indie film maker looking for cheap as dirt camera

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    • #42591

      hi, I make a bunch of short films i have like 4 written but rescently my camera decided to die on me and im in search of a new camera, im used to have just a cheap consumer jvc camera that was under 300 dollars, im hoping to get a bit better then that im looking into the 500 – 800 dollar price range. i need something thats good in low light because im going on tour with a band this summer and playing inside clubs and bars, i was looking at the panasonic gs180, but i read a review saying its bad in low light situations does any one know how it is as a general camera?

    • #178745

      You are not going to be able to get a good low light camcorder for that price. but you can try some Sony models, they tend to be the best for low light. Honestly it sounds like you need 2 cameras, one for your filmmaking and one for filming the band. It is going to be hard to find a good one that will give you what you need for both.

      For filmmaking at your price range you cannot beat the Optura Xi. You can get one use for cheap, just be careful and make sure ou know what you are buying:

      The Optura Xi definately suffers in low light. But so will all under $1000 cameras.

      When I started initially in filmmaking I was in college and had $120 a week from my job. So I sold some of my stuff anf bought the optura Xi. at $1400 at the time. It is a great camera, has a nice blend of manual and automatic controls, it is considered a prosumer camcorder just under the GL1 or GL2. Nice for a newcomer anyway. The funny thing is I have never produced a film (short of otherwise, that I will release anyway) with it. Instead it acts and my quicky camera. Which I use for test/demo videos, location scouting, etc. the color capturing is great, everything about it shows why Canon is the tops. I just posted a test video on a so you can see what it looks like in it anamorphic widescreen shooting mode. Mind you there is a little quality loss as the video was compressed to a WMV file:


      Somewhere on my website are some videos shot in low light situations, noit as low light as a band on a dark stage, but indoors with poor lighting at nighttime. So you can see what you can expect from low light on the Xi.

      The thing I would suggest to you, as a prospective indie-filmmaker myself, is that you should always research what is right for what you are trying to do and your price range. Too many times people get the run and gun camcorders to do their short films and what not, but that don’t think about all the aspects. Those videos end up on Youtube, beacuse the quality will never really attract anyones interest.

      About 10% -25% of filmmaking is actually shooting the video. The rest is really tied up in pre and post production. you need to make sure you have a good editor, good equipment, etc. All of which costs $$$. Even a low budget short film can cost a few grand, with initial purchases. The bare minimum you need a good camera and a good NLE. I personally suggest and Optura Xi ($500 – $900) and Vegas Movie Studio + DVD Architect Studio ($99) To get you on the right track for filmmaking.

      Other guys on this forum are more knowledgable about live events.

      Just remember there is a huge difference between shooting live events like a band, and shooting a highly scripted and controled event like a film. And most cameras out there are in some ways suitable only for one.

      Oh and good luck on your fimaking, don’t pull otu too much of your hair!!! and just remember the quote in my Signature… it will help you through.

    • #178746

      theres a 1200 dollar camera i found that im thinking about maybe getting that does anybody know anything about the panasonic AG-DVX100B

    • #178747

      Good camera.

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