Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › HI, I’m new and need help (long post)
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April 15, 2010 at 4:36 PM #47896AnonymousInactive
Hi, my name is Dick (yeah I know…) and this is my very first post on any video graphic forum.
I’m brand new in the world of motion pictures. So new even, that I still have to order my equipment (more about this later)
For some decades I’m into photographing (mainly nature and Art) and for some years I have the urge to film some nature documentaries. After attending some courses about this, people (and I) seem to notice that I do have some talent waiting to express itself.
It was not easy to find a forum with people that are serious about filming regardless if they are pro or
amateur. I feel this forum will be a great help for every filmmaker regardless the level of experience.
Now, relevant to the reason of this thread:
I decided to do tape-less (flash) filming. Tapes are very “yesterday” and don’ stay good very long in the tropics. Also the availability on Aruba of tapes can be a problem. In short: I do NOT want to use tapes.
I think and hope that I have already a very good idea about pre-production and I think I will manage (with help) with the production. The learning curve is already very exciting and will never end. “Learning something new every day and all days of my life”
My budget to invest in equipment is set to about $6,000.00 This must cover the camera, extra batteries, some filters, flash cards, tripod and some other little things.
The main thing is the lens. The camera has to come with a very decent “kit” lens that can do a decent job regarding shooting nature documentaries. In the world of photographing, I know exactly what I need, but video graphing will be likely a whole other store. The lens, I think, is one of the most important things and will require an additional investment later in time. Right now I’m not able to spend an additional $X,XXX.XX for a lens.
This is the camera what I have in mind: Sony HDR-AX2000 AVCHD
I really would appreciate your opinion about this camera.
Later I need all the help I can get regarding post producing. I have the feeling that a MAC will be the way to go. This will be another investment. The PC must do for a while.
As you figure out long time already, I’m as green as grass so please bear with me.
April 15, 2010 at 6:10 PM #197066AnonymousInactive
Hello I have shot produced and edited programming for networks and have worked on Programming for the Out Door Channel in HD, shooting on the Sony F900 in full HD 4 2 2, Before you go and make a purchase you may regret, ask the networks you want to sell your hard work to. Ask them if your footage will meet their standards……………….I am not a snob about format but don’t sell your self short in the equipment department.Also as I understand AVCHD and have only worked with it a few years ago on older mac it takes some horse power to work with. Will you have to trans-code it to record out to a PRO TAPE Format for sale and air???
I still shoot small projects and make money on my Panasonic DVX 100A, SD footage I edit FCP and or Premier if I am in a hotel on my PC laptop if the project is only heading for the web in 16x 9 standard deff. or 720P it looks great for that!
I am producing a “movie” feature direct to DV for a few bucks and will shoot on my 100A or the Panasonic HD 200 but don’t have time to play with the P2 cards on set as I will be running and gunning, I can Tape it for nothing with out having an assistant editor swap cards back up footage on many hard drives before I re-record over my footage with the new sots.
April 15, 2010 at 6:38 PM #197067AnonymousInactive
Thanks for your input todd.
Understand that I’m still a “blind” and illiterate man in the world of video graphing.
I did see some equipment that can gives you both options: SD’s and tapes. I must consider carefully before I invest. (a reason for me being here on this forum)
It will (likely) take a considerable time before I can see any return of investment. It’s (for now) all because for the love it.
You think it’s wise to have a chat with our local broadcast stations about the format and such? Well, I think you’re right about that. I will surely take action on that. (although I don’t expect much from them)
All, for now, will be a “one man show”. Aruba is very small and very few people are into this thing and even less are willing to share knowledge.
You short story makes me understand that I need a little bit more research.
April 15, 2010 at 10:56 PM #197068
Right now your best bet is to ‘keep it simple’. Since you don’t want to use tape, as Todd told you AVCHD is a funky format to work with, but not impossible. And don’t feel that ‘you’re compromising by getting a PC.’ That mac’s are ‘better’ is a myth and has been for some time. No matter which type of computer you get, to run AVCHD video your Desktop/Laptop will need horsepower which will come from your CPU, RAM, Graphics Card and available hard drive space. It is all too easy to get an underpowered mac or pc if you don’t do the research on what you will need.
So since your intention is to get into ‘videography’, today the time of the ‘shooter only’ is gone. You’ll need to know how to shoot, produce good sound, edit and writing won’t hurt either. The most important thing is to do research! Research your intended camera, audio gear, lighting gear, computer and the software you will use to put all of your hard acquired footage and sound together. Your camera and the format it uses must be supported by your NLE. Same goes for your audio.
Despite what Apple, HP, Dell, Avid, Adobe and a host of other computer and software companies imply, there is no magic bullet or one off solution. You’ll end up using a combination of hard and software that will be compatible with what you are using and your individual workflow. Lastly, when you decide to get a computer, the most important thing to consider is; ‘if anything goes wrong, how much trouble will it be to get it fixed?’ If you can look out the windows (no pun intended) and see the ‘Apple Store’, that’s probably a good hint. But, if you throw a rock in any direction and you hit a PC repair or outlet store, that’s a good hint too! Particularly when you are getting started, no matter what type of computer you have things will go wrong. Having support easy or relatively near at hand will save you many hair pulling sessions (WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING?)
Two really good places to start looking for gear are B&H Photo Video and Adorama. You can google them and they’re easy to find. Also, remember nowadays you do not have to spend a lot of money on a camera to get good imagery. Many of today’s broadcast shows (reality tv, etc.) are shot on really inexpensive cameras. So you may be able to buy 2 cameras that are good for the price of the one you have your heart set on.
April 16, 2010 at 2:51 AM #197069AnonymousInactive
Thanks for your valuable input Wolfgang!
Regarding PC or MAC: I’m fortunately not complete illiterate in that department. Post producing and its software are completely new to me. Browsing forums and talking with various people that did / do use both worlds, they all tend to choose the MAC above the PC. Personally I think that I can manage very decent right now with what I have.
Yes, I do need much more research and input regarding the video graphic hardware. I think a $20,000.00 camera will surely be overkill, but I don’t want to start on the first step of the stairs neither.I think I can get myself very decent stuff in the $2,000.00 ~ $3.500 range.
I think I’m quite save in the pre-production and producing area (for there is where my talents are). I think I know what I’m looking for and how to obtain that look, but want to record it with technology that is widely supported and known and usable. Don’t get me wrong, talent or no talent, still I have very much to learn there.
Forgive me that I’m not familiar with all jargon of you videographers 😀
One wish I want to stick with and that’s the ability the record on other mediums than tape.
April 16, 2010 at 4:26 AM #197070AnonymousInactive
What about this one: Sony HXR-NX5U NXCAM
instead of this one: Sony HDR-AX2000 AVCHD
April 16, 2010 at 5:01 PM #197071
Don’t take this the wrong way but both those cameras are a bit ‘ambitious’ for someone just starting out in video. Think of it this way, would you consider handing a Hasselblad 503 kit to someone who’s just starting out in photography?
Now your having a background in photography is a major plus (I was the same as you when I started in videography.) You already have a complete understanding of focus, framing, composition and exposure. That said, with video you have to learn a whole ‘other set of equations’ like motion (yours and your subject’s), exposure for motion media (your camera can visibly show light as it changes) and the many facets of shooting motion media like; camera moves, handheld and static shooting, etc., etc. With all that in mind, you will also have to master the basic camera controls which are yet another set of equations.
So I strongly advise you take a look at some of the small consumer cameras to start out with. Now, before you get bent about using a ‘happy cam’, don’t. When I first started my own business I used a consumer-grade Hi-8 video camera (which I still have and use on occasion!) In my prior work I used top of the line broadcast cameras and editing equipment. When I was out on my own, I couldn’t afford all of that. However, I had the know how and experience in shooting to make that low-end camera footage look quite presentable. I also used pc’s that I built in order to work with the footage I was creating. All of that was low-end, but it was enough to get me going and get to the point where I could get better gear.
Right now is an awesome time to get into this as a hobby or living. Many of the small consumer cameras get images that are suitable for use on broadcast television! That said, the footage that looks that good was shot by someone who knew what they were doing. A great camera in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing is a waste of time and money.
A good thing about starting out with a happy cam is with your budget, you could get 2 cameras with a proper amount of support gear! Don’t forget, you’re still going to need extra batteries, camera bag, tripod, some basic lights, audio equipment, that NLE computer and enough software to get you rollin’! The controls will be much simpler to operate and will have the benefit of being similar to what you will encounter when you eventually get a prosumer rig. Also by having a small camera, it will lend itself to much more creative angles than you may expect.
Remember, you are just starting out. As a really wise old dude told me many years ago, “You have to crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and run before you fly!” Trying to ‘skip’ the ‘crawling stage’, to the ‘running stage’ never works out well. $6,000 isn’t a whole lot of money when it comes to buying equipment. However, if you are realistic and frugal in both your ambitions and equipment choices you should be able to get exactly what you need to shoot, record audio and edit with no problem.
Here’s my recommendation for a flash media camera:
April 17, 2010 at 3:22 AM #197072AnonymousInactive
No, you’re right, I don’t advice the noob photographer a “Hasselblad 503 kit”, that would be plain unwise, but I don’t want him to spend his money to some “point & Shoot” that happen to take decent pictures. If this “photographer to be” is serious, he would be better of with a mid-range prosumer DSLR and save him the investment of that P&S.
I do understand very well what you’re trying to say and it’s highly appreciated. I do feel however that I will surely want to take manual control over the equipment in certain conditions. The named equipment in my previous post are able to give me that ability.
It’s also true that $6,000.00 is not that much, but I could get something very decent with it. Consider also that you can grow in some additional necessities over time.
“Hurry and haste will result in money waste” (freely translated)
Yes, I will surely do my research and try to end up with the best choice possible. There is still much to learn regardless my background and talents, but pre-producing, producing and post-producing are not that “mysterious” for me that I must scared of it and put a soon to be “not suitable” camera in my hands.
I was a bit eager to skip tapes altogether, but my research so far tend to push me in the tape direction. Likely I will reconsider my stands on tape-less recording.
The primary idea is to shoot nature and structural documentaries in all light circumstances.
April 17, 2010 at 6:50 PM #197073
If you’re willing to go with tape (which is still quite a viable avenue) there are plenty of good and inexpensive prosumer cam’s that will give you some manual controls that will keep the learning curve at an accessible angle. The reason I suggested the Canon rigs was to fit both your inclination for flash media acquisition and budget. Those cam’s do have a certain degree of manual controls which are basic to all video cameras and would be easy to learn.
Okay, in a tape based workflow you want a camera and a playback/recording deck to save wear and tear on your camera’s video heads (when those go if you can’t record via firewire or HDMI your cam makes a fine paperweight or projectile.) Far as NLE software goes since you have a more serious inclination I suggest Sony Vegas Studio Platinum. It has many of the controls of Vegas Pro, but an easier learning curve at a reasonable price. Once you’ve gained a basic mastery it would be no trouble transitioning to the pro version.
So offhand here are my suggestions for your first kit:
HD Camera $1,500 US
Camera bag $200 US
HD VTR $1,000 US
NLE Software $150 US
Light Kit $200 US
Tripod $300 US
Tripod Bag $40 US
Estimated total: $3390+ US
Don’t forget you’ll need some basic lens filters (UV at minimum) 3-4 extra batteries and a charger since the cam and the recorder use the same type. Get the larger capacity one’s because there’s nothing worse than running out of battery power in the middle of a shoot! Also I suggest compact fluorescent bulbs instead of the tungsten. You can buy them from 25w equivalent to 300w equivalent. Much less heat and over 3 years+ working life! That leaves you $2600 to cover incidental charges and to get a good computer to do your editing with.
I suggest a Desktop as you can gradually upgrade it for more horsepower. Laptops are fine if you travel and plan on doing work in the field. Whether desktop or laptop, make sure your computer meets (preferably exceeds) the minimum requirements of your intended NLE software. I strongly recommend Win Vista or Win 7 64-bit versions only! You will be able to take advantage of 4GB or more of RAM on your system (you’ll need it) which you cannot do with 32-bit. If you are an old hand at computers (PC) I also recommend the business or pro versions. If you get a laptop, don’t forget to get a good bag!
Of course I welcome you to shop around for better prices and alternate versions of gear. However, I really think this will get you off to a grand start. As you gain mastery of your gear, you can add conversion lenses and Flash Media/Portable Hard Drive Recorders to help you transition to flash media. Also, look through the recommended accessories for an on-camera mic. Later, if you want to do interviews you can look for lavalier mic kits.
I really think this is a good potential kit to get you started.
April 18, 2010 at 5:35 AM #197074AnonymousInactive
Neat advise Wolfgang, thanks!
If it was not for the limitations of the lens (reach), I would really consider this camera. I do really need at least 600mm equivalent reach to even start thinking about nature documentaries. The reviews of this Sony are very reasonable. Some complains about low light and poor sound quality, but overall a good value for the buck.
There is however a 1.7x High Grade Telephoto Converter Lens available for this camera which make it more suitable for my intentions. Did look for review on that one (very hard to find) and they were confirming my suspicions: loss of light! Under good light circumstances, this converter perform just fine, but in the “golden hours” of nature (around sun rise and sun set), the hard needed light is less available with the additional converter attached.
The software is really great for the buck. The most users are happy with it. I think this is a keeper. I’m far from ready to be super creative in the world of post producing, so this one seems to be an excellent choice.
PC-wise I think I’m alright. Recently bought a quite heavy machine to support my heavy post-processing of my photographs. I shoot RAW format, post process them in Nikon Capture NX and in Photo Shop and do batch converting in different heavy and less heavy formats. Photographer say that my computer investment was overkill, but now I’m glad I did it. In my world there are very few things that I consider overkill. ;D
The focus is on the camera, external microphone(s), battery packs and play-back device(s). Tripods that can carry the weight, bags / cases, lights and such are already belonging to my equipment.
I think I will consider surely Sony equipment, because we have a Sony dealer on the Island and can handle any warranty or service issue I might encounter. I will order my future equipment through them. It’s not really not much more expensive than ordering it myself. About 6% more expensive on average.
My journey of research continue…
April 19, 2010 at 12:05 AM #197075
“… the hard needed light is less available with the additional converter
Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to find a video cam with the controls you need and low-light capability with the budget you currently have. The camera I suggested does have a low lux and ‘night shot’ mode you can use in such situations. Hate to pop your bubble, but any video camera outside of the high-end pro models are going to suffer a significant amount of loss of light when you put a telephoto converter on. Nature of the beast. You best be prepared to fork over $12 – $18k US (most times just for the body) for a pro cam that will handle low light the way you want.
What you’re talking about you’ll get with a DSLR which I don’t recommend for a beginning shooter even though you have extensive experience with Photography. To make a DSLR perform as a video/film camera you need a lot of support gear and you still have to learn the basic moves. The main reason I suggested the Sony is because it’s a great ‘starter camera’. Right now your focus should be about getting what you need to get started and master your gear even with it’s limitations. Even if you had more money to spend, I would still suggest the kit I mentioned. You learn how to drive first then you can shoot for the Ferrari!
Hey it’s your money and you obviously can do what you want with it. I’ve been down the very path you plan on undertaking and had to make similar decisions based purely on my own experience. Even with that, I’ve made more good decisions than poor ones, but those poor ones I would have liked to avoid but there wasn’t anyone around to point me in the right direction. I currently put together equipment manifests on a regular basis and it’s all about working within a budget and getting what is needed to get the job done.
Right now, you want to get started and have just enough money to do so with a reasonable amount of gear. You’ll have to average out what you want vs what will get you going. Just don’t let what you want cloud your judgment. However, I’m sure you’ll make the best decision for yourself.
April 19, 2010 at 12:55 AM #197076AnonymousInactive
Hmmm… Thanks Wolfgang.
You do make a lot of sense and your words will not be in vain.
I’m glad did you mentioned this:
…Hate to pop your bubble, but any video camera outside of the high-end
pro models are going to suffer a significant amount of loss of light
when you put a telephoto converter on…
You do agree that any converter will give you loss of light. The most camera’s have a equivalent reach between the 500mm and 650mm, but the Sony
HVR-HD1000U is significant less. If my main intention is nature documentary, is it not better to look for f1.6 20x optical?
Unfortunately, I can’t rent a cam on Aruba. This would make my life a lot easier. Neither do I know people that are willing (or able) to steer me in the right direction.However, I know some people that own some Sony’s $3,000.00 range camera’s that are only shooting sporting events in bright daylight. Auto-everything and the results are posted online in (for me) less than medium quality. They let me play a bit with their gear to the extend that I had to explain myself how to obtain certain settings on THEIR camera. “Read the manual” was the short answer.
Maybe I can manage to borrow a cam for a couple of weekends to try…
Thanks again Wolfgang, I really appreciate your input.
I will keep you posted!
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