I'd love to say that my mind set on "Ranchero" was 35mm or bust, but I'd be stretching the truth a little. The fact is that the project evolved from HD to super 16 to 35.
When the project had no money, Rich and I and Director of Photography Mike Bratowski did tests with several "pro-sumer" cameras. We weren't unhappy with the results. Though our range in color correction was definitely limited, Rich and Mike were pleasantly surprised with the picture quality. However, when a little financing entered the picture, we all scrambled to shoot on film. We briefly considered super 16 until an amazing deal for a 35mm camera presented itself. It was an opportunity we couldn't resist.
To me, at the time, making a movie was shooting 35mm. When there was talk of the project, I anxiously awaited the inevitable question, "What are you shooting on?" When I quickly spouted back, "35," there was always two distinct responses. One was, "cool" accompanied by a simple nod of respect. These guys are serious was the subtext. They're making a "real" movie. The other response was quite different. "Why?" they'd ask with surprise. "It's much cheaper to shoot HD." True. And there were other valid points to their argument. But purists still run the industry. And the last thing that I wanted to hear about our movie was, "It's good, but... it's a video."
Of course, things have changed since we began shooting. Technology is moving so rapidly, the entire industry is changing before the digital onslaught. But ultimately, I couldn't be happier with our choice. With Michael's amazing photography and the brilliant telecine work of Marc Wielage, "Ranchero's" look greatly exceeds it's budget.