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Thread: Why am I getting so many mixed answers for cameras to make short films?

  1. Default Why am I getting so many mixed answers for cameras to make short films?

    I've been asking around here as well as on other sites. I've gotten everything from "use your iPod" to "buy a DSLR" to "DSLRs really aren't that great for video. mini DVs are and they're cheaper"

    mini DVs? I haven't played around with those since about 2004! They didn't necessarily seem to be of amazing quality either, but then again, maybe that was just the camera and not necessarily the tape.

    I'm really starting to feel lost. Do I just need to buy something and figure out what works through trial and error? That sounds kind of pricey though.

  2. #2


    Your really surprise when you ask a question like this ? There are as many opinions as there are cameras, probably more. Sometimes people might advice based on what they have and like, sometimes people might advise on what they have read on the internet. Sometimes people don't consider what the camera will be used for. DSLR cameras give great images but they are not as intuitive to use as video cameras for video as they are really made to take still. You often have to get more kit to make them more usable for video. BUT you can use them and get great looking images straight out of the box. Advising the best camera in the world for someone who has never used a camera before would be bad advice. Some people don't like to recommend something too expensive. Are we beginning to see a pattern here. There are lots of variables and opinions in the "what is the best camera for me" type of question.

    That is some reasons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    Sometimes people don't consider what the camera will be used for.
    I think that's the real question. In fact, if you are going to make short films you need to solve three key problems -- a) capturing good video, b) capturing good audio and c) editing your footage. For example, if you run out and buy a Canon T2i Rebel (a popular DSLR that captures nice video), you still need to solve the audio and editing problems.

  4. Default

    I had this dilemma recently, and went for the DSLR because I was planning on shooting short films. If I was interested in live action/documentary work, I would've gone for a traditional camcorder. In either case, it seemed like an external audio recorder was preferable to recording in camera, so the poor audio wasn't an issue for me (again, if I was shooting documentary stuff, this would be different) and so it wasn't really an additional cost for the DSLR.

    There was one argument, however, that I found particularly convincing in favour of the DSLR, and that was that it teaches you more about cinematography. Even entry level pro camcorders are pretty easy to simply pick up and shoot without thinking too much. It's actually more work with a DSLR, because you have to think about different lenses and filters. I haven't started using it yet, but I suspect that when I do, I'm going to make far more mistakes than I did the first time I picked up a camcorder.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    The craze/fad of constant shallow DoF means the learning curve is steep and the wrecked take rate far too high. Everyone constantly bangs on about it as if it's a Holy Grail - yet watching movies on DVD soon reveals this effect is not a common feature - used for effect only where it makes sense.
    It's worth bearing in mind, however, that having the option to do something doesn't mean that you have to do it. I'm not a paper-thin depth of field junkie, but when I made films with camcorders (Sony PD150s mainly), I was often frustrated by not being able to get a narrow depth of field when I wanted one. Outdoors with a tripod it's easy because you can just use the zoom and move the camera back, but indoors or when the camera is handheld, that isn't an option. And I'm not sure I agree with you about the prevalence of narrow DoF. I would say that the vast majority of close-up shots of characters will have a reasonably narrow depth of field.

    But I agree with you. I'm not sure I would've been confident in buying all of my DSLR kit without having first learned the basics on a video camera. A camcorder is still the best option for good results every time and in most environments. But I still think that a DSLR teaches you far more about cinematography and how to manipulate light to achieve the effect you want.

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