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#1 Louis Colaianni

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 11:52 PM

Hey guys,

I took video in high school and loved it (just used my old, consumer Sony Handycam). Thought about making a career of it, but went another route.

Anyhow, I am looking for a camera just to have some fun with and film a local dance studio's recital every year. My budget isn't anywhere near what you guys would consider reasonable I'm sure, but I can only spend around $500 unfourtunately. I was looking at the Canon HF M30 but started considering older SD cameras that have more sensors as it seems they almost have better quality than a HD camera with one sensor.

I've also been considering DSLRs since I would love taking stills with them when I'm not filming and they have great image quality. However, my issue with this is I'd probably need an external mic, I'd need to continuously record for a few hours, I'd want auto focus some of the time I'm sure (would I?), and I'm not sure how awkward it would be to hold without a moveable screen/etc. I've also heard of these overheating.

Any pointers or tips? I just want something that is fun to use, great quality, and will work for filming the recitals.

Thanks!
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#2 Andrew Lynch

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 08:35 AM

well, to chip in on the DSLR side, i've got a canon 60D. shot quite a bit with it and it hasn't overheated. also, it's got a moveable screen.

"I'm not sure how awkward it would be to hold without a moveable screen/etc."
- you're going to need a tripod for whatever camera you get, so be sure to factor that into your budget, unless you want the video to look amateur home-video style.

if you decide to go with a DSLR, the Zoom H4N or the Rode Video Pro Mic are excellent sound options.

alternatively you could go with some like a cheap Panasonic DV camera, you'd prob get one for that budget.
best of luck
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#3 Louis Colaianni

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 10:37 AM

well, to chip in on the DSLR side, i've got a canon 60D. shot quite a bit with it and it hasn't overheated. also, it's got a moveable screen.

"I'm not sure how awkward it would be to hold without a moveable screen/etc."
- you're going to need a tripod for whatever camera you get, so be sure to factor that into your budget, unless you want the video to look amateur home-video style.

if you decide to go with a DSLR, the Zoom H4N or the Rode Video Pro Mic are excellent sound options.

alternatively you could go with some like a cheap Panasonic DV camera, you'd prob get one for that budget.
best of luck


Thanks for the input!

So you think the DSLR route is the better way to go?

As far as the time limit, I think I can get around this by using my old camera on a tripod zoomed out just sitting there recording continuously. When the DSLR needs to start a new shot I can just switch to the other camera in editing.

The Rode mic looks nice as it attaches to the camera's body. I would imagine using a free standing mic would be awkward if you need to move a lot.

I think the 60d is a bit out of my price range, but I really like the moveable screen. I guess I'll keep looking!

One more question, what do you think about the focus issue? Is it a real pain in the butt if you can't reshoot a few times?
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#4 Nathan Blair

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 04:11 PM

When the DSLR needs to start a new shot I can just switch to the other camera in editing.


I shoot with a 7D, which is essentially the same, just built with a weatherproof housing. I've shot live performances before and really the 12 minute cut-off has not been an issue so far. For shows with musical numbers, typically there is a pause between each act, and I simply hit the record button twice during that pause. The time it takes to re-start the camera is about 1 second, honestly you don't miss anything but 1 second of applause.

I've also never had any overheating issues, as well as friends who have the 60D.

For sound, do you have the option of plugging in to a sound system? This way a microphone is not needed. You'll just need a recording device of some sort. Could be H4n, or maybe even something cheaper. Look at all the products Zoom has to offer.

One more question, what do you think about the focus issue? Is it a real pain in the butt if you can't reshoot a few times?


If your aperture is wide open and you're not very practiced with manually focusing, then it's probably going to be an issue.
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#5 Louis Colaianni

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:49 PM

I shoot with a 7D, which is essentially the same, just built with a weatherproof housing. I've shot live performances before and really the 12 minute cut-off has not been an issue so far. For shows with musical numbers, typically there is a pause between each act, and I simply hit the record button twice during that pause. The time it takes to re-start the camera is about 1 second, honestly you don't miss anything but 1 second of applause.

I've also never had any overheating issues, as well as friends who have the 60D.

For sound, do you have the option of plugging in to a sound system? This way a microphone is not needed. You'll just need a recording device of some sort. Could be H4n, or maybe even something cheaper. Look at all the products Zoom has to offer.



If your aperture is wide open and you're not very practiced with manually focusing, then it's probably going to be an issue.


Well that is reassuring! It seems like there is a way to make them work with a little imagination/accessories.

This will be my first time shooting the recital, but I am assuming the audio guy will have an XLR output I can use to go into my older camera (just need to buy an adapter I guess). I was kind of wondering how to get a mix of background noise/applause in combination with the XLR input, I guess just blend the two audios together? I'm sure I'll figure that out as I go. So really the mic can wait. Just need the actual camera/lens for the recital.

To be honest I've never used an SLR or any high end camera before. I understand the basics with shutter speed/size/etc. but would I have to constantly/manually adjust this while shooting? If so, it would be a steep learning curve for me. With the recital I'd imagine I wouldn't need to alter the settings/focus that often since I will be at a fixed distance/consistent lighting/etc. but it may be a pain in other situations.

Is there a decent VDSLR I could buy (including price of a decent all around lens) for around $500? I'm guessing not..

Thanks for the input, I really do appreciate the help!
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