Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Other Camcorders › Still to Video… Help me decide.. › as of now, HD is so limite
as of now, HD is so limited (including forms of distribution) that none of my clients are asking for it. so i don’t worry too much about that yet. probably when Blu-Ray or HD-DVD comes out I’ll be using those for the distribution, but for now i generally work in standard def. there’s no real reason for me to do otherwise.
as for the equipment, M5ABI, remember to look at what you WANT to do and then figure out what you NEED to buy. If you’re going into a full-fledged production environment where you will be working weddings, corporate, etc then you may need some of these really cool, but really expensive items. but remember that this is also a lot like still photography. i got by doing a great job for a long time on my Nikon Fm2n manual camera with an old, less than perfect tripod. In video you can do a great job with limited resources as long as you have a few essentials:
1 camera: your camera needs to have a high quality chip (3 chip is the optimal) for the best color and image reproduction. it’s just like your 10D, that chip is much better than your friends little point and shoot. if you have a crappy camera, you’ll never get above it. all of the options you listed are quality enough for your use, depending on your use.
2 lighting: you can buy reflectors pretty cheap as well as lighting stands. B&H has stands for around $25 and reflectors around that much as well. you can even get a really cool 5-in-1 reflector that also has a translucent panel that you can throw a light behind for an instant (and very inexpensive) softbox. to start out with, i have the 5-in-1, a gold/white reflector, a couple stands and (here’s the best one) my main light is a worklamp from Home Depot with a 90watt outdoor floodlight in it. it’s not expensive but combined with the softener panel, it’ll give very professional results.
if you don’t have good lighting, your video looks very amature
3 tripod: a decent tripod and fluid head is really essential to quality shooting. for $142 at B&H there’s a Bogen/Manfrotto (i’m sure you’re familiar with that brand) fluid head that you can stick on top your current tripod (if you have one with a removable head). i have a ball head for my F100 and the Bogen for my Z1U and a single Bogen tripod. it works well and with a good fluid head, you get the smoothness and quality that people will expect.
another interesting side thing for camera supports, i’ve started using my monopod for some of my on-the-go shooting with my video camera and it’s really nice for situations where you can’t or don’t want to set up a tripod. it’s got the same limitations of a monopod in still photography, but it’s helpful for some situations.
the basic point that Compusolver and I are both saying, though, is to make sure you think about what you need and go with that. personally i wouldn’t have the budget to get a cheap $500 camera get a feel for things, but borrowing other people’s camera works too (that’s what i had done when i was working on my degree).
also, looking to the future and trying to figure out how long you want your camera to last is helpful. investing in the Z1u was a big step because i don’t know how much funding i’ll have to purchase another camera in a few years. i’m not sure if i’ll be freelancing or doing something else, if i’ll have kids, etc, so getting something that could also shoot HD was important because when the switch hits (ha ha, if ever), i want to be sure my camera will continue being useful.