Cinematography Forum
4K Camera Selection
4K Camera Selection
by Phillip Buchanan on Jul 18, 2018 at 3:53:23 am

I am looking for advice on buying a 4K camera that will produce pro quality results with little tuning. I am a complete newbie to video production but will soon be recording videos for an online training service and they need to be in 4K and high quality so looking for advice on the camera and any other accessories to make it a complete rig.
I looked into black magic camera but they are slightly pricey and require lot of tuning by a knowledgeable user to get a great result from what I read.
I will need to order and procure these things this week or early next week.

Re: 4K Camera Selection
by Blaise Douros on Jul 18, 2018 at 3:52:03 pm

Panasonic GH5 or GH5s, or Sony Alpha, probably A7III, or A7sII. A kit lens will be fine for most purposes. Panasonic and Sony each have their own XLR audio adapter that you should get so you can hook the camera up to a decent mike (you did plan for audio, right?). You'll need either a shotgun mike that you can hang on a c-stand above your subject, or a lavalier mike, either wired or wireless, so you can get good audio. You'll need lighting as well, and that's a whole other rabbit hole. Light stands, c-stands. Get a tripod, for sure. You're looking at between $4000 - $8000 for a complete setup, depending on how good you want it to be.

What concerns me is this: you say you're completely new to video work, yet you're about to produce a bunch of training videos for a company that expects professional-level work? I hope, for your sake, that you're an in-house person who's gotten this as an assignment, and has time for some trial and error.

If you're doing this as a freelancer, you need to stop, right now, and learn the craft before you try to charge a client for your work. There is much, much, much, much more to getting professional quality results than selecting the right camera. So much more. I just can't tell you how much more there is. There is SO MUCH.

You need to understand framerates, codecs, lighting, audio, image composition, editing, how to shoot the appropriate b-roll, video compression...if you aren't comfortable doing ALL of those things, then you need to throw your hand up right now and tell your client. Because not only will you be setting yourself up for failure, you'll be screwing your client over, and potentially even opening yourself up for legal trouble.

I don't want to discourage you--video CAN be learned, but it CAN'T be learned in a day, and certainly not on the job on your first day of professional work.

I'm usually the first to jump all over the curmudgeons who usually tell people they can't do things, but this has major red flags. I promise you, you do NOT want to fake your way through professional video work, because even the pros get tripped up on a regular basis.

Re: 4K Camera Selection
by Chris Wright on Jul 20, 2018 at 3:22:42 pm

4k with pro results usually means a pro 4k camera. what is your budget? I recommend testing the lighting and exposure, shutter speed, white balance, audio levels all the way through production and post production to get any
issues nailed down.