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What camera should I use for corporate videos?

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Chelsea Householder
What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 2:35:55 pm


The company I work for wants to start making corporate videos, mainly with chroma key, my question is what kind of camera should they invest in? Our budget is 2,000 to 5,000 and we want something that can last us a while by remaining up to date. What are our choices?


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Mark Suszko
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:29:40 pm

Renting. Renting is good. The best camera for corporate work is... someone else's. :-) Your accounting department will love it that you're not paying for depreciation or maintenance or replacement due to obsolescence. Unless you're really shooting 3 to 5 days a week, renting may be your most cost-effective option, because you can rent a much better camera than you can afford to buy.

Buy and own the no-brainer stuff: tripods, good light kits, good mics and such. Rent the camera, and rent jibs, dollies, steadicams, etc. just when the script calls for them.

"corporate videos" covers anything from a small one-man business to multinationals billing billions a year. What's good in a camera for one may not be right for the other. So to just say "brand x, modelY" based just on the little you've given us to work on, would be reckless advising.

If you could better and more narrowly define the client and what they/you want to do, specific cameras may then be suggested. If it is just chromakey work, well, anything with a 4:2:2 color space and good glass will work with today's modern NLE systems and their keying software. Getting a good key is mostly a function of lighting it well and evenly, more than anything.


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Rick Wise
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 9:25:22 pm

First off, do a little homework. Go to BHPhotovideo.com. Click on: Camcorders/Professional Camcorders/Video Cameras/Prosumer/ and then sort by low to high, or high to low. Find all the cameras in your budget range. (For what you want to do, I'd start at the top end and work down.) Read the user reviews for each camera if there are any. Research each potential camera via Google. Etc. Come back here with your top 4 or 5 choices, if you are still undecided.

If your TOTAL budget is $2000-5000, then you have to allow for a decent tripod, extra batteries, lights, recording media, the green screen itself, mics, props, sets. If that's the case, your budget is more than tight. It's impossible.

Alternatively, hire a professional crew to come in and shoot your first projects. Then do the math to see if it's worth while becoming your own production company. Odds are high that it's not worth it unless you are generating lots of video every week. Note that it's also difficult to keep good professional people working a corporate job like that unless you include a significant amount of challenging, interesting work. Right now, however, you will have a much better chance at finding and holding good people for at least a year or more, until this recession turns up.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Steven Bradford
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 1, 2009 at 6:20:02 am

Chelsea-

If a primary use of this camera is for chroma key, I would look for a camera that has full bandwidth component HD outputs. Then you can record directly into a computer with a component HD video capture card or box. This will greatly improve the quality of the chroma key, and the speed with which you can accomplish them. All the cameras in your price range record very compressed signals which work are so-so to ok to pull keys from. Several cameras in this price range have these outputs. I believe the canon xh a1 is just barely in your price range, and it has a full uncompressed digital output, HD-SDI, which would work the best capturing live into a computer with an HD-SDI capture card.

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.


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Rick Wise
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 1, 2009 at 5:39:38 pm

Steven, great solution. I've been fortunate enough to always have a full-up video camera plus a terrific tech for any green screen shoots. I suspect sooner or later I will be forced to tape with a prosumer camera for such a shoot and will remember your great advice.

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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John Fishback
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 2, 2009 at 8:05:45 pm

You don't say how you intend to edit your programs. Your choice of NLE may affect your choice of camera (rented or purchased). FCP as an example, isn't happy with files from some of the lower-end cameras. They can be imported, but in some cases it really slows the workflow.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 2 (FCP 6.0.5, Comp 3.0.5, DVDSP 4.2.1, Color 1.0.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Chelsea Householder
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 3, 2009 at 6:56:33 pm

Thanks for the advice. I really don't know what they're looking for as far as the details go. They want to use a camera solely for Chroma key point and shoot scenarios. I haven't worked much with Chroma Key myself and was wondering if there was a difference in equipment. If the difference results in extreme loss of quality I am sure my budget will go up. Thanks again


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John Fishback
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 3, 2009 at 7:33:30 pm

As Mark mentioned above the most critical element (besides properly lighting the green screen) is the color space of the camera. A 4:2:2 color space is preferable to a 4:1:1. The more color information available to the keyer, the better the key will be. That said, you can pull a good key with 4:1:1, it's just a little bit harder and more involved.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 2 (FCP 6.0.5, Comp 3.0.5, DVDSP 4.2.1, Color 1.0.3)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Chelsea Householder
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 4, 2009 at 9:04:11 pm

What type of camera with a 4.2.2 color space do you suggest if our budget for the camera open?


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Steven Bradford
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 5, 2009 at 6:07:26 pm

Hmm.

I think I get a clearer picture now. I'd say get one of the panasonic or canon camcorders. The HV30 makes okay keys, we've used it at school a couple of times for that. A Panasonic DVX100 is also fine, though not HD, as is the HVX200 or HDM150 which are HD.
The main thing is, get a 3 chip camera. Don't get one that records to little SD chips, those compress the signal too much.

When you need to do the chroma key, you'll ask around and get some advice, and eventually figure out how to do it. That's how it works out for a lot of people. I have a web page about it that you can get too from my home page, see below. Your clients don't seem that sophisticated, my experience is that they'll love the results.

That's why I think the whole 4:1:1 vs 4:2:2 thing doesn't matter, you'll get results that are good enough for your clients.

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.


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Chelsea Householder
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 6, 2009 at 2:43:34 pm

Hi Steve,

I thought It might be you, yep the company I am working for knows nothing about film and wants me start up their department. It's really sweet. I just don't know much about chroma key. I have been reading up though. I hope the rest of the school year went well.


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Chelsea Householder
Re: What camera should I use for corporate videos?
on Aug 5, 2009 at 2:53:40 pm

Thanks for the advise.


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Bob Cole
forget chromakeying
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:51:07 am

This seems to be a minority view but someone has to say it: Don't try chromakeying, at least not on your own.

Your company hasn't budgeted enough money to do the job properly, and it sounds as though you may not have done this before. There are many potential problems with this technique, a steep learning curve in both production and post-production, and lots of little things to buy. Either hire professional help or persuade your boss that there are other solutions.

For example, use the talent's voice over actual shots of whatever it is you're trying to illustrate, rather than superimposing the video of the talent over the image. Or, if you want the talent to be on-screen while something else is also on-screen, shoot your talent off to the side, leaving space to put the background video in a little "window." Many NLE's can handle that quite easily.

Good luck.

Bob C


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