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I need to buy a camera, which one do I buy?


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#1 Derek Elrod

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 11:28 PM

I'm hoping to buy a video camera (while on a budget).

What is best for a filmmaker? I'm hoping to be able to get a film camera (although I don't know which type to get), and I don't know how expensive it is to have the film processed and converted to digital for editing?). Any advice? Would an HD camera be best? Everything I make will be Hollywood-style professional serious films, dark deep stuff, internal meanings and feelings.

My budget is anywhere between $300 and $2000.

Thanks,
Derek

P.S. I will also need to be able to have some sort of inexpensive steadycam (steadicam) that works really well for the camera. All of my films so far have plenty of smooth gliding motion and continuous shots.

Edited by Derek Elrod, 21 October 2008 - 11:30 PM.

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#2 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 11:33 PM

Jeepers Creepers, how many times must we answer the same question?

Ever heard of making a search?

Sorry to be blunt but it gets old, y'know?
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 11:36 PM

Add 1 "0" to each of those budgets if you want to get everything you need to really shoot....
$3000 can get you a nice S16mm, though older, S16mm film camera, and almost a prosumer HDV camera new... 20,000 can get you a nicer S16mm film camera and a tripod, maybe a lens or two, or an HD Prosumer camera with other things such as tripod and basic editing, some lights.

Costs of films vary, but approx .40/ft for raw footage and .25/foot for processing, those are high ball numbers and you can get that cheaper, it just depends on what kind of deal you can work out.
TK sessions will be much the same Call around to labs in your area and check out filmemporium.com for stock.


Now, you can get S8mm and DV for cheaper, but still, it's not really the camera that kills you; it's just everything else which does (tripod, lenses, editing, lighting (best investment IMHO)).


$2000 and you might get lucky with an Eclair package... but it's be 16mm and not S16mm, and while not inferior, really, it's just a different way of shooting and you have to be mindful of that.
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#4 Scott Bryant

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 12:05 AM

Probably if you added everyone on the forum up around half of them would say "digital is the only way to go in this situation" and the other half would say "go with film it's better." And even within those two groups the film people would probably be split between arri MOS, eclair, aaton, CP-16, etc. It's something you kinda have to research and decide for yourself. I sorta played that same "which camera?" game when I started, but really its just best to read up about your different options. You're looking with a specific budget which isn't very big at all and trying to say I want to make movies like people in hollywood who have millions of dollars at their disposal.

Serious, dark, deep meanings and feelings all have to do with technique and story rather than with the kind of camera you have. It's a matter of lighting, choosing your medium, and choosing a proper story to achieve these adjectives. I'm estimating and not speaking from experience but if you used the same film, same lens and same lighting on a panavision camera, a K-3, a bolex, an aaton, and an arri, you would end up with pretty much the same looking film on all of them. The camera itself is little more than a box that holds everything together.

Perhaps SD video is better for you right now. Or maybe you really want to use film and want to start out learning exposure etc. You can get film or video cameras in that price range, definitely not the best ones around, but ones that will still let you learn and let you tell your story. Like many other things, its not having the fanciest gear that makes a great movie, its just having the experience and the creativity that makes a great film.

Use your restrictions (or shall I say "obstructions" ;) ) as a way of honing your skills. Work around needing a steadicam. Screw a steadicam, get a wheelchair from grandma and get someone to push you around in it. Or spend 50 bucks on skateboard wheels and pvc pipe and make a cheap dolly. On the same side of a different coin, what does it matter if your entire film is the longest, single-take, most beautifully choreographed, steadicam shot in history if its not lit properly and you can't see it or no one gives a d**n about the story.

Edited by Scott Bryant, 22 October 2008 - 12:08 AM.

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#5 Derek Elrod

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 12:33 AM

Well, I for sure want the exact same angle of view or field of view as a standard Hollywood 35mm film camera, so however I can get that best.

Also, I'm not sure how to do the math here, but if I shot an hours worth of footage on 35mm film at 24 frames per second, how much will this likely cost me (an estimate) to have it converted to digital to editing in Final Cut Pro?

-Derek

P.S. Special thanks to both Scott and Adrian!!

Edited by Derek Elrod, 22 October 2008 - 12:34 AM.

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#6 chris dye

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 02:55 AM

Well, I for sure want the exact same angle of view or field of view as a standard Hollywood 35mm film camera, so however I can get that best.

Also, I'm not sure how to do the math here, but if I shot an hours worth of footage on 35mm film at 24 frames per second, how much will this likely cost me (an estimate) to have it converted to digital to editing in Final Cut Pro?

-Derek

P.S. Special thanks to both Scott and Adrian!!


With the money you're talking, you'll never come close to 35mm in terms of quality. 'Prosumer' video, while it can look nice, will never look like 35mm.

For 35mm costs, figure one 1000 foot roll of 35mm film can cost $600 and it's about ten minutes of footage. It's possible to get 35mm short ends for .8 cents a foot. There are places that process 35mm for .10 cents a foot. I believe telecine is about $250/hr or more, but transfers are 2 to 3x the footage length to transfer, so one hour is actually 3 hours of transfer time if I'm not mistaken.

So add it up:

6 1000' rolls = $3,600

or

6,000' short ends @ .8/ft (for 200' rolls or less) = $480 (go with Techniscope and you half that cost)

Process 6,000' @ .10/ft = $600.00

Telecine transfer (SD) = approx $750

So, if my figures are correct, somewhere between approx $2,000 and $5,000 will get you one hour of transferred 35mm. Keep in mind, deals can be made and film can be had for free. Kodak can be generous. I once got 18 400' rolls of 16mm film for free from Kodak.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 04:12 AM

Well, I for sure want the exact same angle of view or field of view as a standard Hollywood 35mm film camera, so however I can get that best.

Also, I'm not sure how to do the math here, but if I shot an hours worth of footage on 35mm film at 24 frames per second, how much will this likely cost me (an estimate) to have it converted to digital to editing in Final Cut Pro?

-Derek

P.S. Special thanks to both Scott and Adrian!!


These questions tell me that you're nowhere near ready to bother buying any kind of professional camera. Hold off. Shoot some 35mm stills. Ask lots of questions on this forum. Bottom line is you need to learn more about shooting before owning a camera will benefit you in any way.
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 04:24 AM

I am not 100% sure, but I think by angle of view/field of view you are really referring to Depth of Field, which is the range of acceptable focus (foreground background out of focus as in this photo

Field of view, per format, is a function of the lens/format (i forget the math exactly right now but wikipedia has it here http://en.wikipedia..../Field_of_view), so a 25mm lens on 16mm would have the same field of view (about) as a 50mm lens on 35mm (correct me if i'm wrong, but that's just how i learned it).

For depth of field, as in the photo, that's a lot more do to with the format size, f-stop, lens, and subject distance. Sufficed to say that to get 35mm Depth of Field, for the same field of view, at a given F stop, you have to shoot on 35mm film or use a 35mm adapter on a video camera. The adapters have their own set of issues, such as back-focus, light loss, softening the image (and using still lens glass which is fine, but the housing of which makes it much harder to use for cine applications).

hope this helped.
Hold off on buying if you can. . . best to rent.
Buy only as an investment to make you money (or get something you can learn on, without spending too much money, a film SLR will help for framing, exposing film, and depth of field, whereas a miniDV camera can help with camera motion and how to shoot to edit).
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#9 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:56 AM

There has to be literally hundreds of posts about this exact topic. "Search" is located at the top of the page.

As was mentioned, your budget is much too low to shoot anything resembling 35mm. It's not going to look "Hollywood" for $2k. Even most prosumer camcorders cost more than that.

I'd recommend making friends with someone who already owns a camera.
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#10 Derek Elrod

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 05:38 PM

I guess it should be obvious to me that I won't get near Hollywood quality, but I do want to get the best I can for a very small budget. For example, the Panasonic HDC-SD9 camera is a consumer HD camera that uses 3 CCD and also does 24p as well. It's only $500 actually. Is this a stupid choice? And what about getting a different lens for it, or perhaps buying a cheapass old film camera instead, maybe an 8mm or 16mm? If I tried an old film camera, I'd have to learn about which lens will give me the same depth of field as Hollywood and etc.

-Derek
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 05:41 PM

I strongly recomend a film camera....
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#12 Bruce Taylor

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 05:42 PM

Hey, if you really want 35mm Hollywood:

Konvas 1KCP-1M 35mm movie camera with 4 lenses *NEW* Ebay Item number: 300267751553

It even comes with the desirable 400' mags. It's a brand new, real, relatively modern functional 35mm motion picture camera you can make 35mm movies with. For $1200, including shipping. Have Bernie at Super16inc service it and you'll still be under 2 grand. The seller is reputable, by the way. So if you really want to make 35mm motion pictures with the correct "angle of view," depth of field, resolution, blah blah blah-- pull the trigger on that one. There's a whole community of users here: www.konvas.org.

Buy short ends at .05 to .10 a foot, process for .10 a foot or less. Telecine for $200 an hour. Make a movie!

Otherwise get a nice whiz-bang Canon HV30 and avoid the complexities and control of shooting motion picture film. It won't look like 35mm, it will look like all the other digital video out there.

Have fun out there,

Bruce Taylor
www.Indi35.com
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#13 Chris Keth

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 05:57 PM

I still recommend a good film SLR. For a couple hundred bucks, you can have a camera that will help you a long way toward learning to light and shoot. When you're outgrowing the still camera for that purpose, you'll be a lot better equipped to decide what camera, if any, you want to own.
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#14 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 06:42 PM

At your level, you don't need to concern yourself with how much depth of field you have. I've seen this a lot lately; newcomers who derail themselves completely because they get stuck on how many pixels their camera has to have or how much DoF it has or other minutiae. Please read this and understand: DoF is one of the least important things that you need to concern yourself with right now. I'm inferring from your posts that this is your first venture into filmmaking (or one of your first); if so, what you need is to learn how cameras work and how to use them to shoot a scene properly. Buy a SD camera with as many manual features as possible. A used GL2 would be great, as would a DVX if you can find it for the price. Don't forget to buy a good tripod as well. Buy some cheap lights at Home Depot as well. Learn to light a scene and compose within the frame.

Just please don't be convinced that you need really shallow depth of field or some certain number of pixels in order to tell your story or have people think that you're a professional, because I can assure you that none of these things will help you achieve your goal.
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