Not the highest quality in the indie world, there are those among us who are using their phones or tablets instead of an actual camera to make their home movies. If the goal is to capture Billy’s fourth birthday, grainy footage is fine. If you were truly honest with yourself, the only people who are going to watch it are the people who are in it, and they will watch it once to see all the hard work you put into it, because they love you. By the time it will be truly nostalgic for Billy, there may not be anything that can still play 30 year old film clips. No one is worried about the quality of the cinematography of Billy’s big 0-4. This isn’t your big break, and you aren’t about to be discovered. Good news is you totally know that.

The footage you create on your portable device can be edited right there on the portable device. You can even add hearts and stars and puppy ears. Depending on the device, you can save it as a video file and watch it on your computer, too.

But if you’re making a real movie, or you at least hope you are, you need a real camera. You already know that. Did you know that your footage can’t effectively be edited on your home computer either? Real cameras take real footage that’s a very large file, and just trying to open it on the average home computer would crash the system. Likely you’d be able to back out and restart without a problem, but otherwise you’ll be watching the forever-loading screen as your poor, poor computer ties so very hard to do as you asked it.

I’m not an expert, but I’ve done origami for fun from time to time. I like the precision and how the math creates art. Even if you asked me to make something I’ve made oodles of times, with instructions in case I forget, if you give me a sheet of paper that’s 100 feet by 100 feet, that first fold would take half an hour. Actually, no it wouldn’t, because I would laugh at you and not even try.

Your computer would feel the same way—either it will try forever or it will error-message immediately. The file’s just too big—any changes take a really, really long time when your system is much smaller than the file you’re trying to edit, if it can even open. If your system can’t keep up with your resolution, you’ll make a change, go get coffee, see that change and make another, organize your desk drawers, make a little tweak to that last change, and...I don’t know, make a chain out of the paper clips?

If your computer can’t keep up with you, your film stays raw footage. Luckily there are all kinds of options for small studios and independent filmmakers that help you take that leap without breaking the bank.

Is your film worth more than phone-footage? Then it’s worth more than your home computer. Trust me. And call me. We’ll talk.

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