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DSLR kit recommendations?

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Jessica Beckham
DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:50:32 am

Hey guys,

I've been looking through old posts in the same categori, but as I didn't find any with the same requirements, I decided to post a new with my specific requirements...!

I need a good/decent and cost effective kit for doing short (2-5 minutes) "expensive" looking clips for multiple purposes. Some will end up as web clips, others will be displayed on HD projectors at lectures etc.

I will film in low to high light - preferably indoors close to a window using the outdoor light, or at low light with a "sungun" (litepanels I think?!). All clips will be tripod + "talking head" based.

Can most DSLR cameras compenssate for changes in light (when a cloud comes across the sun)? Or does this require a manual change in settings on the fly?

I've considered the Sony a57 as it has a separate record button, and a dedicated mini jack for sound, and of course its very reasonable price! Does anyone have any experience with this camera? Price is not the main focus, but my philosophy is to buy better lenses than I can keep (for life?!), and (maybe!) to change the camera houses every 3 or 4 years (or something like that!)...

I've also considered the canon 60d. Also I've of course looked at the 5d mark2, as this could be an option, but i'm not sure the expense will justify the results I can create for this purpose. All cameras are an option! I'm open to whatever makes the most sense in this case.

A good lense for this purpose? This is where I'm most in doubt. Of course this relates to the choice of camera, but an allround recommendation would be highly appreciated.

And finally a light input. I will not have time to set up lights, but will have to make the best of daylight as mentioned, and/or a sun gun, if daylight is low or non existing. I havent tried the litepanels myself, but I've often heard good things about them?

I will be using premiere pro for editing. I have no experience with DSLR material in Premiere - anything I should be especially aware of?!

I sincerely hope some of you, would have some inputs for this.

Thank you very much in advance,

Jess.


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Steve Crow
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 4:37:02 pm

In terms of your camera setup and the issue of changing lighting conditions/clouds - the only thing I could think of was using the auto iso feature available in cameras like the Canon T2i. I have never tried this before so I don't have any direct experience to offer you but I would certainly set up a test if I were you to see if the ramping up of ISO done by the camera is smooth or, as I suspect, rather jumpy. The shutter speed and aperture are going to be basically fixed if you want that filmic look with a shallow depth of field (of course the amount that is out of focus depends upon which particular aperture you decide to use)

The sun gun idea doesn't sound ideal to me at all - I would imagine that it would produce a rather intense, harsh light on your subject. I bet you can get away with setting up just one softbox light in the room as your key light and using things like windows or maybe a reflector as fill light. I think the 60D is more than fine for your needs, get the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens for around $300 or if you can afford it a 24-70mm zoom with a low FIXED aperture

You can give the lightpanel a shot, I assume you mean the small kind that mounts on the hotshoe - they come with a a plastic diffusion sheet to soften the light up a bit - again, this would be a great thing to test unless you can find a test done by someone else perhaps on Vimeo - that's where I would start looking.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Jessica Beckham
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 5:30:15 pm

Hey Steve,

Thanks a lot for your input.

I get your point about the sungun. Thing is I need a kit that I can set up and have running in very few minutes. And sometimes at times where there is no natural light I can use as filler. But perhaps a chimera solution could be worked out... I'll have to think about that!

Do you have any experience with the sony a57? From what I see on youtube, vimeo etc. it looks pretty good to me... but I also hear a lot of good things about d60...

Thanks again!

Jess.


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Steve Crow
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 6:51:41 pm

Sorry I have no experience with the Sony

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Jessica Beckham
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 8:09:57 pm

alright, I appreciate your time.

all the best,

Jess.


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Phil Balsdon
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 10, 2012 at 9:31:16 pm

I can only speak from experience of Canon cameras. The 60D is a good camera, it is technically the same as the 7D but records to SD cards. Big advantage is the rotating viewfinder that will allow you to see the shot with camera set at high and low lens heights.

Canon cameras change exposure in 1/3 stop increments so are not suitable for adjusting during recording. The way around this is a variable ND filter which will allow this by rotating it, this is actually a good way to pull the exposure as you won't see depth of field changes. You'll need some form of ND if shooting in bright outdoor light anyway. Buy one that suits your largest diameter lens and step up rings to suit any smaller lenses, this way you only need to buy the one filter.

If you're going to be shooting in very low light to you'll need a fast lens, these are more expensive than "basic kit" lenses. Alternatively as well as a kit lens zoom buy a 50mm f1.4 for when the light levels are very low. 50mm on ASP-C sized sensors is a good portrait focal length.

Re audio, use a good wireless lav mic, Sennheiser G3 is very popular. Buy a Juicelink or Beachtek box for the camera. This will help eliminate the "hiss" associated with the poorer quality audio pre-amps in the HDSLR cameras.

I have, but rarely use, a Litepanels on camera LED light, buy it with the battery back that matches your camera batteries so you only need to carry one type of battery and charger.

I'm currently making the transition from Final Cut Pro 7 to Premiere Pro CS6. In FCP you need to ingest camera files through Log and Transfer as ProRes, Adode Premiere will edit them natively. I think FCP-X edits H264 files natively too, but I have no experience with it. Checkout Shane Ross' tapeless workflow tutorial here on Creative Cow.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Jessica Beckham
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 7:47:49 am

Hey Phil,

Thanks a lot for your input - I appreciate that!

Reason why I keep asking about sony A57 is that it (too) has mini jack sound in and a dedicated video record button. I need this kit to be super user friendly, because newbies has to operate it once on a while - hence the sungun ie. No time/knowhow to setup lights for each filming session. I do know that the sungun is a risk, but I'm aiming for these newbies to use their "critical eye" when they operate the gear, and to rather have low light than the opposite, as this is easier to fix in the post...

Good point about the nd filter!

In this case we're gonna use Premiere, so that's good... I'm still on FCP 7 (or is it 6, can't remember!). But I've bought the big adobe suite and at some point I'm gonna have to say bye to FCP and jump right into Premiere (I tried Premiere many years ago, and wasn't impressed, but from what I hear it's good now!).

Again thanks for all your help.

Jess.


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Brent Dunn
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:06:36 pm

Anytime there is a change in the light, clouds, indoor, outdoor, there will be variations in exposure and color. It doesn't matter what camera you have.

Since you didn't mention a budget, there are a bunch of choices that will do the job.

As DSLR's go, the Canon 5D Mk III is amazing. The full sensor of the Mk II or Mk III does make a difference in color and depth of colors, giving you more details in your final images.

The 7D and 60D are also good cameras, but do not give you as much color information.

The Mk III is amazing in low light with very little noise. It's also great for interviews. You should capture your audio separately in a field recorder for the best quality. Here is a test shoot with the Mk III. https://vimeo.com/38897047

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Brent Dunn
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:16:42 pm

I would find Vortex Media's "Lighting with LED" video at B&H Video.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/849383-REG/Vortex_Media_LEDDVD_DVD_Vi...


I have a light kit, but if I were buying one now, I'd try and use all LED, just to keep the room cool and for safety.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Bill Bruner
Re: DSLR kit recommendations?
on Sep 11, 2012 at 5:07:44 pm

Hi Jessica - are these interviews anything close to what you are looking for?

(natural light only)

(key light, no fill)

Shot with the $700 Panasonic GH2. Canons and Sonys might have had trouble with "moire" on the striped pattern on the wall in the second interview.

Here is what moire looks like on patterned fabrics and rooflines (and patterned shirts):





And if your interview clips last more than 12 minutes (Canon) or 30 minutes (Sony), you'll have problems, because these cameras have clip length limits. The GH2 (outside of Europe), has no such limit.

I guess you can tell - in my view, you'll have a lot fewer issues and workarounds with a GH2.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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