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Videography - using DSLR's and Camcorders side-by-side.

seanocaster's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/10/2012 - 4:30pm

Hi,

I hope you don't mind if i pick your brains. Apologies for it being long. The bold text highlights the questions that i'm currently struggling to answer.

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I've been involved in video and film for a few years but have never specialized, it's always been more of a hobby. I studied a 2D/3D animation diploma about 3 years ago and although i haven't done it full time, i've always done small freelance jobs here and there. This year i have made the commitment to give it my 100% attention as i do really enjoy working with film and combining after effects compositions etc.

I currently have a Canon 550d with 50mm f/1.2L and 24-70mm f/2.8L lenses which produce a very nice quality of video. I have just finished my first real project for the year which took me a month - it's a documentary and it's about 5 mins long. It was done as a freebie to build my showreel and i'm happy with the product. It is my goal to create a few of these projects which will ultimately assist me in selling my services. So that is the path that i'm on and i'm quite confident i will get there if i just dedicate my time and persevere.

I have been researching the particulars of video for a few weeks (depth of field, aperture, shutter speed, interlaced versus progressive etc.) as i am trying to understand which cameras/lenses are best suited for which tasks. I currently lack a very big zoom range with the lenses i own and am looking to solve the problem. The question is, do i invest in a 70-300mm f/4L lens for my DSLR? or alternatively do i keep the DSLR for up close/shallow DoF stuff and then rather purchase a professional camcorder which can fulfill the purpose of zooming further as well as other footage that doesn't necessarily require shallow DoF?

I read a professional videographers perspective on a similar question and he suggested that to be a successful videographer, one needs to own both types of cameras. Mostly because there are times when the camcorder can get through the work quicker (due to it's auto features and better sound recording capabilities). Having said all that, i'm leaning more towards purchasing a professional camcorder but this has raised more questions because there are many options. Living in Dubai, we don't have a huge selection but i have been to a few shops and i have found 4 cameras that have gained my interest, inspected them and read specs/reviews. I've been so impressed by Canon that it's difficult to point my interest in any other direction, but in each case i have highlighted the key points of each camera, if you could please give me your advice it would help me out a lot. Note: through my research i have found that i need to film in progressive rather than interlaced. This would allow the footage to match the DSLR footage so it's quite important.

1. CanonXA10 HD Professional PAL Camcorder

This camera is AED 9000 in Dubai. It looks professional which is visually a plus. My only problem is that in 1080 it can only film 25p. Otherwise, it has good ratings and a good canon HD lens with 10x zoom. Video is shot at 28MB/s. Only 1 x 1/3" CMOS sensor. Uses SD card which is ideal for me.

2. CanonXF100 HD Professional PAL Camcorder

This camera is AED 14500 in Dubai. It is very similar to camera #1, except video is shot at 50MB/s in 1080 25p which is broadcast quality. For the extra $$ i don't think i'm going to benefit as i don't require such high quality at the moment. Uses CF cards which is not ideal for me.

3.Canon VIXIA HF G10 Flash Memory Camcorder 4923B002 B&H Photo

This camera is AED 5600 and is exactly like camera #1 except it doesn't have infrared or the professional body. This would be a better option at the moment while i'm not receiving an income as it can achieve a good product but at a reduced rate. Uses SD card which is ideal for me.

4. PanasonicHDC-SD900

This camera is AED 3500 and has really impressed me. The question is, do people know that it exists? or is there something i'm missing? It appears to be a home video camera but shoots better video that camera #1 or camera #3, with 1080 50p at 28MB/s. It has 3 CMOS sensors (one for each color RGB) and 12 x zoom. Apparently the sound isn't very good, but i'm using an external sound recorder anyways. Uses SD card which is ideal for me. For the price, this camera seems like the obvious choice, apart from the fact that it doesn't look like a professional camera. The fact that it shoots 1080 at 50p is perfect for sports when you want to slow things by 50% and still maintain full frame rate. It has some good reviews here

I would like to buy a professional looking camera, but in so many ways (price and function) camera #4 seems better. Can you make any suggestions?

Really appreciate it guys,

Thanks,

Sean.


MediaFish's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 05/25/2011 - 2:06pm

my crew uses the XF100 and the 7D - and so do I. We love both cameras - they have provided everything (so far) that we have needed. We do use the GoPro and several smaller Canon handheld M41's we also have a few XA10 but our go to cameras are the XF100 and 7D.

Jeff Media Fish Productions


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Sean,

When using multiple cameras, the key is to be able to capture footage that matches up visually without a great deal of effort. Not all your shots will require shallow or deep Dof. You get a new lens, camera, whatever when it will fill a certain requirement. If it's a one-off, just rent one. If it's something you know you'll use time and again then buy what you need. Ultimately, what you end up buying is what will be required on a regular basis. If client's want HD, which format size? 720p, 1080p/i, 2k, 4k? Neither format no matter what manufacturers or proponents say is the do all, end all. Yeah, it may be nice to have a 4k file on hand but if you never use it again....

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


seanocaster's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/10/2012 - 4:30pm

Thanks guys, really appreciate the feedback. You are right that there is always the option of hiring.

I need to give it some more thought but may end up sacrificing the professional look and going with the Panasonic which is a 1/3 the price of the XA-10 whilst capturing a similar quality of video at an even better frame rate of 50p in 1080. That would work for the moment, then in a couple months hopefully i can invest in the XA-10 or possibly even the XF-100.

Thanks a lot.

Cheers, Sean.


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 5 hours 38 min ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

Sean - I had a T2i/550D before moving over to the Panasonic GH2 - and I presently have the Panasonic HDC-TM900, which is very similar to the HDC-SD900 that you are considering.

All great cameras, but since you're coming from DSLRs, I would offer a couple of thoughts when moving to consumer camcorders:

1. Even though they are small and lightweight - and have terrific image stabilization systems - hand holding these little palm cameras on an all-day shoot is a challenge. If you do not already have camera support, you will want some sort of shoulder mount or tripod soon after you buy the camera.

2. After using physical buttons and dials to control your T2i/550D, the transition to the touchscreen menu-driven controls of the SD900 may be a challenge.

I love my TM900, but for pro jobs, I would recommend a shoulder mounted 1080p, SD card, pro camera with real buttons such as the Panasonic AG-HMC80.About the same price as the XA10, this camera will produce the same or better image quality than the SD900, give you a lot more control over both sound and video, and does not need a shoulder rig. The only downside is that it is 25p/60i. As you have discovered, it is difficult to find 60p in a pro camcorder at a reasonable price.

If you do end up buying the SD900, I think you'll be very happy with the image quality produced by the camera - and if you want to give it a professional look, you can always do what I did with the TM900, and camouflage it with a matte box and LCD hood :-)

Good luck with your decision!

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution


seanocaster's picture
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: 03/10/2012 - 4:30pm

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the valuable feedback, makes sense. And yes, you're right about it being tricky to find a camera that can handle 60p at 1080. I was shocked to find even the XF-100 cannot achieve this.

Will be investigating it further. I think i would ultimately like to get the professional camera (canon or panasonic) but may end up just going with the SD-900 in the meantime as it can probably fill the gap for the moment. I think it will always serve a purpose (at least for 60p at 1080) and is not really that expensive.

Cheers,

Sean.


MediaFish's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 05/25/2011 - 2:06pm

Canon XF100 video recording specs.

System Compression: MPEG-2 Long GOP
Color Space: 4:2:2 (at 50Mbps recording)
File Format: MXF
Recording Modes:
50Mbps (CBR) 4:2:2, 1920x1080, (60i/30p/24p), 1280x720 (60p/30p/24p)
35Mbps (VBR) 4:2:0, 1920x1080 (60i/30p/24p), 1280x720 (60p/30p/24p)
25Mbps (CBR) 4:2:0, 1440x1080 (60i/30p/24p)

Jeff Media Fish Productions



dmked1973's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 09/30/2012 - 11:32am

Hello Sean, very interesting post, I'm in the same situation as you. Just a question: Where to buy

Canon XF100 in Dubai? URGENT REQUEST. Mus.

 

 


Justinw's picture
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/19/2012 - 3:05pm

Hi Sean, that is a good question. I have shot myself a lot of projects using DSLRs (Canon 5Ds) and HD video cameras such as the Sony FS100 or the Panasonic AF100. My favorite HD  video camera to use alongside the Canon 5D is the Panasonic AF100, which has a custom setting to get a similar 5D look. Also, keep in mind you can always use fast lenses to get shallow depth of field with HD video cameras. Try the Voigtlander f0.95 on the AF100 and see what an amazing depth of field! You can either try to make the look of the cameras match as much as possible or use their different look as a storytelling tool. But to answer your question, try the Panasonic AF100 with the Canon DSLRs, they'll work very well together. 

Filmmaker, cinematographer and camera expert.