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If you could use just ONE camera....


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#1 J.Hurt

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 07:59 PM

I'm a Director that's worked mostly with film and it looks like I will soon be directing a doc. I wanted to get everyones opinion on what kind of camera they would use. There will be lots of travleling in and out of the United States. Price is not a problem.

Thanks for your time,

Jon
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:00 PM

Price is not a problem.


OK, 65mm then...
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#3 J.Hurt

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:12 PM

I guess I should be a little more specific... I'm used to shooting on film, but on this doc, I will be shooting on Digital. I would like to get opinions on what each of you would use if you could have any digital camera. The actual size of the camera is an issue also, so if you could have one mini camera and one larger sized camera.. what would they be?

Thanks again,

Jon
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#4 Matt Graff

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:31 PM

OK, 65mm then...


Yeah I am with David :D
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#5 Eric Steelberg ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:52 PM

Thompson Viper with Zeiss Digizooms, recording to a Sony SRW1.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 10:10 PM

I think the question has to be a LOT more specific, like size of crew, how portable the equipment has to be, etc.

I mean, it's a doc, after all, so you're probably not going to want to deal with a big cumbersome rig, or even a separate camera / recorder system -- you're probably thinking of camcorders, right (cameras with built-in recorders)? So that limits the choices right off the bat.

Quality-wise, going to separate hard drives or a HDCAM-SR deck from a Viper or F950 would be nice, or even better, something like the Arri-D20 or Genesis (although that does have a built-on recorder), but none of that seems suitable for doc work with a small crew.

Seems more likely that you should be looking at either the Panasonic Varicam or Sony F900.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:12 PM

Seems more likely that you should be looking at either the Panasonic Varicam or Sony F900.



Since we're talking doc and smaller crew here, I would think that a Varicam and an HVX would be a good large cam/small cam pair that would fit his requirements. Certainly knowing a bit more about the project would help (specifics like avoiding HDCam shooting if you're, say, shooting in the hot, humid amazon in the summer...), but that's my two-cents based on what we know.
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#8 J.Hurt

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:43 PM

Here's a little more about the project... I've signed a non-dislosure agreement so I can't really give away too many details, but here's some basics... I will be traveling to Africa, Europe, and all over the States. The crew will grow as the weeks and months go on. This project looks like it will take at the minimum 2 years and at the maximum 5. I also will need to purchase many mini-dv cams, which will be givin to some of the films participants. I wanna keep a fairly small crew to start off, I'm thinking around 4 to 5, but I'm not sure yet.

-Jon
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 11:55 PM

I'd probably get a Panasonic Varicam -- it's lighter than an F900 for one thing, the tapes are physically smaller, etc.

I suppose you could consider something new and less tested like the XDCAM HD Sony cameras that record to disks, but I would feel safer with something more supported worldwide.

If you are going to shoot in HD, I'm not sure that the P2 system of the HVX200 makes much sense for a travelling documentary unless you have the time to download P2 cards during the day or at night to hard drives. I'd almost prefer the Canon XLH1 in that situation except that you'd have to deal with the different HD standard in post if your main camera was the Varicam. That's the advantage of the HVX200, being able to shoot 720P in DVCPROHD like the Varicam does.
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#10 Sasuke

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 12:45 PM

Consider your environment. Changing weather conditions. Rainy Europe. Hot/dry, hot/humid
Africa. American Hurricanes, floods. The Aaton XTR. Sure there are some rugged video cameras
out there, but no that many. If your shooting location is not extremely humid or freezing cold, then
go with a Panasonic DVX100. You don't have to spend too much on a camera.
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#11 Tom Bays

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 12:51 PM

go with the XD Cam if your project is 2-5 years out.
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#12 Dan Goulder

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 04:01 PM

Here's a little more about the project... I've signed a non-dislosure agreement so I can't really give away too many details

I would try to advise you, but I too have signed a non-disclosure agreement.
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#13 Hans Engstrom

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 12:02 AM

You said that price is not a problem but sure it must be a factor? Considering the cost of Varicam I´d go for HDX900 instead and perhaps a HVX200 as the 2nd camera. Why I´m writing perhaps is because of the point David is making with the P2 cards.

Edited by Hans Engstrom, 01 August 2006 - 12:05 AM.

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#14 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 02:23 AM

If your going w/ mini dv and I'm assuming you'll be using SD as opposed to HDV, I would go with JVC GY-5000 as you can use both mini dv and dv cam. I LOVE this camera as it looks, feels and has the features of a high end professional digital camera. It has 3-1/2in ccd's (as opposed to the Canon XL-2 which has 1/3 in ccd's) and a low-lux mode as well as a mode for recording computers screens. If your going w/ HDV, Sony just came out with a HDV camera that records on mini dv tapes but I've never personally used one. As I recall though, it did get good reviews and Sony makes good cameras. As for small mini dv cams, I'd go w/ Cannon GL-2's, but if you want REALLLLY small go w/ Elura's or a Sony Handicam.
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