Re-Print: One Question with Ryan Navazio
"You can film stuff with those cameras and it feels more like a memory when you watch it."
23 Oct 2014
Words by Navaz Photos by Rob Dolecki Originally published in DIG 94 - The Video Issue - May 2013
Why do you use so many different cameras?
A lot of people in BMX argue between what format is the best. I started filming and making videos with Sony VX's and TRV 900's, so I liked them for certain things. The VX 1000 with a Mark I fisheye is my favorite looking fisheye. To me it's the widest, and the most distorted, it looks good when it's pointed into the sun. But when I want to shoot something that is more scenic and less about the trick, then maybe I'll want to use an HD camera. That HPX 170 camera has a really nice wide lens built into the camera. I know the look that I'll want, and maybe that look doesn't fit a specific format. I'll shoot something HD, but then edit it down to 4:3. And it will be a Standard Definition video.
I carry all this stuff around, in case a certain situation comes up where I want to use a certain camera and I'll have it. But now it's getting to the point where the VX's, there are other cameras that can do their job. I don't really need the VX anymore. I hardly ever get to use the 16mm anymore just because it's expensive. I rarely get to use the Super 8 either. I like them because those cameras are good to create a nostalgic feeling. You can film stuff with those cameras and it feels more like a memory when you watch it. Video is so instant, but when you have to wait and get it developed, it just adds more meaning to it. Different angles, different looks, different styles; combine it all into one and see what you get. When I was filming Talk Is Cheap, I had two DSLRs, two VX's, HPX 170, and a Super 8 camera with me at once. There are certain things in that video, if I wasn't carrying all those cameras, the shots would not have been the way they are. There is a clip of Russ Barone grinding this wave ledge to toothpick off. The intro is shot on a DSLR. It's a silhouetted shot with a super pretty sunset in the back. Another angle with the HPX, which is completely different. It's both the same trick at the same time. It's all relevant to the look you want to get. It was known that the Cult video was going to be in SD. I could get a normal static shot with an HD camera on a tripod and digitally make fake dolly shots. If I didn't have those other cameras I wouldn't be able to have those moving shots. That was the most cameras I ever carried.
If I’m filming street riding, the VX is awesome. At this point they don’t cost that much, so if it gets robbed in the hood, it’s not the end of the world.
As long as you know ahead of time that you are going to combine the formats and test it out it's fine. It's when you have a bunch of people giving you a bunch of crap that's all over the place, and then it doesn't work. You've got one guy filming with a DSLR and he's shooting at 24p, and then you've got another guy using a Panasonic camera filming in 60p, and you go to put it all together and what timeline do you use? It's not anything new. A movie production picks film stock, a desired look, way ahead of time before they start shooting. I think HD is rad. If you have access to say a RED camera and you are planning on what you can do with the camera, you can tell your story better. The VX's are more out of necessity and ease. If I'm filming street riding, the VX is awesome. At this point they don't cost that much, so if it gets robbed in the hood, it's not the end of the world. It kind of looks old now, so it doesn't look like some fancy expensive thing. Ultimately I'd like to buy new gear and have the best shit. There isn't one camera that can do everything I want though. I don't know if there ever will be. There's always something that's missing. The Canon C300 is probably my favorite camera that's out right now. I would love to own it. But there are a few things that it doesn't do, like shoot 1080 at 60p. The GoPro can shoot that. Mavro has the C300 and the Sony FX700, which is a slow-mo camera. I would love to have that setup. But then you run into weird issues with the newer cameras with CMOS sensors. If a photographer is taking a picture and flashes are going off, you get this terrible flash effect.
I don't want to have to throw the camera on a tripod. I'm more into documenting what's happening, that's more a BMX-style of shooting. Kids ask me all the time what I shot Talk Is Cheap with. 70% of the video is from a VX 1000. I don't want to tell people to get one. It's terrible at night, and they fall apart. Without seven other cameras, I'm not going to roll around with just that. It's not like I'd recommend that to a kid.
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