I’ve been reading Digital Film-Making, by Mike Figgis (affiliate link).
Figgis has a very conversational, no bullshit writing style that I really appreciate. He gives pragmatic practical, technical and artistic advice in a way that doesn’t downplay the challenges of making a film, but still makes you feel ‘I could do this’.
For me, the biggest revelation came right near the opening, about how to treat your digital camera, even if it’s ‘just’ a smartphone. Figgis says:
Don’t have an attitude towards the equipment based on your preconception of its value. For the period of its working life, the camera will be the filmmaker’s most crucial connect on between the idea — the intention — and the result. That’s the connection you’re interested in. It’s really important that you treat an inexpensive camera with exactly the same respect as you would an Arriflex 35mm camera. If it breaks and you need to throw it away, fine. But while it’s functioning, it has to be treated with love and respect.
If that seriousness doesn’t exist, if there’s a disdainful or disrespectful attitude to the camera, then the results will not be as good. I would extend that philosophy all the way through the digital film-making process and for all the tools you use — the camera, the tape, the computer, These things are yours for the period of this creation, and they have all to be imbued with the correct significance and seriousness, as befits the film-making process. If they’re not, then it will show.
You can read a larger excerpt from this part of the book at The Guardian.