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$300 cam for green screen?!

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Brad Bussé$300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:39:15 pm

Umm, okay. I worked with the HVX for a few years and the GH2 last year and loved them both. I started a freelance gig today and I'll start with some green screen interview footage that they're shooting. Their last video guy had brought in a DSLR, but I don't have a camera body right now since I sold my Canon to switch over to m43rds soon. Their pay is low for even just my time, certainly too low for me to invest in new equipment for this job. So, they are purchasing a consumer camera today that will be used for both green screen and web cam recordings. Can anyone suggest a model that would be best for trying to pull green screen keys with, with a budget of $300?

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Lee WarnerRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 2, 2012 at 10:58:27 pm


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Calgary, Alberta
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Brad BusséRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 2, 2012 at 11:12:26 pm

Thanks, but they already have a screen, this is just regarding the camera for screen shooting - the camera has to be $300.

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Tero AhlforsRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 3, 2012 at 5:46:38 am

If that's your budget you won't get anything extra nice image or codec wise. You can do it if you have a good background and you light it really well.

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Kevin CaminRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 3, 2012 at 12:38:11 pm

Sounds like a losing dilemma. Even if they didn't want to do green screen work, I'm worried about their mind set in regards to production tools.

Anyways, a consumer camcorder will probably give you an unusable result. Even HDSLRs struggle due to their highly compressed color channels. I understand they are going to the web with this stuff, but that doesn't mean things should look like the Tim and Eric show without the irony.

Best regards,

Kevin Camin

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Jon BaggeRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:00:18 pm

Maybe you should discuss with them options for achieving what they want without using green screen? Badly done green screen is very distracting and your project is much more likely to look professional and be effective if done simpler.

So if you have an interview for example, simply cutting away to another shot, or maybe compositing an image on top may be acceptable.

It depends on what the project is, but I'm sure there are alternative ways that will end up looking much better.

Jon Bagge - Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: $300 cam for green screen?!
by on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:17:53 pm

You'll be hard pressed to find a camera that does 4:2:2 chroma sampling for under $3000, let alone $300. You really need 4:2:2 sampling rate (this equates to Beta-SP format) to get the chroma levels necessary to pull a good key.

There's software you can buy which is made to improve the lower chroma of DV cameras, and lighting certainly helps, but it's probably not even worth your time to have a company that underpays you and doesn't understand good equipment buy something that won't do the job. You can see where that's going. Good luck.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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