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#1 Jessica Scott

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:53 AM

Srry... abit much too read.

I'm in desperate need of a new camera- but b/4 we get down to buisness let me tell you about myself. I'm 15, a soph who just recently got accepted into a Media Productions class (they're really picky about who they accept, and even though I didn't finish ONE project in my previous class, they bumped me up anyway. There was only one other person from my class thats coming along. Pretty decent start I'd say. :D) I have a regular Panasonic camera. Nothing special. Settings include- defult. Thats it. You can't really customise it at all. Thats really all I got. No tripod. Nothing. Once I have a good camera I plan on saving up for Adobe After Affects and maybe Final Cut b/c I'm used to using it from my class.

In a way- you could say I understand alot about film... just in a stuplified way. I don't get all the lingo AT ALL but if I knew what they were trying to do I'd catch on almost immediatly (I'm constantly told how annoying I get when "we" watch movies b/c all I do is pick apart the affects and camera shots! lol ). ANYWAYZ.....

I would like a camera I could mess around with, settings wise. I've been hearin some good reviews about the HDV20. (So far I'm leanin) I would really like the whole High Def. feature. Also something I could control the focas (Aperture right?). I've also been hearing about 35mm adapters but I'll look into that after I familiarize myself more with everything... What do you think? I just need a bit of advise- new member. Just happened upon these forms and realized just how much I don't know. Where do think I should start? Also, I can't exactly pull 2000 $ outta my butt (judgin I only get paid a good 100 a week) so if you could help me out with cost issues would be GREAT! :D Please help!
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#2 Tom Norris

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:04 AM

Definitely get an HD camcorder... the Panasonic HVX200 is a good place to start, cause it allows you to shoot 24p in 16:9 anamorphic (widescreen), and its a cheap camera -- I've seen them go on ebay for $800 and less.

As to whether to invest in a 35mm adapter.. its just really whether you want a 'cinema' look when shooting digital. The Letus35 is a cool adapter to start with, but its like $700 (something like that), plus you need a lens to use and the better the lens, the more it costs (bad lens = bad image).
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#3 Nate Downes

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:19 AM

Pick up a Super8 film camera from a local flea market. Check to see if it has a manual exposure meter. Buy a light meter. Buy a roll of Super8 film every so often and shoot something.
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#4 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 07:30 AM

Definitely get an HD camcorder... the Panasonic HVX200 is a good place to start, cause it allows you to shoot 24p in 16:9 anamorphic (widescreen), and its a cheap camera -- I've seen them go on ebay for $800 and less.

As to whether to invest in a 35mm adapter.. its just really whether you want a 'cinema' look when shooting digital. The Letus35 is a cool adapter to start with, but its like $700 (something like that), plus you need a lens to use and the better the lens, the more it costs (bad lens = bad image).


There's no chance of the Panasonic HVX200 being on Ebay for $800 and being legit. Jessica, don't buy a video camera off Ebay. Many scammers on there. You can get the HV20 for under $800 right now and there are specials going on all the time for less than that. Keep checking B&H's website for their specials.

Or you can do as Nate suggested and get an 8mm for dirt cheap and shoot film!

Edited by Jamie Lewis, 25 June 2008 - 07:30 AM.

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#5 Steve McBride

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 03:17 PM

In a way- you could say I understand alot about film... just in a stuplified way. I don't get all the lingo AT ALL but if I knew what they were trying to do I'd catch on almost immediatly (I'm constantly told how annoying I get when "we" watch movies b/c all I do is pick apart the affects and camera shots! lol ). ANYWAYZ.....

First of all, don't think this makes you special. Don't take this the wrong way, I was exactly the same (and I mean exactly the same) when I was your age (only four years ago) and if you keep feeling this way about yourself professors will not like you and you won't be able to really get anywhere (I know from experience).

Learn the "lingo" and how to do it right, that is one of the main things that I learned when I got into college. Also, anyone who has taken any sort of film related class will be able to pick apart movies simply because it is a very VERY easy thing to do.

Now that I have said that, look into a 3CCD SD camera instead of a budget HD camera. You're going to get a lot more flexability with the manual features on the cameras and you will be able to create more professional looking shots. My suggestion would be to go with a Panasonic DVX-100b, it's what I'm most likely getting, although I might spend a couple extra grand because I have a job and can afford it (that's another thing, film is VERY expensive, make sure you keep a job so you can get good equipment).

Also look into some basic lighting kits like a Lowel DV Creator kit to get you started and learn and experiment with three point lighting as that will set you apart from other kid's your age's movies.

Just remember, it isn't the money you spend on the camera, the camera can only do what you tell it to do. So study up before you shoot and always, ALWAYS do testing before trying something new for the first time, don't just assume you can because other people can (thats a nother thing I learned the hard way).

Good luck.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 03:21 PM

Learn the language and the theory while you practice on whatever camera system you can afford which allows you to manually change settings.
Show videos you've shot to anyone/everyone who will watch and ask for harsh criticism. Listen to everything they say, and then work out what you think they're right about and what you think they're wrong about.
Then shoot more.
Then shoot more.
Then shoot more.
Then. . .well you get the idea.

I thought I was the poop in highschool because I was working freelance here and there as a PA. Then one day, I realized, I wasn't the S...
And from then on out, I've been reading/learning/practicing/working as much as possible!


Best of luck!
~Adrian
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#7 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 05:06 PM

Another valuable thing to do is to find and convince a working professional Cameraman/woman near you to let you be their "assistant" (read: carry cases around, help out in any way they need on a shoot).

Watch this person closely and ask as many questions as you can without becoming annoying. Nearly every Cameraman out there will do things differently so if you can "intern" with more than one in your area, do it.

Experience like this not only lets you see how working professionals do their thing in real situations under real time and budget constraints, but you'll also get a sense of what life can really be like out their in the trenches.

The theories and by the book teachings of filmschools can be helpful, but you can only really learn the reality of how to shoot by going out and doing it. But start first by watching others if you can. Put in your time moving cases and carts around in order to put yourself into that environment. School can be helpful, but it will never be enough.

Good luck!
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#8 Jessica Scott

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:03 AM

First of all, don't think this makes you special. Don't take this the wrong way, I was exactly the same (and I mean exactly the same) when I was your age (only four years ago) and if you keep feeling this way about yourself professors will not like you and you won't be able to really get anywhere (I know from experience).

Learn the "lingo" and how to do it right, that is one of the main things that I learned when I got into college. Also, anyone who has taken any sort of film related class will be able to pick apart movies simply because it is a very VERY easy thing to do.

Now that I have said that, look into a 3CCD SD camera instead of a budget HD camera. You're going to get a lot more flexability with the manual features on the cameras and you will be able to create more professional looking shots. My suggestion would be to go with a Panasonic DVX-100b, it's what I'm most likely getting, although I might spend a couple extra grand because I have a job and can afford it (that's another thing, film is VERY expensive, make sure you keep a job so you can get good equipment).

Also look into some basic lighting kits like a Lowel DV Creator kit to get you started and learn and experiment with three point lighting as that will set you apart from other kid's your age's movies.

Just remember, it isn't the money you spend on the camera, the camera can only do what you tell it to do. So study up before you shoot and always, ALWAYS do testing before trying something new for the first time, don't just assume you can because other people can (thats a nother thing I learned the hard way).

Good luck.


Ha! I read back now and realize I did sound abit... cocky! lol No intention meant and no harm taken. :D
Thanks for your help. I've never really thought deeply about lighting but now that I have, I'll be sure to experiment. Thanks again!
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#9 Jessica Scott

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:06 AM

Pick up a Super8 film camera from a local flea market. Check to see if it has a manual exposure meter. Buy a light meter. Buy a roll of Super8 film every so often and shoot something.



May I ask what a light meter does and how it works? :D
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#10 Jessica Scott

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:08 AM

Definitely get an HD camcorder... the Panasonic HVX200 is a good place to start, cause it allows you to shoot 24p in 16:9 anamorphic (widescreen), and its a cheap camera -- I've seen them go on ebay for $800 and less.

As to whether to invest in a 35mm adapter.. its just really whether you want a 'cinema' look when shooting digital. The Letus35 is a cool adapter to start with, but its like $700 (something like that), plus you need a lens to use and the better the lens, the more it costs (bad lens = bad image).



The only reason I mentioned the 35mm adapter is because I really like the depth it gives. I'm not quite sure if you could control the focus similar to that on any other camera so I thought I'd throw it out there.
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#11 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:20 AM

May I ask what a light meter does and how it works? :D


A light meter is (either an analog or digital) device that takes a reading of the light in an area (or in the case of an incident meter, it takes the light reading on a subject.) Then with this light reading, you plug in the amount of light from the reading, along with the shutter speed of your film camera, and the ASA rating of your film and then your meter tells you what the proper exposure (f-stop) is. (ie 1.0, 1.4, 2.8, 5.6, 8, 11, etc.) This allows you to get perfect exposure on a film camera if you do it right.

I would recommend what Nate said and get a Super 8 camera with manual exposure (the Super 8 guys, including myself, could talk for hours on the subject of Super 8 and which camera to get, techniques to use, etc...you would have an excellent resource here for help with practially any camera you can imagine.) Even a fantastic Super 8 camera can be had for less than $500. Compare that with an HVX200 which will LEGITIMATELY cost you about $3-5k. Catridges of Super 8 film are $14 direct from Kodak and that gets you 2.5 minutes of footage if you shoot at industry standard 24fps.

One reason I recommend learning on film is because, contrary to popular belief, film is actually easier for a beginner to get good results from than digital. I would recommend shooting on Kodak's Vision2 500t stock because it is good for low-light and being a color negative stock, has a huge lattitude. Therefore, even if you make an exposure mistake, you will probably still get great results. Also, I found that it's easier to get free cast/crew if you shoot on film. Digital projects are a dime a dozen nowadays but film projects are getting scarce to come by. This defintely gives you an edge when looking for talent on Craigslist.

Some on here differ with my opinions and Brian Dzyak is one of them. He is a great AC and you could learn a lot from him. Unfortunately, he tends to neglect the fact that his greatest credit, POTC, was shot on film. ;)
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#12 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 02:34 AM

The only reason I mentioned the 35mm adapter is because I really like the depth it gives. I'm not quite sure if you could control the focus similar to that on any other camera so I thought I'd throw it out there.


Ahh. the DOF argument. Well, I'll be honest. You will have your work cut out for you trying to get shallow DOF from Super 8 with acceptable results. This is because the Super 8 frame is so small that you need to keep the aperture smaller to get a sharp picture. Unfortunately, DOF is negatively related to aperture size (ie the larger the aperature, the shallower the depth of field.) So what happens is, if you try to get shallow DOF, your footage is going to be soft. I posted a few screen grabs on here to show what happens when a Super 8 camera is shot wide open.

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=31831

I wouldn't recommend choosing a format just on the basis of DOF. Many digital shooters want DOF because they feel it will make their footage look more "filmlike." This isn't a concern with Super 8 because it's already film. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results, I feel.
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#13 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 12:23 AM

DEFINITELY start by shooting film. since you have a job and make $100 bucks a week, 16mm would be even better. This was, and in many cases still is, the standard format used to teach film students. As I've said before video instills bad habits right off the bat. If you can't just rewind the camera and shoot over your kinda expensive footage, chances are your gonna take a little more time composing, and lighting your shots. If you can't afford 16, super8 is the next best thing, a Nizo is a good choice Here's an ad on Ebay for one but there are a LOT of them on there so look for the best deal;

http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

There is a real cool non-reflex 16mm camera on there cheap as well but again look around as there are a lot of 16mm Reflex and non-reflex cameras on ebay. Look for a camera that seems to be in good condition from a seller with an excellent ebay rating:

http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

I actually got one of these for a 13 year old girl we're training at Del Norte' Film Institute to shoot her first short on. It's a REAL COOL little camera. As for "lingo" try some of these:

http://www.filmland....Dictionary.html

http://blueskeltonpr...n-glossary.html

http://www.bbcresour...ry_formats.html

You should poke around the Kodak site a little, a LOT of very cool information here:

http://motion.kodak....otion/index.htm

http://academic.sun..../glossary/e.htm

http://www.promotion...ction-glossary/

http://www.tvprogear...CookieSupport=1

http://www.filmschoo...m/glossary.html

Also, read the threads here, buy or check out some books on film production from the library and do some research. No one is going to hand you a film career so you gotta go out there and get it. Ask questions, if I don't know the answer, I'll find out or someone else here will. Speilberg was making 8mm movies and had a theatrical showing at your age, I, myself, decided I wanted to be an actor at 15 so it's not too early to decide if this is what you want to do with the rest of your life. Work hard, get a few breaks and you can go far!!! B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 14 July 2008 - 12:27 AM.

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