Is this kind of camera alright for a first time film maker?
that looks like a still picture camera
Many will say it doesn’t matter—shoot the thing on your cell phone if you have to—just get the film made. Some say the important thing is practice, so the camera’s quality for a first-time filmmaker should be commiserate with his/her experience level. No use spending $1000+ on a camera until you know what you’re doing and have gotten serious about it.
Have you ever used a camera before? What kind of budget do you have? Equipment? Distribution plans?
@HOUSE OF LEAVES it shoots HD video at 1920 × 1080, 30 fps video for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time.
I want to figure out what camera to use before I figure out a real budget. I plan on running this film on the independent film circuit.
I would recommend finding the cheapest camera you can and shooting a few shorts with it first—experimenting with framing and lighting and so on, getting comfortable with the physicality of it and your ideas. Also it will be less stressful in case of accidents. Ever held $3000 in your hands? Especially something as fragile as a camera that costs that much. Drop that sucker with inexperienced hands and throw your project out the window with the broken pieces.
That’s my feeling, but honestly I’m mostly going on the advice of others with very limited experience of my own. There are many more experienced filmmakers on this site that will hopefully chime in.
I haven’t gone to your link since I’m posting from an iPhone and it’s irritating to type all that in, but I assume it’s a 5D, a mk 2 maybe or any of the ohers in the series? I shoot on the canon 7D and I love it but there are a lot of things to consider when wanting to work with these cameras.
Sound of course. Sound should never be recoded using on camera mics anyway.
There’s a lot of heat being generated and if it gets too hot it shuts off so there’s a risk of damaging the sensor.
It’s absolutely necessary to have some kind of stabilizing system.
It’s good to have a flash card that is able to write data pretty fast and a card that has enough gb to hold the information.
If your looking to own a camera with this much, know you may have a lens that is also with that much. It’s not the same using some of those lens kits that come with the body.
The learning curve is quite drastic, especially, like myself, if you coming from shooting on mini dv or something similar.
Just remember that it’s quite an investment.
Yes Tommy, it’s a 5D. This is an excellent camera, check out some work that’s been done on 5 and 7D’s on Vimeo and YouTube, you’ll see what I mean. There are some limitations, however. I’m shooting on a 7D, and you get distortions when you try tracking shots and pans at above a certain speed. Secondary sound equipment is an absolute must, same with some other basic equipment which should be obvious, a much larger SD card than the default and a few extra batteries. It will also be a good idea to get some other lenses and a converter for the camera as the stock lens leaves something to be desired in many cases and, as Tommy said, there are focusing issues when shooting in video.
Have you ever shot before? Done any photography? I got a 7D as I do rather a lot of photography, and it was a very nice compromise between video and photo. In any case, as House of Leaves pointed out, you probably shouldn’t spend more than $1.000 on a camera (and a 5D I believe is around 2.500-3.500 depending on the lens, &c.) if this is your first, assuming you have no experience in photo/film. Start low and move higher as needed.
By comparison however, I know a lot of film school students who are shooting on 5 and 7D’s. As long as you’re aware of the issues, you can still make some nice work.
Thanks for the info guys. It really gives me a lot to think about, but at least now I have enough decent info to make a good decision on how I will shoot my project.
Shoot it on your phone.
The point is that it really doesn’t matter what format you shoot in. The process is going to be rewarding even if the result only looks like someone practicing at film-making (though really, when do you stop practicing?). You just make the medium work for you, find a way to make it serve the idea.
If it’s a feature, i would never shoot a feature on a DSLR.
Keep in mind with a DSLR too you’ll want lenses at least 3-4 (only makes sense cuz thats whole reason to use a DSLR)
and you’d want fast prime lenses odds are … because im assuming you dont have a light kit yet?
I’d prefer (on a budget) shooting a feature on a DVX100. (The Puffy Chair, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, In Vanda’s Room Colossal Youth)
or the HVX200 (Baghead, Cloverfield, Medicine For Melancholy)
With a DSLR you’ll NEED an audio recorder (like a Zoom h1 or higher) with mic. They dont even have headphone jacks, DSLRs …
Audio should be your concern over picture quality. PLEASE make it your concern. Great image + crappy audio means nothing to anyone.
If you have the budget in December the Panasonic AF101 comes out, which is going to change the indie film market completely (even if you just rent it) …
but yeah … that’s my 2 cents, if there’s anything else you need suggestions with let me know (like audio/lights/etc) I’ll give my advice for what its worth
Also DSLRs suffer from jelloing/rolling shutter and Aliasing. Ugly things that matter if you plan to show your video anywhere other than youtube/vimeo
(oh and the AF101 will require lenses too, but those are also rentable)
and if you rent look country wide who will ship to you, its often cheaper than anything local
@JP. SCHMIDT Alright thanks for the info, I guess I’ll wait ‘til December to see what Panasonic is bringing to the table. And from what I understand, I also need to step my budget up a notch. I’ll see what I can do, & once again thanks for the info.
If it gives you any confidence (for what my word is worth) I own a HVX200 + a lens adapter and i plan on selling both to get the new AF101 :)
It’ll be a poor man’s RED camera, and will dent the RED market (as will sony’s competitor for the AF101 that is still in prototype now)
I agree with most of the people here.
Is your screenplay for a short film or something which takes more time?
DSLRs are fun but you need 4 prime lenses at least. Focus will be the most prominent issue. Never take a photo zoom lens (which comes in the Kit with the cameras) unless you have more experience.
The 5D is still the best choice. The 7D costs half, so I took this one to spend more on the lenses. But the 7D and 60D and 55D have the same cropped sensor.
Dito on audio issues, dito on stabilizing the camera (so buy a fat tripod and a glide cam rig right away), dito on “tearing” when the camera moves too fast or the characters jump.
Get a DSLR, if you plan on making a lot of stills on the set. For this puropose they are excellent. The film mode is still only a gimmick.
Sony has a Video-Camera with 2 fat changeable lenses now. I saw it on sale in Europe.
^the new Sony doesnt have XLR inputs nor 24p, only 30p .. im not a fan personally
it is only $2,000 compared to the AF100/101 ($4700) but yea.
30p is fine, particularly if whatever it is you shoot is destined for Vimeo. If you’re outputting to film, sure, 24p is a real consideration, but really, how often is that happening? That being said, I have to wonder who Sony imagines the market for this VG-10 camera to be? Shooters are insistent on progressive frame rates, and Canon and Panasonic have that issued well-covered. I don’t know what Sony is thinking.
I’ve shot plenty of material with the 5D and am consulting with a very large media corp about using these for production. I’m also prepping a feature combining 5D’s and 7D’s.
That said, I’m a working DP with many years experience. My advice is if you’re starting out, keep your focus on the actors and the story. Hire a camera man who’s starting out and can give his full attention to the myriad technical details of the camera. I mean, do you intend on doing your own surround sound audio mix? Wouldn’t you hire someone more knowledgeable in that area to do that for you?
Perhaps it would make more sense to have a less expensive camera (Panasonic GH-2) just to to get you some “stick time” behind a camera. But if your goal is a cohesive, well told story, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice by complicating production with equipment you have little to no experience with. That is not to suggest you are not a competent, capable person. Production is an environment where someone who is not completely focused can easily miss the mark on the subtleties that create a believable, moving scene.
Just one man’s opinion.
Bill Totolo, this is what these damn cameras have wrought: everyone becomes a one-man band, and everyone imagines himself to be Chris Doyle.
@ Caoimhin, true, or Robert Rodriguez.
I think so long as you’re aware of the issues (and know what you’re buying the camera for) it really doesen’t matter what you get. The first rule of film/ photo production is knowing what your limitations are. Pretty much all DSLR’s in video mode have the issues posited above, so just keep that in mind when you’re coming up with stuff to film. Just buy a decent camera (which 5 and 7D’s are, regardless of the bashing going on above) and do what you can with it. When you decide to prosecute other ventures, buy, rent or find financing for something more appropriate. For your first pro-sumer-ish (do DSLR’s still count as “pro-sumer?”) camera, a 5D or a 7D is more than adequate.
As for the rest, film is a cooperative venture. Animation, alright, you could theoretically do on your own. “Traditional film” however requires actors at the very least, so why not just go and get someone who knows what they’re doing with sound etc. while you’re at it (if you can, otherwise you’ll have to bumble your way through it on your own)? That seems obvious. About all you can truly make yourself are music videos, mashups and other YouTube material. That stuff isn’t bad, but we’re talking about creative film making here. In any case, all this has more to do with the art of movie production rather than the technics of the motion picture camera. I don’t even see why this should enter the question, really. The man was asking for camera advice.
Regardless, we’re talking about amateur (i.e. non-professional, not “poor quality”) and very low-level professional procutions here (let’s not kid ourselves). If you’re looking to get into film making as a craft, you should try getting a job with a studio and making some connections.
Bill Totolo, I will take a look at this Panasonic GH-2 (Panasonic seems to be getting a lot of praise from the independent film-making crowd). Anonymouse, I will also take into consideration hiring someone who knows what their doing. The thing is, I’m on a real shoestring of a budget & I highly doubt I can afford a decent cinematographer. I’m meeting up with a independent film producer in a couple of weeks & who knows, hopefully he’ll help me ease on down with my financial problems and just let me focus on my creative problems. Once again, thanks to everyone for all the responses.
By the way, I just looked up this Chris Doyle guy & I’m very surprised I didn’t hear about this guy until now. Chungking Express, Paranoid Park, & Hero were all great movies.
Decide on a good format for your project, and then hire a pro shooter with gear and lighting. You will get good images, and it will be one thing less on your plate.
You can then concentrate on directing, and talking to him/her about the images. If you look, you can find such a person these days, given the economy.
Also, get some production assistants. Don’t make it you and 3 other people. It’ll kill you and them.
Thirdly, feed everyone well. Good food on a set makes even the longest days go by.
Fourthly, prepare everything. Storyboard, storyboard, know your shots, and your dialogue.
Have fun, and good luck.
(edit) There is nothing wrong with getting your actors (and anyone else who isn’t immediately doing anything) to play a double role. Get them to push a dolly if you need someone. (/edit)
Claus Harding, what are your opinions on using actors as personal assistants? As in when some actors aren’t on screen, they can help me out on the behind the scenes.
Sure, 30p is fine but a $2,000 should not, not have 24p :p that’s ridiculous.