Jump to content


Photo

You guys are killing me!


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 David Dearig

David Dearig

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Producer

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:04 PM

I'm in preproduction of my first "real" film. I've been doing short films and family "documentaries" for about 15 years now, but I finally have the backing to produce something substantial. (have a decent budget)

My budget will allow me $10,000 for camera and associated hardware. I will be shooting mostly outdoors in Africa, Rome, New Orleans, and Kansas. If you can guess my subject from that information, you get a hat. lol

Anyway, sound will be mostly voice-overs for the outdoor footage (about 80%), and the indoor stuff will be mostly interviews with lavilere mikes. In other words, I'm not that concerned with sound on the camera itself. Most sound (probably all) will be external to the camera.

So, now to choose. My first thought was to go for a Canon XF300. $7k, room for a few addons and whatnot in my budget. Perfect. Then I started reading the reviews, and a lot of pople said, no, you'd be better off with a 5D or similiar DSLR if sound isn't important. Ok, so I go to the DSLR forum and I see lots of problems with the DSLR. So I go back to the pro cameras and- no, go back to DSLR. No, DSLR sucks, go back to pro video...

So which is it? If you had $10k to spend and wanted a COMPLETE system for film making intended for theater viewing, what would you use? (Somebody told me to wait a year and get a used Red One...) Shooting starts in April, so I have a little bit of time, but I can't be worring about camera choice in March. It's just two of us, me and my assistant Producer/Director/DP/Grip/Coffee getter/wife making this movie, so simple is very high on the importance list. Thanks!
  • 0

#2 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1517 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Encino, California USA

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:07 PM

I'm in preproduction of my first "real" film. I've been doing short films and family "documentaries" for about 15 years now, but I finally have the backing to produce something substantial. (have a decent budget)

My budget will allow me $10,000 for camera and associated hardware. I will be shooting mostly outdoors in Africa, Rome, New Orleans, and Kansas. If you can guess my subject from that information, you get a hat. lol

Anyway, sound will be mostly voice-overs for the outdoor footage (about 80%), and the indoor stuff will be mostly interviews with lavilere mikes. In other words, I'm not that concerned with sound on the camera itself. Most sound (probably all) will be external to the camera.

So, now to choose. My first thought was to go for a Canon XF300. $7k, room for a few addons and whatnot in my budget. Perfect. Then I started reading the reviews, and a lot of pople said, no, you'd be better off with a 5D or similiar DSLR if sound isn't important. Ok, so I go to the DSLR forum and I see lots of problems with the DSLR. So I go back to the pro cameras and- no, go back to DSLR. No, DSLR sucks, go back to pro video...

So which is it? If you had $10k to spend and wanted a COMPLETE system for film making intended for theater viewing, what would you use? (Somebody told me to wait a year and get a used Red One...) Shooting starts in April, so I have a little bit of time, but I can't be worring about camera choice in March. It's just two of us, me and my assistant Producer/Director/DP/Grip/Coffee getter/wife making this movie, so simple is very high on the importance list. Thanks!



Theater viewing? Get a bigger budget. Or hope that your "rough draft" low quality movie will impress someone at a Studio which will then spend the money to upgrade it for mass distribution.

But why oh why do you want to buy all of this equipment? Why not rent what you need at the lower cost and put the saved funds into other elements of production?
  • 0

#3 David Dearig

David Dearig

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Producer

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:26 PM

Thank you for the quick reply. Maybe I exaggerated with the screen size. I was just trying to say that if my dreams come true, it might get shown at a film festival or two.

I've talked to some rental houses about renting their equipment, but so far nobody will let me take their equipment where I intend to go. The insurance company specifically forbids taking the equipment to some of my locations.
  • 0

#4 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:40 PM

AF100, without a doubt.
  • 0

#5 Brian Dzyak

Brian Dzyak
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1517 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Encino, California USA

Posted 28 December 2011 - 08:58 PM

Is Kansas that dangerous?


I've never heard of an insurance company restricting where you can take rental gear unless it's a war zone. How bizarre.
  • 0

#6 David Dearig

David Dearig

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Producer

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:00 PM

For some reason, I've not seen that one before. Looks fantastic. I'll look into this one. Thanks so much.
  • 0

#7 Peter J DeCrescenzo

Peter J DeCrescenzo
  • Sustaining Members
  • 620 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Portland, OR, USA www.peterdv.com Blog: http://herefortheweather.wordpress.com/

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:07 PM

The primary reason for using a <$20K camera that has a relatively large sensor is the flexibility in depth-of-field control they offer. By comparison, similarly-priced "traditional" camcorders with their small-ish sensors (1/4" or 1/3" or 1/2") tend to produce "everything in focus" deep DOF.

Fitted with a fast-ish lens operated at a wide-open aperture, the shallow DOF capability of a large sensor DSLR or large sensor camcorder is the main reason for their rise in popularity. And, in the case of DSLRs, that and their relatively low price.

But there's no free lunch. Because of their low price, DSLRs generally produce lower-resolution HD video compared to similarly-priced camcorders that have smaller (1/3" or 1/2") sensors.

So, if shallow DOF is important for your production, then a DSLR is the least-cost way to achieve it. However, balance this plus with the many, many trade-offs inherent in DSLRs: Low-res HD, awkward form-factor, and limited audio & video I/O connections.

In the $4K - $10K price range there are "large" sensor cams such as the Sony FS100 & Panasonic AF100 which attempt to bridge the gap between DSLRs and higher-end large sensor cams. Not surprisingly they make some trade-offs, such as the quite-nice FS100 not having built-in ND filters, and the quite-nice AF100's video quality in some ways not being as good as a (much less-expensive) hacked GH2.

If shallow DOF is less important than HD video quality, form factor & AV I/O, then there are many nice <$10 camcorders to chose from. Canon, Sony & Panasonic all make great camcorders in this price range.

Sony even offers a water-resistant model (NX70U) which can be just the ticket for some productions & budgets; here's a real-world field review:


Based on what I've seen on fairly high-quality over-the-air HDTV broadcasts in my city, I'm impressed by the results photographer Art Wolfe's excellent DPs are able to deliver with Canon's <$10K camcorders. His excellent series "Travels to the Edge" is shot entirely using Canon's camcorders:
http://www.travelsto...dge.com/series/

If you tell us more about how and what you intend to shoot, we may be able to offer more advice. Cheers!

Edited by Peter J DeCrescenzo, 28 December 2011 - 09:24 PM.

  • 0

#8 David Dearig

David Dearig

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Producer

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:16 PM

It's a war zone. Africa, not Kansas. :P
  • 0

#9 David Dearig

David Dearig

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Producer

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:24 PM

Ok, I'm going to South Sudan, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The other locations I can rent, but not in Africa.

I think for impact, having shallow DOF for certain shots in Africa is important. Thank you for the link and advice Peter. Much appreciated. Maybe I should buy a 5D for the Africa work, and rent equipment for shooting in Europe and the States. I'd have to match the footage in post, which could be a challenge.
  • 0

#10 Peter J DeCrescenzo

Peter J DeCrescenzo
  • Sustaining Members
  • 620 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Portland, OR, USA www.peterdv.com Blog: http://herefortheweather.wordpress.com/

Posted 28 December 2011 - 09:45 PM

It'll probably be good to have quite a bit of redundancy while shooting in a war zone. Things will go wrong, and B&H (or its equivalent) isn't around the corner to supply replacement hardware.

Although the 5DM2 has the advantage of maximum FF shallow DOF goodness (and excellent still-photo capability!), you might instead consider _two_ GH2 cams fitted with fast lenses (such as the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 for the GH2 Micro Four Thirds "m43" mount). GH2 body-only configs sell for about $800 each from reputable dealers.

GH2 and 5DM2 cams can be hacked, and many folks think a hacked GH2 produces video as good or better than the much more expensive 5DM2 with or w/o its hack. YMMV.

More info about the GH2 is in my thread elsewhere on Cinematography.com

Note: The GH2 is not weather-sealed, and I don't believe the 5DM2 is either. The Canon 7D is. Some Canon EOS L lenses are weather-sealed, but no m43 lenses are. Not that I'd ever accept the assignment, but if I were hired to shoot in a war zone, I'd give the NX70U careful consideration -- and maybe bring 2 of them. :-)
  • 0

#11 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5482 posts
  • Director

Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:35 PM

Ok, I'm going to South Sudan, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The other locations I can rent, but not in Africa.


The K3 will kick any video cameras ass under these conditions. And a steal at only $189.00. Doesn't even need batteries. Plus you'll have a beautiful 16mm colour neg to scan. It will look a hell of a lot better than any of the video gear you are looking at.

Trust me, shoot this with the K3, it's perfect for this job!!

http://www.ebay.com/...e#ht_1873wt_892

R,
  • 0

#12 Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney
  • Sustaining Members
  • 686 posts
  • Director
  • LA at the moment.

Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:35 PM

Jesus...

Stay away from the hacked toys and DSLR's in general unless you need to hide a camera. Don't invest that kind of time and money into this without a proper video system. The AF100 fits perfectly with your budget. Opinions on quality will go on forever but in the end, they are all discussing very small differences that no one will ever notice. Don't get caught up in hype, techno-babble and the back and forth on internet forums which seem to be mostly formed from emotional ties to gear that a given person bought into. Buy what you need and sell it on ebay before you start your edit.
  • 0

#13 Peter J DeCrescenzo

Peter J DeCrescenzo
  • Sustaining Members
  • 620 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • Portland, OR, USA www.peterdv.com Blog: http://herefortheweather.wordpress.com/

Posted 28 December 2011 - 10:43 PM

Richard B.'s advice is, as usual, absolutely correct and/or funnier than anyone else's here. ;-)
  • 0

#14 Marcus Joseph

Marcus Joseph
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 404 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney, Australia

Posted 29 December 2011 - 08:39 AM

Jesus...

Stay away from the hacked toys and DSLR's in general unless you need to hide a camera. Don't invest that kind of time and money into this without a proper video system. The AF100 fits perfectly with your budget. Opinions on quality will go on forever but in the end, they are all discussing very small differences that no one will ever notice. Don't get caught up in hype, techno-babble and the back and forth on internet forums which seem to be mostly formed from emotional ties to gear that a given person bought into. Buy what you need and sell it on ebay before you start your edit.

Vincent is completely right, go for the AF100, flatten the image for the grade and you'll realise nothing else in its price range will deliver what you're after. And all the audio is fantastic straight into the cam too.

You need something that will last (long battery) and will take long memory. The AF100 does both that with 120GB and super long battery life too. They're just a few less worries that you'll have to think about.
  • 0

#15 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7118 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 29 December 2011 - 09:40 AM

When I shot Africa, Senegal, I was on the XDcam EX1, which was nice. This was before all the big sensor things, so it's 1/2" was a good size (before the DSLRs) and I was happy with the camera, size, ect, but, what I want to get at is the fact that while I was there there wss a very large black out, which, of course, kinda killed the whole tapeless workflow, once our batteries were all drained. How I longed for a good old Bolex! I highly recommend a film system, prefferably one which can be battery powered (and the batts w/o a video tap ect last a long time) or wind up-- such as some of the Bolexes which have 400' mags adapters and/or can run internally on daylight spools. This redundancy is very imporant when in areas where power is scarce ect. They also have photovoltaic backpack these days for topping off electronics; they may be able to be hacked to charge up camera batts, something else to look into (or having a car with an inverter).
Furthermore, it realty is wiser to rent a camera than to buy one, but if you are going to buy, the AF of FS are good choices, but I highly recommend you pair it with something like a Hyperdeck shuttle or a KiPro to bypass their internal compressions and record in ProRes or DnxHD.

Good shooting.
  • 0


Opal

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

The Slider

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Visual Products

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

The Slider

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

CineTape

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC