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I'm getting into video recording and I'd like some professional opinions


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#1 Tom patterson

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:49 PM

Hello,

I've been a hobbiest photographer and recently getting into the idea of commercial filming. I have a small company with a couple clients that I think might benefit from some filming to help promote their business.

I recently filmed a piece for a client of mine for free and really enjoyed filming see:



However I am interested in producing a higher quality image and saw this piece:



It has really nice colour and I'd like to be able to reproduce this kind of quality.

I figured I should go down the route of hiring a video camera seeing as it's a new venture.

Upon researching, I found many good sites that give weekly rentals for around £300 (depending on camera model). Would this kind of camcorder be adequate? http://www.hireacame...l.asp?model=656 Canon XF105

I'd love to know your opinions as I'm so new to this subject and currently using some sony HD camera that is OK for now, but I want to know more about this.

Kind regards.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:03 PM

It really depends on the market you're aiming at. There are so many options out there these days, the Canon XF105 is a small compact camera that records using a video format that is used on the XF300, the only 1/3" camera accepted for HD by the BBC. The camera would be a good starting point for lower end, non broadcast work. Best do your sums, because the rental rates recover the cost of the camera pretty quickly, so if you're getting regular video work you could end up paying the cost of a camera in hire charges.

You also need microphones, a good tripod and lights.
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#3 Tom patterson

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:25 PM

Thanks.

I see a lot of people are looking up to a director called phllip bloom. He is a supporter of dslr cameras for recording. What are your opinions of these types of cameras? What's the advantages disadvantages?

I realise the renting cost will rack up but right now - it's a new market and the place I live in is err, well lets say, they are pretty backward with no cash so I don't see it being a common market to sell to, sadly.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 04:35 AM

If you've got a suitable DSLR, you could use it. Just be aware of the limitations that the DSLRs have, such as moire patterning, rolling shutter skew and the compression artifects. They're mostly used by people wanting a shallow depth of field effect, so the risk of out focus shots increases. You also have an approx 12min clip length when shooting.

Phil Bloom is a cameraman, he's done a lot of tests with DSLRs. There are now other options for large sensor work, but they cost more than DSLRs.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 04:42 AM

Also the DSLR aren't that high a resolution.
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:38 AM

It really depends on the market you're aiming at. There are so many options out there these days, the Canon XF105 is a small compact camera that records using a video format that is used on the XF300, the only 1/3" camera accepted for HD by the BBC. The camera would be a good starting point for lower end, non broadcast work. Best do your sums, because the rental rates recover the cost of the camera pretty quickly, so if you're getting regular video work you could end up paying the cost of a camera in hire charges.

You also need microphones, a good tripod and lights.


That's right the amount the OP's clients want to spend is the main factor.

I know a new facility house that made a film for a client 5 years ago, they spent $100k of their own money so they would have a show reel piece. The client paid 0, the following year the client made a $10k film with them, they were very disappointed with the crap they got for $10k v the masterpiece for free.
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#7 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:25 AM

Thanks.

I see a lot of people are looking up to a director called phllip bloom. He is a supporter of dslr cameras for recording. What are your opinions of these types of cameras? What's the advantages disadvantages?

I realise the renting cost will rack up but right now - it's a new market and the place I live in is err, well lets say, they are pretty backward with no cash so I don't see it being a common market to sell to, sadly.

DSLRs can be great use in a video recording environment because you can achieve really high resolution timelapses and timelapses are very rewarding and impressive to clients. They are also quite cheap these days for APS-C sensors and as you grow with timelapses, you can purchase better lenses, dolly system etc. The initial cost is all in the body, lens, tripod and the knock-off remote timer (ebay) which overall isn't all that expensive. That last shot in the video you showed was definitely a timelapse, there were probably some others in there that were as well.

Plus the video in DSLRs will start to get better, I'm sure it'll be professional broadcast quality in this next generation. But to achieve broadcast quality digital cinema, it's just a cost matter at the moment. You could spend the extra bucks on another alternative, or on a rental of even higher quality (F3, Alexa, Red) but it really depends on the job at the end of the day and how much they're putting into it versus how much you can put into it.

In the end of it all, if you're getting into video recording, just keep practising and learning, most of what I saw in your video was good, but if you're after stuff in the video you showed, start shooting at the right time to achieve that kind of light. Sunrises and sunsets are the perfect time to get the most out of dynamic landscapes.

Edited by Marcus Joseph, 23 October 2011 - 09:26 AM.

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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:36 AM

I'd look into things like the Sony FS100U and or the AF101 at present time. Video form factor and functionality with the chips of a DSLR and a price which won't break the bank. F3 et al, while fantastic cameras, are at a price point which is hard to justify as an initial investment. But; a lot will depend upon your clients needs. Sometimes, you really need something like a HDV camera, sometimes you really need something like a 435, but for getting ones feet wet, the above mentioned will come in as a good rounded package for under 10K
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:56 AM

This seems to be a variation of the classic "I want to make movies so which camera should I buy?" question.

The correct answer is always the same: Let your PROJECTS determine which equipment you should use on a per project basis. The second you purchase a camera and any other gear, you're determining which projects you'll take as you have a real interest in using (and paying off) the stuff you just bought.

So instead of concentrating on equipment (camera, accessories for camera, grip gear, lighting gear, sound gear), concentrate on CLIENTS and PROJECTS. Get the projects first and then work up budgets for them based on the needs and desires of the clients. One project may only require a cheap DSLR while the next might require IMAX. The point being, why handcuff yourself to a closet full of gear which may or may not work for the projects you bid for?

If you eventually find that you (and/or your company) is using a set of gear (camera, sound, lighting, etc) a lot and it makes sense to purchase that instead of renting all the time, THEN and ONLY THEN take the step to purchase. BUT, the potential downside of purchasing any gear (camera, sound, lighting) is that if you (or your company) uses Freelancers a lot who own their own gear and count on using it, you are likely cutting out your access to that talent pool just so you can save some rental money. If your best people/crew have their own gear that you can rent, why drive them away just because you want to own gear? You'll be stuck having to use people who don't own gear who may or may not be as good as the other crew who used to work with/for you.

Bottom line, every project is different and has different technical requirements. Let your projects drive equipment decisions. Don't purchase gear and let that determine what jobs you'll agree to take.
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#10 Tom patterson

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for your replies. Right now it's just something I might get into but it depends on client demand. If I were to do some more films I'd use my sony again until I feel confident and then eventually rent out something like the af101 as adrian said and go from there... however right now, locally, most people wouldn't be able to pay for a £600 film, let alone £10k.
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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:23 PM

Thanks for your replies. Right now it's just something I might get into but it depends on client demand. If I were to do some more films I'd use my sony again until I feel confident and then eventually rent out something like the af101 as adrian said and go from there... however right now, locally, most people wouldn't be able to pay for a £600 film, let alone £10k.


If you believe people won't pay £600 for a film, you should really not waste your time, you cant live from that sort of work, your just helping people who are richer than you make more money.
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#12 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 10:52 PM

If you believe people won't pay £600 for a film, you should really not waste your time, you cant live from that sort of work, your just helping people who are richer than you make more money.

Really good point, don't underestimate your talent or knowledge, it's worth something when the other guy doesn't have it.
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