Want to step into the pro sumer market…… I think??

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums General Video and Film Discussion Want to step into the pro sumer market…… I think??

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    • #40518

      How are you guys and gals doing? Newbie here. I have shot many home movies on normal home camcorders(son and daughters sports and performances) and Im kinda tired of the “home movie” look. So my question is, is it worth spending the money on an entry level pro sumer camera? Does the camera alone change the look of the movie or am I going to have to put in hours of post production time on the computer to make it look a little more professional? I dont need it to look like monday night football but it would be nice if it looked a little more quality. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • #173866


      I have seen videos shot on consumer camera’s with no budget that look like they came out of a high dollar production house. It means that the user found a way to get the most out of the camera.

      The advantage to a prosumer camera is that, generaly speaking,you get more manual control over the camera which can mean less tweaking in post if you can get the shot you want.

      A lot of other factors go into a more professionallook, a good camera can help you over come some dificult situations with the ability to make manual adjustments but, that alone does not keep video form looking like home movies. From the way you framed your question I think you need to decide what you want to achive and then decide if a prosumer camera makes sense for you.

    • #173867

      well my ultimate goal is to film my families activities without them looking so home movie. and eventually i would like to mess around editing with video, but strictly as a hobby and for fun.

    • #173868

      All cameras are tools. Some make it easier, others take a bit more effort, but in the long run what you do with the camera is what makes a difference. It all has to do with proper lighting, good framing, tight editing, clear clean crisp audio, and many other tricks.

      All the things you need to know, need to do to make your videos look like MORE than aim and shoot “mess”terpieces is available to you via the bounty of Videomaker and other resources for learning tricks and techniques – from lighting, to sound to editing, and more.

      Learning to shoot minimally and still get the content you want for putting together a quality production in post is a good starting point. The first habit I think folks get into when starting out as hobbyists, enthusiasts or more is thinking EVERY second of an event needs to be captured.

      Learn to be selective, change your POV (point of view – perspective: get low to videotape a child or pet; shoot overheads for a change in perspective, follow, frame tight and hold, avoid excessive zooming in and out or whipping the camera back and forth thinking you’ve got to get it all. Good place to start…

      …then there’s a bunch more πŸ™‚ But most of all, HAVE FUN!

    • #173869

      Earl is very correct – Making home movies NOT look like home movies starts in your mind, then progresses to the camera. You cna do things in your editor to help but first you have to have 1) A good idea of what you are wanting as a final product, and 2) decent source material (footage).

      I would suggest you start learning to utilize your NLE of choice to it’s fullest using what footage you already have (things like color correction, cropping, audio sweetening, etc…) and then try again using better caemera techniques and an eye toward the “shoot to edit” mindset.

    • #173870

      Casey, short answer to your question is no. You should invest in a camera you can afford and spend time learning how to shoot with it. Take a look at some of the tutorials on this site about composition, light, planning the shoot etc. to get the most out of the camera.

    • #173871

      “… aim and shoot “mess”terpieces….”

      HA! That one definitely goes in the tool kit.


      There are some really good suggestions made by everyone so I won’t parrot them. I would like to add since you do recognize a ‘short fall’ in your production values, you’re already on the right track. Before your run out and spend a significant amount of money on a prosumer rig, first seriously watch movies and television programs.

      Avoid big-budget blockbusters with buttloads of special fx and CG imagery as they will distract you from looking at the basics of how they were shot. Yes, most high-end productions use top of the line cameras, but more and more big name films are getting made with tools off the shelf available to people like yourself. Whether it’s a top of the heap Panavision super 35mm camera or a Canon XHA1, the basics still apply. Until you learn how to focus, expose, compose and hold a shot steady, you can use all the fancy cameras and fancy camera tricks you want. It’ll still look like you didn’t know what you were doing.

      So watch how the pro’s do it on DVD’s. Of particular help are the ‘making of’ documentaries in the ‘special features’. I’ve been doing this stuff since ’96 and still rummage through the special features to get new ideas and techniques. Also go to sites like YouTube and Vimeo to see how folks just like yourself are making their videos. It won’t take long to figure out the good from the atrocious after an hour or so.

      The second thing to do will be to decide how you want your projects to look. Apply the things you’ve seen watching movies and the tips you’ve picked up from VM when using your existing camera. When you can make your videos shot with a dinky consumer rig look good, you’ll be more than ready to move up to something more advanced.

    • #173872

      Some sage acvice above! Before buying a pricey camera I would recommend a good tripod. Not a walmart special one with a decent head that allows for fluid movement. Not sure of the cost, I would guess $250 on up to several thousand. If you want to get away from the “home movie” look a tripod is your first stop. Keeping the video fluid and not jerkywill make it look significantly less home movie. EVen with a fancey camera, if its all shakey all you will have is nice colors that move around alot. Oh and of course you must USE the tripod. I also have a monopod for those times when 3 legs is too much

    • #173873

      Have a look at this little book – The Little Digital Video Book (http://www.peachpit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0321572629). It could help you clarify your goals and shed some light on how to turn your home movies into quality videos even with an inexpenside SD camera.

    • #173874


      Yes the little digital video book is a nice learn the basics guide. Unfortunately the basic editing portion discusses iMovie only (all of my students use Movie Maker) but there is enough basic shooting info to make it a valuable tool for teaching ‘off the street’ level students.

    • #173875

      Thank you very much for all the input and advice. I see that I have a very big decision to make. Im sure I will be asking many more questions in the future.


    • #173876

      My dad can make a video shot with a professional camcorder look like it was shot by a 3 year old. I can make a cheap $100 consumer brand camcorder look like it was shot by Steven Spielberg.

      Granted there are more controls on a pro camera, the quality is a bit better and the low-light capabilities are awesome. But for general shooting (when I don’t want to put my pro cams at risk) I always have my cheap cam on hand.

      Most people can’t tell the difference and I have a good looking shot.

      It all depends on your skill level. Keep that in mind.

    • #173877

      Casey, regardless of what camera you use do keep in mind that it is HOW you shoot your footage, the less candid and more by design approach of focusing on, well, focusing, lighting, audio acquisition, framing, stability and selective recording of elements. The average home video enthusiast is MORE focused on capturing the moments – all of them – than on the elements of acquisition, followed by application of editing and finish where the major differences in quality production reside.

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