Kai Gives Phillip Bloom a Barbie Camera in New DigitalRev Cheap Camera Challenge

Editor’s Note: There is a bit of strong and suggestive language used in a few of the scenes.

The Pro Photog Cheap Camera Challenge is one of our favorite segments that the folks over at DigitalRev put together. Beyond just proving the point that it’s the photographer, and not the camera, that makes great pictures, the episodes are fun to watch and often very educational.

In the past they’ve put everyone from David Hobby to Vincent Laforet to the test, but this time they decided to up the ante. The victim this time around is world-class cinematographer Phillip Bloom, who will be embarking on this challenge with a not-so-capable Barbie camera in tow.

No it’s not a typo, and yes you should be smiling right about now. Mr. Bloom, who is used to working with gear with astronomical price tags and 4K resolution, has to create something using a Barbie camera that boast all of 1.2MP. The camera’s best qualities, as Kai points out, are Barbie’s frizzy hair and bendy limbs.



We won’t spoil the ending for you, but believe us when we say all 27 minutes are worth a watch: from the moment Kai reveals the camera to an unbelieving Bloom, to so many double entendres and slightly inappropriate jokes we lost track, to the final production and how Bloom made the best of a horrendous gear situation.

Keep in mind though, even as you laugh your way through it, that this isn’t all just for the sake of comedy. Watching Phillip Bloom plan, work and direct, especially when he has to improvise to the extreme, is the real treat here.

So check out the video at the top and, if you find yourself craving more pro photographer cheap camera action, click here to go back and watch all of the episodes we’ve covered in the past.

  • Syuaip

    I imagine how many glasses of beer Mr. Bloom would require to forget this trauma. A visit or two to his therapist maybe also..

  • Renato Murakami

    Awesome stuff… what a nightmare for Phillip though eh? Getting nice pics with crappy cameras was already kinda complicated, but video… oh man.
    But it makes a good point on video though. If for photography the artistic vision is what matter, on video it’s all about script and story. Given the limitation, I’ll say Phillip Bloom came out with great results from it.

  • Frodo

    This is the first time I’ve been impressed with a cheap camera challenge.

  • Adam Cross

    so much love for Phillip, this was great ^_^

  • JeffWaweru

    Loved it. this is pretty petty but I just wish Kai didn’t start off with pointing out the already obvious “battle of the English accents”; like I said petty. Anyways Monsieur Bloom = always edutaining

  • eka gaurangga

    Barbie will kicked Ken for Oscar.

  • james turner

    Reading all the gushing on Philip Blooms Facebook is horrible “so inspiring”, “see what a real film maker can do” etc etc. the film was awful, regardless of image quality. I understand the constraints and how hard it must be for Philip to make any films with that many people hanging off his balls. He USED to be an inspirational independent film maker. He is not that any more. The final straw for me was when he broke a lens and asked his fanbase to pay for it. Since then Ive found him to be nothing more than an annoyance. Maybe Ive just outgrown him.

  • Aezreth

    Well, that was junk. Would have been much more interesting to see him do something serious on a modest budget, give some tips & tricks for indies, and produce something that would actually inspire. Everyone has at least a cellphone today, what’s the point in using something that looks awful no matter what you do?

  • Oj0

    The idea is to show what CAN be done when you have absolutely rubbish equipment at your disposal. Anyone can get a lucky shot with even entry level equipment, but when you go this far down it becomes about skill.

    Oh, and that camera wasn’t 1.2mp, it was 360×240 which is a shade under 0.09mp.

  • Danny

    My hat are off to Phillip, he has gracefully took the challenge with so much professionalism and a great sense of humor. :)

  • 9inchnail

    You obviously didn’t get the point of the challenge. This series is about overcoming the limitations of the equipment available to you. Many people think, the gear makes the art. The more expensive the better the outcome. This series shows that talented people can take better photos with a lego cam than some people would with a 5D.