DSLR vs. Camcorder vs. Black Magic, etc.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by driftless, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. driftless macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #1
    I am a lot conflicted. 6 months ago I asked questions about which software to purchase. I am interested in producing short vids which will be mainly for internet consumption. Now I am torn about which camera system to move to. I use a mirrorless for more my stills. I have used low-end DSLR's and camcorders as for videos. Looking at the high range of the consumer and low end of the prosumer market I would like some thoughts about going with DSLR, Camcorder; and, Black Magic, etc. Ultimately I would like to do a short/short documentary/web based short. I do have friends who make films; what separates them from me is the ability to reach out for the tools & expertise that I can't.

    Thanks,
    David
     
  2. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 21, 2004
    #2
    Anything will be fine for web-based content; the dSLR and black magic camera will require some smarts on set (and possibly an AC to pull focus); the black magic camera will require the most smarts in post. I wouldn't use it except with a proper crew because swapping batteries, media, and pulling focus will require some work. Then again for short web-based stuff you won't move much.

    Content is what matters. Look up videos shot with each camera and see which look you like (black magic is overkill for anything that's not going theatrical or for which there isn't a contract stipulating a higher-end camera, IMO--LOTS of national tv ads are shot with dSLRs and/or camcorders). But if the camera gets in the way because you need to alter your blocking to accommodate the shallow focus or change a scene because you don't have a telephoto lens with sufficient depth of field or whatever just get a camcorder. Content is what matters most. Then sound.
     
  3. driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #3
    Policar - great advice. Maybe I should rephrase my post, I know that glass, gear; and, expertise is controlling. I also know that what system you start out with often becomes the default system.
     
  4. codymac macrumors 6502

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    #4
    What's keeping you from using what you already have for what you're planning?
     
  5. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 21, 2004
    #5
    Yeah, the GH2 is pretty great for video if you couple it with the right lenses. It just has a particularly awkward interface and good lenses are expensive and proprietary. Plus it's tiny and skewy so it really needs camera support.

    Your question is kind of like asking should I get a Lotus or a Land Rover? Both are nice cars, I guess, but they target different audiences…

    I wouldn't start with the Black Magic Camera; it's expensive, has a weird sensor size, and all-but requires a knowledge of post to use effectively (at least based on how it is marketed--Resolve is included, and while Resolve isn't that difficult the theory behind using it well can take weeks to learn). It's untested and unknown and I bet it's of limited utility relative to other cameras in its price range. It almost certainly has the best image quality, though.

    dSLRs are tricky because they provide a lot of the look of high end cameras without providing some of the really helpful stuff better cameras have--resolution, a lack of skew, highlight handling, methods for focusing, decent audio, etc. and all the stuff you need to make dSLR content look great (lights, lenses, art design, camera support) is the same thing you need with an Epic or Alexa. They're awesome cameras for music videos, short films, etc. but pretty bad for videography…well, depending on the venue. If you must have a "shallow focus" look that's about all I can recommend dSLRs for (and then I would recommend the GH2 as another good option).

    If you get a dSLR or Black Magic camera also buy an external audio recorder and prepare to sync audio in post. Which might be good practice for anything. I don't think dSLRs are good for improv or loosely blocked material because you need to hit focus marks and most ops aren't also genius ACs.

    Channel 101 stuff is funny without production value. I find those videos hilarious and I'm bored to death by 99% of the stuff on reduser or dslr websites; it's all just camera tests with the occasional striking looking video. Most of the top youtube channels have pretty basic production value. Do you want to focus on writing and directing or being a DP (or very technical ad or music video director)? If you want to write and direct, I'd get the cheapest camcorder with manual controls and a good mic and some basic lights. dSLRs are deceptively expensive because of the cost of lenses and support gear, but at the low end they offer amazing price/performance for a "film look." They're best if you already know why you want one (down to which lenses and filters you'll buy, specifically), so if you're asking this question you should first ask: what do I want to focus on? Story or technique?
     
  6. driftless, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2012

    driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #6
    Nothing, I have been using an OMD. FWIW - I am thinking about camcorders like the Canon XA10 or Sony NEX VG-10. My goal is to pick the right tool for the job. FWIW - I have eliminated the Black Magic camera from consideration. It would have been a stretch, in terms of both budget and skills, at best.

    Policar - at this point I want to focus on technique. If nothing else, I want to be able to do some of the short videos, mainly how-to's, that I use on websites myself.
     
  7. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Get a prosumer camcorder with fully manual controls if you want a deep focus "video" look then or a dSLR (and figure out how to deal with audio and pulling focus, if you're okay missing focus sometimes then you'll figure it out) if you want a shallow focus "film look." Choose based on the videos you see shot with each kind of camera.
     
  8. Hillskill macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2010
    #8
    A 5D mkII is a great all rounder. It has the look and quality to really churn out some high production value video. I am excited about the BM and they are clearly aiming at the 5D market with the price. Shooting to SSDs is great but not necessarily practical for event work (I shoot alot of events on DSLRs - I concede not very practical but I make it work). One of our freelancers is buying a BM and I am really excited to see one. Shooting direct to Pro Res is great as is the bonus of being to use all our lenses that we already own.
    I think investment in a BM camera now would be really exciting. If it proves a ball ache for the workflow you have then you can always sell and move to a 5D which is a proven all rounder in my opinion. If your serious about doing setup short form work like promos and commercials where you control the set then I say go for it. Running and gunning, I'd like to see more about the BM before I would commit.
     
  9. joshualee90 macrumors member

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #9
    A better camera wont make your videos look better if you dont know how to use them and theory. DSLRs all have very similar IQ. Yes there are differences but without proper knowledge you will never reach full potential of the camera. I've seen some amazing work off of a t2i and some really crappy stuff with a 5d mii. I'm not sure where you are in how much you know about cameras and making videos but perhaps spending that money on a class or even just working a couple of free gigs as a PA will help you use your equipment better.
     
  10. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

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    Jun 7, 2011
    #10
    Let me disagree. For example, Canon's APS-C DSLR models, including the g1-X, all have terrible aliasing & moire unlike, say, the Panasonic GH2.
     
  11. handsome pete macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2008
    #11
    That is true, but his point was merely that if the fundamentals aren't there then camera quality is an afterthought.
     
  12. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #12
    I ordered a BMCC for personal use.
    Itll be my first Cinema.
    Ill be your guinea pig ;)
     
  13. driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #13
    Thanks, I look forward to hearing how you like it.

    An Update: after thinking long and hard about the Canon XA10 I decided to stick with my m4/3's setup for the time being as I have some appropriate lenses. I like the idea of interchangeable lenses and DoF control. The GH3 is expected to be announced in September and I expect to purchase one when it is available. I have been watching some videos on Vimeo and this set up will allow me to film and learn now.
     
  14. driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #14
    I would appreciate it if you could point me to some Vimeo videos, commercials, shorts, etc., that if not shot on m4/3's system could have been. Links to blogs, forums, etc., for the indie film-maker would also be appreciated. The more that I can learn, the better.

    Thanks,
    David
     
  15. treatment macrumors member

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    Aug 7, 2012
    #15
    The above statement is baffling to me!
    Why can you NOT reach out for the tools and expertise?
    I have friends that are making amazing movies too, and those are SPECIFICALLY the people I go to for advice...man, you either dive in, or stay out of the water completely!
     
  16. driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #16
    I could have written that better. What I meant to say is that I lack expertise and to a lesser extent, gear, and I have started the process of acquiring both. The statement was just an acknowledgement of the separation that needs to be breached. I am reaching out to everyone that I know who is involved in film making.
     
  17. musique macrumors regular

    musique

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    Apr 10, 2009
    #17
    Just one more thing to consider, if you have the Panasonic GH2 and lenses for it. Those same lenses are compatible with the Panny AF100, which is in the ballpark with the BMC and has XLR inputs.
     
  18. driftless thread starter macrumors demi-god

    driftless

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    #18
    Yes, I am aware of that camera but don't much about it. Something to consider for the future. Thanks.
     

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