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advice for semi-pro camcorder

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david furst
advice for semi-pro camcorder
on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:53:04 am

hi,

i stumbled on this site in the process of researching camcorders and found some good suggestions on other threads, thought i'd try in this section of the site. i'm going to buy a camcorder to record staged presentations [musicals, plays, concerts] and film. i'm a complete newbie to filming, more familiar with work done in front of the camera than behind it, so i'm looking for something [relatively] simple, although i don't mind a steep learning curve if that'll lead to better quality cameras. i have a pretty tight budget, but i'm open to buying used equipment, as long as it works well. i've seen that i can get some equipment that looks pretty decent, if dated, for well under $1,000 on e-bay.

low-light sensitivity would be a big plus ; sometimes the stage lighting will be darker, depending on the mood of the piece.

i'm thinking i'd like to get something using sd or ssd rather than dv, simply because it would be faster to transfer the video to a workstation for editing.

i've read that i should avoid 8-bit sdi because the quality isn't as good for green-screen work as 10-bit would be. while i'll be using the camera to film stage work, that's only part of what i want it for ; there will be green-screen needed work too [or is it too optimistic of me to think one machine could do a good job for both types of filming ? ]

so, i was wondering, first of all, are my expectations realistic ? if so, am i working with the right information ? finally, given what i'm looking for, do you have any recommendations -- if not specific brands/models to check out, even for certain types of cameras or characteristics to watch for ?

thanks !
david


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Vince Becquiot
Re: advice for semi-pro camcorder
on Feb 20, 2014 at 5:36:23 pm

Hi David,

First, you'll find that most sub $5000.00 cameras have poor on board video compression, except perhaps for some of the P2 Panasonic cameras.

So for greens screen work, you may want to look at external recording can that handle Prores or uncompressed. This is probably more important than bit depth if you like clean edges.

My recommendation would be renting from companies like Borrowlenses. You can get a pretty nice camera for under $200 for a few days and then decide what you really like. In fact, if you only need a camera say once a month, you may find it cheaper to just rent when you need it.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live | Kaptis Media

San Francisco Bay Area


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david furst
Re: advice for semi-pro camcorder
on Feb 20, 2014 at 6:23:55 pm

thanks very much, vince, that sounds like a good idea. i've been finding quite a few cameras that cost $5,000 a few years ago that are literally selling for 1/10 of that now used, and i think that's going to be my target, but there's still a lot of info to sift through.

i don't want this thread to devolve into a 'what do you think about model xyz v. abc' thread, do you know of any good online buyer's guides? something that'll introduce me to the more important concepts and what to look for in a camera. i've found lots of reviews on individual models, but w/o being able to sift through the dross, i'm losing a lot of time [for example, i've only just recently found out what P2 is, and that one of the features i probably want is '3CCD', and knowing that in advance would've saved me lots of time researching other models].

thanks
david


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