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Thread: What camera?

  1. #1

    Default What camera?

    Hi, first of all let me introduce myself; my name's Paul and I'm currently looking into creating a short film.

    I've been working with video for years now but haven't shot that much myself, I've have had a story running around my head for a few years and feel that it's time to try and get it onto the screen.

    I have all the software I should need already on my Macs (Final Cut Studio 2, Shake and a few other tools), I have a Sony Mini DV camcorder already and bought a JVC Everio GZ-HD7E HD Camcorder earlier this year to shoot some conferences for a client which worked really well.

    The Sony isn't suitable at all for this of course and I find that the JVC isn't that great in low light conditions and even though it claims to be 1080p I don't think the picture quality is that hot and I could do with something half decent for when I start my short film.

    I'm working on a number of CGI shots at the moment which are looking really good so I want the real footage to look as good and not look out of place.

    The problem is that I have no clue what I should be looking for or how much I should be spending; I would like to get a HD camera as I don't want to have to upgrade in the near future so something that will give me a good cinematic feel and will still have a little life in it after a few years time.

    I have looked at the Sony HVR V1E but am not sure if it's the best option so any advice would be appreciated.
    Last edited by thedustroom; 09-06-2008 at 08:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Personally, I would stick with the JVC for now. I'm surprised you're not impressed with the quality and would suspect there may be things you can do to improve this. Do you have any sample footage you could provide? Is the quality before editing and output any better? What is your output format?

    Although you suggest that the camera doesn't work well in low light, this shouldn't be a problem when you have control over lighting conditions. Do yoiu have experience of lighting set up? Getting the lighting right will have a big impact on the percieved quality of your camera.

  3. #3


    Hi; thanks for the reply.

    I find that the JVC seems to have a fair amount of noise when viewing in full HD; I'm yet to play with any footage from it in Final Cut though as the work I did was edited by a friend of mine as I was too busy to do it myself unfortunately.

    The client was happy with the work but we supplied the footage in SD anyway so as my short film will be HD I was a little worried.

    I still have some footage of the Lancaster, Spitfire and Huricane flying over the Ladybower reservoir here in the High Peak that I'm yet to edit but when I watched it in 1080i (connection via HDMI cable) on my TV it had noise.

    I do have my own lighting setup and green screen for controlled filming but I have a few locations I want to shoot and won't be able to control the lighting there - one location is quite dark (and needs to be for the shot I'm looking for) so this is worrying me quite a bit as well.

    I guess I'm just worried that the JVC isn't going to give me professional quality footage and I'm going to be dissapointed with the final production; most of my video work has been for web or CD-ROM delivery so high definition was never a requirement but as I want to move into doing a lot more video work (and my client's are asking for more of this kind f thing) I need to have something that will give me excellent results.

    Maybe I was jumping the gun and panicking a little and the best option is for me to shoot some test footage in the locations I'm thinking of and see how I get on with it in post production, then decide if the camera's right for what I'm after.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
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    In my opinion just about any camera be it dv, hdv, tape, hd, card, or wax disc is suitable for making quality movies.

    Professional results start with the story, if the story is crap it will still be crap even if shot in IMAX with a crew of dozens.

    Next get you story board spot on - it may be drawn or shot or words but my advice is to spend the longest time thinking about how you are going to shot stuff. Even the smallest shot should be wrnagled over untill it is 'mwah' !

    Now actors - can they?

    Finally we get to the technical bit. Get the above right and even if it is shot on a 100 quid first gen dv you will have a winner.

    Audiences dont care about the specs of your camera.

    I shoot either on a manky oldold tiny sony pc4 or a 7000 new huge jvc 'pro' cam. No camera naive has ever commented on the spmanking good quality or lack of it.

    Having said that stuff shot on the jcv is a joy to edit on cos you can pull curves and fiddle with saturation and stuff without lots of coarse colour effects.

    As for noise - all cameras create noise, even film cameras. Dont forget that all but the worst low light noise just wont show on tv - monitprs really give a warts and all look to video.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the advice on this; I've spent the past few months on the storyboard and am still tweaking it here and there.

    I've also driven to the locations I have in mind and scouted them for good angles and clean shots to make sure what I have in my head is possible.

    I understand that the story has to be good enough or its pointless doing the thing in the first place (I wish Hollywood would also heed this advice ) so that is my priority; it's just with having perfectly clean video from the CG work I need to have matching video quality - especially since I kinda need to deliver this in HD.

    We're working on the CGI elements at the moment and once they're right I'll start setting up the live video, then we'll rework the CGI and video t make sure I get exactly the look and feel that I want.

    I've had a good tinker with the camera today and looking through the manual and a few online reviews I think it'll be best to shoot in the 1440CBR setting as this will give me the best quality from the camera (apparently) and produce 1080i footage, I'll take it out later if it stops bloody raining and get some test footage to play with tomorrow in Final Cut and see how I get on.

    I'll post my progress on this production when possible to get feedback along the way as well and I have a load more questions to ask with this being my first "real" production

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
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    I am a pedant me - HDV, not HD.... HD is something much better than HDV.

    HDV claims to be hi def cos of a zillion pixels but lacks the bit rate to really be called HiDef. It looks ok to me on static program but the picture just falls apart on busy program. This is the main reason ( and cash) that I am sticking with pro quality sd untill I cam afford a sensibly specced HD cam - like the sony ex series.

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