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Monday, October 18, 2004

Choosing a Camera/Format

I thought I'd post a conversation I've been having about what I should use to shoot my film/movie. If anyone has other insights please post your comments.

The guy I started the conversation with is Steve Sivulka, the founder of StupidVideos.com.

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Steve

I have a question for you. I'm in pre-pre-production for my "no-budget"
feature film. I'm trying to decide what format to shoot on. 35mm and 16mm are going to cost me a pretty penny. I'm looking into HD. Have you done any research on the consumer end HD cameras? Doesn't JVC or Panasonic have a model available in the $3-4 thousand range? What do you think about it?

Michael

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JVC has an HD camera for around 3k. Sony is supposed to be coming out
with one that's going to rock and be at a good price point.

I'm CCing a friend of mine, Dennis. He works at the church that I go to
and he's more up on this stuff.

Steve

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Michael

I don't know of anyone shooting a feature film in HDV format yet. That
format is nice in that it has the same specs as true HD but the glass
and CCD's in either of the JVC or new SonyHDV cameras are still no where
near a true HD camera. I have heard of Indie producers using the
Panasonic AG100a 24p camera for film like work. The only real problem
with the camera is the fixed lens.....The XL2 is a camera that you can
purchase real Cinema lenses for or rent.......Here is a site in
Hollywood that rents and sells this stuff......
http://www.birnsandsawyer.com/cgibin/BIRstore.cgi

Let me know if I can help in anyway....

Dennis

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What about low budget independent features? Do film festivals accept
movies shot on DV? If Indie filmmakers use the Panasonic AG100a thats
Mini DV right? And the XL2 is definitely Mini DV. Don't you think the
Sony HDR-FX1 might be a great camera for an Indie film? Do you think the
XL2 is a better choice? ...or the XL1s?

You have a point about the lenses. That is a strong point of the XL2.

So many decisions to make.

Michael

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Indie Festivals will accept any format as long as you give it to them in
the format they want to play it back on........Remember there are
several feature length films (Chris Soderbergh) and commercials that
were shot on MiniDV (using the XL1) probably converted to 24p that were
widely accepted by all. The XL2 is definitely a huge improvement if I
was buying a camera now.

I think the Sony HDV camera is a great camera (in on paper because we
can't play with it yet) but the problem is still editing and that it's
not true HD. It apparently looks much better then DV but it is
compressed and has a weird format so compatibility will be an issue.
Might be worth the gamble...after all Sony is backing the
format......VEGAS+DVD 5 will apparently edit the HDV format for Sony
(since it's made by sony)but again no one has played with it yet....

Good Luck

Dennis

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Thanks for your input. You are helping me shape my film. I hope you
don't mind my questions.

Odds are, my film will be edited on Final Cut Pro HD and After Effects
(which I have on my system) or Avid Media Pro (which we use at work). My decision will hinge on whether I want it to "look much better than DV"
but have to deal with compatibility issues (fork out more $$ for editing
software) or opt for a slightly lower quality but have the ease (and
affordability) of compatibility. Does that sound like an accurate
assesment?

Michael

****

It sure does.....So many directions you can go. DV, 24p, HDV, HD,
Remember also that you want to purchase something that will last you
into the next 5years....the XL1 was great for so many years because
there wasn't anything else in the prosumer market like it....now there
are tons.....HDV and the sony camera are again at the cutting edge of
consumer HD but I don't know if I would wait for the pro model that will
probably come out soon (kind of like when sony had the VX1000 then they
came out with the PD150 which was the same camera but you could record
to DVCAM)
Anyway....the theory usually goes - record or aquire you video the best
and highest resolution you can because you can always convert that down
to less quality - but you can never convert up........

If you want this film to someday playback on an HD system then you
should seriously look at the SONY HDV camera (it can record to regular
DV as well)

Just some thoughts.

Dennis

1 Comments:

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November 11, 2005 at 3:47 AM  

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