Jump to content


Photo

mini DV for documentary?


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 05 February 2007 - 10:44 PM

Hello. Do you think that a consumer level mini DV (Canon Elura $500 approx) would be too low end for documentary footage? My guess is that I need a better camera. I plan to intersperse 16mm shots in places. Thank you for any advice.

-Duncan
  • 0

#2 Chris Durham

Chris Durham
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • New York, NY

Posted 06 February 2007 - 12:07 AM

It kind of depends on what your subject matter is. I'm working on a documentary on renaissance festivals and I've got to be able to record performances on stage, talking head interviews, general coverage, etc, and be able to shoot indoors and outdoors. Requires a pretty versatile camera. Also, you really have to consider sound. A consumer-level camera will with a mic on the front will have terrible sound. It will pick up background noise, wind, and have limited range. You want something with XLR inputs. That is, unless you intent to record sound with another device. Of course, don't let equipment limitations limit you from going out and making something. Just be aware of the challenges you'll face going in so you're not kicking yourself later.

The other thing to think about is your shooting schedule. If you can't afford a higher end camera because of the initial layout you might consider renting. Figure out how many days of shooting you have. If you have fewer than 20 days shooting it may very well be less expensive to rent a prosumer camera (DVX100, XL2) and all the extras you need for less than the cost of purchasing. Before I started shooting for my doc, I laid out a preliminary schedule and figured out that I'd have in the neighborhood of 25-30 shooting days at various locations over the course of a year, and various other projects in between so it made sense for me to purchase. For you, it may not. And of course if you're looking at a $500 camera I imagine you have a pretty low budget. Anyway, food for thought.
  • 0

#3 Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 06 February 2007 - 01:40 AM

I do plan to record sound separately, but will go with a prosumer model like the DVX100. I'm quite new to this field & wasn't sure if my little camera could 'cut it'. Thank you for your response.

Duncan
  • 0

#4 John Train

John Train

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 06 February 2007 - 02:03 AM

I do plan to record sound separately, but will go with a prosumer model like the DVX100. I'm quite new to this field & wasn't sure if my little camera could 'cut it'. Thank you for your response.

Duncan


I have the Canon Elura 100. It is a great little camera with a powerful zoom and a weak microphone. I have been looking into purchasing some sort of external microphone but I have had no luck so far. I have made a few short documentary-ish films with my Elura and they all turned out well. The main thing here is the sound. Also, you may want to look into purchasing a steadycam, maybe from steadycam.org. I just got one from there so maybe you should too. What's the use in spending $600 bucks on a steadycam when you can spend around $53 for one just as good. If you are going to use the full zoom capability on your Elura then you should also get a tripod for further stabilization. Good luck with your documentary.
  • 0

#5 Duncan McDougall

Duncan McDougall
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 06 February 2007 - 03:20 AM

I have also been 'terrorized' by camera mics in the past. Eventually, I began recording sound separately to ensure quality. It's important to place the mic as close to the source as possible without compromising the shot. I don't know enough about mics to advise you, but think there is a related sound forum that could help. I use an ancient Sennheiser mic that could double as a dinosaur fossil.

Yes, I have looked at steadycam.org before and was impressed with Mr. Lee's creation. The demo videos look good for such an inexpensive item.

Duncan
  • 0

#6 Chris Durham

Chris Durham
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 290 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • New York, NY

Posted 06 February 2007 - 10:31 AM

I'm using a pair of Audio Technica shotguns that I think were around $280 each. I also use a Sennheiser UHF lav when I'm doing a talking head with 1 person. The shotguns are perfect though in most cases with the remote lav being used just when I want to get some distance from the subject and not worry about mics in the shot. If most of your subjects will be close to you (and close together if you're talking to 2 people), then a good shotgun will work wonderfully. The DVX has 2 XLR inputs if you're going that route.
  • 0


Technodolly

Opal

CineTape

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Opal

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

The Slider

Visual Products

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine