Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › Best Camera choice for amateur filmmaker
- This topic has 13 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 3 months ago by Anonymous.
- January 3, 2010 at 11:00 PM #43167AnonymousInactive
I recently decided that as long as I spend so many hours on my couch watching movies, I should get up and try making some. I’m a sophmore in High School, so my budget is pretty low. I’m looking for a solid camera for 500, at most 600 dollars, so any advice on that would be awesome
Here’s the thing though, there’s so many different formats and choices like – mp4 or avi – HDD or miniDV – that i’m completely overwhelmed! If someone could outline or suggest a camera and why, thatd be awesome. I want the footage to be able to be edited, and though i know nothing about editing or software i’m willing to study hard to learn so editing difficulty is not an issue. I’m looking for video quality, and editing capabilities first and foremost.
Making your movies is certainly more exciting than spending hours on the couch!
I would like to suggest a dual approach:
1) Don’t spend your all your money on the camcorder at this point. Get experience first. I would suggest getting the Canon ZR960. It is a miniDV camcorder which will allow you to easily upload and edit your video on MovieMaker (PC) or iMovie on Apple. The ZR960 also allows you to use an external microphone, one of the few at that price that do.
2) Spend $20 and buy “The Little Digital Video Book”
This will give you an excellent start, and leave some money for pizza while you are out shooting video – also very important.
haha thanks for the advice, but I’m trying to look for something that could give me a more professional look. I know hd is harder to edit, but im a hard worker and a quick learner. I also heard miniDV tapes are kind of becoming a thing of the past while flash and HDD is the new thing. AVCHD format or something like that?
With reference to a “professional” look, it totally depends on what you wnat to be shooting. If you want to get the look of a feature film, everything in your budget is likely to fall short. However, for shooting commercials, music videos, stage productions, documentaries, etc.,both Standard Definition and High Definition can look professional. It also doesn’t matter whether you shoot MiniDV, AVCHD, or HDD. Each have their benefits and detriments.
Also, isn’t harder to edit per se. It simply requires more computing power. You need to determine what you will want to be shooting first. If you’re just getting into video production, there is not real need to shoot HD. Standard definition will be cheaper, easier on your editing computer, and easier to share with other people. (MiniDV is not really a thing of the past. It is still considered by many to be the most stable and reliable shooting medium for independent filmmakers.)
To summarize, my advice would be to go with a small Standard Definition MiniDV camcorder, and just start shooting. While books can be helpful, the best teacher is experience. So just start shooting and editing and shooting and editing. You will see your own progress very quickly.
The point of what the others are describing to you is the skills acquired using the equipment you choose will be where your ‘professional look’ will come from. I’ve used consumer grade cameras for professional projects and only an expert could tell I didn’t use a high-end camera. I am able to do that because I have mastered the basic of shooting. Focus, exposure, composition, framing and camera movements are the basic skills any shooter must acquire to create good looking images suitable for editing. Your camera is merely a tool and all of the filmmakers whose films you’ve watched from your couch have mastered these skills… no exceptions.
Save your money and get something cheap that will allow you to inexpensively learn how all of this stuff works without a great deal of hassle. You say you want HD, why? Are you planning to sell your videos to the Discovery Channel? If not, Standard Def DV is just fine. You can learn to shoot, edit and then post your videos on the ‘Tube, Vimeo and other sites. HD is just a selling point. If you aren’t using it professionally, you don’t really need it. HD TV’s can play DV footage with no prob. Just shoot your videos in wide format and the TV will do the rest. If it looks like crap, that’s more than likely you haven’t mastered those skills I mentioned.
On top of shooting, there’s editing and that’s a whole other monster to deal with. Even with editing, the same rules apply, when you’re learning keep it simple and keep it cheap. Nobody’s going to sweat you because you don’t have a ‘pro look’ when you’re learning. You get a professional look when you’ve gained professional skills. No exceptions.
I am also an amateur filmmaker with lots of dedication to my work.
I need some advice when it comes to my current equipment. The only things I have are my
laptop with Pinnacle Studio 12 ultimate, and an 8mm analog Canon camcorder. Im currently in college, and can’t affort any new equipment at the moment. I always have trouble capturing my video, dropping frames, etc.
My question is can I still create great looking videos with what I have? Or is it time for upgrades?