Vivian

Vivian

Hi I am new to vimeo and would like to also ask people over here if they can recommend a certain camera for a beginner like me. The thing is I have a restricted budget of 3000 euros and don't have anything ...except for my mac and that's it. I know I need a professional camera to learn the basics and quite frankly I'd rather spend my money on a good camera and than buy the rest of the stuff like separate mic and editing software. Can anyone point me towards the right direction?
Thanks a lot.

Perrone Ford

Perrone Ford

Vivian,

It would be helpful if you could provide just a bit more informatin.

1. What country are you in?

2. What kind of video do you plan to shoot? Weddings? Sports? Movies? The camera recommendation will hinge on this somewhat.

3. Which Mac do you have? If it's an older model, that will restrict not only what editing software you can use, but also what kind of information can come from the camera and be useable by that Mac.

If you don't have your heart set on getting into HD right away, some very good possibilities open up to you in terms of cameras. It's also somewhat important to understand whether you are planning to pursue this as a future career, just a hobby, or are just going to video the kids.

In general, to do decent video you need:

1. A camera
2. A decent tripod
3. A solid microphone
4. A computer with editing software

The more serious you are about this, the more manual features you camera should have. And the more you should approach this beginning with the end in mind.

Vivian

Vivian

ok, so ....yes I wanna shoot a short film and I want to get started with a good camera with manual controls. I want to learn step by step how things are done that's why I think that a camera with manual controls is best. Here comes the trouble though...I've read lots of stuff about many cameras but I'm really not sure about which is best for a beginner...because my budget is restricted ....of course I could wait more and put more money into it but I wanna start as soon as possible.
So I had the canon xha1 in mind but it's a little too expensive and then I would need a mic and software and tripod with a fluid head right?!
anyway my mac is not a pro it's the 13 inch mac with 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and with 2 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
that's about it....so should I invest more money into a camera or software or the rest of the equipment?
appreciate the help!

Vivian

Vivian

great thanx! I'll take a look right now

Perrone Ford

Perrone Ford

That camera should DEFINITELY be on your strongly consider list. Great quality, though if you need to do low-light work the 1/4" chips aren't the best. DOF is going to be pretty bad too.. but it's a good camera at a fair price.

Vivian

Vivian

what do you guys think about the canon xha1 or should I go with sony?...and how about microphones?...rode are the best?....and lighting? should I do something about that too or should I just buy the camera and then think about that?

Stephen O'Raw

Stephen O'Raw

Hi Vivian - I am a Mac user and the Sony is incompatible with a Mac - completely! Mac's iLife suite doesn't recognize the camera, the video format - nada. I haven't tried the more expensive edit suites though - but it is worth checking the compatibility between Mac software and the camera before you buy.

Attila Nemeth

Attila Nemeth

iMovie (all versions since Intel Macs for sure) DO comaptible with all DV and HDV (tape based HD) cameras, that includes Sony and Canon HDV cameras. Since it's free with your Mac or a few euros if you upgrade you don't have to spend too much on it. You need a FireWire 400 cable to connect your camera. Since iMovie 08 AVCHD (disk based HD) cameras also compatible. iMovie is more than enough if you only starting with editing, it's very intuitive and a snap to learn to use. Later if you want to step up on the capacity ladder Final Cut Express is about 200 euros.

Formats: I'd say your best choice could be HDV. You may think tapes are obsolete but that's the cheapest archiving solution if you just keep your original tapes. 1 hour is about 2 euros. If you want to keep them on hard disk, 1 hour HD is about 30 gig, so do the math. Besides, while you're spending time acquiring HDV to your computer you have time to look through your footage which has to be done anyway and you would spend the same amount of time converting HDD based footage to a production format (without the chance of watching your footage in the meantime)

OK, so cameras. Depending on the situation I'd say the bigger the better. Small cameras usually have less manual control, tend to be more shaky and pic quality is usually worse than bigger cameras. I used to have a Sony HVR A1E thats a superb camera for a beginner. It has all the manual controls, comes with a decent mic, not too big not too small, picture quality is awesome. Retails around 2000 Euros so you can still buy some stuff. You will need a tripod, get a decent wide conversion lens if you need to shoot indoors a lot and maybe an external light.
Next up on the ladder could be the Sony HDR FX1000 which sells just under 3000 euros. That is a bit bigger but still not too big for handheld, progressive full HD.

Hope it helps :)

Vivian

Vivian

It helps a lot thanks...I'll take a look at these right now...and if anyone has other helpful thoughts like these...appreciate the great help!

Perrone Ford

Perrone Ford

I've responded to you privately, but thought I'd post something here as well.

I admire anyone with the moxie to step up and want to learn to make films. But it's a process. One far too many people try to shortcut. Making real narrative movies takes time and patience. And it take gear and money as well.

Generally, you write a treatment, then a script, then storyboard it maybe to work out how it will look on screen. Then you get your locations in order, and get people to act and be crew, then shoot.

But if you want to learn to operate a camera for film purposes, you need to learn to frame, focus, and you need to learn your basic camera moves. Your pans, tilts, dollies, crabs, push ins, pull outs, cranes, and maybe combinations of these. It's only once you have a solid understanding and mastery of these basics that you can go out and make "film-like" moves and have them work.

And you'll need gear to support these movements. You can't effectively do a crane or a crab, and focus at the same time, so you'll need someone to do that for you. Which means you'll need a focus mechanism. And in order to have that, you need a set of rails to attach it to your camera. And they are going to need a monitor to watch so they can get the focus right. So now you have a monitor (or camera LCD) for framing, and one for your camera assistant to focus.

Somewhere along the way, you're going to need lights. And you need to learn the different kinds, what they do, and how to position them. Or you pay a gaffer who has the lights and hte knowlege to light your films. Same with audio.

This post is not directed at Vivian. She seems interested in learning how to do these things. It's for those who want to circumvent the process and think that putting a camera on a tripod or in your hands and having some friends "do stuff" in front of the camera while it's on. That's not filmmaking. At least not by the common definition. But that is a growing percentage (say 95%) of what we see on Youtube and the like these days.

I've read a hundred threads about people looking for the "film look". Thinking if they get a 24p camera, somehow it will make the stuff they shoot magically look like a Hollywood movie. It takes hundreds of highly trained professionals to make Hollywood movies.

I've seen some gorgeous work produced by folks here on Vimeo. But as I am sure they will tell you, it doesn't come easy, and it doesn't come cheap.

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