Pro Moviemaker Nov/Dec - Web



having the most exclusive gear or the most complicated set-up. But shooting on an iPhone can make just as good a video or film. So use the tools you know how to use – and then also learn how to use new stuff. That’s my advice. “And pay your ACs for the prep day! If you’re taking those risks and want to push the overall quality of the project, do your homework. Things will still go wrong, but that’s how it goes.” When it comes to buying used equipment fromMPB, you’re safe in the knowledge it has been fully checked. Mantecon explains: “First we check the cosmetic condition. That leads to the functionality of the camera’s external parts, looking for things that stand out. Then we put it through its paces. Any setting that is specific to the camera, and to cameras in general. Exposure tools, calibration, mounts, ports, gamma curves, colour spaces… The scale of how used it is, how old it is. Then, above all, making sure it can record and offload properly.” Stack says: “Does it function and is everything working? Also, we state the hour count so people know exactly how long it’s been used before they buy it. Any cinematographer can look at that number and knowwhat they are getting into. That’s very helpful.” For MPB, it’s not just about selling equipment, but making sure it’s right for the potential buyer’s needs. The customer experience team is always on hand to offer support. “If they don’t have the answer, we’ll find the answer,” says Stack. “Even today, I reached out to someone personally about the Arri Alexa LF. And I’m sure Miguel would be happy to lend his advice or guidance. Our team has people who know this equipment and are happy to help. But I hope everything we show and demonstrate is enough

To deal with professional video and cinema equipment, you need to have experts on hand who know the market. Two such people fromMPB’s US base are Casey Stack, head of US operations and Miguel Mantecon, the pro video product specialist. Both are trained in cinematography and are experts at selecting the right tools for the job. Mantecon went to film school, starting with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR before moving to Reds. He worked on commercial shoots in the San Francisco Bay area, then moved to NewYork City, where he continues to make short films. Stack also studied film in college and quickly took to cinematography, starting on a Panasonic DVX100, then a Red One. After graduating, he moved to NewYork and got a job at a camera company in the sales department, where he got to experience high-end cinema gear. After a stint at Vimeo, he joined MPB, but still helps out friends who are full-time cinematographers. It’s this love of filmmaking that helps keep their knowledge fresh and up to date, and really does bring a benefit when it comes to helping people selecting cine gear for projects. “It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest. Just because you don’t have the Alexa Mini LF, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a great film,” says Stack. “There are a lot of films we watch and we don’t really realise what it was shot on. The Red One is the oldest Red, but David Fincher shot The Social Network on it – and it just looks immaculate. People frown upon that camera now, because they don’t think it’s the latest and greatest. I think, don’t disregard a camera just because it’s not ‘top tier’.” Mantecon says: “Pick the set-up you know how to use. Some people think it’s about

to be as self-service as possible, so people are then informed enough so they don’t need to ask us! Oh, and the free six-month warranty is always good for peace of mind, too.” With their love of making movies, and hands-on access to all the equipment that MPB handles, both Mantecon and Stack have their personal favourites that theywould choose to shoot with. “I’d take the Arri Alexa LF,” says Mantecon. “We have two of them at the moment and I’d take them both! It’s prettymuch industry standard. But it’s not a one-person camera – at least, not for me. It’s a beast. If I had to pick a personal camera to shoot with, I like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. And I just got to play with a Zhiyun Crane 3 gimbal yesterday. So I’d take those two.” For Stack, it would be the Sony FS5 Mark II. “It has this amazing grip that mimics the old Aaton film camera handgrip, which is just so comfortable. And with the frame rates and everything, the camera just has so many options. In terms of colour, it might not be the prettiest out of the gate, but can be graded so well,” he concludes. IMAGES Two of MPB’s pro video experts Casey Stack (top) and Miguel Mantecon (bottom) are trained cinematographers who know the kit inside and out

“The free six-monthwarranty is always good for peace ofmind, too”

More information



Powered by