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camera for first feature film


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#1 sean tong

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 10:16 AM

i have been working with the sony pd170 for the past 2 years on a few short films and am looking into getting HD cams for the first feature film. budget's going to be pretty tight though, looking at 10k.

any advice on giving up on my pd170 and getting a HD cam? I was looking at either the sony fx1 or the panasonic hvx200. will my investment in a new cam be worthwhile? or should i just stick with the pd170 for the low budget?

still pretty much new to all these. please advice. thanks to all =)
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#2 Stas Tagios

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 06:14 PM

i have been working with the sony pd170 for the past 2 years on a few short films and am looking into getting HD cams for the first feature film. budget's going to be pretty tight though, looking at 10k.

any advice on giving up on my pd170 and getting a HD cam? I was looking at either the sony fx1 or the panasonic hvx200. will my investment in a new cam be worthwhile? or should i just stick with the pd170 for the low budget?

still pretty much new to all these. please advice. thanks to all =)


IMHO, the HVX200 offers a wider variety of features than the Sony, including more variable frame rates (12, 12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, 36, 48, 60fps), true progressive HD recording (at both 1080 and 720), and a manual zoom (disengagble from the servo). Working with P2 cards requires a bit of a shift in workflow if you're used to shooting to tape, and you'd likely want to have at leat three p2 cards, and perhaps a p2 store hard drive to download your clips to in the field.

The new Sony (HVR-V1U) is apparently able to shoot true progressive 24p, but you're still dealing with HDV's 15 GOP codec, which according to most reports, causes noticable artifacting when there's a lot of motion in your frame.

Is your 10k your camera budget, or your whole feature budget? If it's your feature budget, a full HVX package wouldn't leave you a lot of money for everything else you need, like lights, audio gear, etc. Still, the image will be far superior and more robust to that of the PD170; you'll have frame independent HD resolution, variable frame rates, and 4:2:2 color sampling.
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#3 sean tong

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 06:29 PM

IMHO, the HVX200 offers a wider variety of features than the Sony, including more variable frame rates (12, 12, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, 36, 48, 60fps), true progressive HD recording (at both 1080 and 720), and a manual zoom (disengagble from the servo). Working with P2 cards requires a bit of a shift in workflow if you're used to shooting to tape, and you'd likely want to have at leat three p2 cards, and perhaps a p2 store hard drive to download your clips to in the field.

The new Sony (HVR-V1U) is apparently able to shoot true progressive 24p, but you're still dealing with HDV's 15 GOP codec, which according to most reports, causes noticable artifacting when there's a lot of motion in your frame.

Is your 10k your camera budget, or your whole feature budget? If it's your feature budget, a full HVX package wouldn't leave you a lot of money for everything else you need, like lights, audio gear, etc. Still, the image will be far superior and more robust to that of the PD170; you'll have frame independent HD resolution, variable frame rates, and 4:2:2 color sampling.


10k would be the entire feature's budget sad to say. the p2 cards look expensive i would say, comparing the prices to tapes.

if i was to go for the hvr-v1u, in which artifacting i hope, would be less of a worry cause the film's not exactly going to have pretty much fast camera movement, would a transfer to 35mm be possible? or rather would it be looking okay? so it would be safe to conclude that ill be chucking the pd170 away den? (if i was to compare image quality)
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#4 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 06:33 PM

10k would be the entire feature's budget sad to say. the p2 cards look expensive i would say, comparing the prices to tapes.

if i was to go for the hvr-v1u, in which artifacting i hope, would be less of a worry cause the film's not exactly going to have pretty much fast camera movement, would a transfer to 35mm be possible? or rather would it be looking okay? so it would be safe to conclude that ill be chucking the pd170 away den? (if i was to compare image quality)


It's possible to transfer to 35mm but since your budget is only 10k then I don't think that's going to happen unless by some chance you either get more money or it gets picked up for distribution. I think your deciding factor is going to be what you want to do with this feature?

Kev
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#5 sean tong

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:13 PM

It's possible to transfer to 35mm but since your budget is only 10k then I don't think that's going to happen unless by some chance you either get more money or it gets picked up for distribution. I think your deciding factor is going to be what you want to do with this feature?

Kev


oh my concerns about 35mm were just secondary. as for wad ill do with the feature, probably dvd releases and really hopefully, picked up for the big screens. i was trying to get a camera in which ill be able to use in the long term. my past experiences with the pd170 making short films were nice but not exactly satisfying in terms of image quality.

ive looked at the possibility of renting cameras/equipment but there isnt much choice around here. image quality wise how would the hvr-v1u compare with the hvx200?
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 09:56 AM

If you've only got $10k as a budget, I'd go with the camera you've already got and use the money on production values rather than worrying about the camera.

You'll have to feed people (a film crew, like an army marches on its stomach and nothing kills a low budget shoot more than poor catering), perhaps hire extra lights, costumes etc., plus numerous other items. The budget will speak for itself, cost everything out in detail.
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#7 Tim Tyler

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 11:01 AM

i have been working with ...


Sean,

This forum requires that you use your first and last name as a display name.

You can update yours at http://www.cinematog...ODE=dname_start
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#8 sean tong

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:51 PM

Sean,

This forum requires that you use your first and last name as a display name.

You can update yours at http://www.cinematog...ODE=dname_start


my aplogies. edited already =)
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#9 Gavin Greenwalt

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:03 AM

Spend the money on Food and other production expenditures. When you're looking for DPs, grips and operators, ask if you can use their equipment. In the indie field you'll probably find more crew memebers with DVX and XL2 kits than you'll know what to do with and both produce more than satisfactory images.

Besides who'd turn down the chance to play with their own gear when there's free food in the equation? ;)

Edited by Gavin Greenwalt, 01 November 2006 - 06:04 AM.

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#10 Kevin Masuda

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 05:31 PM

Where are you located Sean? If you are in California, I own a DVX package and might be able to help you.

Kev
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#11 sean tong

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 03:00 PM

Spend the money on Food and other production expenditures. When you're looking for DPs, grips and operators, ask if you can use their equipment. In the indie field you'll probably find more crew memebers with DVX and XL2 kits than you'll know what to do with and both produce more than satisfactory images.

Besides who'd turn down the chance to play with their own gear when there's free food in the equation? ;)


honestly my equation is pretty badly formed and my previous works were camera loans from the school. which has been the pd170. take a look at my previous production's quality here. doubt im going to use the same camera again. <_<

done by 3 people. so yea, my crew's pretty darn limited.

Where are you located Sean? If you are in California, I own a DVX package and might be able to help you.

Kev


ah thanks so much kevin for the kind thought. but im pretty far away. in Singapore. rentals here are really expensive and there isnt much support going around. Personally still struggling with budget :( .but thanks aniwaes.
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#12 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:05 PM

Successful low budget features have been made with cameras in the same class as the PD170. Spend the money on production values, the audience doesn't care which cameras you use if you've got a good script and good acting. Worry about those things rather than the camera.
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#13 sean tong

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 05:06 AM

Successful low budget features have been made with cameras in the same class as the PD170. Spend the money on production values, the audience doesn't care which cameras you use if you've got a good script and good acting. Worry about those things rather than the camera.


yeah. working along this line now. would be more or less sticking to the pd 170. unless something good pops up. in the midst of perfecting the script. thanks to all :)
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