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HD Digital Camercorders for a TV Pilot?


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#1 CJ Henke III

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 12:06 PM

Ok here is the jist,
I plan on shooting a TV Pilot over the summer and I do not know what the current TV industry is using on-set.
Lets say I have a limited budget of $10,000 and under for everything [mics, lights, actors, etc.]
Can someone tell me what cameras I should be looking at to rent or buy? I want to shoot in HD and I already have two JVC-GRHD1 (not the best), but I was wondering what will give my pilot the best potential to sell? Which means that it has to look good.

And just as a side question, I plan on editing digitally in FCP or Premiere CS3 and I don't want to rent 2 cameras and not be able to dump my footage to edit. Originally I just wanted two HVX-200's and I thought those would be fine.


Thanks for the help,
CJ
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 01:19 PM

The answer depends who your planned broadcaster might be, because some (eg Discovery and the BBC) don't accept HDV for Hi Def except as a small precentage of the running time.

However, if you aren't planning to transmit your pilot, I suspect you can be a bit more relaxed.
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#3 Troy Warr

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 03:06 PM

If you're shooting in a studio, you might consider buying/renting a couple of HDV cameras with HDMI-out, and plugging in to a central PC with a pair of Blackmagic Intensity cards. Using the included On-Air software:

http://blackmagic-de...tensity/on-air/

you'll be able to bypass the in-camera MPEG-2 compression to record direct-to-disk with the codec of your choice. That would be a nice bump up in quality, very affordable ($500 for the pair of PCI cards), and would also give you some software for live mixing.
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#4 CJ Henke III

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 04:31 PM

What type of digital camcorders are currently being used in the industry for such shows as Entourage, Sopranos, One Tree Hill, etc.

I plan on shooting all day, then dumping and editing at night. The pilot length is going to be 47mins, 50mins, or 59min, depending on what the standard 1 hour show is. I am looking to shoot the pilot for networks such as, HBO, ShowTime, or The WB.

More input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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#5 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

I don't know about 'Entourage', but 'The Sopranos' is 35mm and 'One Tree Hill' is Super 16mm.

In the UK, HD dramas usually shoot on Sony F750's or Varicams. They are the cheapest professional HD camcorders available. Next step up would be the F900. Above that, the Thomson Viper, Arri D20 etc. Probably a little too expensive for episodic TV.

If you're shooting a pilot and funding it yourself (as opposed to having been commissioned by a Network) then I would have thought that HDV would be good enough. If a Network likes it, they'll probably have you remake it anyway.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:42 PM

"Entourage" and "Sopranos" are shot in 35mm, as is most of HBO's dramatic programming.

You shoot the pilot as best as you can with the best equipment you can afford reasonably with your tight budget -- what else can you do anyway?
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#7 CJ Henke III

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 02:10 PM

"Entourage" and "Sopranos" are shot in 35mm, as is most of HBO's dramatic programming.

You shoot the pilot as best as you can with the best equipment you can afford reasonably with your tight budget -- what else can you do anyway?



Thanks for the input. That is what I am going to do.
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