Camera on a $300 Budget at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 30th, 2007, 12:03 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 39
Camera on a $300 Budget

Looking for something to shoot short films on with a tight budget is what we all do. So what can you get for $300 with fairly decent picture, widescreen/wide angle modes, adjustable shutter speed and reliability?
Joshua Fernandez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 12:27 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 39
Not a whole film, just $300 for the camera.
Joshua Fernandez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #3
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
I might try to think outside the box here... what type of imagery would be most appropriate for your film?

The gritty look of a cellphone camera may or may not work for you.

If you already own a digital still camera, shooting at a low frame rate might work. I recall a short done this way.

There's also animation, although (depending on what you're doing) it's labour intensive.

Then there's also stop motion. You'll need a digital still camera and stop motion capture software (the latter will save you lots of time).

Otherwise you might look at used/refurbished miniDV cameras. Don't forget audio... bad audio will kill your film. The video image from a crappy camera won't.

2- I'd recommend just shooting something and see what happens. You likely have access to a cell phone with video or digital still camera.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 06:37 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 314
You can get a used Canon ZR-500 for $169.00 or a ZR-700 for $209 (both 25x Optical/16:9 widescreen, miniDV camcorders) through B&H (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/shop/2...mcorders.html). There are also plenty of used camcorders available on that well known auction site (though you do take bigger chances there).

They may not provide top of the line features (no accessory shoe or microphone input) but there is no reason that you can't get a decent image.

Please pay no attention to people who tell you (or imply) that if you are not willing to spend tons of money then you need to give up. Use what you can afford and continue to have fun and gain experience.
John McManimie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 06:43 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: San Francisco, California
Posts: 487
A digital still camera will work wonders in a pinch, as long as you make sure your audio isn't too bad. Have your subjects talk loudly, or record audio using a tape recorder simultaneously and sync in post.

But if you want to get a decent video camera for under $300, I can recommend the Canon ZR800 for around $279. It's really decent, uses miniDV, does widescreen, and has a mic jack so you could even plug in an external mic if you'd like. You can even adjust shutter speed and a combo of aperture/gain called "exposure control".

edit: John has a great idea, you might want to even take a look at those used cameras. The ZR500 also has a mic input, and the changes between that and the ZR800 are very minimal. If the used one is in good condition, it's a steal at $169. Don't forget a couple of extended batteries!

Last edited by Chris Harris; September 30th, 2007 at 06:49 PM. Reason: added info about ZR500
Chris Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 314
Indeed, I hadn't noticed that B&H has the ZR800 *new* for $234.95.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Camcorder.html
John McManimie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 39
The ZR800 is something like I was looking for. I have an ancient (1996) RCA 8mm VideoPro camera, but the capture to pc is horrible and looks like bad home videos. I know this can be used as an effect, but I was looking for something with clear and sharp image. Cell phones and low-end digital cameras I have done, and now I need something with a more high-quality picture. Audio is another nasty can of worms, and my audio guy moved to Canada, so for the moment I am focusing on maximizing picture quality over audio.
(The $300 is a short term budget so I can get a decent camera by November)
Chris and John thanks a bunch, I am looking into the ZR800 as a serious candidate. Is there anyone out there who wants to persuade me otherwise?
Joshua Fernandez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2007, 09:29 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Marin & Davis, CA, USA
Posts: 418
I'd suggest the ZR series as well.

I have the 600 as a secondary camera, and I really like it, except that it isn't great quality, and the joystick is a bit weird. It might be better than the 800, though, because I think that has a touch screen.

You can get the ZR series on amazon.com or ebay for less than $200 if you look well.
Daniel Ross is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2007, 02:08 AM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: California
Posts: 7
The canon

Yep the Canon ZR series, is a good thing.
Christopher Snow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2007, 02:27 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Petaluma, CA
Posts: 456
Count me in the ZR800 gang

Hi Joshua,

I love the Canon XR800 for my vacation camera (and also use it for my playback deck to avoid excessive usage on my Canon XL-2s). In addition to the nice external 1/8" mini microphone jack, I'm very impressed by how the camera stands up to abuse in the field. While in St. Petersburg, the camera slipped out of my jacket pocket bouncing down the marble steps until another tournist stepped on it with his foot to stop it (geez, thanks..., I guess!) Nothing was broken and when I turned it on, everything worked beautifully. Anyway, I regularly take it out on the road as my "play camera" and vacations where weight is a premium. For the price, you can't beat it!

Regards, Michael
Michael Nistler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2007, 09:45 PM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Palo Alto, California
Posts: 53
Or you could find a community center nearby, use one of their more professional ones, and use the $300 towards your movie.
Corwin Garber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2007, 09:48 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 39
Corwin, that would indeed be amazing, but our community center is more concerned with keeping people from committing arson in the dumpsters. I live in a dry town that gets everything through internet or walmart. Thanks for the suggestion though, maybe when I move...
Incidentally, I am going for a ZR800 everybody! Keep the discussion going though, cheap cameras need to be discussed as well as their bigger brothers.
Joshua Fernandez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 9th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #13
Tourist
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Posts: 3
Consider used cameras aswell. I just bought my first miniDV cam, an original Canon Optura manufactured 10 years ago, for a hundred bucks on eBay. Don't spend too much, tho: there always might be a problem with it. I got lucky.
Jeremie Bedard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 475
wow, this place comes thru again. I was just asked to spec out a couple inexpensive camcorders for one of our offices here, and that Z800 looks like the ticket!

$224 at B&H, might have to pick one up for myself at that price.
Bill Mecca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 10th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 2,965
I have a panasonic pvs120 3ccd camera I'll sell you for 300.00.
__________________
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
Steven Davis is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:56 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network