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Thread: Camera Size - is it just me?

  1. #1

    Default Camera Size - is it just me?

    Okay, so I was just wondering if anyone else has ever come up against the "my camera is bigger than yours" phenomenon and any advice.

    I've had my videos in several major film festivals and I've shot promos, live footage, I'm planning a new film etc. Thing is, I just use a number of regular little $350 consumer camcorders.

    But... I keep coming up against this mentality that assumes I need this whopping great piece of machinery to get good footage. I'm getting nice clear usable footage from my modest equipment so I'm fairly happy with what I'm doing.

    Is this just a p**sing contest or am I missing something vital here?

  2. #2
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    This is a valid point . . . I use an XL1s for lots of work, especially when I need to get to the front of the crowd or into a more interesting position, and its size definitely works for me. The imagery I get from my TR950 is as good - but it is a little personal camcorder, and has other benefits and attracts less interest - very useful very often!
    I try to make someone happy every day - but it may not be your turn today . . .

  3. #3
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    Yep. Size does matter. For most people, unfortunately. I've seen consumer 3-CCD camcorders (like the Panasonic GS line) producing better looking footage than professional looking cameras (e.g. Panasonic MD9000), but no, the client just wants 'big'. Damn it.

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    Kind of depends if you're trying to impress anyone or are at ease with having a small but effective one. Like the adage goes... it's not the size, it's the quality.

    Stop sniggering.

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    Don't worry. I have a small one too. lol In fact, several small ones. )

  6. #6

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    Thanks Folks, some of your replies made me laugh! It is a funny situation. The phrase "I may have a little one but it gets in a lot of places" springs to mind!

    Guess the smart thing to do is get myself a cheap, outdated, large-sized "decoy" camera to look important and then set up my little ones to do the real work. It's all psychology isn't it. The smaller cameras may actually be useful at times as people assume it's just home footage, so won't be paying attention.

    Reminds me of IBM's dilemma selling mainframes. They went through a period where they deliberately packaged small computers in large boxes, because people didn't believe the smaller machines were powerful enough.

    One thing I do know... my little cameras are the best thing for my budget. I can afford to have five cameras set up, and many more choices for later editing.

  7. #7
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    I think you're right about the psychology of it all. I have an old Hi8 Sony beast of a thing that is actually great quality especially in low light due to lens quality and optics size. At gigs, I normally take it, stick it on a tripod and leave it at that (it's not 16:9). I then use (as you do) upto five smaller babies. One top end, the rest not so. There is a marked difference from my top end 3ccd mini Dv to the others obviously, but in a live stage situation under harsh lighting, it's perfectly get-away-able with.

    At the end of the day, it is the finished product that counts. When prospective customers see what I've done before, I'm usually hired.

    (And of course, having a big camera doesn't automatically mean anyone's great cameraman)
    Last edited by Andy Lockwood; 08-11-2006 at 09:42 AM.

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    I agree with everything so far... almost.

    I usually work with "full-size" camcorders and find that they are heavy, unwieldy and can really make your back ache after a hard days' hand-held shooting. So recently, when given the choice, I picked a "prosumer" dvcam for a ten day "reportage" type shoot. I reckoned that I'd survive a fly-on-the-wall shoot better with a hand-camcorder.
    In the edit it was obvious that the hand-held stuff was nowhere near as stable as I would get with a shoulder-cam. The lightness of the camcorder meant that every little movement was transmitted to the thing. I also had a couple of "issues" with the LCD viewfinder. I found that you need to take a bit more care when using the "prosumer" models, they aren't very forgiving with exposure for example, so anyone who snobbishly proclaims that pro-shoulder-cams are more difficult to use is talking twaddle.

    Apart from that I think a lot of those who insist on shoulder cams are just suffering from the dick-measuring-syndrome. The format has more of an influence than the size of the machine, full-size digi-beta is gonna be better than dvcam, no matter what sort of dv-camcorder you have. As for "consumer" quality, the majority of people watch broadcast programs produced on mini-dv every day without realising it. (Dvcam and Dvcpro are actually identical in performance to mini-dv FYI)
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 08-11-2006 at 11:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Guru
    ....I found that you need to take a bit more care when using the "prosumer" models, they aren't very forgiving with exposure for example...)
    Absolutely bang on there. After a hard earned lesson, I now have a half-decent monitor to check exposure during set-up. Impossible to use on every camera for the whole shoot of course, but good to just get a measure of things before it's too late. LCD screens really are crap in my humble, they rarely give a true reflection of what's being recorded. Unless you can afford a blimmin fortune for a good one. I think I've actually have got pretty good at guessing settings now though... Allegedly.

  10. #10
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    I have 2 soulder mount cameras (they look pro to most) and 2 small ones. I think if you can haing both is great, they all have pros and cons.

    My shoulder mount cameras give lovely still shots and smooth pans, the controls are all to hand, focus can be pulled, long tapes and best of all and the reason I got them... people think you are the real media; this means you can blag your way into good filming situations. Seen my fox hunt film? We arrived at the hunt and a nice pr lady asked us who we were, zaskar films I say, how lovely she says and zips off to arrange interviews for us and says we can go where we want to film. Big cams are good for vox pops too.

    Big cams are too heavy sometimes tho, and the flip side of being noticed is being targetted by the police sometimes at demos and the like, or even lefty loon protestors taking a pop at you.

    My new tiny cam has found a niche with point and click video, all on auto on the spur of the moment shooting. What it lacks in quality and polish it makes up for with that 'you are there vibe, and it fits in my pocket. If you want to be ignored no one bats an eyelid at a small camcorder, except in tesco where they threw me out, gits.

    Get both I say if u can, vx9000s are sooo cheap on e bay at the mo, like 500 for my last one, quality wise in some ways they struggle to equal even the most humble teeny cam, low light performance is poor, but the picture benefits from a big lens and looks nice and alive.

    More cams I say, more more MORE !

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