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Old March 6th, 2015, 11:40 AM   #1
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Easy camera for wildlife documentary

I am planning to work on a wildlife documentary in a game reserve. I want to buy some cameras for the local game rangers to shoot while they are on game drive, for in case they see something spectacular. The cameras need to be easy to use, be small and good enough to be used as a secondary camera for broadcasting purposes. Do you have any suggestions?
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Old March 6th, 2015, 02:01 PM   #2
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

Hi Heinrich

I'd say these days there are plenty of cameras to choose from dependant on working distance and the type of production the footage may find itself in.

The key is getting them to use the camera on a tripod/or vehicle mount and to make sure they aren't tempted to zoom in and out every 2 seconds. Get solid chunks stable behaviour and that will form the basis of larger sequences.

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Old March 6th, 2015, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

you forgot to mention the most important piece of the equation: the budget!
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Old March 6th, 2015, 04:10 PM   #4
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

This is not as easy as I should be and I get asked this a lot by people that have never used a video camera and are after profession looking images. Experience counts for everything and profession looking images takes time to learn.
Is the footage for Broadcast ,what standards.
Do you need a long zoom lens.
Audio

Here are a few suggestions based on using the camera on auto.
Sony HXR-NX30 Palm Size NXCAM HD Camcorder
Sony RX10
Canon XA20 Professional HD Camcorder
JVC GY-HM600 ProHD Camera
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Old March 6th, 2015, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

Sony NX70 is similar to the 30 but dust and water resistant.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 11:03 PM   #6
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

Thanks for your replies.
The camera needs to have a decent zoom as the action could be far off sometimes. I would say a 500mm in 35mm terms.
Ultimately I would like to use the footage for broadcast purposes. The plan is that I will do the bulk of the shooting with my equipment (a Canon XF300 and Panasonic GH4 at the moment, but hopefully later a broadcast approved big camera when I sell the proposal), and then I want to have the rangers do some shooting while they are out on game drive, just to get those money shots for in case something really interesting happens. The lodge then also want to use this footage for their marketing purposes.
The rangers aren't really filming experts, so the camera needs to be simple to use on automatic settings.
But the quality needs to be good enough to use in say 10% of a nat geo broadcast for instance.
The budget is flexible, as the price will determine how many cameras I will get.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 02:50 AM   #7
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

The NX30 you can purchase new but the NX70 is a finished line now, through B&H that is?
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Old March 7th, 2015, 06:42 AM   #8
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

The narrow field of view equivalent to 500mm in 35mm terms would be pretty difficult for the Rangers to get steady usable footage,,

Re the nx70 I think they are being phased out since the ones I have seen listed are heavily discounted.
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Old March 8th, 2015, 11:04 AM   #9
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

"500mm in 35mm terms would be pretty difficult for the Rangers to get steady usable footage"

I don't think so! It's down to good mounting and a bit of training as to how to get shots to build a sequence with other more professionally shot footage.

Even if they lock off on a mid to wide, if the behaviour is strong it will still give you the backbone/keyshot on which to make a larger sequence.
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Old March 11th, 2015, 06:40 AM   #10
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

Thanks. So if one uses one of these cameras, what percentage of a TV broadcast would this camera footage be allowed to be used? It obviously is not broadcast approved cameras, but can I use footage of these for 10% or so of a documentary?
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Old March 11th, 2015, 05:46 PM   #11
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

You can ise any footage you want if it tells a good story!
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Old March 25th, 2015, 09:44 PM   #12
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

If a decent zoom is a must, any of the upper-end consumer camcorders will do the trick quality wise (AX100 sure looks nice, though) and your challenge will be more about educating them to use a tripod (maybe even a monopod) whenever possible, and to avoid zooming or re-framing as much as possible.

Also sticking to a 10x or 12x (generally approx 300-400mm equivalent) zoom lens rather than some of the 20x or 24x models might leave you with wider footage footage, but it means that more of it will be usable in the hands of a complete camera rookie.
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Old March 31st, 2015, 11:05 AM   #13
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Re: Easy camera for wildlife documentary

What about the Canon XF200 ?
It's very close to the XF300 that you know well, so it's easy to use, it has a 20x zoom and record in 4:2:2.
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