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Good camcorder for green screen editing


I purchased a green screen to do some video on the web so that I can key out the background, but my raw camera footage is such poor quality that it isn't working out good. It appears to be my camera isn't good enough. I am currently using a Canon ZR850 that I picked up for $200 (I know, I'm cheap). Can someone recommend a camera with good resolution and picture quality without breaking the bank? I have been considering the Canon HF100 which appears to be around $700 +/-.

Some background information...
I have plenty of light where I am shooting.
(2) 750W Umbrella lights and (2) 1000W Softboxes.
I am using Windows Vista (which I despise) and I am using Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects for my video editing.


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Something's not right.

In reply to: Good camcorder for green screen editing

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He's using a $2500 Sony camera

In reply to: Something's not right.

Thanks for your reply, but he's using a $2500 camera.

I am using a real green screen and professional lighting. I just don't have the $2500 camera.

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Maybe it's just a little tweak?

In reply to: He's using a $2500 Sony camera

But the same stuff was made with the Canon he has in the info box. Other parts and methods are the same so maybe you can sort out why you are having issues.

Could it be you need to work with your video editor a bit more? Watch this one ->


Maybe that's just a little off?

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It's not the editing - it's the raw footage from the camera

In reply to: Maybe it's just a little tweak?


First off, I really appreciate the replies. It's truly nice that there are people out there willing to help.

My problem seems to be the camera or getting it from the camera to the computer.

I put the raw video from the camera online so you can download it and view it if you don't mind downloading 103mb.

This was taken from the camera via firewire into Adobe Premiere.

The problem seems to be one of two things...
A. The camera video quality sucks
- or -
B. I'm doing something wrong when I bring it from the camera into the computer

If it is A (the camera video quality sucks), what's a good camera to give me more crisp video without breaking the bank and causing my wife to divorce me?

If it is B (doing something wrong importing), what am I doing wrong.

I appreciate your guidance.

BTW, this was taken with a $3500 Panasonic HVX200 camera... and even with YouTube's compression, it is crisper than my video.

I want my video to be as crisp as this...

What am I doing wrong?


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Just checking.

In reply to: It's not the editing - it's the raw footage from the camera

I see a light in the shot. I'd get it out of the shot or it can degrade what the image sensor may be capable of.

Is the a firewire download? Some of the video artifacts look "USBish".

Yup, it's not very clean but how old is that camera?
And you should see my kid's JVC miniDV work. Sharp and an under 200 buck camcorder. But it's in good condition, never reuse a tape and firewire natch.

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just did a video with your footage

In reply to: It's not the editing - it's the raw footage from the camera

I tested the footage green screen video you uploaded and using Adobe Ultra CS3 the key was done sucessfully... just minor thing with background because the green was not solid enough.

I am think about buying the Canon ZR930, if with you camera I did it I guess with that improved model would be better.

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Try the Panasonic PV-GS320

In reply to: Good camcorder for green screen editing

I recommend the Panasonic PV-GS-320 camcorder. While this camera is only "standard" definition. I think it stands out in its class for image quality with its 3CCD image sensors. I've been using this one along with a couple others for weddings and other video events and in the "under $400" catagory nothing touches it...nothing. The canon and sony camcorders in this price range simply have too much noise and the new AVCHD models have too much compression in the low cost arena.
You will have to use MINI-DV tapes with this unit but, once again, if quality for green screening is what you want; this one should give it to you. Hope this helps you in your quest. This one also works pretty well in lower light situations as well.
Good luck in your search!

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A couple problems

In reply to: Good camcorder for green screen editing

It definitely looks like you are having some kind fuzziness or compression problems. I'm curious what the background environment will be (color and brightness).

Anyway, in the camcorder realm (of green screening) there are three things you want to consider. The image sensors, the lens system, and the compression method. And that's probably in order of increased cost.

Having three CCDs in a camera will generally help your color saturation immensely, which has a side effect of helping the compression engine. For the price range, those Panasonic cameras mentioned above are likely as good as you can get.

However the second phase, the lens system, can have serious impact on the crispness of the final image. There's a reason professional lens prices go up into the $50,000+ range. Having precise optical refraction is hard to accomplish. And the cheaper a lens gets the more you can bank on them creating fuzziness, chromatic separation, and plenty of other tiny problems that generally make for a less than perfect image. A couple years ago the Canon GL2 had one of the best lens systems in the integrated camcorder/lens market.

As far as the third option uncompressed is the best you can get. But MiniDV is probably the least destructive in the sub $2k market. I suppose in the HD realm you can get some MPEG2 that matches the MiniDV quality. If you are really wanting to jump up to a better compression system, look for terms like 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 that indicate the data stored from the original 4:4:4 color system coming off the chips. However in the price range you are talking you are going to be limited to the 4:1:1 of MiniDV or 4:2Shocked of Mpeg2 (if I remember correctly).

Considering all of that, how much of a clean mask have you been able to create with your current footage? If your green screen lighting doesn't match the the background plate then it's going to look layered not matter how good the mask is.

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