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DSLR v Camcorder

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Henry Rowan
DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 1:17:41 pm

I am going to be doing 5 or 6 one minute satirical videos. They will be primarily displayed on the web but will also be shown to mid sized groups via good quality video projector. As a still photographer, the original thought was to use my 7D but as I explore the requirements for getting decent video, I am beginning to wonder if I wouldn't be better off just getting a decent camcorder (along the lines of a Sony HVR-A1U).

Some considerations:

* I don't see myself ever getting into video on a more involved level than this project.
* I have shot some video and have a bit of an idea of the challenges - including audio.
* I have an excellent collection of high quality zooms and primes.
* I have video tripods, a Zoom H4N, hot lights, and assorted needed "stuff".
* Narrow DOF might come in handy but we could live without it.

So.. would you get the equipment needed to shoot decent video with the 7D or would you use some of the money budgeted and just get a semi-pro level HD camcorder?


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Richard Harrington
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 4:45:38 pm

Ouve got gear. Use a tripod. Plug in a tv or monitor via HDMI. You'll be fine. Pickup our book if you feel unconfident

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and ATS:iWork


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ryan loetscher
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 5:00:10 pm

What all are you considering when you say "equipment needed to shoot decent video" on the 7D? I just got the 5D for full time video! Unless you're doing "run and gun" hand held video, the 7D will be better out of the box than any camera you could rent up to the Red One.... (my opinion anyway).

Pros: The depth of field, low light performance, quality of image and both focal lengths (both wide and long) cannot be matched by any camcorder you would rent. Far and away better.

Cons: Difficult to shoot hand held well. Even with an IS lens if you move around a lot it will shake with out a steady cam unit. Pulling focus takes some practice... but is doable (depending on how shallow you're going to be). You'll have to take audio separately if you want professional audio. The on cam mic is basically reference audio and picks up a lot of internal camera noise and the camera only allows for a mini jack for audio, which is rubbish for true pro audio... (however in most pro environments I would be taking audio separately anyway, you'll just have to match it in post rather than connecting it in cam via xlr connections.) The codec can be difficult to work with unless you have CS5, but you can download something as simple as mpeg stream clip for free to convert the video to something more workable.

In my opinion, since you already have the 7D and know how to work the camera and are comfortable with lens (and have a wide array), you will get far and away much better quality without spending money on a lesser camera. Instead of renting a camcorder, use that money on the right audio setup for what you're doing, and just use a tripod (or you can even build a stead cam by using a mono pod type contraption with weight on the bottom, indy guys do it all the time.)

Indy filmmakers left and right are dumping their expensive video setups to switch TO the DSLR's.



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Henry Rowan
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 7:30:40 pm

Thanks, I appreciate the thoughts. I guess I'll continue my search for good shoulder support rig and follow focus options. Who knows those things may come in handy for some of my still macro shooting as well.


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Noah Kadner
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 8:07:04 pm

"Indy filmmakers left and right are dumping their expensive video setups to switch TO the DSLR's."

yeah it's a gold rush right now the likes of which compare to the first VX1000 Sony DV camera, the Panasonic DVX100 and HVX200, the XL1s and so on. DSLRs are the current 'in' technology. Maybe someday we'll get Scarlet's from RED and step up the game a bit but that day seems further away than ever.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Learn DSLR Cinematography.


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Bob Knapp
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 9:35:12 pm

Well, I own an A1U but I'm counting my pennies until I can buy A 5d(Why I'm on this forum). My thought is can your editing system handle heavy editing with 7d footage? What I do love about my A1U is the XLR ins and great audio metering. What I hate about my A1U is it looks terrible in low light. Your shots need to WELL lite to make anything look good from an A1U. If want to see some footage from A1U you can see here http://www.swispro.com

I too dream of the day I can ditch my Camcorder and go DSLR


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Noah Kadner
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 11:50:38 pm

Yeah it's not that tricky- most folks are transcoding to a ProRes codec before even starting in FCP. Preserves quality and lessens the processor load. Any recent model Intel (assuming we're talking FCP and I'm always talking FCP) that can run FCS3 can do the trick...

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Learn DSLR Cinematography.


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Norman Pogson
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 6, 2010 at 11:57:10 pm

If your windows transcode the h.264 with Cineform Neoscene, easy peasy

My Canon 7D Blog


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Dave LaRonde
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 9, 2010 at 4:26:19 pm

[Bob Knapp] "I too dream of the day I can ditch my Camcorder and go DSLR"

If you shoot video, why the heck would you want to dream for THAT? Seems a little bass-ackwards to me!

In contrast, I dream of the day when the image quality of a DSLR is incorporated into a Proper Video Camera, thus avoiding the many aggravating and cumbersome roadblocks one encounters in shooting DSLR video.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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ryan loetscher
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 12, 2010 at 4:37:55 pm

Definitely agree! I'm like, come on canon! You've taken the first step, now get that chip and those lenses on you XL bodies! It be f-ing amazing to have the weight, shoulder mount, controls, jack pack, better audio and all those goodies that come with cameras meant to shoot video.

For me, if you made a list of positives and negatives chart for DSLR's, there would be way more checks in the negatives than positives... but that image crushes them all! Its all about image quality in the end. If you just take some time to figure out a system that works for you, there's not comparison.



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Bob Knapp
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 13, 2010 at 1:17:33 am

I give anyone great Props for going out there and battling the many sacrifices for that image.

We dealt with 56k modems for the internet for a long time but we didn’t say “No I’m not going on the internet because I wish it was faster”. We edited tape to tape back in the day but we didn’t say “I’m not going to edit because I wish we were able to edit on a computer”. Cavemen rubbed two sticks together to make fire they didn’t die waiting for the Bic lighter.

One day you will get the DSLR/Camcorder hybrid but that doesn’t mean you trash the players who were playing the game before you waited to get the new shinny red ball.

See What I See Productions
http://www.swispro.com


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Jim Bell
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 16, 2010 at 6:14:04 am

Well said Dave. Funny how many people miss this point. Still if you are all about image quality and look, you will suffer for your art... Personally I'm waiting and hoping someone like Panny or Canon themselves rushes something with a changeable lenses and a big sensor in camcorder to market by year end.


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John Young
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 16, 2010 at 12:40:27 am

But, lets all remember that the image is everything. If I have to work harder to pull focus or hold the camera in awkward position, then I do it. If the alternative is a lower quality image.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 16, 2010 at 3:55:19 pm

[John Young] "But, lets all remember that the image is everything..."

Yeah, that's why you see cel phone video show up on TMZ, I guess.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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ryan loetscher
Re: DSLR v Camcorder
on Jul 19, 2010 at 5:31:19 pm

It depends on what you're talking about... if your in the information business (I guess we can label TMZ that), like news, anything easy, quick and hand held will be king... my old station has basically switched to reporters with flip cams in the field. A reporter could never use one of these cameras.

Now as for in the field... I have to agree its all about the image. I'll suffer for my art... and we're not talking about a lot of suffering here. Everybody today is so spoiled... The film days were not that long ago. Don't you remember what that was like?? Now we can achieve that quality at a way cheaper cost, and its STILL more convenient. Its not that bad pulling focus, and I always use external audio anyway. The only thing I wish I could fix at the moment (a DSLR/Camcorder hybrid would obviously be all around better of course), is the codec. That does affect quality.

We'll have the crossover platform soon enough... in the meantime this is awesome! And I'm very happy with my camera. I kinda like having the bonus of a professional grade still camera as well. I've used that more than the video all of a sudden!



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