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Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short

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Keiichi Matsuda
Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short
on Nov 2, 2013 at 4:55:07 am

Hello cows,

I'm soon to be shooting a new short film to extend some work I did a few years ago:
https://vimeo.com/8569187

Now I'm looking to purchase a compact, ultra-wide (around 80-90 degrees FOV), not ground-breakingly expensive, and preferably 3D-able kit. Footage will be POV and heavily manipulated in post. Options I've considered so far are:

GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition
Way too wide, but with the 2.8k image size, I can crop in and still get 1080p out. I like that I can easily head-mount this on someone, and control it remotely with an iOS device. 3D rig sold, but the stereo base is too narrow I think. I'm confident enough that I can make a simple custom rig though. Its cheap and easy, but worried about image quality, distortion (although maybe I can correct it), and dynamic range.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with Panasonic 7-14mm f4 OR speedboosted tokina 11-16mm
I think this is the widest I can get on this camera. Only just wide enough, and getting to be too expensive. Also, it may be too bulky for a POV setup, but I'm willing to drop the 3D, and I'm really drawn to the dynamic range, image quality, and that the files come out as prores rather than some delivery codec.

I guess that neither of these cameras are 'proper' filmmaking cameras, but this is an unconventional film! Leaning towards GoPro, but do any of you happen to have any other suggestions? Absolute max budget £4k GBP / £6300 USD, but want to try and keep costs down.

I should also mention that while most of the scenes will be outdoor/daytime, I will also be shooting this:




Thanks in advance!

p.s. hoping this isn't too similar to rollercoaster question below, but I think the criteria are different enough to warrant a separate post!


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Bill Bruner
Re: Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short
on Nov 10, 2013 at 1:13:07 pm

Hi Keiichi - I would get the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (£885 at Amazon UK as of this post) and a £224 Rokinon 7.5mm f3.1 Micro 4/3 mount lens.

Here are the results you can get with this camera/lens combination (ungraded, and compressed for YouTube - please watch at 720p):

"



"

Add a £53.50 External Battery, a £268 Juicedlink RA222 preamp and a £155 EVF, and you will have a very capable wide angle cinema camera for not a lot of money.

Hope this is helpful and good luck with your project!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Keiichi Matsuda
Re: Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short
on Nov 14, 2013 at 2:49:55 am

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the reply and your recommendation.
I ended up going for the GoPro setup, as its so easy to headmount in 3D, and the price is good. I've done some tests in low light though and its awful. Highlights continuously blowing out too. I will either have to fork out a load more money on new gear, or lose my evening shots :(

Thanks again for the tip!


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Nathaniel J Opgenorth
Re: Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short
on Dec 17, 2013 at 9:11:07 am

GoPro definitely sucks in low light for film applications...for run and gun documentaries its fine. YOur probably already using 2.8K mode but thats the best mode since for some reason you get the least noise. However if you can light the area where you need it even quarter a**ed it will bump the camera down to lower ISO's and be clean and the clean look of GoPro footage is beautiful. I think the GoPro3+ has a way to lock the exposure down...I think its an update on the iPhone app or whatever...not sure I have a GoPro3 Black (no plus for me!). Ive found you can definitely get the results you want with a GoPro you just need to put more work in then youd like is all, oh and make sure you are shooting in ProTune mode with CamRAW on so you can set your white balance if needed or leave it untouched to set in post. I mean films like End of Watch utilized the GoPro3 and while they also had several 5D's, SI-2K's, etc. they were able to overcome the issues. Ive found that the GoPro can recover blown highlights rather gracefully if you put your work in and I think its dynamic range is pretty impressive, but this all varies on what its ISO is at which is difficult to lock down.


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Keiichi Matsuda
Re: Camera/lens recommendations for unusual indie short
on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:48:38 pm

Thanks for the tips!

I'm dropping the low light scenes for now (I'm shooting a series anyway), so will come back to get them next year, probably with some different kit. Very happy with the gopros so far though! Very happy that there is a company that happens to make a product nearly perfect for my very specific requirements!


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