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Old December 22nd, 2009, 08:31 PM   #1
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What is Needed for Digital Video?

Okay, last time I did video was over 10 years ago (before I started doing Photography as my primary hobby) and now I'm looking at coming back.

In terms of video camera selection (you guys let me know if I'm crazy) I'm opting for a Nikon DSLR with video. I'm aiming at whatever replaces the D700 in the new year. Until then I have purchased a simple Flip Ultra HD camera to practice making videos until I purchase a more "pro" system. Reason for this, I own a lot of Nikon glass and I have ranges which from my initial research exceeds the capabilities of most fixed lens on video cameras of the same price range, so I'm looking to take advantage of that synergy.

Now I have tripods and light stands etc from photography. But I don't have "rails" or sound equipment etc. So what I'm looking for advice is, if I purchase a DSLR-V, what else would I reasonable expect to purchase and around what price range would be sensible as I'd need to budget out the rig.

Lights, Rails, Sound, Software (adobe the only sensible choose?)

I'm looking at moving towards indie films or mini-series rather than journalistic endeavors.

Thanks in Advance (to mods, if this is the wrong forum please move post to correct forum)
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 08:00 AM   #2
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Just my opinion, devices that try to do everything tend not to anything very well. Don't fall for the marketing department's attempts to dazzle you with whizbangs. While people have done some good demo work with the movie features of current DSLRs, I think it's still basically for the shooter who wants to capture some motion at the kid's birthday party, not really for serious video work. My suggestion is to use a still camera for your still photography and a video camera for your video work and not to try to do both with one piece of gear. For example, look at the threads in the audio section about the problems with interfacing high quality external microphones to the Canon 5D. For serious work, that would be a deal breaker.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Forget the flip thingy. If you want to get your feet wet, shooting video, get an HMC40. They are downright cheap, and very capable video cameras to boot. You may actually find an HMC40 is all you need as far as a video camera, if you have control over lighting. With proper lighting, an HMC40 can pretty easily hold it's own next to cameras that cost more than twice as much (and downright beat up on a lot of them).

I'm sort of surprised that HMC40s aren't selling faster than Panasonic can make them. I've got to think, that for many professional purposes, they would be just incredibly more cost effective than any other camera available nowadays.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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Depends on what you consider "cheap" and within your budget. Although I agree a dedicated video-camera and photo-camera would be ideal its not possible at this stage.

As for the flip, right now its a learning tool, later it will be used in locations where larger/bulkier cameras cannot go (or where the danger of damage is higher).

So all aside, assume I purchase a D700s/D800 or D3s or Canons DSLR-v in three months and go from there. What else should I be looking at getting to make this "photo-camera" more "video-camera", realizing the limitations of it not being a RED ONE etc.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:01 PM   #5
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I don't know how much you can really learn from a flip. I haven't used one myself, but generally speaking, there's not much to learn from a point-and-shoot camcorder, without having reasonably full control over basic image acquisition parameters (shutter, aperture, gain, white balance, etc.). You can learn how to aim the dang thing, but not a whole lot more.

The HMC40 can be deceptively less expensive than the sticker price (which is awfully low in the first place, considering what the camera can do). At B&H (and Amazon too, I think), the in-the-cart price is a hair under $1900, but with it you get Edius Neo 2, which is an excellent basic editor, that's particularly well suited for AVCHD editing (especially when you get the "booster" upgrade - which I think is supposed to be free as well, when you get Neo 2 by purchasing an HMC40) and you also get a free Panasonic Blu-Ray player. If both those items are items you have good use for, the actual camcorder cost is more like in the neighborhood of $1600.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 11:51 PM   #6
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RMW - I'm suspecting that (shutter, aperture, gain, white balance, etc.) from the camera will port quite well from my knowledge of photography. What I hope to use the flip for is learning how to deal with people, movement, and framing from a video sense.

Plus practice scripts and blocking out a movie, scenes etc. Stuff where the video capture device doesn't matter as much as the content it captures, for practice anyways.

As for B&H and the HMC40, it does look like a good camera, however as a Canadian its costs more around $2000 instead of $1600 due to the rebates not being valid in Canada (i checked it out an read the fine print). But I do appreciate the effort.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #7
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Plus practice scripts and blocking out a movie, scenes etc. Stuff where the video capture device doesn't matter as much as the content it captures, for practice anyways.
You'lll learn as much about video from a flip, as you'd learn about photography from a SureShot or a Finepix.

You want to learn about the basics of moviemaking? Volunteer on a local indie movie. You'll learn more than you can stand.

Framing in video is exactly the same as framing in still photography. The difference is that you don't get to come off the shutter to recompose or refocus. You're "hot" all the time. And every mistake is recorded for the world to see.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 01:57 AM   #8
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Framing video really is more like framing stills than framing stills is! A whale of a lot of folks just plain move video cameras too much (especially with zippy in and out and in and out zooms). If they approached framing video shots more like framing still shots (and just widen the angle a little more than you would with the still), and simply did not move the camera at all, after pressing that red button, without a real reason for doing so, and then only very, very s-l-o-w-ly, they'd improve their footage considerably.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 02:33 AM   #9
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Graeme, for video camera I would also consider the Sony FX7
HDR-FX7 | HD Handycam® Camcorder | Sony | SonyStyle USA

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Old December 24th, 2009, 02:42 AM   #10
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I'm suspecting that (shutter, aperture, gain, white balance, etc.) from the camera will port quite well from my knowledge of photography.
A major difference is that you can't set a camcorder to having automatic control of any of those parameters without usually causing some significant problems.

For example, if you let a still camera have automatic control of white balance, it's reasonable to fix bad color balance in the photos later. With video, forget it. You don't just have one image to fix. You have a huge stream of them (that all get viewed together in essence), and the camera was constantly re-evaluating and [u]altering[/] the setting, on the fly, as they were being shot. Welcome to post production hell. Good luck fixing that. You are better off using a preset that's way off the mark or manually setting it rather poorly, but at least having it come out consistent throughout the stream. At least you can do something about that.

Another major difference is, that with video, you pretty much use one shutter speed (for a particular video format). If it's 60i or 30p footage, your shutter speed is 1/60. If it's 24p footage, your shutter speed is 1/48. There are exceptions, but generally you just don't deviate from that.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 03:14 AM   #11
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You know, for the life of me, after shooting with an HMC40, I just can't think of a serious reason to get an FX7 instead, unless you simply cannot handle editing AVCHD. I honestly can't think of any real advantage an FX7 could offer. There's no way an FX7 could match the image quality from an HMC40. They both use 3-1/4" CMOS, so low light performance should be relatively similar (perhaps the Sony chips are a tad better in dim light? - kinda doubt that, since the HMC40 is a considerably newer camera and imaging chip technology just keep getting better all the time). The HMC40 shoots all one format the FX7 does (1080i), and a whole flock more (unless you want to count SD I guess). I suppose for some folks recording to tape is actually a plus. For a lot of us, it's simply a lot more expense, and thus a liability. And the FX7 is priced a tad higher to boot (not to mention, Sony isn't giving you an NLE with it and mailing you a Blu-Ray player too).
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Old December 24th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #12
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A major difference is that you can't set a camcorder to having automatic control of any of those parameters without usually causing some significant problems.
I agree, which is why I'll be purchasing a pro-level video-camera which has manual controls etc. But not likely within the next 3 months as I work out what I need (in addition to the camera body) for video in order to make shorts and indie-films. Until then I have a simple video camera so I can test out techniques, the flip at $200 doesn't impact my overall project budget and I can see some limited use for it down the road anyways.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #13
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While people have done some good demo work with the movie features of current DSLRs, I think it's still basically for the shooter who wants to capture some motion at the kid's birthday party, not really for serious video work.
With respect (and a smile) that has to be the dumbest comment I have ever read on this forum.

I'm not sure what you consider "serious", but I've used DSLR technology on a number of professional shoots for clients including FTSE100 companies, the British Government and the Royal Navy. I know of people shooting with these cameras in war zones who are bringing back some of the most remarkable and compelling footage that has ever been captured on the battlefield. I also know a number of highly regarded and extremely expensive DOPs who are integrating DSLR cameras into their feature film, commercial and television drama work. I agree, it's not perfect technology, nothing is, but to say it isn't "serious" is dumb beyond belief. Technology is technology, it's filmmakers that are "serious" or not.

The OP could learn a lot from shooting with a DSLR (particularly if he's interested in narrative) and it's a great use of his glass. I suggest he hops over to Photo to Video DSLR or either of the Canon forums on this site and asks a few questions there.

Merry Xmas and happy shooting,

Liam.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #14
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Seek your own way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme Hay View Post
I agree, which is why I'll be purchasing a pro-level video-camera which has manual controls etc. But not likely within the next 3 months as I work out what I need (in addition to the camera body) for video in order to make shorts and indie-films. Until then I have a simple video camera so I can test out techniques, the flip at $200 doesn't impact my overall project budget and I can see some limited use for it down the road anyways.
You made an excellent choice with the FlipUltraHD. You can learn a lot about shooting video with the Flip. It can go places other cams can't and get you footage you couldn't normally get with a full size cam. Like any tool, it's how you use it that matters.

Videos I have shot handheld with the FlipUltraHD:

JVC Four Amigos (Scroll down for the 3 cam test)

Saw VI - Exclusive Interview with Tobin Bell | Horror.com (Double system sound)

YouTube - stacilayne's Channel (The Skinny Puppy LIVE at Club Nokia LA - 12/10/09 & Dead Weather at the Mayan 8/26/09 clips, both shot from the "pit" with a zillion fans pushing and shoving against me).

I doubt that my RED One could have done much better. or even been usable under these circumstances.

Once you have some footage under your belt, you will be in a much better position to make an intelligent choice about acquiring the right cam to meet your future needs.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 12:40 PM   #15
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With respect (and a smile) that has to be the dumbest comment I have ever read on this forum.
Liam, AGREED.

These new gen DSLRs (and these are just the 1st gen offerings), already rival my RED One in image quality.

I am shooting on a show right now that is in 3D, using the Phantom, and the director wanted a live continuous shot of some action from 10 points of view at the same time. The primary DP on the show told the director to "Let Enzo figure it out, I think he started shooting with Edison". I'm hoping that was a compliment :)

So I called around and Canon agreed to let us borrow 22 7Ds. The show had some brackets made up so we could align the cams (the hardest part was micro adjusting the focal lengths for exact image sizes).

The resulting shot was exactly what the director wanted and fit into the Phantom stuff just fine. So we got the shot without adding to the budget in any significant way.

In a few years, the DSLR manufacturers will start to seriously compete in, and possibly overtake the HD video market.

It sure made a believer out of me.
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