I am looking to purchase a camcorder, and I am wondering what others think about the HD vs SD dilemma, especially with regards to wildlife subjects. I am an aspiring wildlife filmmaker and so far have shot all of my footage in HD (on a Sony FX1 and Canon XHA1). I am happy with the quality of the footage I shot on these cameras, but for wildlife filming longer lenses would obviously be a benefit. Here is a link to my showreel if you would like to see some of my footage: EXAMPLE FOOTAGE. Since I just graduated from college and those cameras belonged to my school, I now find myself without a camera.
I have done a lot of reading on choosing cameras in books and on forums, and I believe I have a pretty good handle on the costs and benefits of both HD and SD for wildlife, and in general. I know that interchangeable lenses are often considered a necessity for wildlife work, and as I have a knowledge of lenses and multi-lens setups I feel that I am ready to handle this type of setup. I know it adds a lot of cost, weight, etc, but again, for wildlife it seems like more of a necessity than perhaps in other film genres. Because of this I have been considering the Canon XL2.
On the other hand, I know that the wildlife film industry, and all video in general, is quickly transitioning to HD. I love the quality and resolution I was able to obtain using the FX1 and XHA1, but I just didn't get the magnification I need to film many subjects. While I could get close enough to woodchucks (within 10ft) to get decent close-ups, I can't get this close to a fox, deer, bear, etc. I am working on a budget, and so I can't afford something like the Canon XLH1 at this point, and so any HD camera I purchase would not offer interchangeable lenses.
At this point my main goal is NOT to produce lots of footage to sell to anyone, but to improve my reel with effective sequences of behavior so that I can show that I am able to shoot for sequence-editing and will subsequently be noticed by producers.
Is a camera like the XL2 good enough for this purpose? Or do I absolutely NEED HD footage in order to compete in today's HD world, even in terms of my showreel? Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.