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Thread: Ideal camcorder for making short films?

  1. #1
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    Default Ideal camcorder for making short films?

    Hey guys.

    I've looked up various camcorders and I'm still unsure of which camcorder to get. I am certain on one thing; it is going to be a mini DV camcorder. I definitely want a camcorder with an external microphone input becaise I despise the motor noise on my older Sony camcorder. And internal microphone is rubbish for picking up what the subject is saying, so I'd really like to be able to hear what is being said and to also somehow block out background noise like cars on the motorway. Apart from this, I am not sure which camcorder or camcorder features would be most sutiable for making short films. I am not looking for something top of the range because my budget is... about 180 - 300. Is it possible to get a decent camcorder at that price? Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    certainly you can get a camcorder good enought to start making short films for that much. I'm not going to recommend any specific cameras because once you've narrowed down both your budget, the type of camera you want and the features you want (or can afford) then it's all personal preference.

    What I want to add though sxi that as you want to for making movies then you will have to absolutely budget for a tripod as well.

    handheld shots have their place but trust me in that no-one will watch a movie not filmed on a tripod.

    And then you have the mic to buy, not to mention editting s/w....

  3. #3
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    Ditto what Aln says on the tripod. Hand held shots have thier place but many many shots must be from a tripod.

  4. #4
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    Cheers. I suppose you're right; I have narrowed it done on some points. I guess I just want to make sure I get a decent camcorder that lets me have control over exposure. I have a tripod - it is quite handy. Sometimes I get a bit frustrated with it so I use handheld shots, but we all know how steady those kind of shorts are. :p

    There's this thing called depth of field used in films quite a lot that I'd like to try out as well. Is it possible to do it with miniDV in this budget or is DOP a feature for the big toys? For example, the subject being in focus with the background out of focus. You guys know what I mean I'm sure.
    Last edited by CaptainJackSparrow; 06-19-2007 at 06:53 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

  5. #5
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    Depth of field is related to the f-stop used at time of shooting. This is basically a question of controlling the exposure. The higher the f-stop used teh larger the depth of field.

    For me you've hit on one of the major differences between film and video. On film it's easy but on video you actually have to work quite hard to get a shallow depth of field. OK, it's not really that hard but you average point and shoot is desieng to try and keep everything in focuse and so will typically choose a large depth of field if possible.

    A camcorder with an ND (filter) setting will help here. Block the amount of light getting in and (all other things being equal) the f-stop will go down giving a more shallow dof.

    Some cheaper (i.e. non prosumer) cameras have manual control/overrides but often are not onthe camera but activated through menus so are a bit fiddly.

  6. #6
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    Ah, I understand. Is a little tricky sounding. I guess it's just a case of fiddling with the settings. On my old Sony digi8 camera there is this feature on it called slow shutter which is good to use at setting 1, and also a feature called flash, which also makes the video appear as if it's going at a slower frame rate at the lowest setting. Is this feature found on other camcorders if you know?

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