Indie Film / Documentary

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    • #42570
      AvatarCaveman
      Participant

      Hey all I’m new to the forums and I’m going to start out by asking the age old question. What type of camera is for me?

      I have been searching around and need a little pro input. I want to use the camera principally for indie films / documentaries.
      One of my main concerns is low light because I live in Alaska and it gets dark here incredibly early for a large amount of the year and I know lighting is going to be a big issue.
      Second big issue is versatility. I hope to invest in a camera to use for a long time so being able to use the camera in many different roles is very helpful.
      Third is of course price, I know im asking a lot while still asking to not break the bank but I am willing to make a sizeable investment so the lowest price for the highest quality is what im looking for.

      Currently I have 3 cameras im looking at – Are these good for what I need and Have I missed anything?

      Canon XL2(my favorite but pricey), Canon GL2 (features im not so sure about but much cheaper), Panasonic AG-DVX100(dont no enough about it, cheap but also in limited availability)

  • #178688
    AvatarTomScratch
    Participant

    Hi,

    I lived 9 months in Anchorage starting Jan 14, 1998. Alaska is made for video country. At the time I was shooting Hi8 and moving to Digital 8. As I was preparing to leave in September, I was calling an aviation company every weekend to find out if they could see Denali or if it was covered by mist. After 3 weekends they told me you could see the summit and I rented a car and zipped up there. I spent $240 for a couple hours of flying around the mountain and landing on glaciers. Fantastic experience. If you do this, keep a tight grip on your cam if you open the window as the plane is banking through those peaks. The air is icy and it wants to suck your camera into the void. Tip #2: If I ever do this again, I will have plastic picnic plates for placing under my tripod legs for shooting on glaciers. This will prevent any of the legs from melting through the ice so that you have control over your shot rather than havoc with your horizon line. This particular company flew in a second plane as we parked on the glacier for the fantastic video drama of being buzzed on the glacier by a low flying plane.

    Now to your question!

    Consider the Sony VX 2100. It is a low light champ, possibly yielding better visuals than even the XL2 in the low light conditions. (Has anyone compared?) If you search a little bit, there are numerous testimonials on this forum regarding the unique low light ability of the 2100.

    There is a lot of neon in Anchorage which may require some experimentation to get the shots/exposures you want. You may end up bracketing f-stop and shutter speed (to tiny and fast) to get detail in scenes of neon, glare on ice and snow, low lying sun on the horizon at 3 am in the summer, and other exposure challenging scenes unique to Alaska.

    Note that the VX2100 has a prominent rubber lens hood and a plastic handle on top (with backup controls for recording and zoom). On the coldest days (e.g., second day restart of the Iditarod race), you can handle these parts with thin gloves or no gloves without fear of sticking your flesh to these parts, as can happen with the metal parts.

    The most treacherous areas for falls are where a light coating of snow conceals the slick ice underneath. Protect your body and your equipment by exercising caution in this environment. If you start to go down (in slo-mo of course), remember your first priority is a soft landing for your cam, not your bones. 😯

    Have A GREAT Adventure!

    REGARDS TOM 8)

  • #178689
    AvatarCaveman
    Participant

    Thanks tom for all the info and its nice to hear from someone with AK shooting experience.
    I looked at the vx2100 as you recommended and it is a nice camera with lots of features i would love to have but a couple things hold me back.
    Lack of 24p and I ahve heard the XL1s is better in low light.

    If 24p is not essential for indie films then i guess its not so bad but i’ve heard such good things it has become almost an essential requirement.

    Im still looking at these 3 cameras and now VX2100, any more ideas or cameras i’ve missed?

    Canon XL2(my favorite but pricey), Canon GL2 (features im not so sure about but much cheaper), Panasonic AG-DVX100(dont no enough about it, cheap but also in limited availability)

  • #178690
    AvatarRB
    Participant

    Caveman Wrote:

    Thanks tom for all the info and its nice to hear from someone with AK shooting experience.
    I looked at the vx2100 as you recommended and it is a nice camera with lots of features i would love to have but a couple things hold me back.
    Lack of 24p and I ahve heard the XL1s is better in low light.

    If 24p is not essential for indie films then i guess its not so bad but i’ve heard such good things it has become almost an essential requirement.

    Im still looking at these 3 cameras and now VX2100, any more ideas or cameras i’ve missed?

    Canon XL2(my favorite but pricey), Canon GL2 (features im not so sure about but much cheaper), Panasonic AG-DVX100(dont no enough about it, cheap but also in limited availability)

    If your looking at the VX2100, take a look at the PD170 too.

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