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Old January 26th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #1486
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Two of your requirements puts things significantly over your budget:

3CCD
1080i

Hi-def 3CCD camcorders are $3000 and up.

To record to miniDV tape, your single option is HDV. AVCHD/MPEG4 camcorders record to an internal hard disk or mini DVD-Rs.

Some of Sony's HDV camcorders use CMOS imaging sensors instead of CCD and even their higher end ones use a single CMOS sensor - they are highly rated and don't suffer from some the problems the CCDs do. i.e., reviewers report that 1 x CMOS = 3 x CCD. Whether that's exactly true is another matter but they certainly perform well.

But even at this level, you are looking at at least $1500 to get something new that has a decent level of manual control.

That brings you into the realm of used equipment. Just recently, I got a barely used Sony HDR HC-1 off eBay for $1100.

$500 will limit you to the lower end of consumer units that offer little manual control.
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Old January 26th, 2008, 11:55 PM   #1487
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Originally Posted by James Kerri View Post
Technology changes so fast. What type of camera should I get now that can film all the things I need it to film now and still keep up with what will be on the shelves 2 years from now.

I am a newbe to cameras this will be my first one ever. I have looked on alot of forums and searched google for info. This is what i have learned i should get.

AVCHD
3ccd's
mpeg 4 technology
1080i
front facing mic
2.7 wide screen LCD
record onto minidv tapes

I have a budget of $500 but.... the give my very last dollar for my struggling career budget is $1000

I know all of you on here know more about cameras then me and some should feel my indie struggle. Can anyone PLEASE give me some advice?
Something will have to give. Some of the options you have listed are good, but push the camera way out of your price range. Given your financial situation, the best solution that comes to mind in the Canon HV20 with an external mic. It is a consumer HDV camcorder, can be found for $699. Despite being almost a year old, it still beats anything else in its class, and is a favorite of indie filmmakers.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:44 AM   #1488
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I'll back Tom's advice and point you at the Canon HV20. This is the one camera that appeared last year that raised everybody's eyebrows, and the performance for the dollar is just unbelievable. It's just been replaced by the black face-lifted 30 version (really no different) so the 20 is the one to aim for at your budget point James.

The good thing is that it's HDV and records onto super-cheap and super-available and super-reliable MiniDV tapes. You'll need a wide-angle converter on day two and a little mic (Sennheiser MKE300?) and away you go.

At first reading your post I'd have aimed you at a second hand Sony FX1, something like that. And I'd still not discount it because of its good low light capability (you're going to need that by the sound of things), its toughness (same build as the war-zone Z1) and the great balance of features.

Whatever you buy, get out there and shoot lots. And I mean lots. Watch back home and be critical of what you see. Learn to use the manual controls for sure, but shoot, shoot, shoot. There's no other way of gaining experience other than growing old.

tom.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 03:20 AM   #1489
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I'll echo the other comments: can't be done for that price. I have the Canon HV 20. It's more than $500. Although it's a wonderful camera, I wouldn't want to shoot your project with it. It's a little lacking in professional capabilities and, of course, it is not 3 CCD.

I'd add that you will need way more than $500 just for audio. The built in mics on almost all cameras are pretty lousy if you want good results. A wireless lav and or proper boom mic, alone, will be more than $500. Audio is often overlooked but it's the quickest way to turn a good project into a home movie.

Cheers
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Old January 27th, 2008, 03:49 AM   #1490
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Rather than set a budget, then attempting to find something that might work, ask yourself what you want it to look and sound like.

What's the final product going to be? Where is it going to be presented? What are the expectations of your intended audience?

First determine what you want for a final product. Then figure out what you will need to achieve that goal. Then find the best price for that set of equipment. And if you don't have the cash to pull it off, find a way to finance it.

Trying to do it the other way around -- get cheap equipment, then struggle to get something for IMax screens -- will lead only to frustration and disappointment.

Of course, if this is just a hobby then it doesn't matter. But if you want to launch a career, then you have to think in terms of investment and a return on that investment. It's a business and has to be dealt with on those terms.

Most of all, if it matters, don't be sloppy about it. For every "Blair Witch" success, there's a vast plain of failures. Don't use films like that as a standard to measure your own efforts. Audiences have become very savvy in recent years. And when it comes to HD programming, their expectations are high. With a hundred channels of TV shows at their fingertips, it doesn't take much to lose an audience.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 07:01 AM   #1491
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I'll go along with everyone else re the advice so far. I also agree that you need to consider audio and good mics are not cheap, nor are they all that easy to use well. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising for the audio gear to cost substantially more than the camera.

It's been said dozens of times, and it's true, that you can get away with crappy video a lot more easily than with crappy audio. The ear is vastly more discerning than the eye, and the point of any kind of musical performance be it symphonic or rap is the sound. The visual stuff is the accompaniment! Think about it - a lot of people buy music with no video. How many do you think would buy video with no music?

How long do you think you'd watch your group jump around if they were silent?

One thing that hasn't been explicitly mentioned yet is what you will need to support the camera. Hand held cameras, particularly small cameras, seem to amplify the normally shaky motion of your hands and after a few minutes will turn most viewers off pretty completely. You'll also soon discover that tripods etc intended for still cameras do a prety poor job of supporting video cameras. Nothing to do with the weight, mind you, just the fact that video is about capturing motion and still camera supports flex and wiggle alarmingly when used with video cameras.

You'll also need some kind of software editing suite to cut out about 90 or 95% of what you shoot and pare it down into the the 5% or so that people would want to watch/hear.

Video technology has advanced by light years and you can buy surprisingl good technology for surprisingly little. The dirty little secret is that it isn't anywhere near as easy to use well as the advertising would have you think. Just look at any advertisement and you'll see smooth shots of smiling people. If they used REAL hand held shots that looked remotely like what most users get, the customers would disappear faster than beer at a frat party. And the on camera sound would be even worse.

I don't think anyone here is trying to dissuade you and all of us would love for you to go out and shoot a super video and prove us all wrong. But we also don't want to see you invest money and time without a good appreciation of the magnitude of the task in front of you.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #1492
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Think about it - a lot of people buy music with no video. How many do you think would buy video with no music?
Yet for 50 years or so amateur movies were silent and much more popular than amateur tape recordings, so pictures are still king.

But know what you mean Jim, and yours is a very good post.

tom.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #1493
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Tom,

Great point!

There's something I think really interesting in what you said re amateur movies. Namely, they were MOVIES on FILM. In other words, the "recorders", if you were to call them that, were quite portable and rather sophisticated. Sound recording in the same period would have entailed carrying a massive amount of equipment about with you. I had an open reel recorder in the late 50's that was supposed to be "portable" because it had a carrying handle. I think TRANSportable would have been more accurate. It weighed around 25 pounds. (I still have it by the way) And the "technical" term for the results was "Sucko". Bad sound to the nth power.

I also remember some of the early "portable" video camera setups - a tape recorder that you slung over one shoulder and a camera attached by umbilical cord to the recorder. I think the total setup weighed more than 25 pounds - and you got a grainy black and white (or maybe washed out gray) image for your pains.

The contrast between the magnetic and film recording technologies was staggering.

The situation today is so different - people have become so used to high quality professional sound and video that home movie level video wouldn't be tolerated by anyone except the proud parents of the little tyke taking his or her first steps.

If I had to guess, I'd suspect that 80% or more of the consumer video gear sold today winds up in a dresser drawer after the novelty wears off- which I think is also where most of the amateur movie cameras wound up. Editing was (and is!) such a chore that most normal people won't do it.

Regardless of the technology, pointing the camera and pushing the button is a vanishingly small part of the effort required to produce anything people would want to look at or listen to.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #1494
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Originally Posted by Bob Kerner View Post
I'll echo the other comments: can't be done for that price. I have the Canon HV 20. It's more than $500. Although it's a wonderful camera, I wouldn't want to shoot your project with it. It's a little lacking in professional capabilities and, of course, it is not 3 CCD.

I'd add that you will need way more than $500 just for audio. The built in mics on almost all cameras are pretty lousy if you want good results. A wireless lav and or proper boom mic, alone, will be more than $500. Audio is often overlooked but it's the quickest way to turn a good project into a home movie.

Cheers
I'll agree that its not the best for the job, but his is one post that tells me that stretching the budget is not going to be an option. If it comes down to shooting the video with the HV20 or not at all, definitely shoot it with the HV20 (with an external mic). In good hands it could handle this project, but its going to take some practice with it to make it good.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 07:14 AM   #1495
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Thanx to ALL Update #1

I appreciate all of the people who came on here to give me advice. I am real rookie at this stuff as one person put it, "I don't even know what I don't know". I have spent 10 years in a recording studio environment so I know how dealing with a person like that can be. This makes me even more great full for all of your help.

Thanks to your advice this is where I am at right now and I left out a very important piece of info the first time.

1. The footage will be edited by a professional who edits music videos and DVD's for the bigger groups on our label.

2. Also when we tour with bigger acts and do bigger venues I have access to professional crews who shot for the bigger acts. These guys in the past have
been able to shoot a show or two for me per tour with all of their pro gear.

So this camera would be for mostly behind the scenes stuff, impromto interviews, and some of the show footage. I can record audio directly from the sound board at live shows in most venues and some venues even have crowd mics set up already and they can give me a submix that includes crowd noise.

Overall I want this thing to have a raw feeling. Our story told through our eyes. To some way capture the feeling of 10+ years of hard work paying off in the biggest year of our career (Hopefully) maybe the disappointment of thinking it was going to be the biggest and not be. Regardless of my skills with a camera this year is going to happen and it is going to be a story. I wanna try my best to do it justice on a DVD.

I want me and my partner to be able to operate it solo. It seems a major suggestion is to get an external mic. Can this mic be mounted on the camera? Which mic would you recommend?

I have a separate budget for a tripod ($50)? any recommendations?

In addition to the cameras recomended how do the following cameras compare they appear to have alot of the features I need.

Panasonic HDC-SD9 (No mini DV tapes)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1198888991200

Panasonic PV-GS320 (Not HD)
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1166236106283

Thanks again for everyone's advice
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Old January 28th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #1496
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Your point 1) says immediately that you should talk to the editor before taking another breath. If he can't access AVCHD files or doesn't want 4:3 footage or insists on HDV, you should know this up front.

You talk of impromptu interviews, so a tie-clip mic is probably the best idea. Of course a radio mic (the Samson AM1 would probably suit the budget you're talking of) is ideal - letting you move and not having trailing wires.

A short shotgun on camera mic (Sennheiser MKE300D) is next best, but the in-built mics on cameras are really only good for buzz tracks. As a recording studio man, you know that a cheap mic up close beats an exppensive mic further away every time.

A tripod - any tripod will be good. Bean bags are good, anything that adds stability is good. There's a place for run 'n' gun, but do have some rock steady shots for the editor as well.

And don't forget the wide-angle converter. I don't want you hose-piping the groupies inside that Transit van.

tom.
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Old January 28th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #1497
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I knew you were having a lend of us.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:15 PM   #1498
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the best camera for the price

Hi

This is my first post, im hoping if someone can tell me witch is the better carmea for the price, im using it for a greenscreen moves, i think the Panasonic AG-DVX100B uses dvd disks and the sony uses a chip, im i right?
i use after effects for my editing.


Panasonic AG-DVX100B
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...del=AG-DVX100B

thank you for any help..



Sony HVR-A1U

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.a...U&sku=SNHVRA1U


thank you for any help..
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Old February 16th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #1499
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Tom,
Well, actually they both record to miniDV tapes. But an important difference is that the DVX100 is STANDARD DEFINITION while the A1U is HIGH DEFINITION.

The DVX100 is know for having very good natural-looking color, versatile video adjustments, and the ability to record in progressive mode. Also, it's probably better in low-light conditions.

The A1U is one of the least expensive "pro" high definition camcorders. (In this context, I'm using "pro" to mean having XLR mic inputs, and more video adjustments than a "consumer" camcorder.)

If you're doing stuff for the internet, I'd go with the DVX100. If you're doing ultra low-budget features (or shorter movies) to enter in film festivals, I'd say go with the A1U. (Although, in the past, the DVX100 has been very popular for ultra low-budget features; but now high definition seems to be the way to go.)

Hope this helped.
Ken
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Old February 20th, 2008, 06:50 AM   #1500
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Also take a look at the Canon Hv20/HV30 and the Sony V1U.
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