Filmmaking Camera Advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by macdot, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. macdot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    #1
    Hi everyone--

    I'm sure this has been asked a million different times, but I was hoping to get an answer to my specific desires with the most up to date info possible.

    I'm looking to get a nice prosumer camcorder for student film projects. I've got some idea of what I'm looking for, I would appreciate any advice or suggestions. Thanks.

    Under $2000 street price (though if there is something perfect for a little bit more let me know)
    MiniDV or better format
    Focus ring
    3CCD
    Full Manual controls
    External mic input
    Good 16:9 recording mode
    24p is a BIG plus
    Good low light performance is a plus
    16:9 LCD is a plus

    I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of things I will need/want, but that should be a pretty good list.

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  2. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    I think you may have a hard time finding a camera with all of that for under $2k, but I don't claim to be an expert on cameras.

    If anyone can give any suggestions, I would be interested as well since I'm looking for the same thing.
     
  3. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Location:
    New York
    #4
    Yeah, but the GL2 doesn't have 24p, otherwise it fits the criteria.
     
  4. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    compost heap
    #5
    The Panasonic DVX100b has pretty much all you want... it's the king of indie film cameras for a number of reasons. Also there are a ton of aftermarket products made specifically for the 100b, which would make your filmmaking life a heck of a lot easier. Problem is, brand new, you are looking at closer to $3000 (or somewhat below that with the panny rebate that runs to the end of september). Possibly, you could get a used or refurbed one for around $2K.

    Anyhow, that would be my first choice in your situation - by far.

    Of course, if you can spend more - like $4K, well, many new cameras are coming out this year and early next, including the Canon XH A1 (mid October)... I have high hopes for that one.

    Otherwise however, the dvx100b all the way - superb camera.

    Here's a very active site for dvx users... you can learn a lot there, and not just about this camera:

    http://www.dvxuser.com
     
  5. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #6
    As a film student, I've looked into this before....

    You will not find 24p or good 16:9 for under 2k. It just doesn't exist (maybe used).

    to get these options then you're looking at a DVX and an anamorphic adapter (~$4k total)

    GL2 is probably your best option, although I haven't really looked at the Panasonic DVC-30 which is $1600-1700. both are 4:3, you can get an anamorphic adatper for either of these, but it is pretty expensive.
     
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    I'm assuming since you are looking for something to make student films that you are a film student somewhere. What gear does your school have that is free for you to use? What gear does your school not have that would cost you money to rent or buy?

    Don't take this the wrong way but dropping a big chunk of change on a camera is a bit of a waste unless you can also afford to buy/rent adequate sound, lighting, and camera gear to complete the production puzzle. A project shot on a "cheap" camera w/proper sound, lighting and some simple dolly shots will look better than a project shot on an "expensive" camera that has muddy audio, flat lighting, and jerky camera moves.

    That's one of the most common mistakes I notice younger people make is that they drop all their money on a camera and hardly have anything left over for all the other stuff they need to a movie.


    Lethal
     
  7. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #8
    My DVC30 is coming on monday, and I'd have to say, it's one of the best camcorders you can grab under 2k. It's the little brother of the DVX100.

    As everyone else has said, you will NOT find a true 24p camcorder for under 2k, the DVX100 is the only one near that price range.

    If you are on a tight budget as the one I am in, get a DVC30.

    You seem to be into 16:9, DVC30 really sucks at widescreen for what I've heard/seen.

    The PDX-10 (I think that is the name) from Sony is all about widescreen, and exists under the 2k (I think) mark, I think you should check it out.
     
  8. The Man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    #9
    Dvc30

    The Panasonic DVC30 is your best bet. Or the Canon GL-2. None of the two feature real 16:9 mode, meaning full 16:9 CCD sensor. So you will loose some resolution. Or you will have to buy a special anamorphic lens, which is expensive. The only choice for true 16:9 would be the Sony PDX10, but it is discontinued - and it doesn't have some of the manual controls the Panasonic and Canon have, like aperture and gain control. The DVC30 seems to do quite well in low light.

    That's it. I don't think anybody else can recommend anything better than these (3) camcorders - for the money.

    P.S.
    I agree with what Lethal says. A camera alone is nothing. You have to add lights, your quality mic(s) (and XLR box), reflector screen, good tripod, etc. So add that to the 2K you want to spend. If you can lend these things, or get them second hand, that's also okay, but do get the bundle.
     
  9. Kingsly macrumors 68040

    Kingsly

    #10
    Ditto. Look on craigslist. You can find some great [cheap] camera gear and still have money left over for a light kit and mic.
     
  10. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    #11
    If you're a film student, wouldn't a film camera be more appropriate? Doesn't your school have film cameras to check out? Don't get me wrong, I understand the conveniance of video, but there's something cathartic to using film. The difficulty makes you a better filmmaker. You learn more about lighting, color manipulation, sound, editing, etc. The cutting, splicing, massaging of film makes for better films. Plus, the depth and warmth of film aestheically looks better. I just wish technicolor film stock was still available.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #12
    Most film programs have moved digital.

    A big draw back to using video is the limited dynamic range. Wouldn't that make video a harder format to work w/as it's less forgiving than film? ;)


    Outside of a museum or a storage room you'd be hard pressed to find any equipment for cutting on film. It's been pretty much all digital for years now.

    The tools are easy to learn. It's the storytelling that's the hard part. I'd rather see students get to make a bunch shorts on video instead of only 1 or 2 shorts on film.


    Lethal
     
  12. OnceUGoMac macrumors 6502a

    OnceUGoMac

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    #13
    I agree with you on your post. However, if the OP wants to work in the big leagues, he/she'll need to learn film techniques. Especially if he/she's planning on working in the camera department. :)
     
  13. Oreckel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    #14
    I would encourage you to pick up the DVX-100 (you can get the original - without a letter ('a' or 'b') tagged on to the end) which will offer everything you need (except native 16:9). In my experience, many of Panasonic's cameras tend to not be great in low-light (my DV-953 and Lumix DMZ-30 both suffer from this), but perhaps the DVX-100 is an exception.

    If you want native 16:9, then I think the HVX-200 is what you'll want, but it's fresh off the market and will run you about $5,000.
     
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #15
    Agreed, but I think PAing on a shoot would be a better place learning for that type of stuff (as well as many other things). No one is going to get a job in the "big leagues" as a loader (let alone an AC) if they only have academic experience.


    Lethal
     
  15. Rickay726 macrumors 6502

    Rickay726

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #16
  16. The Man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    #17
    Yeah, I overlooked that one. The VX-2100 is a very sweet, good low light and action 16:9 camera - though, I don't know if it will let you set aperture and gain manually, as Sony usually only lets you compensate exposure.
     

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