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Thread: Xmas gift advice needed

  1. Default Xmas gift advice needed

    Hi guys, hope you can help me with some advice on buying my daughter a camera for Xmas.

    She is mad about cosplay, to the point they all (her and a few friends) dress up as anima characters and shoot small movies around town. So far she has managed to get away with a mixture of iPhone, Sony camera and Kodak action cam, but keeps complaining about sound etc.

    So I have decided to get her a half decent camera for Xmas. Problem I have is my very limited knowledge of cameras go as far as diving with my GoPro for movies and Cannon for stills.

    Question, do I go for a camcorder or a normal camera.....a few models would be much appreciated with pros and cons.

    Hope you understand what I have been babbling on about.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDandPR0UD View Post
    So far she has managed to get away with a mixture of iPhone, Sony camera and Kodak action cam, but keeps complaining about sound etc.
    Depends what you mean by "etc" but all those will give excellent results assuming ther'es plenty of light

    Quote Originally Posted by OLDandPR0UD View Post
    Question, do I go for a camcorder or a normal camera.....a few models would be much appreciated with pros and cons.
    You don't. You get her a digital recorder like a Zoom H1 (or H5 depending on budget) and possibly a lavalier (tie-clip) mic.

    Nothing will improve the audio as much as a microphone (even a cheap one) close to the source of the sound.
    Nothing will improve a video as much as good audio.

    She will need to learn to sync the two up and she should learn very quickly the importance of sharp slap at the beginning of each clip. And obviously she'll need some editing software but if she and her friends already shoot movies, I'm sure she's up on that.


    Now, if you want to shoot in low light or you want a shallow depth of field - then start considering camcorders/stills cameras ...
    Tim

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply Tim, I've had a look at the H5 and don't have an issue with the price, looking into it I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) these will be ideal for an interview but how would they work with an action scene....ninjas and stuff?

    I have had a word with her regarding sound etc and she says it muffled a bit due to the distance of shot (up to 20' from the mic).

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDandPR0UD View Post
    Thanks for the reply Tim, I've had a look at the H5 and don't have an issue with the price, looking into it I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) these will be ideal for an interview but how would they work with an action scene....ninjas and stuff?

    I have had a word with her regarding sound etc and she says it muffled a bit due to the distance of shot (up to 20' from the mic).
    When recording live audio one would typically use a shotgun mic on a boom pole. The H5 is designed to have up to 4 mics plugged in. Or you could mount the H5 on a boom pole. Alternatively use a lavalier going into a digital recorder strapped to the talent (downside to this is you cannot monitor it) Or lavalier mic with a wireless link to the camera or digital recorder.

    Other than than that, wide angled shots can be dubbed (the voices recorded separately).

    But no matter how good a mic is you will always get poor sound if it is 20' from the source. Even 20" is pushing it. It's not simply a case of getting enough signal (with very high quality mics and amplifiers, it is possible to get plenty of signal without the equipment introducing any noise) it's a case of getting a high amount of the signal you want (eg a voice) compared to the sound around it (wind, transport etc outside; hums and buzzes from electrical equipment and echoes/reverberation of the voice inside; other people's voices, footsteps etc everywhere )

    If her films are what I am imagining, the screams, shouts and grunts will almost certainly be better recorded separately (indeed it's less for the actors to concentrate on if they don't have to produce their best sounds, when in choreographed fights). Similarly the sound of punches etc in real life is nothing like the sounds we expect to hear in films - which again are dubbed on afterwards.

    And whilst this might sound a bit tedious now, creating and adding sounds is a whole new aspect of film making fun that will open up to your daughter and her friends.

    I'm worried that I might have given too much information here and it might put your daughter and her friends off, so I'll leave you to be the judge of how much you pass on at this stage. The most important thing is that she gets out there and makes the films. If you can get her improving the sounds - even if it's just in the close-ups, once she hears the improvements, I'm sure the rest will follow.
    Tim

  5. #5

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    Your daughter has complained about the sound and not visuals. Frankly, you can shoot just fine on an iPhone and I saw a full cinematic feature phone shot on an iPhone so I'm with Tim on this and think sound issues should be dealt with. In terms of sound, the closer you get to a quality microphone, the better the sound gets. You mentioned 'around town' so there is an implication here of outdoors. However, I think there are several different 'simple' sound options but need to better understand the details around how she would use this as well as budget. Specifically:

    What type of sound does she want to capture? Is this dialogue or just grunts / yells etc...?
    Is recording outdoors or indoors?
    Does she have a friend who can hold sound equipment?
    What is your budget? Film making can be an extraordinarily expensive hobby and I have no idea if you are thinking $200 or $20,000 USD.
    What software is she currently using to edit the films together?

    For the soundies on here, I am thinking ADR, foley, outdoor vs indoor shooting, sound software, lavs vs boom etc...
    "80% of success is turning up" - Woody Allen

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gorillaonabike View Post
    Your daughter has complained about the sound and not visuals. Frankly, you can shoot just fine on an iPhone and I saw a full cinematic feature phone shot on an iPhone so I'm with Tim on this and think sound issues should be dealt with. In terms of sound, the closer you get to a quality microphone, the better the sound gets. You mentioned 'around town' so there is an implication here of outdoors. However, I think there are several different 'simple' sound options but need to better understand the details around how she would use this as well as budget. Specifically:

    What type of sound does she want to capture? Is this dialogue or just grunts / yells etc...? Both
    Is recording outdoors or indoors? Both
    Does she have a friend who can hold sound equipment? Dont think so
    What is your budget? Film making can be an extraordinarily expensive hobby and I have no idea if you are thinking $200 or $20,000 USD. Was looking around 500.00 but may go a bit higher
    What software is she currently using to edit the films together? Windows media player I think

    For the soundies on here, I am thinking ADR, foley, outdoor vs indoor shooting, sound software, lavs vs boom etc...
    Hi Gorillaonabike

    Thanks for the reply, I have added the required answers above, hope this helps.

  7. #7

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    If there is no-one to physically hold onto a boom / mic and point it in the right direction, then in my opinion (which lots of people could disagree with), three choices come to mind:

    1. ADR. This means re-recording the sound with her friends in the comfort of her own living room. This is after everything has been shot, they can sit around and re-record. However, the kit needs to be flexible enough in case she does want to lug it around in the future.
    2. Recording using LAVs. These are little, clip-on microphones which can be concealed underneath clothing which then need a recorder.
    3. Choice 3. Involves watching a vid...

    Therefore, there are these two options plus a third:

    ADR: The recommendation is a Tascam DR100 (Mk2) and an NTG-2 microphone. Also, a little cheap 20 tripod to put this all onto, probably a pop screen and a Rode shock mount (20). The reason is:

    i. If she wants to record outside and finds a friend happy to lug this gear around, this whole kit can be attached to a boom so she can run around with it
    ii. There is a learning curve with this kit. Better to start inside doing ADR and then she can figure it out otherwise the complexity can be a little intimidating which means she won't use it. I can still remember the first time I picked up a recorder and wondered what all the buttons and settings were for.
    iii. It is a good, little amateur setup and in the right hands can get professional level sound.


    2. Lavs: Tim's suggestion of the Zoom H5 is good (Tascam is better than Zoom, generally) plus some lavs (little clip-on microphones which can be concealed underneath clothes). For Lav advice, I'd strongly recommend watching this vid end-to-end: http://nofilmschool.com/2014/07/one-...ional-lav-test

    3. Camera plus sound kit. If you've just seen the vid above, you will know that you can get away with a lower priced set of lavs and a Zoom and you might end up with lots of spare cash. My strong recommendation is therefore to a T3i camera and lavs.

    The reason for the strength of recommendation is cameras are cool and sound gear is not. For a present, I would want to delight my daughter and give her something she could tell all her friends about, use while on holiday etc... meaning a camera and I'd go for a T3i. It's a Canon, a fantastic little camera and a great little tool to start learning with. This means you could give her something that looks wonderful plus some 'uncool' sound gear that she would actually need (cheap lavs, little recorder).

    We also don't know if she wants to learn sound engineering. Most people hate it and maybe she'd hate the complications, irrespective of the kit you're buying her. So buying a load of expensive sound gear wouldn't float her boat.

    Just my $0.02
    Last edited by gorillaonabike; 11-04-2015 at 01:51 PM.
    "80% of success is turning up" - Woody Allen

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    I won't disagree with the emotional angle of gorillaonabike's post of getting a camera as well. The translation for the UK market is the Canon camera is sold as the EOS 600D. Indeed any of the EOS 550, 600, 650, 700 are great introductions to DLSR video.

    My only reservation is that it's an entry level enthusiasts camera and requires a bit more setting/learning up than a traditional camcorder. Does she want to be a camera person or a film director/editor? (Same question as for sound engineer, really)
    Tim

  9. Default

    Hi Guys, Sorry for the late reply...been stacked at work lately. After discussing it with my daughter she has asked for the camera mounted mike for now as she isnt really into the whole syncing audio to her movies etc....well not yet anyway. Went into the metro centre the other day & I had a nice chat with a young lady in Jessops who recommended the following items.....now I know she is a sales advisor & may have just been after a sale but she seemed to know what she was talking about.

    Any chance you could advise on the list below.

    Canon EOS 750D Digital SLR + 18-55mm IS STM Lens

    Hahnel MK200 Hi-Fi Dual Shock Microphone

    SanDisk Extreme SDHC 32GB 60MB/s Memory Card

    Manfrotto MK393-HM Photo-Movie Aluminum Tripod QR Kit


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDandPR0UD View Post
    Hi Guys, Sorry for the late reply...been stacked at work lately. After discussing it with my daughter she has asked for the camera mounted mike for now as she isnt really into the whole syncing audio to her movies etc....well not yet anyway. Went into the metro centre the other day & I had a nice chat with a young lady in Jessops who recommended the following items.....now I know she is a sales advisor & may have just been after a sale but she seemed to know what she was talking about.

    Any chance you could advise on the list below.

    Canon EOS 750D Digital SLR + 18-55mm IS STM Lens

    Hahnel MK200 Hi-Fi Dual Shock Microphone

    SanDisk Extreme SDHC 32GB 60MB/s Memory Card

    Manfrotto MK393-HM Photo-Movie Aluminum Tripod QR Kit
    Camera's a good choice but I would again suggest something cheaper. I recommended a T3i (600D) and the shop assistant a T5i (750D) which is more expensive with more functionality. However, most importantly image quality is identical on the 600D and 750D as they both use the same sensor. There are a few more bells and whistles on the 750D but I would personally buy a 600D as this costs less, has the same image quality (same sensor), same choice of lenses, same outstanding Canon quality etc... Canon is really the Rolls Royce of cameras and you cannot go wrong with one but my choice would be the 600D as I do not believe the extra money for a 750 is worth it. Ask the assistant what the difference is in terms of the visuals.

    The lens is a 'starter' lens and more than sufficient for a beginner. It will give her a certain level of image quality and then if she wants to start getting more lenses, that's great!

    32Gb memory card is a good choice.

    Need to buy a spare battery.

    The tripod can only be used for sitting the camera on top of and not really moving it around (it wobbles a little under movement). If that is all she wants, then great. If she does not, then the salesperson has recommended an excellent photographic tripod. However, if she needs to pan / tilt, then you will need to spend significantly more money.

    The mic is, erm, interesting. It's better than nothing. However, anything more will require her to learn some skills and she may not want to do that. What I would do is put a pre-amp with phantom and shock mount to the camera and a half-decent mic. What is this?

    Well, the signal from the microphone is weak and needs to be magnified. A pre-amp does this very well without increasing the levels of hiss.
    'Phantom' simply means the pre-amp sends power to a microphone.
    Shock mount: This sits on top of the camera and 'holds' onto the microphone. It also reduces any noise (the 'shock' bit).
    A half-decent mic could be an NTG-1.

    Examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHvJK9QfY3I

    However, my suggestion is to buy her the very, very basic mic that the salesperson suggested and only then, if she really wants decent audio, to go with the option I suggested. Learning audio is complicated and she simply may not want to do it.
    "80% of success is turning up" - Woody Allen

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