Having recently made my case at such length for passing over the Nikon D800, I can see how anyone reading my little essay would have been left with the impression that I have no interest whatsoever in the new developments being made possible by the addition of video capability to higher end digital cameras. Such is not the case: while I personally have no interest in being a filmmaker, I'm still able to appreciate the incredible things that can be done with these new tools when in the right hands. Take the video below, for example, shot entirely with Canon's 5D Mark II.
I consider DSLR video to be a a powerful leveling force in the world of video, marking as it does a radical change from the days when you needed equipment worth as much as a small house to even begin to shoot footage of the quality now easily achievable with a $2-3,000 camera.
Still, there are clear limits to just how democratizing the new developments really are: no matter how cheap the cameras may get, this will not make the distribution of talent any more equitable, let alone force the likes of Adobe to cut the price of their expensive post-production software, or make it easier to acquire the locations, costumes, makeup expertise, sound crews and numerous other specialists and setup gear which are required to make any half-serious movie or TV show come together. All of this requires either a lot of connnections acquired by having a long track record of previous success, or the willingness and ability to pay for professionals who can be relied upon to show up and do the job required. In other words, in the big scheme of things, camera equipment is likely to be a minor expense in any case.
Even in the case of a video like the one above, it's clear that several people collaborated on the effort, and even more crucial in making the video such a showcase was the ability to film in stunning locations, which in itself required the necessary funds to travel to all of those awe-inspiring places: it doesn't matter how high end the equipment in your hands if you're stuck filming on your own in a dreary suburb in a country where grey skies predominate, and there's no way you'll get those beautiful color gradients without the money to buy the likes of Adobe After Effects and Apple's Final Cut Pro, and either the time to acquire, or the money to pay for, the skill needed to put all of the expensive software to full use.
Quite apart from my lack of any great interest in making videos as such, it is my awareness that the camera represents but a vanishingly small part of what's required - an awareness borne of my own prior experiences with photography - which puts me off even beginning to play around with video as a medium. Between studio lights, tripods, carrier bags, CF cards, backup drives, radio triggers and all the other peripherals a photographer requires - not to speak of the lenses which eventually come to significantly surpass the actual camera body in value - the hobby is expensive enough without having to deal with the hassle of pulling together all of the gear and teams of personnel needed for a movie production. What is more, if finding people with the looks and poise needed to be models is hard enough, the job gets exponentially harder when they have to possess the charisma and thespian ability to be actors as well (and this is precisely why movie stars get paid such inflated sums).
If anyone reading this harbors dreams of being the next Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott or Chris Nolan, by all means, don't let my words discourage you. Just be aware that it'll take a hell of a lot more than the money you'll need to acquire an EOS 7D or a 5D Mark II and a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom, and that's without talking about paying for stunt crews, specially commissioned soundtracks and special effects from the likes of Industrial Light & Magic ...
Truth be told, I think the people best positioned to benefit from this DSLR video trend are those engaged in journalism: it is pretty much the only field in which a lack of setup or post-production is considered a plus for video.