View Full Version : $3,000. One Film. What Camera?

11-26-2006, 09:37 PM
I wasn't planning to post here but then I noticed that I had to pay to even see posts, so I might as well.

Okay, I have a budget of around $3,000 (perhaps more). I have always been into photograpy, but never really bothered with videomaking so I'm pretty much a beginner. The thing is, I still need a higher end quality camera. I was thinking about a canon gl2 because I've played with one for a while and liked it, but I'm not too sure of how well it would work for my needs. Me and 4 other guys have been working on a comedy flick for a little over a year now and it's time to put it into action. I'm a perfectionist, so I want a higher than average video and sound quality.

One more thing, the only program I ever used for video editing is premiere but I don't like it that much. What are your opinions on the best programs for video editing?

Any responses/thread links/etcetera are greatly appreciated... Thanks!

11-26-2006, 10:23 PM
Welcome! I hope you find this money well spent.

What kind of setup do you have for editing? how much cpu/ram/hard drive space? What is the anticipated outlet for your finished cinematic gems?

11-26-2006, 10:47 PM
You might benefit from Clive's $1000 Speilburg blog. As for camera, you can go with the GL2, but with all the new tech being developed, it might be a matter of years before higher end cameras and HD drop in price. And buying a GL2 will eat your whole budget. You're making comedy, so I'd work on making the jokes and timing better before upgrading the visual edge.
I'd try and find someone with a decent camera to do your camera work, and spend the money on lights and props.
It all depends on the scenario though. I'm ultra-guerilla.. but there's some pros here too. I'd post a little more info on what kinds of equipment you already have to work with, what kinds of things your prject will require (locations, spfx, etc), etc.
Like, if you're going to spend $2000 on a camera... make sure you have enough to get a boom mic, or you'll have pristine video with crappy audio.

Btw, Welcome!

11-26-2006, 11:43 PM

Will Vincent
11-27-2006, 01:02 AM

You might well find that your money is best spent on renting equipment rather than buying. That would allow you to use HDV or HD camera(s) and pro sound and light gear, and still have some of your production budget left. Also might look into local filmmaking groups, there tend to be people all over the country interested in filmmaking, and many of them will work with you for more experience and a credit on the film. That could save you money too, as they might well have their own gear. (You're only a couple hours drive from Poke (

As for the best editing program.. it's all subjective really. I personally use premiere, but I've also used Vegas, and found Vegas to be a little more intuitive and easier to learn. You might want to check that out. Also there's a free version of Avid ( you might be interested in trying, but I'd guess if you didn't like premiere you'd probably not like avid either (but you can't beat the price).

11-27-2006, 06:04 AM
Thanks for the responses. We have made a few stupid videos here and there, but nothing as big as this. I'm not usually the technical guy, but I always seem to get stuck with doing the editing. And the reason I don't like premiere is probably because I don't know much about it. I hated photoshop for years before I actually learned all that it could do... I know that the main mic we use is a rode boom mic... don't know much more than that. It gets the job done though. As for cameras, we have just been using two older camcorders and converting the video to the pc. And most of our shots are done outside since we never bothered to invest in lighting. As for lighting, there are going to be a few inside shots but mostly outside... some will be outside at night, though. As for special effects, we usually don't bother with that. We think of the stupidest possible way we could do something and then do it. For example, we stole some clips from godzilla and would cut back and forth between the movie and all of us on the street at night with guns. One of us throws a grenade and it cuts to a guy in broad daylight lighting a bunch of firecrackers.

Anywho, renting may seem like the way to go but I'm still unsure. I have alot of time to decide since we can't really start doing this until the summer.

11-27-2006, 10:03 AM
If you have time, I think you should seriously consider HDV. There are already models for under $2000; just make sure you can connect your audio equipment and have some manual control when you need it. A consumer camera is going to have some limitations, but I also think you'd have a pretty good shot at selling a consumer HDV camera close to what you bought it for, when you're finished (assuming you take good care of it). I don't think there will be throngs of people who want to throw down a lot of money for a DV camcorder by the end of 2007.

I'm just throwing this out there, without too much thought. You've got many options you may want to consider, and you have to work out what $pro$ features you're willing to pay for (like a good manual focussing option, or XLR audio inputs).

Loud Orange Cat
11-27-2006, 10:48 AM

Personally, if it costs me money, I won't shoot it. I'm the zero-budget type of filmmaker and don't even have the cash to blow on props and actors.

However, I did blow $4K on a camera, but I consider that an investment. Definitely go with a 3CCD HD cam. You can get them for around or just under $2K now.

11-27-2006, 04:11 PM
There are decent lower end (good looking picture) HDV camcorders around $1k from sony, jvc, canon...and many more I'm sure. Make sure you get one that allows a microphone input if you go this route. The rode mic is an XLR input and you won't find that kind of mic in on this level of camcorder, but you can get adapters from beachtek or inline adaptors from other places (markertek probably carries one).

on the standard def front, the gl2's and the dvx 100b's are quite popular.