View Full Version : Want To Upgrade To Pro Cam


aingalls
02-05-2009, 12:10 AM
Okay. So I worked for a factory making automotive parts and obviously the economy hasn't been kind to the auto industry so I've been laid off for about two months. The $130 a week I get in unemployment isn't cutting it and I've gotten serious about pursuing a career in filmmaking by filming anything people will pay me for.

I currently have a consumer-level Sony DVD Camcorder. I want to upgrade to a much more professional level cam. I've looked at the SD options: Canon GL2 & XL2, and the Panasonic DVX100. I like how Canon's websites and brochures and all the info on them is organized and easy to research and navigate, but there are dozens of Panasonic models and several of them have just a few differences. Regaudless, my questions are these:

I want the best quality camera I can get and I plan on purchasing an Apple MacBook (either a used Black MacBook or a new Aluminum Unibody MacBook), so editing power shouldn't be an issue, but is HD really worth the extra $. I want to take films on the festival circuit. I hear a lot of Festivals are going to start making HD a requirement (in order to be cutting edge, I assume). But I'm also looking to post to the net in Standard Definition (HD just takes too long to load on a DSL connection which is what I have and I don't want to wait forever to watch my own videos after uploading them, nor do I want my computer tied up for days uploading a file and praying it doesn't fail). So what's the best format (HD or SD).

Secondly, I would love to obviously have a tapeless camera for simple transferring of files to the computer to edit and I don't need the extra expense of constantly buying tapes for I've heard re-using tapes is not a good idea (I currently have about six Re-Writable DVD's I erase and re-use once I rip the footage to my computer). But I've heard terrible things about the camera's with digital storage whether it be the $500 consumer-level Sony and JVC's or the professional level $5000 Panasonic and Sony P2 and SxS cams. So should I go tape or digital storage (hdd, sd, sxs, p2, etc.) and why?

Third, if tape and SD is what I choose, due to your advice and/or just financial reason, what is the cheapest camera I can get and have all the options I need to record professionally. Is this camera a good camera (http://www.cameraco.com/Panasonic-AG-DVC20-p/agdvc20.htm)? I have recently been filming live concerts for bands with my DVD cam and my Dad and Step-Mom's identical Sony DVD cam (they got after seeing mine), but the quality is just crap (audio and video). I know I want audio inputs and output for inputting from sound boards or external (pro) mics and real-time monitoring via headphones and doing music videos and concerts, I really need some form of timecode recording as well so I can easily sync audio in post without effort.

So what is the best camera for me and what is the price range I need to be looking into. Keep in mind, I'll be needed to purchase not one, but two or more cameras to have a complete setup to be able to keep my clients happy and also have to purchase a new computer, software, and some audio equipment too (specifically the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R - http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackUltra8R.html). Can I realistically get what I want for under $1500 a camera or am I going to need to get a couple of Canon GL2's or XL2's for three- to four-thousand a piece or is HD really a necessity if buying a camera these days to make it in the film industry?