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Something to think about when asking about your first "What's the Best Camera?"

CraftersOfLight's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 02/17/2009 - 5:42am
Plus Member

I hope the following makes some sense...

Before you ask the Which is better? or What do you recommend? type questions, please consider a few things first.

What is your application? What are you going to be doing with your item? Is it just for family type events? Are you just getting started and want something to try out? What is your current skill level? What is your budget?

Reviewing a lot of these types of posts, people appear tohave some level of mis-conception that they are going to be able to sit down and knock out award winning material overnight, and make lots of money doing it next week, if they have the right tools. Oh, and you only have $1000 to work with.

Think back to the days when you were trying to learn how to write. You saw your mom or dad write letters to family and were amazed at the wonderful squiggles on the paper, and that those squiggles actually told a story. Try as you might you, could not duplicate what they were doing. And what you did create didnt make any sense.

You could have the best pen and the finest paper on the planet, but those first attempts probably looked like some foreign hieroglyphics. It took practice and repeated exercises over time before you had something easily legible. All you needed for that practice was a pencil, eraser, scratch paper, and some instruction. As you got better, you now had to spell words correctly and get them in the right sequence for your sentence to make sense. Here was where that pencil came in real handy. You could erase you mistakes an try again. As you improved, sentence structure became more important. You had to increase you vocabulary, improve your ability to spell these new words you were learning, and learn the proper sequence to use them in so they continued to make sense. For many of us, we are still learning how to do this at some level well within our adult years.

With video it is very much the same thing. The tools you have, camera, computer, editing software, are all meaningless if you do not know how to use them. If you are just getting started, look at that $200 camera to start with. This will be your pencil. Use that free movie editor that came with your PC or that you can download off the internet. That will be your scratch paper. Go out and shoot some video. This will be your vocabulary. Make sure those scenes are saying what you want them to say. This is learning how to spell those new words. Use the movie editor to put those scenes in the right sequence to tell your story so it makes sense. If something is not working, go out and reshoot the scene. This is your eraser. When you can pretty muchdo all this with your eyes shut, and the tools no longer can do what you need them to do, then start looking at the next camera, editing software, computer to help you progress along.

When you ask,What is the best camera? and you cannot articulate for what purposeup front, are you really ready to get one? And itmakes itvery hard for anyone to provide a proper answer.


ophelia's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 10/03/2009 - 9:35pm

Great post! On the subject of mastering one's camcorder (whatever kind it might be).Does a"Master List" of shots / shooting techniques exist thatserious amateurs should learn?


BruceMol's picture
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 03/11/2008 - 10:35pm

I've run video making workshops for families and youth and developed a document that has a shot list on page 3. I keep it here http://bmidd.com/samples/forms.pdf


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

"I've run video making workshops for families and youth and developed a document that has a shot list on page 3. I keep it here http://bmidd.com/samples/forms.pdf "

Says a lot to a guy like me who'smostly a spur of the moment video shooter. I've gotten away with it sometimes, but at others, I've suffered loss from the lack of stable shots, changing events, and having good automatic controls.


ophelia's picture
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: 10/03/2009 - 9:35pm

Hey Bruce - cool, thanks!

In addition tothat list, I am hoping to find video samples of shooting techniques that one might be required to master if they were enrolled in film/video school. Awhile back, I thought I watched something on this sitethat demo'ed actual shots (by name), so that noobs (like me) could attempt to mimic said shots. I tried searching with "shooting techniques", but haven't found the page/article I am thinking I once saw...Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!