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September 24, 2006 at 5:37 AM #42577WCphotographyParticipant
Hi everyone, I’m new to the forum…which is pretty obvious, I know. I was hoping someone wouldn’t mind giving me a bit of advice…or a recommendation perhaps, in regard to purchasing a new dv cam. I’ve been working in photography for about eight or nine years now…from using film(ps, slrs) and digital(ps and slrs)…and I was hoping to get more involved in filmmaking as of late. I’ve done a large amount of research mind you, but I can never seem to find a good site that has a searchable system with that allows a user to find a dv cam based upon specific requirements(apertures, fps, etc). Do any members here know of such a site, possibly? I guess I’m basically looking for a dvcam with a large amount of manual features in the actual method of shooting…allowing me to have the ability to customize the cinematography of a scene. I must also specify that I’m look for a sub $1000 model…in minidv format if possible(since I’ve heard a bit of negative critisicm in relation to hd formats). I realize this question is asked frequently, although not specifically identical, I would appreciate any helpful advice that one has to offer. Thanks!
September 24, 2006 at 5:40 AM #178702WCphotographyParticipant
Btw…I’m looking to use this camera to shoot short films until I can gain more experience before moving onto something a bit longer. Not really interested in using this for a documentarian purpose(weddings, sports, etc)…more so for story telling…cinematic uses(filmmaking). Thanks again
September 24, 2006 at 10:18 AM #178703joosunaParticipant
you may want to consider 3 CCD type camera for gathering the input
video. Usually 3 CCD’s are better than just one. Most low end cameras
have only one CCD. Also, if you plan to shoot for more than one hour
and changing the mini DV cassett is necessary to be done fast, ..
recommend a side loading cassett camera. Side loaders have the
advantage over a bottom loader when you have the camera on a
tripod. On a tripod, the bottom loaders require the camera to be
removed from the tripod prior to changing out the cassett.
If you are going to do a lot of video editing. Stay away from
the mini DVD disc and the hard drive camercorders for now. Many
video software editing programs do not support all these
new formats for now. With the specialty mini DVD and hard drive
cameras come specialty video editing software, which may
limit your abitlity to do many special effects that are available
in the normal mini DV supported video editing programs
September 24, 2006 at 2:27 PM #178704AnonymousInactive
Hank hit it right on the head.
If you’re looking for any sort of true quality, the sub-$1000 market just doesn’t have much.
Coming from a background in photography, you might expect the camcorder market to work a lot like the camera market, where it’s possible to find a $500 camera that performs close to the $2000 camera’s capabilities. Sadly, this couldn’t b farther from the truth.
Camcorders are vastly more complex than digital cameras, and understandably so. Where a digital camera takes one photo at a time, a camcorder basically has to take 24, 30, or 60 images in one second’s time. That means a lot more processing, a lot more effort, and a lot more money to get quality.
The bottom line is that for all the technology it takes to get a good picture in video, camcorder manufacturers simply can’t put it all into a sub-$1000 machine and expect to make enough money for it to be worth their while.
I have three suggestions. The first would be to save for the funding to get the right camera. The second would be to rent a couple cameras to try them out. Find a friend with a sub-$1000 MiniDV cam and record some clips. Then go rent (and learn to use) a pro grade camera and shoot some footage, and compare. Thirdly, you can look for used gear. Used gear can be seriously marked down, but make sure you can physically inspect and test everything. Look for bad pixels, tape drive problems, and anything that might cause issues down the road. I would trust a used Sony more than a used Canon personally (Canon has a somewhat flaky tape head on their GL series), but either would work.
But if you still insist on a sub, $1000 camera, I’ll sell you two for that price. I’ve got a Hi-8 Sony handycam and a MiniDV JVC, and I’ll sell them together for that price. Be advised the the JVC has issues and is probably less than 15 hours of use from needing servicing. The Sony’s working fine though, and I actually use it as an emergency camera at weddings. As long as I keep the footage shot on it very brief, you don’t notice the poor quality too much.
October 15, 2006 at 9:26 AM #178705ThomasTyndanParticipant
There is one camcorder that is currently sub $1000 that does offer a good bit in the way of amateur filming:
Canon’s Optura Xi
Good luck finding it though, they are hard to find and Canon no longer produces them. There are really incredable. I have one that I bought while I save up for an XL2.
Anyway it offers a bunch of manual features, but alos does a lot of auomtic contrlling. So if you are new to the field. And especially if you are new to the concepts then it is a great camera to use. This is by no means a professional camera, but it is a prosumer grade. You will probably have to buy a used one, but it is a good low budget start. I bought mine while I was in college, with a $120 a week job.
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