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Starting to make Short Films


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#1 Cooper Simmons

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 04:35 PM

Hey all,

I'm very new to this whole scene being a soon-to-be sophomore film student but some of my friends and I have been tirelessly drafting short "College Humor" like video ideas and began filming some of them. Although they are funny, and edited and shot well, the best camera we're working with is a Sony Handycam HD, and they just aren't looking the way we imagined them to look. Therefore, I really want to invest in a hand held camcorder that will probably (hopefully) stay with me through the next four years and possibly more of school.

With a budget of around $1000 or maybe $1500, what should i be looking at?

Thank you all
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#2 Tom Sykes

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 09:45 PM

Hey all,

I'm very new to this whole scene being a soon-to-be sophomore film student but some of my friends and I have been tirelessly drafting short "College Humor" like video ideas and began filming some of them. Although they are funny, and edited and shot well, the best camera we're working with is a Sony Handycam HD, and they just aren't looking the way we imagined them to look. Therefore, I really want to invest in a hand held camcorder that will probably (hopefully) stay with me through the next four years and possibly more of school.

With a budget of around $1000 or maybe $1500, what should i be looking at?

Thank you all


Hey thought i'd make a reply.

From what i've learnt so far, until you truly know what it is you want for a camera, study the art and craft a lot more, look at lighting everywhere you go, as crazy as it sounds read fashion magazines, the adverts in those have stupendous lighting, start looking at art, Vermeer and Rembrandt are good places to start. Different cameras are used for different reasons, I bought a DSLR last year, and although I love the footage that it churns out, I am finding myself becoming to hate the trend and the artefacts that come with it. I'm looking now more into how certain cameras create emotion because of their look, and how to enhance the narrative more through a visual medium.

If I was you, i'd learn to shoot on film, standard 8, super even 16mm if you can afford that, from what you'll learn about with film will be just as helpful, in a technological and educational sense, it'll also teach to avoid bad habits like checking back your footage after every take, making yourself a perfectionist, which isn't bad if you can begin to work with a pace as well.

Hope this helps.

Good luck.
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#3 Ferdinand Casido

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 02:35 AM

It's all about the lenses. If you want the film look with depth of field then get a DSLR. A good starter camera is a Canon T2i, but don't get the kit lens. You won't get the DOF. Invest in a prime lens. The total package with camera and 1 lens should run around $1K US. If you can afford a better camera, get the Canon 60D which has a view monitor and is a step up from the T2i and looks just as good as a 7D. Take a look at Philip Bloom's website, he does a camera comparison and also has an article/blog about which lenses to buy.

A note on lenses, you could probably buy some older used still camera (SLR) lenses and then get an adapter for the lens mount. This could save you a ton of money.
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#4 Tom Sykes

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 06:50 AM

It's all about the lenses. If you want the film look with depth of field then get a DSLR. A good starter camera is a Canon T2i, but don't get the kit lens. You won't get the DOF. Invest in a prime lens. The total package with camera and 1 lens should run around $1K US. If you can afford a better camera, get the Canon 60D which has a view monitor and is a step up from the T2i and looks just as good as a 7D. Take a look at Philip Bloom's website, he does a camera comparison and also has an article/blog about which lenses to buy.

A note on lenses, you could probably buy some older used still camera (SLR) lenses and then get an adapter for the lens mount. This could save you a ton of money.


I agree with Ferdinand as well, if you going with the DSLR's, then the 60d (the one I bought last year) is brilliant, especially for odd/low down angles.

Lenses are difficult really because the Canon DSLR's which aren't full frame (like the 5D) will change the focal length of your lens. This is because they have cropped sensors. This isn't a bad thing, you just need to be aware of it.

For example, If you by a 50mm lens (50mm are lenses that are the closest resemblance to what your eye sees, so this is a good first lens to have) then because the crop on the sensor, you have to compensate for this.

How it works is, you take the focal length of the lens, 50, and times that by the crop factor on the sensor, which is 1.6 on most Canon DSLR's and you get the equivalent focal length of what the lens will be on your camera. So a 50mm lens will turn into an 80mm essentially, making it a relatively long lens.

This is only the case on DSLR's that aren't FULL FRAME.

The t2i, 60d, 600d, and 7d are cropped at 1.6.

The 1DMKIV is an odd one, cropped at 1.3.

and the 5d is Full Frame, not cropped at all.

Bearing in mind it doesn't physically change the focal length of the lens, obviously its just the technology, it's just easier to explain this way.

If you could find a prime lens that is 29mm (old pentacon lenses) or a 35mm lens, then these will give you the closes resemblance to 50mm.

Old lenses need adapter, there are many on ebay. They arent the best quality, but if your on a budget, awesome for Music Videos and stuff, as they flare like a bitch!!

http://philipbloom.n...-lenses-to-buy/

Thankfully it was in my bookmarks :) Ferdinand is on the ball with that suggestion, its extremely helpful :)

Tom.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 05:31 AM

This is only the case on DSLR's that aren't FULL FRAME.

The t2i, 60d, 600d, and 7d are cropped at 1.6.

The 1DMKIV is an odd one, cropped at 1.3.

and the 5d is Full Frame, not cropped at all.


The crop factor is only a frame of reference to stills photographers used to full frame 35mm. If you've never used a FF35, it's not much use, mentally you can only refer back to a format that you've already used in order to out the equivalent angle of view. Once you've used a format for a bit, you don't need to keep referring back, you've got the angle for a particular focal length in your head.
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