OK…..where do I start?

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    • #86256
      AvatarThe Mayor

      I write short stories. I’m also a songwriter. I would like to learn about video as I have some things I would like to film. I know absolutely NOTHING about video. I only have about $500 to spend on a camera. After reading so much on this site, that sounds like a joke. But what the hell, I gotta start somewhere. If anyone would have a recommendation for a camera that would be near my budget that I could start learning on, I would be deeply grateful.


  • #212709

    For around $500, it will be hard to find much more than a consumer-grade camcorder. I would have suggested, perhaps, a Panasonic G6, but it looks like it has been discontinued on B&H’s website, although you can probably still find one for sale somewhere. Otherwise, you might look for a used Panasonic GH2 on eBay. Either of these cameras will have a little bit of a learning curve, due to the fact that they are interchangeable-lens cameras instead of easy-to-use camcorders. But the image they provide is superb.

  • #212715

    Hi Jerry – if you can stretch your budget by $15, you might want to consider a brand new $515 Panasonic G6 with the 14-42mm kit lens: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?icep_ff3=2&pub=5575034783&toolid=10001&campid=5337235943&customid=&icep_item=321613840675&ipn=psmain&icep_vectorid=229466&kwid=902099&mtid=824&kw=lg

    This is the best value-for-money camera in this price class.

    Here are a few examples of the image quality this camera can produce:


    Music Video


    Slow Motion/Sport


    Travel Video


    It is a capable still camera too: https://www.flickr.com/groups/lumix-g6/pool/

    As you get started, you may also want to read a basic how-to book. I recommend “How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck” – which you can download on Kindle for $7.69: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0051NHJFU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0051NHJFU&linkCode=as2&tag=videomaker22forum-20

    This book was written by Hollywood writer/director Steve Stockman: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1870021/

    Steve directed Sally Field in “Two Weeks”: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TV1ST2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000TV1ST2&linkCode=as2&tag=videomaker22forum-20

    His book is a great introduction to visual storytelling.

    Here is the trailer: http://vimeo.com/24147165

    Reading Steve’s book will save you a lot of time and money – and make your movies better right out of the gate.

    Hope this is helpful and good luck!

    Hybrid Camera Revolution

  • #212730
    AvatarThe Mayor

    Thank you Bill for these films. I’ve never seen the G6, but it looks like an amazing piece of equipment for the money.

  • #212731

    The Canon EOS M came recommended and so far I have not been disappointed. Has a mic jack for external too.

  • #212732

    Jerry, you sound a lot like me!

    I started out writing short stories and making music with my computer, but also started tinkering out with video as soon as a friend of mine got a camcorder and we figured out we could use two VCRs to edit.

    Play, Pause, Record, Play, Stop… man I can’t believe I ever edited like that!

    Anyway, a couple of years ago I had the same question as you, with a similarly restricted budget and went for a Canon 650D. Yeah, it was cool at the time!

    I’m still using it now, and with the right lighting and careful camera setup, I can get fairly professional results.

    Over the past few years, I’ve learned the full Adobe suite, from Premiere and After Effects to Audition and Illustrator.

    It takes a lot of time and can be frustrating, but it can be very rewarding for a creative storyteller like yourself, as it gives you new ways to express yourself.

    Don’t fear the consumer-grade stuff, it’s how you use it that counts, especially when you’re just starting out.

    The learning curve is pretty much the same (basically limitless), regardless of equipment.

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