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Student Film Camera Questions


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#1 E Parker

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

Hi,

I am a student that directed a movie last year which premiered at our local theatre earlier this year. Our group is in pre-production for another movie and trying to figure out a camera.

We have been offered a Panasonic HDC-HS900 camera to film with. It shoots in full HD 1920 XLl 1080 progressive.

Our group mainly will be using FCP7 to do our editing (possibly premier as well) and will be distributing the finished product as DVDs as well as showing it at the theatre. We have a very limited budget so are trying to work with what we have.

So our question is, will this camera suit our purposes?

Thanks!

The Director
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#2 Jeremy Ables

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:58 PM

So aside from being offered this camera to shoot on what is the deciding factor to push you towards or away from this particular camera? If you were capable of showing at the local movie theater last year with a camera that you know vs trying to figure out a camera while in production I would recommend against it. I work in an equipment cage at my school and have seen many fellow students have to re-shoot projects because they "thought" they knew the gear well enough. Next are you doing double system recording as this camera does seem to have a decent set of microphones on it for a prosumer camera but no XLR inputs not that you would want to use those for more than a scratch track anyway especially if you are going to show it on the big screen. The main concern that I have with this camera at least from what I glanced at quickly is that it a hard drive based camera and unless you do not have many heavy production days scheduled you may be okay. I would just hate for you to get halfway through your project and the hard-drive in the camera crash (which probably cost more to replace than the camera is worth)and then not be able to finish your project or have to scramble to get another or the worst is to lose a large amount of footage. Speaking of your footage the good thing is that from what I looked up this camera only holds 16gb of memory so you probably wouldn't be able to record your entire project without dumping the camera anyway. That is one of the things about this camera is that you will have to dump the footage from this camera (if you decide to use FCP7) using log and transfer here is the link from apple-http://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/professionalformatsandworkflows/index.html#chapter=6%26section=2%26tasks=true. If you decide to use premiere you should be able to basically download all of the clips directly from the camera, then import them into premiere without any issues. The only 2 cons I saw against this camera were that the white balance appeared to get "wonky" but I think this was in Auto mode just something to keep an eye on, and the lack of neutral density filters, which depending on what you are shooting may not matter but it is always nice to have them in case you need them. I realize that you are on a budget, but a set of filters and and an adapter(if you need one) may go a long way in your production for all sorts of different reasons. As far as fitting your purpose each camera is a tool in a tool belt and can accomplish different things some are better at low light situations some render color and exposure really well (of course depending on lighting) in the end if you and your crew can accomplish your film with the gear that you have on the budget given then go for it if you feel you need better/different/more expensive gear well something has to give. Sounds like you need to run some test shots and run the camera through it's paces in all the possible scenarios you could be in and see what kind of footage you are getting back and then sit down with your producer and DP and let him know whether or not it is going to work. Well sorry for being long winded hope this helps!
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:14 PM

You can read the specs here:
http://panasonic.net...ifications.html

It does 24P HD, which is good, but it has 1/4" sensors so there is going to be a ton of depth of field in the manner that consumer camcorders have.

I'd test against a DSLR that shoots 24P HD (such as a Canon T3i Rebel, which is in the same price range) and see which you like better. You may even mix the two types.
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Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Visual Products