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Creating First Documentary


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#1 Timothy Weaver

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 06:52 AM

Hey all!

I am filming my first documentary soon and it will revolve around traveling all over the U.S. and would prefer not using my 6D for multiple reasons (The style is run-and-gun and I don't want to take my main camera with me). I am wondering if using a prosumer camera like the Canon G20 or G30 for the main camera with a RODE mic would work out well?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 09:41 AM

Sure, if it makes images. Though maybe I'd go for something a little nicer or better (or a sony but that's kinda a personal preference type thing). If you have interview subjects you may also want some lavs. The nice thing about doc is the camera is largely irrelevant so long as it gets the job done.


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#3 Will Barber

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 12:51 PM

There's a lot of options for doc cameras, it depends on how you'd like to shoot. If you already have Canon glass and are renting rather than buying, a c100 may be a good option. Canon's great for battery life, and with the compression in that camera you'll be able to shoot forever on a couple 64gb cards. If you want a more all in one system, I'd go for the XF300/305, those are pretty standard and create a great image. I hear the Sony EX1 isn't too bad either :P

Since you are looking at the Canon g20, I'm guessing you're looking for something a little less pricey, but if you're used to a 6D you may end up very aggravated with the lack of professional features on the cheaper handicam style cameras. There's a decent set of cameras in the $2500 range that I see a lot of ENG shooters in my area using and would probably do what I could to get something like that if I were in your shoes.


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 03:57 PM

I've been around the country with ENG cameras, standard consumer HD camcorders and of course, my blackmagic Pocket camera doing documentary. If you CARE about image quality, I'd stay away from consumer camcorders. If you don't and you just need something to shoot with, the G20 will work I guess, but so won't an iPhone 6 in that case. I've actually used the G20 before (friend has one) and it's a real toy, images aren't impressive at all and they're .h264, which is extremely highly compressed and almost worthless for post production.

I've been shooting a lot of documentary run and gun with my pocket camera and it's more challenging for sure, but it delivers far better images and if you already have canon lenses, you can buy an electronic speed booster (M4/3rds to EOS adaptor) and get the electronic iris to work, which is nice. Then all you need is a decent mic, but for dialog the Rode isn't great. I have it, works great for ambient, but wouldn't use it for critical dialog. I have a Sennheiser wireless kit for that, mounts right to the top of the camera and works great.
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