it altogether. But the other side of that is going all out on "the best" gear. This simply follows the law of diminishing returns. At some point you are pointlessly spending money. However the one dynamic that skews all this is the client. Chuck a few trendy techie terms at them that they have heard of but don't know what they mean, and you may get the job. So the real equation is what you can afford to buy, that will hook an ignorant client at a price that will cover your costs, even though the RED/Super Prime video is going to be jammed down a tiny pipe on a 720p web player.

Really? You mean to tell me that having the latest most expensive gear does not make me the maestro? Are you telling me that talent and hard work counts? Money ain't a substitute for creativity? Well who woulda thunk!

Shawn Kenessey's picture

I think it will make you better. It won’t make a bad artist into a good artist, but it will make a bad artist better than they were with worse equipment. Just think about the standard of photography now compared to 40 years ago. There has been a huge increase in the basic quality of photos. I think a lot of it is simply do to increases in the basic capability of the equipment.

David Pavlich's picture

It can make you a better photographer IF you take advantage of what more expensive gear can give. About 6 or so years ago, I went from a very inexpensive P&S to a 7D and some nice lenses. My photos took on a very obvious increase in the desired outcome. It is simply easier to make better images with a much better camera/lens combination.

Yes, that's kind of an extreme example, but it is the exception that proves the rule. Now, I went from the 7D to a 6D and there was a small increase in my photo goodness, but it was more due to the fact that the 6D was FF and was quite a bit better in low light. I didn't become a better photographer, per se, but the image quality was better.

Terry Wright's picture

Having better equipment makes you better. Having The Best equipment makes you The Best.

Duh

Sam Adams's picture

Please don't let this site become another mouthpiece for "Mr. Paul Xavier". I'm so sick of his constant bombardment of advertising on social media....

While some of his advice isn't wrong, I'll admit that. He is the constant epitome of people trying to sell others that they know best and can teach you without actually having the experience and portfolio to back them up.