A&P Video camera questions..

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by redna, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. redna

    redna New Member

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    I am going to be shooting a documentary of sorts soon and i need a camera to do it with. I need some advice though on what camera to buy.

    what should i be looking for to make this as easy as possible for as cheap as possible. I know video and cheap dont exactly go hand in hand, but work with me here.
     
  2. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    I am planning on shooting a documentary with a Sony DCR-TRV27. I chose this camera for the following reasons...

    Digital format - MiniDV
    690k pixel Advanced HAD 1/4.7" CCD - You'll find that many newer MiniDV and DVD camcorders have smaller CCDs with less resolution
    Manual focus ring - An absolute must or else you'll be very limited artistically. Few newer cams have this
    16x9 mode - its teh new hotness
    5 shutter speeds - Lower speeds gives you more color depth. However it will introduce noise which you must fix in editing.
    Manual exposure - a good thing to have
    Threaded lens - allows use of a telephoto, wide angle, and filters like a soft fx, ND, gradual, and day to night.
    Hot shoe - small portable mic or lamp for the times you need it
    8 hour battery - :bowdown: You need like 4 or 5 of these though
    Zeiss Lens - Vario Sonnar, 50-500mm t1.8-2.2 lens
    Firewire for video capture, built in mic and headphone jack
    Custom white balance - absolute must

    The focus speed is pretty good and has excellent low light exposure along with night stop and super night shot. I paid about $300. Some of these older Sony's are gold for making movies. It's really difficult to find the same amount of features in other brands. The only problem I have with the cam is that the zoom is hard to control.

    Other than the cam I would suggest a tripod and a tripod dolly.
     
  3. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    sounds like a nice little camera but let me fix some of your misconceptions.

    "5 shutter speeds - Lower speeds gives you more color depth. However it will introduce noise which you must fix in editing".

    The shutter speeds allow you flexibility in controlling depth of field not "color depth". There really is no such thing as color depth. Saturation, yes but that is not controlled by shutter speeds. Shutter speeds will also affect how motion appears on your video. The faster the shutter speed the more strobe effect you'll notice on moving objects or fast pans. You cannot fix noise in post production. Once introduced, noise cannot be removed.

    Forget about buying a tripod dolly. You won't use it unless you have a studio with a smooth floor.

    I don't think you need four or five batteries. One good charger and three batteries will allow you to shoot non-stop.

    A "hot shoe" is for lights, not mics. The camera should have a built in mic but this model may not. The ability to mount a mic input that accepts XLR connectors is a big plus but I don't know if this camera allows this.

    You may want to make sure you can switch between 16 x 9 format and 3 x4 format for the client who doesns't want wide screen.

    Everything else I agree with.
     
  4. Insey

    Insey I can feel my cunt contracting

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    no love for 24p?
     
  5. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    I would look into the Canon Optura series, the the Xi. Just depends on your budget. The Optura series has seperate proccessors for the still and video aspects, RGB primary color filter, so the color is broken down into RGB on the way out, like componet video connections on a DVD player, a great lens (what other actual Camera company makes camcorders?), good optical or digital stabilization depending on model
     
  6. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    You won't be able to control DOF very much in a consumer product. My video is far more vibrant if I lower the to 24 or 15fps. It is more fluid (maybe too fluid) and less saturated at 30 and 60fps. My editing program has built in noise reduction too.

    One with good ball bearing wheels will be able to handle pavement as well. A track dolly would be better of course but they're more expensive.

    The built in mic is great if you want to include recordings of you touching the camera. There are condensor mics made to fit the hot shoe on this particular camera. The camera also accepts a standard connector.

    Pretty much all consumer video cameras record in 4x3 as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  7. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    $2000-3000 for entry level cameras. 24p means 24fps progressive. The actual resolution varies from 480p to 1080i and the pixels vary from 400-600k.

    Some that shoot 1080 50/60i natively get to 720 24/30p by dropping frames. The purpose of 24p is to simulate film speed which is 24fps. If 24p is what you want, you'll want a camera that uses a progressive native mode.

    The cams at the very top end which are practically film quality are 1080p. I don't believe there is a 2k digital ATM, but many films are scanned at 1.2k.

    You can also convert your film to 24p in editing. The reason to jump to a 3CCD camera is for better video quality.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005
  8. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Just so we're talking about the same thing, "noise" is also called "gain". You cannot elimanate gain once introduced onto the video. You can mask it, filter it, or attempt to equate it out but it is still there.

    DOF is controlled, as you know, by f/stops and not shutter speed, however shutter speeds allow you more flexibility in choosing f/stops. The "vibrant video" you get is the fluid look of a low shutter speed.



    Ball bearing wheels will not handle pavement on a dolly shot. The tripod will roll but the camera shake will be noticable. The only way to get absolutly smooth dolly shots on pavement is by using tracks.



    A good shotgun mic attached to the camera will work wonders for picking up natural sound. By standard connector do you mean XLR, which is the standard connector for all professional video and audio gear. While having XLR connectors is not an absolutle necessity, it does enable you to use a wider variety of professional audio componants.



    I didn't know if this particular camera did or not. Good to know it does.
     
  9. Insey

    Insey I can feel my cunt contracting

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    well the AG-DVX100A can be had for $3k, and rented for much less.
     
  10. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    i think we need more details and a budget to go any farther
     
  11. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    I am talking about grain. Raw untouched film is always very noisy/grainy and must be cleaned up in editing. Digital film grain is not so bad but is grainy in low light scenes.

    Well my cam doesn't have direct t/stop control, just "exposure." The video is choppy at lower shutter speeds. The added light gives it the vibrant look.

    In my experience it works well, but the cam does have image stabilization.

    1/8" connector. There are XLR to 1/4 adapters and 1/4 to 1/8 adapters. But I'd like to eliminate direct audio and instead use a boom mic with a DAT.
     
  12. redna

    redna New Member

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    thanks for all of the info so far.

    my budget is about 1500 dollars or so.. I'm not too terribly sure what i want to spend, but i can go up to about that if i need. I almost bought a Canon GL2 but i wasnt sure if it was too much for what I'm going to do.

    I will be filming a documentary on myself as i travel so this is a one man, maybe two, and a camera documentary basically.
     
  13. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    I'd look into the Optura Xi then if you don't spring for a GL2, its just a toned down bersion, and you can spend the extra on the accessories.
     
  14. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    How much do you know about filmmaking? How are you going to film yourself? Are you confident in your camera abilities?

    Without a bigger crew, at least 2-4 others, you're going to be very limited staging wise.
     
  15. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Not necessarily. I've been filming documentaries and other videos by myself for over 30 years. The only time you really need help is when you have to film yourself. Even then, it's possible to do this by oneself. However, I agree that you need to know what your doing before you start. Trying to learn as you go is going to result in a lot of wasted footage and wasted effort.

    I recently shot and edited a travelog that was filmed entirely with a Sony DX1000 camera. The DX1000 is not my first choice of cameras however it's the smallest camera we own (with the exception of a lipstick camera) and on this particular job, I was operating in very cramped quarters so the camera was a good choice. The built in mic did an excellent job of capturing audio and the steady feature made a tripod un-necessary, not that I had room for one anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2005
  16. Toogy

    Toogy New Member

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    Get a used Sony VX2000 & a wireless microphone or two, a decent shotgun microphone like a Sennheiser ME66/K6 or Audio Technica AT-897.
    End of discussion.
    The Sony TRV27 is alright for taking movies of the kids, but I would NEVER use it for anything serious. I used to have a TRV38 and it is basically the same, very little control over manual settings, like F-stops, shutter speed, audio levels etc. All things you WILL need controll of, if you want to make any kind of semi-serious production.

    PS, I own a Sony DSR-PD170, VX2000 & TRV900 and used to own a Canon GL2, so I am not talking out my ass here.
     
  17. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    you won't fin a vx sersies and the accessories in his price range. yes it would be better, but it looks like this is a first tme for him, and he won't even know what to do with the extra features
     
  18. JordanClarkson

    JordanClarkson OT Supporter

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    I've used the VX2000 as well. It's an excellent cam. The TRV38 uses a touch screen for most controls, which would be an absolute horror for making a decent movie. There's only a few 1CCD models that met my standards. It's just an option if you have pretty much no budget.

    I'm not a cameraman so maybe I'm not as concerned with cameras as others :dunno:
     
  19. Toogy

    Toogy New Member

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    You're both right.
    I guess it just depends on how serious you are about any of this, I started into video just over a year ago with the TRV38, was going to do a small production. Well one thing led to the other and I now have over $10,000 invested in equipment. And also took alot of losses from selling stuff that I shouldn't have bought in the first place.
    But I do appreciate having a tight budget.
    Perhaps you could get your hands on a used GL1 or GL2? Or the Opture Xi like previously mentioned is an excellent 1 chip camera.
    Or if you want to find an older Panasonic PV-DV852 it is a GREAT single CCD camera, really big chip, excellent in low light, full manual control.
     
  20. c0ldf1ame

    c0ldf1ame New Member

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    during school we always used dv to shoot our footage. the cameras we used the most was the canon xl-1. i know thats out of your price range, but we always had either a GL-1 or GL-2 as backup. These are good cameras, we used them to shoot visual effects shots so the shots had to be clean so we can composite them. DV footage has to go through extensive color correction, unless you want it to look like home footage. Also you might want to invest in a DP light or two cuz most of the time natural lighting captured in DV sucks.
     

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