History – Part 4: The Camera

Okay… if you’ve been reading the blog, you may be asking, “Camera?  I thought you bought one? How can you become a filmmaker without a camera?”  All valid questions.  And yes, I did purchase a camera AND returned it as you may recall reading.  Truth is, one can’t be a filmmaker without a camera!

I had been reading reviews, seeking advise and praying about a camera.  There was on one hand, the advise from a filmmaker friend to, “Just get a camera and begin learning your craft.”  This was valid advise, yet I was convinced that there must be the “perfect” camera.  Standard definition (SD) cameras had been the norm for years.  Yet, with high definition (HD) coming to T.V. and quickly becoming the norm, I felt compelled to step into this career  and into the future, not the past.  As I read review after review, I became convinced that going totally digital (no tape or film — just bits of data) and HD was the way I wanted to go.  Then I looked at my non-existent budget.  I struggled with the decision as to whether to purchase a less expensive, tape-based, “old” technology two-thousand dollar camera or going with a more cutting-edge, digital, expensive five-thousand dollar camera.  I reluctantly settled on going with a tape-based, less expensive camera and began to watch auctions online and track pricing.  And I prayed.  I bid on a couple of cameras having set a budget only to see them sell for much more than I was willing to spend.  Then came what I thought might be the perfect camera — a older tape-based SD camera, one of two someone was selling and one was apparently going unnoticed.  I placed my bid and waited… and waited.  After a few days of eager watching in front of the computer and much gnashing of teeth, I had won!  It was a miracle! I had purchased a camera for $500 — $1000 less than the going rate!  Whoohoo!

Then came the email from the seller… “hi. im terribly sorry but the camera is broken. if you already sent the payment ill refund u asap.”  What?!  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Hadn’t God brought me this camera!  There must be something I could do.  I contacted ebay®.  And while I did get my money back, I still didn’t have a camera.  Again, I prayed.  I pleaded.

Impatient, I begin a new search.  In the interim, I felt that perhaps the last camera deal fell through because I was meant to have a digital HD camera.  At least that’s what I told myself.  I searched and searched.  I eventually found what had to be the perfect camera — digital, HD and cheap.  It used a proprietary recording media which was very expensive, but the price was too good to pass up.  I placed the order and again waited with eager anticipation.  I got a call the next morning from a customer service representative asking me to confirm some information.  Near the end of the phone call I was asked if I wanted to purchase a lens with the camera.  I was dumbfounded.  “An extra lens?”, I asked.  “No.  The camera doesn’t come with a lens.  The standard lens is an additional $1875.”  This had scam written all over it.  I cancelled my order and after a few heated, yet interesting phone calls with “management” over a threatened “cancellation” fee of $350, knew that THIS was not the camera.  Guess I didn’t spend enough time doing research, or so I concluded and after a bit more research, found this to be a common scam in the camera industry as “companies” purchase black-market cameras and piece sell them to unsuspecting buyers, and if they bristle, still collect the order “cancellation” fee.  (Apparently, my tenor on that phone call convinced them I WAS NOT going to be paying any fees.)

Crushed, I simply decided to place my dream and the purchase of a camera on the back burner.  Months past and while I occasionally thought about cameras.  I still prayed, yet there was a distinct silence in response.

I began to share more with Michelle (my wife) about my dream and began to purchase other equipment.  I now had a tripod, auto-dolly, and fluid head to go along with the new Mac and editing software and a vision of a few projects.  As I relaxed and watched T.V. one Sunday in February, Michelle came down stairs and in a half-excited-half-instructive tone said, “You need to call my brother John.  I just got off the phone with him and he’s interested in hearing more about the movie thing.  Call him.”  I was now sitting up — she had caught my attention — as much by her tone as her words.  I collected my thoughts, picked up my cell phone and called John.  Two-and-a-half hours later I put down my phone and with a smile on my face, thanked God.  John was indeed excited about my dream, and I learned that he too had a dream much like mine.  I was inspired.  Monday morning I found myself back surfing the web looking for cameras.  It took a few days of research, but I settled on what felt like “the” camera.  It was HD (high-def), had all the bells and whistles, and even came with a free case, and thanks to a manufacturer’s special, an extra battery and recording media.  Best of all, this was one of the first pro-sumer cameras utilizing the new AVCHD & SDHC technologies.  In layman’s terms, this meant that rather than the proprietary recording media ($1200 for 8 GB), it utilized high-capacity SD cards — which were $25 for 8GB!  I ordered the camera, along with a shotgun mic and a few other accessories.  And, I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.  As I read the manual included with the new camera I became aware that the camera was introduced to market in late October — weeks after my failed ebay purchase.  There was no question now as to why that deal fell through.  My timing was not in line with His.  Yet I learned to embrace His instruction and trust in His timing…

“Be still, and know that I am God!”

~ Psalm 46:10, NLT

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