In search for my FIRST camera
Posted 13 April 2008 - 01:23 AM
Being new and all, I don't know which kind of camera to buy or look into, so I'm here for help as to what kind of camera i should get as a beginner to test out, and get a good understanding of filming.
I would really appreciate responses.
Thank you for the time.
Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:31 AM
From the point of view of learning, a camera that you can use manually will teach you a lot more than a fully automatic camera.
Posted 13 April 2008 - 07:13 AM
I learned using a Chinon 1206SM Super8 movie camera.
I also learned a lot from my Bell and Howell Filmo 70DL
Both great cameras, but the Chinon is nowhere near as solidly built as the Bell and Howell, and needs near constant maintenance to be kept in shooting strength.
Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:40 AM
i am willing to spend around 700-900 and maybe 1000 bucks on a camera .
i will check out the camera from the latest reply.
thanks bryan and nate.
Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:36 AM
Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:06 AM
Posted 14 April 2008 - 09:21 AM
I'd HIGHLY recommend avoiding video as a first camera even though it is the cheapest way to shoot, because it develops bad habits and if you do get serious, you're gonna want to learn film anyway and you'll never get what you paid for the camera after as little as 6 months.
I'll throw in another point of view: Get a video camera AND a 35mm still camera. That's how I learned. You learn the basics of photography (exposure, focus, shutterspeed, film processing) with the still camera, and get to practice storytelling and filmmaking techniques with the video camera. What you learn from one helps infom the other.
Just because newer and better video cameras come out every year doesn't mean the "old" video cameras stop working! There are plenty of DVX100's still ticking away. It's an investment in the education, not the hardware.
Posted 14 April 2008 - 11:33 AM
Posted 14 April 2008 - 12:10 PM
Posted 14 April 2008 - 03:59 PM
If I were to recommend a specific camera on your budget, I'd say go with the Canon HV20.
I would 100% disagree with this. The HV20 does not have full manual control capability, which means he will not learn with it. He can make decent looking results, sure, but when he has to move to a higher-end piece of equipment, he won't know anything about how the systems work. Going for a consumer camera like the HV20 is a surefire way to teach bad habits and will not give him the skill set needed for professional work later on in his career. I speak from experience here.
Posted 14 April 2008 - 04:12 PM
I'm not suggesting taking the HV20 and trying to shoot just with that but you can as long as you keep the iris in manual and use ND filters to take the light down. However, the HV20 alone will be nothing more than a basic acquisition tool to learn lighting with once you rate it. It won't be good for actual production. but as long as it has manual focus and manual iris controls, that's really all you need to attach it to a Letus35. I know that they make one specifically for this camera.
Edited by Michael LaVoie, 14 April 2008 - 04:13 PM.
Posted 15 April 2008 - 12:07 AM
i will look into all these cameras, especially the Canon HV20. thanks a lot!. haha.
gotta get started in my cinematography career.
Posted 15 April 2008 - 04:18 AM
You can use a lightmeter for video, but the video responds differently than film and it is not an exact correlation. I think starting out with video can make it harder to learn film later down the line. By starting out with film and learning the principles of photography, you will develop a stronger understanding of image control and exposure and you can apply these techniques to digital as well (with some changes of course).
If you know how to expose film, it is true that color negative film is more forgiving than digital. This is because it has more latitude. This is why I recommend getting a 35mm fully manual SLR still camera (for a couple hundred bucks with lens) and shoot with black and white reversal (Slide Film). Get an incident lightmeter (you can get the sekonic studio deluxe II for about $100, fully manual). And get a slide projector from ebay for about $100. The reason I recommend B&W Slide film is because it is very unforgiving. You have to nail your exposure to get a usable image. The lab doesn't make any corrections to these slide films so if you make a mistake you will know and learn from it. B&W is helpful because you can develop an eye for different levels of brightness and how they are rendered without color adding to the confusion. Then when you master this, try shooting with some color slide film. It is also good that they are slides because you will see your work projected large like a theatrical movie. This will make it much easier to identify focus errors. It is amazing to me how something can look sharp on a monitor, but when projected can be pretty soft.
If you can master this, you will be much better at understanding photography. This setup is also pretty cheap, we're talking about 400 bucks total. The HV20 with the adapter, lenses, follow focus, mattebox, filters, etc. is going to cost WAY more than what you have a budget for and I personally don't think it would be worth the money. In addition to a still camera, you would still have enough money left over to get a cheap video camera to practice composition, movement, whatever you can't learn from a still camera, etc...
I am not giving you this advice to promote film as a superior medium. Digital and film are tools and both can be useful for different applications. It wouldn't make sense to shoot COPS on 65mm any more than it would make sense to shoot Lawrence of Arabia on miniDV. Perhaps that analogy is not quite appropriate, but I digress. What I am trying to say is that when you start out, it is important to develop a discipline and to be methodical about what you do. When you reach a certain level of success as a cinematographer, you will be working with fairly high end cameras. Film cameras have always been pretty much the same: a box with a lens that moves film through it. Video is not so simple. Until very recently, video has been designed for soaps, news, sports etc... so the cameras were not really meant to have any correlation to film style shooting. Now with 24P HiDef people are shooting feature films on video. The initial problem with this was that these new cameras were still basically ENG cameras which made it difficult for them to fit into the world of movie making. But now, camera companies are coming out with high end digital cameras based on the principles of traditional cinestyle shooting. Developers are continually trying to make these cameras look and behave like film. These cameras may not look like film, but they more closely resemble a film camera than a consumer HD camera.
Posted 15 April 2008 - 08:42 AM
The advantage you'll have in seeing your results immediately on HD with a monitor is also key. It's not the crutch some folks might assert it to be, however in terms of learning a useful skill set that you can apply to film, you must rate the camera and meter your lights. The same way you would with film. Whether youre using film or video, your eye is always there and you must learn to really see light and it's values, quality, quantity, color etc. Every once in a while, when you feel more comfortable, try lighting with just your eye and your meter and then plug in monitor and see how well you did.
Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:33 PM
In response to using a lightmeter, it is true that you can use a lightmeter with video. You need to know what the ISO of your camera is in order to do this. The problem is that there are many variables that affect the sensitivity of the camera: Gain, Whitebalance, and even changes in lighting can affect these consumer cameras. Changes in lighting are not supposed to affect the speed of your camera when in manual but for some reason they do. In order to properly rate your camera you need to have a waveform monitor and an 18% grey card. And then there is a process that I won't go into at this time about how to come up with your speed.