View Full Version : Which camera?


Marshall
02-13-2008, 03:34 AM
Ever since I was old enough to watch movies, I've always wanted to make them.. Now that I'm older and can afford a camera, I want to start. I am looking into going to film school at FSU, but until then I'd like to play around and get some type of experience. Getting back the camera dilemma: I don't know what I want. I guess a better statement would be: I don't know what I need.

What kind of stuff I'd like to do is... anything. In my younger days, me and my friends would make home-made movies similar to Jackass ...times 10. For things like these, I know I want something that's very clear and easy to see. On the other hand, I'm also a fan of really cheesy horror movies. I'd definitely want to do something like this, but I'd want the film look. Video for a movie is just too crisp, I'm sure you know what I mean.. just not sure how to describe it. I've seen companies before, like Filmlook -- that basically makes video more film like. This is also very expensive. Video is free in a sense, compared to film. I pretty sure I can't afford film, but again I don't know where to buy it. I've checked kodak.com and places..

Another thing is sound... Newbie question for sure.. but on movies when the camera is across the street and it zooms in on people, how can we hear what they're saying? Or is this an effect? Reason I want to know because on the previous DV camera we used to use, I don't remember any place for a mic.

Overall quality, my main concern is that I don't want my movie or whatever it is to look like a video on youtube.. real distorted. I want people to be able to watch it, I mean.. that's the whole point right? If I were outdoors and I wanted to zoom in on an animal, say 70 yards or so away.. how can I do this? I've also read that you can't speed up video to make a slow motion shot.. any truth to this?

Now based on this, I thank you if you're still reading, what camera do you suggest? I'm really hoping to spend >$500, but if the extra money will really help I'd might go up to $1000..


THANKS in advance, definitely appreciated.

squeegly646
02-13-2008, 04:10 AM
the Canon XL2...is really good for that. it looks kinda like Jackass, and you could get some wireless microphones, because it has microphone jacks built in...its a badass camera. I dont have one but my friend that I film with does. and he lets me use it all the time..which is nice. you should check it out

Zensteve
02-13-2008, 04:42 AM
camera dilemma: I don't know what I want. I guess a better statement would be: I don't know what I need.

Different cameras for different needs. :)

Figure out what you want to acheive (counting budget), and go from there.

I'd want the film look. Video for a movie is just too crisp, I'm sure you know what I mean.. just not sure how to describe it. I've seen companies before, like Filmlook -- that basically makes video more film like. This is also very expensive. Video is free in a sense, compared to film. I pretty sure I can't afford film, but again I don't know where to buy it. I've checked kodak.com and places..

There's a lot more to making video look like "film", than just adding a plugin to the timeline.

If you want your film to look like it's shot on film... shoot it on film.

Lots of places to buy film. Don't be intimidated to call up Kodak direct, if you're not sure what you're looking for. They'll have people to talk to (or if all busy, they call you back). Whether you're making a 3 minute short, or an epic 2 hour film... they'll have someone there to consult with. They won't treat you like an idiot, either. Just tell 'em what you want to do (visual-wise) and they'll sell you what you need.

Another thing is sound... Newbie question for sure.. but on movies when the camera is across the street and it zooms in on people, how can we hear what they're saying? Or is this an effect?

Sound is the bane of my life! :grumpy:

If you are zooming in from across a street, as you described...

Maybe the actors are wired for sound? Dunno if that's in your budget range.

Or, the actors may come back later to re-record the dialogue.

Mics don't zoom in, like lenses.

Overall quality, my main concern is that I don't want my movie or whatever it is to look like a video on youtube.. real distorted. I want people to be able to watch it, I mean.. that's the whole point right? If I were outdoors and I wanted to zoom in on an animal, say 70 yards or so away.. how can I do this?

You have a camera with a really good lens, that is capable of zooming in at 70 yards. :D

Converting to YouTube is a whole different matter altogether. Read the tutorials that they have (which details all their specifications). Real pain in the arse, when aspect-ratio comes into play.




I've also read that you can't speed up video to make a slow motion shot.. any truth to this?

You certainly can make a slo-mo shot from video footage.

Does it look good? Debatable. The same goes, though, for film footage shot at regular speed and later slowed down.

If you have a camera (film or video) with a capability to shoot the original footage at the speed you want it to... that's the way to go. You can always half-arse it in editing programmes later, but it's never quite the same.

what camera do you suggest? I'm really hoping to spend >$500, but if the extra money will really help I'd might go up to $1000..

No idea. :cool:

John@Bophe
02-13-2008, 07:28 AM
on movies when the camera is across the street and it zooms in on people, how can we hear what they're saying?

Get either a second camera or another audio recording device like the Sony Mini-Disc and set it up with mics (shotgun or lapel) next to the actors, but out of site of the camera shooting the main footage across the street. Synchronize the audio from the second recording device to the video captured from your main camera.

directorik
02-13-2008, 12:35 PM
What kind of stuff I'd like to do is... anything. In my younger days, me and my friends would make home-made movies similar to Jackass ...times 10. For things like these, I know I want something that's very clear and easy to see. On the other hand, I'm also a fan of really cheesy horror movies. I'd definitely want to do something like this, but I'd want the film look. Video for a movie is just too crisp, I'm sure you know what I mean.. just not sure how to describe it. I've seen companies before, like Filmlook -- that basically makes video more film like. This is also very expensive. Video is free in a sense, compared to film. I pretty sure I can't afford film, but again I don't know where to buy it. I've checked kodak.com and places.. [quote]
You're not going to get the look of film with a $500 to $1,000 video camera.
But you can make you image look better if you do more than point and shoot
using the auto settings. For exterior shots use reflectors to control the light - for
interior shots learn to use lighting.

[quote]Another thing is sound... Newbie question for sure.. but on movies when the camera is across the street and it zooms in on people, how can we hear what they're saying? Or is this an effect? Reason I want to know because on the previous DV camera we used to use, I don't remember any place for a mic.
This is usually don't in one of two ways. You can use wireless mic's or you can do
what is called ADR - Additional Dialogue Recording. You would bring the actors
into a room and record their dialogue, then sync it up.

If the camera you're using doesn't have a mic input (something that is extremely
important) then John's advice is excellent.

Overall quality, my main concern is that I don't want my movie or whatever it is to look like a video on youtube.. real distorted. I want people to be able to watch it, I mean.. that's the whole point right? If I were outdoors and I wanted to zoom in on an animal, say 70 yards or so away.. how can I do this? I've also read that you can't speed up video to make a slow motion shot.. any truth to this?
A 70 yard zoom with a standard video camera's stock lens is going to look terrible
no matter what you do. You would need an really good, really large zoom lens.

Now based on this, I thank you if you're still reading, what camera do you suggest? I'm really hoping to spend >$500, but if the extra money will really help I'd might go up to $1000.
In the $1,000 and under range all cameras are pretty much the same. A Sony is
like a Sharp is like a Canon is like a Panasonic is like Samsung. You can go to any
Best Buy and pick up a camera in that price range and you wonít be able to tell
the difference.

There are three things that are VERY important when getting a camera:

Three CCDís
Manual controls for the iris, shutter, focus and white balance.
A microphone input.

In the $1,000 - $1,500 range:

The JVC GZ-MG505 is in the $800 range. It has a mic input and records to
a 30GB HHD.

I like the new JVC GZ-HD7. Iíve seen these on line for as little as $1,200. A really
nice Fujinon lens makes a huge difference and full manual controls is important.
Three 1/5í 16:9 progressive scan CCDís are pretty impressive for a camera in this
price range. It records directly to a built in 60GB hard drive. It has manual controls,
a mic input and an excellent focus ring which is surprisingly rare on small cameras.

Both the JVC HD5 and HD6 (available in March) have a mic input and both record
to HDD - the HD6 can record 1080/60p through HDMI - pretty impressive.

The Panasonic PV-GS400 is terrific 3CCD cameras. Unfortunately, itís hard to find
and thatís too bad. Itís a great little camera. The 500 doesnít have a mic input - what
are they thinking?

Sony DCR-HC1000 is very similar to the Panasonic cameras. If youíre more comfortable
with Sony, this is the camera for you.

Close is the Canon HV20. It records in HDV (1080i) and 24p (60i), has a mic input
and manual controls of white balance and focus but it uses one 1/2.7Ē CMOS sensor
rather than 3 CCDís. For me the jury is still out on the CMOS. And itís so small the
handling is difficult.

The HV30 adds a 30f (Canonís ďframe modeĒ) in addition to 24p.

The Sony HDR-SR12 has a mic input and a good sized 120GB HDD. It uses one
1/3Ē CMOS chip and like the Canon is really small. Because of the input placement,
the mic cable kept getting in my way.

knightly
02-13-2008, 01:10 PM
I'll chime in on the film look thing here (I'm sure everyone was expecting it). The "Film Look" is one of my pet peeve buzz terms (not your fault, it's just unavoidable and everywhere). The film look doesn't come form the camera, it comes from all of the other elements that go into making a production, costumes, makeup, acting, set design, framing, lighting, practical effects, extras, camera motion.

I guarantee that you can get video that is nearly indistinguishable from video if you either spend tons of time on each shot (like they do in hollywood) or tons of money (like they do in hollywood). Usually video that looks like video is because it's not treated with the same amount of care that film is subjected to.

I've seen crappily shot film that looks like video and totally pulls me out of the cinematic experience...and video that's shot so well that I can't tell it's video...even with lower end cameras.

Shooting progressive is probably the one thing I would argue is important, but not necessarily 24p...30p will often get you a better final product depending on your distribution method. DVD runs at 60i or 30p and will greatly benefit from not being shot at a frame rate that needs to be stretched to fill the expansive framescape of 30p. If you intend to film out to 16 or 35mm film, by all means, freak out about shooting at 24p, but that's a 1 to 1 transfer that you don't get in the 24p - 60i transfer.

As for slow mo, yes, you can get 50% slow mo by shooting 60i and using deinterlacing tricks to get the fields separated into individual frames. You'll sacrifice 50% of your image quality this way, but you'll get your real live slow mo. Lower than that, you can probably get decent interpolated slow mo from programs like shake, after effects or other things with built in mathemtical processors that specifically do this sort of thing and "make up" the inbetween frames as you stretch it out.

Depending on your editing program, the 50% change can happen automatically (I think Vegas does it that way), other than that, you can deinterlace and export into odd and even field image sequences which can then be renumbered to shuffle them like a deck of cards to get an image sequence to re-import and have your 50% video. If you're on an Apple, I wrote a utility in applescript to do the renaming for you.

oakstreetphotovideo
02-13-2008, 06:04 PM
I have a recipe somewhere to get 50% field by field motion in FCP by just layering your video over itself and using built in filters. I'm sure you can work out the deinterlacing part that gets you the right fields. Beyond that, you just slow each clip to 50% speed and add a strobe filter with 1 on, 1 off to the top layer. That gets you every other frame of the top video and leaves every other frame of the video underneath it. Whalla! If you do it right, you get perfect 50% slow motion from 60i (or 50i PAL).

oakstreetphotovideo
02-13-2008, 06:05 PM
Oh, don't forget to turn off frame blending when you set 50% speed, or FCP will mess you up.

Marshall
02-15-2008, 03:41 PM
Wow, I really didn't think I'd get such a turn around in such little time. Thanks for everyones information. Greatly appreciated. You all sound very knowledgeable and passionate.. I think I'll stick around. :)


Different cameras for different needs. :)

Figure out what you want to acheive (counting budget), and go from there.





Lots of places to buy film. Don't be intimidated to call up Kodak direct, if you're not sure what you're looking for. They'll have people to talk to (or if all busy, they call you back). Whether you're making a 3 minute short, or an epic 2 hour film... they'll have someone there to consult with. They won't treat you like an idiot, either. Just tell 'em what you want to do (visual-wise) and they'll sell you what you need.


You have a camera with a really good lens, that is capable of zooming in at 70 yards. :D

Converting to YouTube is a whole different matter altogether. Read the tutorials that they have (which details all their specifications). Real pain in the arse, when aspect-ratio comes into play.




Thanks for that info, I was under the impression it was obsolete. I'm pretty sure I could get my hands on a old camera.

I don't necessarily want to convert for YouTube, just those movies always are in horrible quality.. unless it's a campaign video.. those are always great. This always scared me.. because I want people to see what I shoot.





[QUOTE=Marshall;68230]
This is usually don't in one of two ways. You can use wireless mic's or you can do
what is called ADR - Additional Dialogue Recording. You would bring the actors
into a room and record their dialogue, then sync it up.

In the $1,000 and under range all cameras are pretty much the same. A Sony is
like a Sharp is like a Canon is like a Panasonic is like Samsung. You can go to any
Best Buy and pick up a camera in that price range and you wonít be able to tell
the difference.


Wow, thanks for all the camera info. Just curious, how difficult is ADR? or better, what sound editing programs do you use?

I'll chime in on the film look thing here (I'm sure everyone was expecting it). The "Film Look" is one of my pet peeve buzz terms (not your fault, it's just unavoidable and everywhere). The film look doesn't come form the camera, it comes from all of the other elements that go into making a production, costumes, makeup, acting, set design, framing, lighting, practical effects, extras, camera motion.


Well, I'd have to agree. I know what you mean, but I was really referring to the video look itself.

I have a recipe somewhere to get 50% field by field motion in FCP by just layering your video over itself and using built in filters. I'm sure you can work out the deinterlacing part that gets you the right fields. Beyond that, you just slow each clip to 50% speed and add a strobe filter with 1 on, 1 off to the top layer. That gets you every other frame of the top video and leaves every other frame of the video underneath it. Whalla! If you do it right, you get perfect 50% slow motion from 60i (or 50i PAL).
This sounds like good info, but I think it's a little too advanced.

oakstreetphotovideo
02-15-2008, 08:12 PM
This sounds like good info, but I think it's a little too advanced.
Sorry, that was mostly meant for Knightly, or anyone who is trying to get perfect slow motion from interlaced video. The procedure isn't that difficult, but it is specific to FCP. I figured Knightly might be interested, since he's a human sponge. ;)

knightly
02-15-2008, 10:00 PM
I figured Knightly might be interested, since he's a human sponge. ;)

Yeah, I suck ;)

noellpro
02-17-2008, 03:13 AM
Here in the US, we have a CC program that allows you to defer payment on CC purchases over a specific amount from certain vendors...up to 6 months...called..PAY LATER...so without thinking any further or spending time with nonsense money issues...if you have the same program where you live BUY the Panasonic HVX200 with TWO 32GIG P2 cards...that will give you over 70 minutes shoot time per session...shoot your story in 1080i 24p advanced so you can down the road tranfser it to FILM if need be ( audio is at 48k 16 bit......finish your shoot in three months and then sell the gear on eBay for 10-20% less than what you paid for it...its still less than the rental you would have paid for it...AND pay off your CC immediately....this way you are up to speed on technology...have enough storage to work with... have a great cinema preset selection on the camera...etc.etc...there are a bunch of adapter lens for this great camera.. I am sure other producers film makers will give their five cents... and all of them count... still if you are a XXI century filmmaker YOU must move with the tech tools...never buy and keep anything for long...it will rot on you...visit our raw promo on youtube that was shot with the HVX200 at 1080i 24p advanced...Overnite Shift PROMO...and good luck dude...

oakstreetphotovideo
02-17-2008, 09:01 AM
20% of $8000 is $1600

If you can't sell it on E-Bay for 80-90% of the purchase price you either take a bigger loss than you intended, or you end up buying a camera that you may not be able to afford. People like me hesitate to spend a lot on used equipment because you may not get any manufacturer warranty. Given that I've seen excellent features shot on much less expensive cameras, I'd just buy or borrow the best camera I could afford and spend my remaining budget making a great movie, without the added stress of a looming CC bill.

Doug

Marshall
02-17-2008, 11:00 PM
Nice looking camera.. I don't have a CC don't think I can get one with that kind of credit line. I went to Wal-Mart and got the JVC GZ-MG130 Everio Hybrid.. haven't really done anything yet.. other than it being ridiculously small, and not having a mic jack.. I guess it's an all right camera for home videos. Not really what I intend to use it for. I forgot who said, not even sure if it's in this thread but, they said the worse thing you can do is not get a camera. So.. I got one :P I think I'm going to read some literature on making documentaries, I think I'll start with that. ..or maybe a stop motion movie using army men. :lol: