12-24-2011, 03:06 PM
I live in a very rural area, and I'm considering shooting a doc on the daily life of people around here. I currently own a Canon hf m30 consumer camcorder. It shoots pretty good HD in good light conditions... but I was considering upgrading to a Canon DSLR (Rebel t3i) with a nice lens, because the camcorder doesnt really have a useable manual focus. However, the shooting I will be doing will require some live, nonstaged action (hunting, events, etc). Will it be too difficult to pull focus on a DSLR in these situations? I'd really like to have the DSLR for interviews and such as well, but i'd like to avoid a huge, expensive shoulder rig / follow focus. Thanks!
12-24-2011, 03:09 PM
Pulling focus during live events could definitely be an issue. You also failed to mention what your plans for audio are.
12-24-2011, 03:15 PM
I was planning to buy some sort of multidirectional mic to attach to the top of the camera for live events, and a shotgun or lapel mic for interviews.
12-24-2011, 03:28 PM
It is difficult but not impossible to pull focus. The less equipment you
have for a DSLR the more difficult it is. Maintaining focus manually
is much easier with a shoulder rig and follow focus. There are always
compromises, aren't there?
The audio on all DSLR's (so far) is terrible no matter how good you
mic is. Recording directly to the camera usually results in very poor
12-24-2011, 03:31 PM
12-24-2011, 03:31 PM
so would it be in my best interest to save the DSLR for more planned, controlled footage like interviews where I can easily record audio seperately, and use the camcorder with a mic for the run and gun stuff? Again, it takes pretty good HD video and has a 24p mode, so I'm not against using it. It just lacks the cinematic feel and quality I was hoping for.
EDIT: I should also say I have a pretty limited budget since I'm buying everything myself. The camcorder has excellent anti-shake as well, but I was hoping to really capture the beauty of the countryside and that will be tougher on this cam.
12-24-2011, 04:03 PM
IMO, frankly, when shooting a documentary involving people a DSLR setup is a bonehead move. The PEOPLE are the focus here, not a DSLR. You're not going to make a great doc intimidating them with a DSLR ("wait . . . let's do that again, I didn't pull focus right'). You want the people to warm up to YOU, it is best to have an EASILY OPERATED, fail safe and discreet camera to capture that 10 seconds of magic after 2 hours of rolling film.