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if you was a cheapo filmaker, what would you do?

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if you was a cheapo filmaker, what would you do?
on Mar 12, 2004 at 11:07:15 am

Hi All,

I read the posts on this forum with interest and have seen that the HDV format seems to be still in a state of flux - nobody knows exactly where this will end up it seems, specs seem to be developing and changing all the time.

I guess my question is one which may well be subjective but here goes.

I shortly want to make a film. I sold my 16mm camera as it was too clunky and impractical (never made a thing with it). Currently I have the panasonic DVX100 - which is the best DV cam in my opinion that I have used. The progressive mode makes it perfect for what I am doing, and you have full control over all aspects of the image. I have made a few shorts with it and am very pleased with the results.

However, HDV got me really excited, and I looked at the new JVC cam, which has just come out here in the UK. However there does seem to be concerns over image quality (the shimmering on the image and fast motion artifacts). Also the camera doesn't really have the manual controls I would like to make a film. I need good low light too.

I'm hoping to start filming this year, so what would people reccomend? Should I stick to my Panasonic? Is the JVC up to the challenge? Or will there be any more prosumer HDV cams out before the end of this year? I read a post on here about Sharp producing a camera. Is that true? How about Canon?

In the end I know if the script is good - thats the main thing; and thats my primary goal. After all, films like "28 days later" were shot DV and were very successful - however I would like the image quality to be the best it can be. I even thought that shooting in DV mode on the JVC might be worth a look as it is true anamorphic as oppose to the cropped widescreen of the Panasonic (25% more resolution that way).

It seems to be all give and take at the moment.

1. I can get true anamorphic 25p with the JVC - limitations 1 chip, lack of manual controls.
2. Cropped 25p on panasonic. Limitations - 25% lower image resolution but 3 chip and full controls.
3. JVC HDV 25p. This I still haven't seen, but the limiations are the low light and lack of control
4. I looked into the anamorphic lens for the Panasonic, limitations - focal range/distortion and zoom range.

Whatever the case, I want to start something this year, but as in all cases money is a big factor so I'll have to take my pick out of what is available now or in the near future. If HDV2 is going to be $20k then I'm stuck with HDV. Is this format going to get any better than the JVC image quality? Was the JVC just a 'test' cam or is that the best quality we could expect from HDV (consumer)? Once again I read that Sharp had a new Mpeg encoder with their camera. Would this eliminate the shimmering or is that inherant with the HDV format? I know 25Mbps is the limit but I assume that the encoders themselves could be improved. Has any company thought of using a diffrerent compression format to get a better picture at 25Mbps? Mpeg4 maybe.

I'd appreciate advice for anyone who has used the JVC to give me pointers. I haven't seen any footage from the camera myself except from still images. Does the 'shimmering' associated with the compression on this camera make DV a better choice? Yes it's lower resolution but does the artifacts of HDV make it a bad choice right now over DV?

I do not plan to be doing any huge special effects in my film but does HDV footage key worse or better than DV? I know the colour sampling is the same (4:2:0) which makes keying difficult anyway on DV, but does the MPEG2 compression compound this problem on the JVC model?

Thanks for any advice. I'll stop asking questions now as this post is full of them...


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