I know exactly what I want it to do, but... [camera discussion] at DVinfo.net

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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #1
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I know exactly what I want it to do, but... [camera discussion]

I know exactly what I want it to do, but I can't decide which camera to do it with. I want to spend no more than $2400 on the camera. This camera will specificly be used to tape a short film, with the possibility of being used to shoot a feature or two in the future. The short I am buying this for uses a lot of close ups, some night scenes, not much moving action. I realize how much lighting determines the outcome and I am going to spend 4-6 months learning the camera, lighting and sound before I begin shooting anything to be used in the short. At this point, I think I am going to get a MD recorder for sound, so the camera's sound capabilities might not affect my choice. 16:9 is a must for me, I've completely grown accustomed to it and want my short to use it as well. It seems something like Magic Bullet might yield me the best results as far as going 60i to 24p. HD isn't a concern.

Ever since I started researching cameras almost two years ago I have wanted a Canon GL2. There was just something about it that stood out to me. I don't want to buy the GL2 just because it's the one I've always wanted, I want to buy the one that will suite me the best. The VX2100 and GL2 seem to constantly battle it out for the best camera at their price. Although the DVC60 seems to get mentioned less, those who mention it seem to love it as well. Then there are the PAL versions of these. Since I'm deadset on replicating a 24p look, would the PAL versions be better for me? Besides hooking the camera directly to a TV, is there anything a PAL version won't do for me in the States? I appreciate any advice, forwarding, or suggestions.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #2
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Welcome to DVinfo Michael! Unfortunately the three cameras you mention (GL2, VX2100 and DVC60) fail to meet your requirement for 16:9. While they do feature a 16:9 mode, it just crops the center part of the 4:3 image and stretches it vertically to meet he anamorphic spec. The problem with this is that the above-mentioned cameras' sensors don't have a high enough pixel count to capture the full resolution of 16:9 DV.

For a little more than your budget ($3,000) you could get a Sony HDR-FX1 that shoots high quality 16:9 DV as well as HDV. Or you could stay under your budget with the HVR-A1 for $2,000 after rebate. Unfortunately Sony discontinued the PDX-10 which would probably have been an even better fit for you. I think you will probably want to look at HDV camcorders even though you say you don't want HD because they are all 16:9 native and will produce far better widescreen standard definition video than the three you mentioned above.

Regarding PAL cameras in the US, if you only want to shoot "movies" for DVD and internet use then I suppose it would be OK. But for regular video it will be a pain to have to convert PAL to NTSC and you will lose quality in the process.

Let us know what you choose!
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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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They will be for internet and dvd as far as I know. It's basically a project to learn with and possibly submit to film festivals to get some feedback, (along with the internet of course).
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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:38 AM   #4
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Here's a possiblity: Buy a GS500 for about $700 (3ccd and many - though not all - pro features), then save the rest of the money for renting a better camera as well as for buying lights and other useful equipment.

With the GS500 and some lights you can experiment and learn. Once you have nailed down your specific project, plan it as efficiently as possible. Figure our how to shoot it in as few days as possible. Pick your target camera, and read the manual front to back a few times.

Here's a tip: if you rent over a weekend, or at least over a Sunday, you can get two or three days for the price of one.

This solution gets you some working gear with a decent picture. It may be all you need for a web video. And with the cash you save you can film your pet project with an HVX, a $1,000+ tripod, and maybe a 35mm lens adapter for a few weekends. Learn the camera and determine your settings on the first rental, and shoot on the others.

Learning camera settings and lighting is important. Learning tight scheduling is also important. :)
Jon Fairhurst
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