Cameras forum

Question

Camera Advice for student doc filmmaker?

by popnfried / June 13, 2013 9:34 AM PDT

Hi all! I am noob to the forum, but I would love any and all of your advice.

I am a student filmmaker, entering my last year of college and I am looking to purchase a camcorder or dslr. I will primarily be using it to film my senior thesis film (a documentary short), but I would also like this to be a tool for personal and freelance projects this summer and in the years to come. I have a lot of experience as an editor, but not too much as a camera operator. Most of my previous films have been done using the kodak flip digital camera, but I think it is time for an upgrade. I also have experience with my Nikon D80, but this does not have video on it.

I plan to do promotional videos, interviews, documentary projects and a music video for one of my friends. I would love a camera that records sound well (or has the ability to attach a mic) and takes clear, crisp video. It is also important to me that it has a decent sized view-finder, is user-friendly and a good camera to learn and grow with. I know these cameras come with endless features and adjustable options, so I hope that either they are easy to learn otherwise they will be wasted on me. I'm also interested in a camera that has removable lenses so that I could add fish-eye, wide-angle, or long-zoom sport type lenses if I purchased them (although I'm not sure if this is even an option...my last filming experience was using actual film strip on bolex cameras)

Budget: ~$3000 for body, lenses and accessories. But if I am going to spend close to this much I'd like for the camera to not quickly be outdated by new technology (not sure if this is just inevitable or what)

Thanks in advance for any and all advice

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All Answers

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Answer
Nice budget.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 13, 2013 10:12 AM PDT

What are you using in your classes?

My son went with a simple Canon t3i and for audio the usual Tascom. The audio is brought back in during post production. I'll stop here since I would be duplicating what you learned in school.
Bob

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Hey Bob
by popnfried / June 14, 2013 4:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Nice budget.

Yes, I've been saving up for awhile from various freelance projects and birthdays. I'd like to invest a lot of money in a nice camera because I think it will enable me to do even more awesome projects and recoup my investment, and then I will have a nice camera that hopefully does not get outdated for a long time.

I actually took a FILM production class where we shot with old bolex cameras and 16mm print and had to send the film in to be developed. My school thinks that this kind of training, although archaic, crafts our minds for filmmaking well since we have to be much more calculated with our shooting due to limited amount of film reel and the fact that we could not view what we had just filmed. Otherwise, my only experience is with a kodak flip camera, which I've used for basic interview videos and some hiking stuff.

The T3i is interesting, but I've also been exploring the mak II/III.

Of course I will be doing sound in post-production, but I'd like the camera to be able to pick up dialogue from interviews well because redubbing dialogue is something I have 0 experience with.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

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More about the DSLR as video camera.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 14, 2013 4:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Hey Bob

Most are great at short shooting sessions. If you go for more than a hour I think you should go for the normal prosumer camcorders which will go far longer.

My son borrowed my old kodak 990 and has it recording from another angle during the session unattended.

I think you know why you shoot with more than one camera so I'll stop here.
Bob

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Short shooting sessions
by popnfried / June 14, 2013 6:32 AM PDT

I was reading on the other postings that you can only film up to 30 minutes...does that mean I can just end the recording session and press record again? Or do I have to unload the footage to my computer before I can shoot more video?

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Sounds like you want a camcorder.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 14, 2013 12:41 PM PDT

Why go near any non-HD camera or camcorder? Non-HD is pretty dated. My dad has this few thousand buck camera. Just went for 25 bucks on ebay.
Bob

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Answer
Canon GL2
by PI26768 / June 14, 2013 12:16 PM PDT

I have a Canon GL2, being a Private Investigator I needed more than 20x optical zoom, wich would be fine for your use. Its sitting in my house not being used. I love this camera "Blair Witchcraft" was filmed with a GL2. It is time to send it to Canon for a check up and possibly new recording heads. You can change lenses and it uses mini DV tapes so you can shoot and review. This camera with a vefy good lens and accessories was about $4,500.00 new. Research it and I sm willing to sell it. I hope I'm not violating the rules, this is not really an ad. You can call me at 415-726-4515. And I would let it go for a very reasonable price.

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