Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Editing › Tell me about Premiere CS3 › No problem. If you want t
If you want to stay in the Standard Def realms, The Sony VX-2100 and the Canon GL-2 are both excellent machines and very reasonably priced. The pro for the VX-2100: Better in low light. The pro for the GL-2: Just about everything else. The ONLY complaint I have about my GL-2’s is that they aren’t quite as hot in the low lighting as I wish they were, but they make up for it by being a VERY powerful camera in every other aspect.
Now, if you’ve got the money, my current favorite in the entry-level pro HD market is the Canon XH-A1. It’s got a bunch of new features, and supposedly is far better than the GL series in low lighting. Plus, it’s got all those nice little touches, like built-in XLR plugs. It records 16:9 natively, and you can even record at 24 FPS for that "film look" you were talking about. (The GL-2 has a 30FPS "Film effect" setting which is nice, but not as smooth as the XH-G1.)
As far as lenses go, most of the pro grade cameras have high quality glass. Canon makes a big deal about their fluorite lenses, but in my opinion, it’s all 6 one way, half a dozen the other. Now, if you get a camera like the XL-2, which allows you to replace the lens, you WILL notice a big quality difference it you get the adapter to mount cinema lenses on there, but you’re talking over $10,000 there.
Hard drive recorders are great, but I use them as a backup only. I always record the original onto tape, because you just never know what can happen to that hard drive. I had a 300GB drive once that came unclipped from my setup, fell to the floor, and it destroyed the arm, making the drive useless. DV can just take a lot more of a beating, and so I keep them rolling, even if a hard drive is there to help out.
Shotgun mics: good idea, if you get a good one. If you get a cheap mic, you’d be better off just to save your money. Ideally, you should get the mic about two feet from the talent, if possible, which means either boom stands, a boom operator, or giving up on that idea and going with lav mics.
Hope all that helps!