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Can I ever get a professional look from a High-End Consumer HD Camcorder?


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#1 joshuajohnson

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 03:31 PM

Can I ever get a professional look or feel from a Consumer HD Camcorder? I am using the Sony HDR-HC7 and the image quality is amazing. The only problem is that it still looks like a cheesy home movie so far. Are there any lighting techniques or just anything in general that can help me get a good quality, professional, movie look/feel from this camcorder? Another question is what is the main difference between this and a $5,000 HD Prosumer camcorder? How can those camcorders look like an actual movie and mine can't? - or can it? I guess that's the question...
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#2 Thomas James

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 04:33 PM

The secret to getting a professional film look with a consumer high definition video camera is to get a progressive scan 24p or 30p HD camcorder. The Canon HV20 or the JVC GR-HD1 are both good choices for that film look. Your Sony is an interlaced camera but it probably has a cine frame mode that can produce a film like look. A $5000 camera like the Panasonic HVX-200 can shoot progressive at 60 frames per secound for good slow motion playback.
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#3 Matthew Buick

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 04:40 PM

I would imagine some of the quality difference is because of the fact the professional HD cameras have three chips, one for red, one for green and one for blue. Your camera will have only one.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 12:22 AM

Higher end camera lend some of the look to the footage but the big thing is that movies are shot with a crew and lighting. Without the people operating the camera properly and lighting the scene attractively the camera, no matter how expensive, is nothing.
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#5 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 08:23 AM

Higher end camera lend some of the look to the footage but the big thing is that movies are shot with a crew and lighting. Without the people operating the camera properly and lighting the scene attractively the camera, no matter how expensive, is nothing.


This is a good post. I'm a relative newbie when it comes to cinematography and when I used to shoot shorts I wouldn't care about anything more than how I framed shots. Now that I'm reading and experimenting heavily with lighting the "production value" of my shorts have skyrocketed.

I suggest you read and experiment as much as you can with lighting. Once you see the benefits that some decent lighting can give you'll never go back and wonder how you shot anything before that. And I'm not talking solely about lamps and kits. It's also how you use natural light, reflectors, etc.

Edited by Jamie Lewis, 09 July 2007 - 08:24 AM.

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#6 will griffith

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 10:52 AM

1 - Again...Light it well.
2 - If you haven't already, turn off auto white balance, exposure, and focus.
Use what manual controls are available to get a consistent shot.
3 - Record audio off camera to a professional recording device. (and learn how to slate + sync sound)
4 - Experiment(Practice). Experiment(Practice). Experiment(Practice).
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#7 Adamo P Cultraro

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 12:02 AM

IMHO you can light all you want but if you aren't filiming at 24p/30p your stuff will look like video, plain and simple.
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#8 ross e lea

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:12 PM

In my experience with using DVX and HVX up the wazoo for projects,etc. I've found that there are so many factors beyond what I ever
thought that accomplishes this "making HD portray that film look" which is basically the direction that some of Hollywood is going because
of greater digital advancements.

[And its NOT just 24p dependant!!!]

In all my conclusions and tests you've got to take into account many things: (these are in order to what I think is the most important)

1. the camera's color and information reading ability (I dont even consider anything that doesn't have 3chip, thus close as you can to 4:4:4)

2. lighting, lighting, and lighting!!!!! (once you've got a sufficient camera, I believe this to be most important aspect to your "look")(I really believe
that equally or MORE important as using 24p, the way that film just simply looks and responds to a picture is in the way it responds to light and color) lighting
HAS to good!...
which brings us to point 3.

3. the way the camera reads and records light values (video is very harsh and realistic; film is very soft and reads light/colors with so much more complexity)
I've seen quite of few pieces shot with a non-24p camera that looked tons better than many DVX or HVX stuff out there because of doing such a fantastic
job at studying the scene and doing great lighting!

4. progressive scan (reading the image non-interlaced is certainly another factor that helps create a dream-like movement in your footage; video just simply
moves differently whether its 24p or not (the camera isn't really processing it at true 24p anyway)
...and it moves differntly especially if you start panning or whippin the camera around...it'll make it look like a documentary very quick.)
which brings us to point 5.

5. camera movement and composition (very smooth and professional shots will do nothing but help the feel and quality of how "film-like" the shot will be. and,
as I said...you want to avoid fast movements with HD or any video camera....unless you're trying to achieve
that "documentary" look....which is fine if thats what you're going for; otherwise, go for well thought out, smooth shots. like using dollies, steadicams, or just
not moving the camera at all.

anyway....thats my two cents. but call me bias to film.....because I hate "trying to spray cologne on a turd to make it smell better"

to really get a "solid" result out of any non-film source, the kinda setups that can even get kinda close are ones that non of us poor film makers can afford...
so just stick with what will make you happy and take the load off of the cologne-turd battle,....FILM!
besides you can rent something like a bolex EBM or Eclair ACL for much less a day than a big fancy HD camera. then by the time you buy and develop film you've
spent about the same amount of money anyway....so DUH.

but again...just my opinion!

Edited by ross e lea, 30 November 2007 - 08:17 PM.

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