Camera “test shorts” have been an interesting youtube trend over the past two years. With new digital recording products being released seemingly every two months, filmmakers have been eager to take these toys for a test drive, and in the process this new sub-genre of indy cinema was born. I’ve seen my fair share of them lately as we’re looking into various visual tools for The Project, and last week I came across this particular test piece on Vimeo, done by John Brawley, comparing various film and digital formats under available light.
Out of the scores of similar shorts, the brilliance of this particular one is that he doesn’t tell you which format is which until the very end, hence allowing your eyes to pick up the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences on their own. For this little conceit, I nominate this for ‘Best Test Short’ of 2011.Brawley tested—not in this order—35mm, RED MX, Arri Alexa, 16mm, Sony F3, Cannon HDSLR with some interesting results. His Vimeo page and blog has more details as well, well worth the read.