Want to get into Filming/Photo-ing but don't know where to start

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Philberttheduck, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Philberttheduck macrumors 6502a

    Philberttheduck

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Location:
    HB, CA
    #1
    Hi, I've been an admirer of photography and video editing for quite some time but now I've decided it's time for me to start working on it. Problem is, I don't know where to start and with what stuff to work around. My school does a piss-poor job of technology and doesn't motivate me enough to WANT to continue with the curriculum at hand when I finish a certain task.

    That's where I hope this community can help me out. I'm a beginner video editor and beginner photo editor. I have the money to shell out, but I don't want to mindlessly spend it on stuff I won't be able to utilize (don't want it to overwhelm myself to the point where i just want to give up).

    Video Camera? I'd like one that is future proof but it's not a priority. I just would like a good beginner->can-be-pro-in-time camera (not intimidating but not undersupplied that i want to use this camera in the future). Basically, one that's easy to learn but also has potential to be bomb.

    Also, I want to get into photo. I was wondering what good cameras are out there that I can buy. Again, I'd like something easy to learn but the ability to take pro shots. I understand that lens are more important than the unit itself, so if you could tell me a bit on what lens I should purchase/etc.

    btw, if need be, move this thread accordingly.
     
  2. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #2
    Any mini-dv camera you buy is fine. I used a Canon ZR80 for about two years, but I upgraded to a Sony DCR-HC36. The quality of it is a lot better than the Canon. The Zeiss lens Sony uses is much better, and the touch screen is really cool. :) The quality is fine for what I do (web videos.) I think it should last me another 3-4 years. You could certainly jump onto the HD trend as the cameras are getting cheaper, (Sony has a $999 HD camcorder) but be sure you have enough space. You could also get a hard disk-based camcorder, as you wouldn't need to worry about tapes and all that, and they're also getting cheaper, (Sony has a $599 one) but I'd check and see how much video they can hold. I would avoid a DVD-based camcorder because when I was looking at them in September, you couldn't hook them up to a Mac. A miniDV camera would be fine for you, but they might get outdated in about 4 years or so. (Oh, and be sure you buy a FireWire 400 cable. Most of them come with USB cables.)

    As for an editor, I started out using iMovie for a few months, but as soon as I got my G5, I bought Final Cut Express, and it was one of the best purchases I ever made! Final Cut Express delivers a lot of the power of Final Cut Pro, but at a more affordable and reasonable price. It also comes with LiveType, which is great for graphics. It also comes with SoundTrack, which, to be honest, I've only used about once. I use a lot of the podcast loops from GarageBand '06 or music from my iTunes library. Occasionally, I'll also take a track and make an instrumental of it (ask me if you want to learn how.) SoundTrack is the only part of Final Cut Express I don't use, but otherwise, it's a great investment. It's a much better editor than iMovie.

    Oh, and be sure you have enought disk space. I have a 160 GB iMac internal hard disk that's almost full, I have an 80 GB external FireLite disk that's completely full, and a 100 GB external FireLite disk that's half full. Prepare to buy a lot of external hard disks if you plan on saving all your FinalCutExpress documents (which is a pretty good idea.)

    As for photos, I haven't ventured beyond family photos in iPhoto, but I've found Canon to be the best brand. You could probably get Aperture or PhotoShop if you're thinking about getting serious with photos, but I'd ask a photography pro about all that. All I can tell you about digital still cameras is that Canon is my preferred brand.

    Hope that helped!
     
  3. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #3
    Find a local public access type place that will lend you cameras and access to editing equipment.
    Don't bother with Hard drive cameras, you can't get the footage off as easy, Stay away from DVD cameras as the quality is horrible. Mini DV will be around for a while as it is the standard and the most people are using it. It is the easiest format to edit with too. Any mini dv camera will be fine to start with but as you get better you will want a 3 ccd chip camera. Also make sure you get the right firewire cable, 4 to 6 pin.
     
  4. isleofjib macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Location:
    CT
    #4
    in contrast to iMacZealot, i'd recommend Nikon. to be honest, you can't go wrong with either. but if you're going to be out and about and using this "in the field", then the nikon is prolly going to be a little sturdier. ymmv, tho. i'd recommend the D80. it's not quite pro-level in cost, but allows you do whatever you want and the quality is certainly there in the photos it takes. both nikon and canon lenses are absolutely top notch. but sigma lenses are pretty darn good to for a lot less. as to what lenses you'll want, that depends on what you're going to be shooting. portraits, landscapes, action, sports?? without knowing that, it's nearly impossible to give you good advice on what would work best for you.

    i'll defer to the others on video as i have no experience with it. but i do have a question for macnut: why do you say the hard drive cameras are hard to get the video off of? i know at least 1 brand (panasonic?) uses a proprietary file format for their hard drive cameras, but i was under the impression that the sonys used either mpeg2 or mpeg4 files for theirs. wouldn't that be cake to offload to the computer with firewire? thx.
     
  5. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #5
    The problem I see with a hard drive camera is that if you want to find a section of film to pull off it is easier to grab it from tape then a hard drive. Plus the fact that it is swappable with other cameras. How can you take a hard drive out of one camera and put it in another. I don't see how it is better then using mini dv. Now I have never used a hard drive camera but I would think it would be more time consuming to edit with one.
     
  6. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #6
    That's a very good point. I make web videos for a client, and he just sends me his miniDV tapes and I pop them in my Sony and I'm ready to go! It is still a standard, I guess.

    I still say miniDV is the way to go.
     
  7. L3X macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Location:
    Chesapeake, VA
    #7
    i agree with everyone that miniDV cams are the best to get right now, Sony's are solid...however, pay a little more for a camera with 2 XLR inputs for audio. You can have great video but if the audio is crappy, then everything is crappy. XLR inputs right on the camera are the way to go. Panasonic and Canon have a few cameras like this but Sony's are the best. Buy a nice Shure wireless set to use as well.

    For editing, Final Cut is very nice. If you happen to be using PC or you can run bootcamp well, i would recommend Sony's Video Production suite. Vegas being the editing program. Frankly, the UI is WAY better than FCP and you can pick it up very easily. FCP is more professional though.

    if you want some more details on anything i talked about, feel free to PM me. I do video production for my job right now.
     
  8. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    #8
    MiniDV camera's still yield better quality than hard drive and DVD cameras. They have been in the market longer and are cheaper. Stick with a Canon or Panasonic DV tape camera. For still the Nikon D80 is superb as well as the Canon Rebel and 350 series. Avoid any camera that is dual purpose, you need a still camera for still shots and a separate motion camera for DV.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    Video camera: Get the Mini DV format. No hard disk or DVD. Just get a cheap one. Laster you can upgrade but there is always a need for a cheap DV camera. For example that would be the one you keep connected to the computer or use in pass through mode to import non-digital media. Just make sure you cheap DV camera has a pass through mode.

    OK if you want to get a pro-level camera hunt down a used Sony VX1000 Going prioce is under $1K and $500 at the low end. This the the "standard" shakeboard video camera. It has great color. Pro camera all have "three chips" and good audio features

    Be sure and budget for mics and cables. Audio really matters.

    Still camera: You want an SLR. Most people are going digital now so maybe a DSLR.
    You can read the debate between Nikon and Canon. Pick a brand. Decide based on the LENSES repeat LENSES that each brand has to offer. (Don't start by comparing bodies) OK now you are either a Nikon or a Canon person. Buy what ever body you want and can afford, which one is not important. Then you buy a lens, lenses do matter. But your first decision is Nikon or Canon. and base that on who makes the lenses you would like to buy over the next few 3 to 5 years. I always say "Lenses make images, bodies can only record images". Be sure and check up the used market for lenses too. With an SLR it is very hard, well no, expensive to switch brands later.

    Also, read a lot. Read about how to cut film don't worry about how to use the software, you can puzzle that out as you go. but the art of film making is the harder thing to learn.
    You may as well start with Final cut Express. If you go with FCP latter Apple creates you for Express. Apple has a FCE promo now, buy a mac and get FCE for $99
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    There are some good Sonys DV cameras on the market The VX2100 is not that bad. I have an older TRV series that is great. My underwater housing and most housings that use electronic controls only work with Sony.

    But I agree. Any DV camera.

    One more thing "Buy Good a Tripod" and used it.
     

Share This Page