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Old 03-31-2016, 08:24 PM   #1
Renegade96
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Caution New filming need legitimate advice

I am not entirely new. I have minimal experience using pro-sumer camera's. With that said, I have had a major debate to film with a dslr or a camcorder.

A bit of background is for me. I am 19 almost 20. I am heading off to a university as a junior and am starting a film group there. I plan on doing one short length and one major. I estimate the camera i use will be the main camera as the others will have their own less expensive.

Our editing software will be sony vegas and resolve it seems.

I need help deciding my camera/camcorder and narrowed it down to a few options.

Black magic cinema camera
Pros- Detachable lens, 4k capabilities, good video quality as of videos ive seen
Cons-lens expense, no xlr, bulky/needs cage and handhelds

canon xf-100
Pro's- lots of buttons with high control over specs, viewfinder, xlr input
cons- Poor low light, less quality with no 4k, only one lens

sony handycam fd4-ax100
pro's- small, easy use, 4k
cons- not practical for shoulder mounts, no viewfinder

lumix gh4
Pros- detachable lens, 4k, versatility, great quality in low light, good for rigs and optical stabilization with high optical zoom
Cons- Dslr, Purchase all lenses, not very buttony

canon xa30
just on here as a back up really

SO those are my preferable choices and yes i know the costs but i am willing to pay. let me know which you think is best and why. I am also going to get rigs and lighting as well. over time as I'm not rich. please give honest opinions.
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:31 PM   #2
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the big question is have you budgeted for sound too?
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:44 PM   #3
Alcove Audio
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And why buy, why not rent?

As a sound guy, I, of course, have to include my usual advice:

Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:06 PM   #4
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Yes, im not talking 1000 dollars worth of sound but an external boom mic with a wind shield will suffice. We are also debating filming audio separate from video so as to have easier workflow. aside from that what do you think about the camera choices
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:08 PM   #5
Renegade96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcove Audio View Post
And why buy, why not rent?

As a sound guy, I, of course, have to include my usual advice:

Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.

I am not rich. I live at home and am starting a film club while i take out loans to live on campus of my school. i can afford this camera as one last purchase before heading there. I could use it for school but want a high quality camera that will last with a primary focus of filming.
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:17 PM   #6
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I would say GH4 or Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Being able to change lenses is definitely crucial. And if you're new and learning, it's crucial to force yourself to shoot manually as opposed to automatic. Learn how to change exposure, f-stop, shutter, ISO/ASA, frame rates, aspect ratios, picture profiles.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:21 AM   #7
Renegade96
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Caution

Quote:
Originally Posted by HU_Nathan7 View Post
I would say GH4 or Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Being able to change lenses is definitely crucial. And if you're new and learning, it's crucial to force yourself to shoot manually as opposed to automatic. Learn how to change exposure, f-stop, shutter, ISO/ASA, frame rates, aspect ratios, picture profiles.
That makes alot of sense!! If I was going to go with which how crucial would the addition of an xlr set of plugs be. Also the black magic is built to be in a rig. Would you say that is something that is a good or bad thing?
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Renegade96 View Post
... aside from that what do you think about the camera choices
There are many dozens of pieces of hardware and software required for filmmaking and many hundreds of choices/alternatives. There are also hundreds of more choices in how to use that hardware and software in order to make a watchable film, not to mention all the choices not directly linked to equipment. Of all those choices, the choice of camera is one of the least consequential!

So, what do I think about your camera choices? I think you should start a photography/camera club and leave a filmmaking club to those who are interested in actual films rather than only cameras/photography.

G
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Old 04-01-2016, 10:25 AM   #9
Renegade96
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Originally Posted by AudioPostExpert View Post
There are many dozens of pieces of hardware and software required for filmmaking and many hundreds of choices/alternatives. There are also hundreds of more choices in how to use that hardware and software in order to make a watchable film, not to mention all the choices not directly linked to equipment. Of all those choices, the choice of camera is one of the least consequential!
So, what do I think about your camera choices? I think you should start a photography/camera club and leave a filmmaking club to those who are interested in actual films rather than only cameras/photography.

G

So, I am interested in making films man not photography. But if I'm using a 100 dollar camera the quality won't be nearly as good. Why do you think Hollywood uses reds, Arri's, cannon etc and why do they use expensive cameras. Its for the exact reason. The quality and looks. As well as the capabilities
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade96 View Post
That makes alot of sense!! If I was going to go with which how crucial would the addition of an xlr set of plugs be. Also the black magic is built to be in a rig. Would you say that is something that is a good or bad thing?
I think it's generally a good thing. The cost, however, is much longer setup times, and it also makes the camera significantly heavier, which is only a real problem if you're going hand held for a long period of time. But if you're filming a debate, I assume you will be on a tripod most of the time. Which reminds me, with a heavier camera, you will need a heavier duty tripod. Also, with the Blackmagic (which is what I use), it does get a bit expensive once you factor in batteries, the rig, the cards, and an expensive tripod. But if you have the budget to make the investment, I think the quality is quite exceptional. Especially if you shoot flat and somewhat know what you're doing in Resolve.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:10 AM   #11
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You'll find in cameras, there's always an incremental improvement that will get you spending a few extra bucks to get something slightly better, and then the next, and next all the way up to the top. It's a sure fire way for an inexperienced person to spend way more than they should.

Take your list for instance. Each camera has strengths and weaknesses. EVERY camera has strengths and weaknesses. There are no exceptions. There is no camera that is best for every situation. You're not in a position to understand what you need for what circumstance yet... and that is fine. You probably don't even know what you will be shooting yet. You have a learning curve to tackle.

In my opinion, you're better off spending your money on some prosumer audio gear, some lights and shoot with your iphone rather than spending everything you have on a camera. When you go to school/uni/whatever, access to cameras will be a dime a dozen thing. Everyone has one. They're easy to borrow or find a friend who will shoot with you. Audio/lighting gear, not so much, though the low price gear is getting better and better. Hell, you're joining a filming group. Would you rather be the one everyone needs on their team since you have audio/lighting or be like in the same position as everyone else in the group? Also, cameras go out of date very quick. Audio/lighting, not so much.

Quote:
But if I'm using a 100 dollar camera the quality won't be nearly as good. Why do you think Hollywood uses reds, Arri's, cannon etc and why do they use expensive cameras.
Legacy is part of the reason Alexas and other Arri's dominate. Another reason is reliability. You don't want to be sticking your thumb up your ass with a faulty camera when you're spending 6 figures or more on your cast and crew a day. Don't get me wrong, they're a great camera and they'll shoot amazing images in the right hands. The dirty secret is that $100 hunk of junk will also shoot amazing images in the right hands. Not as good as the Alexa, but still good images. It's the skill of the operator(team) that has more to do with the quality of the footage than the equipment. Typically, neither camera will shoot great images without lights and both will feel amateur with crappy sound.

Go spend the money on a camera if you want and we'll see you in another year asking what the next camera you should purchase.

If you want to be a DOP/Camera op, then grab a good camera and focus on it.

In my opinion, the question you should ask: Does your experience level and goals warrant the price of a good camera?

If you want to invest in a good camera, add the Sony a7s II into your list to consider. It's one of the best bang for buck for 4k cameras.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade96 View Post
So, I am interested in making films man not photography.
So why are you only interested in one of the least significant pieces of equipment in filmmaking then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade96 View Post
Why do you think Hollywood uses reds, Arri's, cannon etc ...
For the same reason they use production sound teams with near on $100k of sound equipment and 30 or more people in the audio post-production team with probably well over $20m worth of equipment! Makes the cost of even a fully loaded Arri pale into insignificance doesn't it? Furthermore, award winning features at the world's top film festivals have been shot with a cell phone (as the only camera) and even Hollywood sometimes uses footage taken with pro-sumer cameras.

If you're really interested in filmmaking rather than photography, the camera is one of the least things you should be concerned about! So what is it you are REALLY interested in?

G
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renegade96 View Post
So, I am interested in making films man not photography. But if I'm using a 100 dollar camera the quality won't be nearly as good. Why do you think Hollywood uses reds, Arri's, cannon etc and why do they use expensive cameras. Its for the exact reason. The quality and looks. As well as the capabilities
And "Hollywood" uses expensive audio equipment. The quality sounds
good. As well as the capabilities. Why are you so resistant to spending
part of your total budget on audio?

Making films is so much more than what camera you use. You're starting
a film club - shouldn't all aspects of making a film be a priority?
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:20 PM   #14
Renegade96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HaloUnionProductions View Post
I think it's generally a good thing. The cost, however, is much longer setup times, and it also makes the camera significantly heavier, which is only a real problem if you're going hand held for a long period of time. But if you're filming a debate, I assume you will be on a tripod most of the time. Which reminds me, with a heavier camera, you will need a heavier duty tripod. Also, with the Blackmagic (which is what I use), it does get a bit expensive once you factor in batteries, the rig, the cards, and an expensive tripod. But if you have the budget to make the investment, I think the quality is quite exceptional. Especially if you shoot flat and somewhat know what you're doing in Resolve.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
You'll find in cameras, there's always an incremental improvement that will get you spending a few extra bucks to get something slightly better, and then the next, and next all the way up to the top. It's a sure fire way for an inexperienced person to spend way more than they should.

Take your list for instance. Each camera has strengths and weaknesses. EVERY camera has strengths and weaknesses. There are no exceptions. There is no camera that is best for every situation. You're not in a position to understand what you need for what circumstance yet... and that is fine. You probably don't even know what you will be shooting yet. You have a learning curve to tackle.

In my opinion, you're better off spending your money on some prosumer audio gear, some lights and shoot with your iphone rather than spending everything you have on a camera. When you go to school/uni/whatever, access to cameras will be a dime a dozen thing. Everyone has one. They're easy to borrow or find a friend who will shoot with you. Audio/lighting gear, not so much, though the low price gear is getting better and better. Hell, you're joining a filming group. Would you rather be the one everyone needs on their team since you have audio/lighting or be like in the same position as everyone else in the group? Also, cameras go out of date very quick. Audio/lighting, not so much.



Legacy is part of the reason Alexas and other Arri's dominate. Another reason is reliability. You don't want to be sticking your thumb up your ass with a faulty camera when you're spending 6 figures or more on your cast and crew a day. Don't get me wrong, they're a great camera and they'll shoot amazing images in the right hands. The dirty secret is that $100 hunk of junk will also shoot amazing images in the right hands. Not as good as the Alexa, but still good images. It's the skill of the operator(team) that has more to do with the quality of the footage than the equipment. Typically, neither camera will shoot great images without lights and both will feel amateur with crappy sound.

Go spend the money on a camera if you want and we'll see you in another year asking what the next camera you should purchase.

If you want to be a DOP/Camera op, then grab a good camera and focus on it.

In my opinion, the question you should ask: Does your experience level and goals warrant the price of a good camera?

If you want to invest in a good camera, add the Sony a7s II into your list to consider. It's one of the best bang for buck for 4k cameras.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioPostExpert View Post
So why are you only interested in one of the least significant pieces of equipment in filmmaking then?



For the same reason they use production sound teams with near on $100k of sound equipment and 30 or more people in the audio post-production team with probably well over $20m worth of equipment! Makes the cost of even a fully loaded Arri pale into insignificance doesn't it? Furthermore, award winning features at the world's top film festivals have been shot with a cell phone (as the only camera) and even Hollywood sometimes uses footage taken with pro-sumer cameras.

If you're really interested in filmmaking rather than photography, the camera is one of the least things you should be concerned about! So what is it you are REALLY interested in?

G
Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
And "Hollywood" uses expensive audio equipment. The quality sounds
good. As well as the capabilities. Why are you so resistant to spending
part of your total budget on audio?

Making films is so much more than what camera you use. You're starting
a film club - shouldn't all aspects of making a film be a priority?


see here is the thing. I never said all I wanted was too shoot just video. I plan on getting decent equipment for audio as well. My issue is that i needed help choosing a good video camera with amazing quality. If there is one under 1000 and then ill invest the extra 1000 for audio equipment?
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Old 04-01-2016, 08:21 PM   #15
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A short remark on the BMCC: you'll need batteries for it as well.
It has an internal battery, but it can't be changed, so without extra batteries, you need to plug it in the grid or recharge after 1,5 hours of filming.

And it produce large and heavy files: can your computer handle that?
Or will it be rendering for days before you can do anything?
Test your workflow, before you find out you need another computer.

Every tool has it's strong and weak points.
Don't forget to have fun filming. It is easy to get stuck in comparing cameras and other gear.
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