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Photographer
Leo Howard
Posts: 6,758
Phoenix, Arizona, US


Interesting thread


-JAY- wrote:

+1

I'm over there regularly. Personally, I use the T2i with magic lantern and various audio gear.

Jay, I recently switched back to Nikon ( The D7K ) and now have my Canon kit ( T3i ) just sitting there, was going to sell it, but was also considering using it as a video rig, are you having much luck with the T2i for video?

Jan 17 13 12:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sourcelight Photography
Posts: 245
BOISE, Idaho, US


37photog wrote:
I don't think DSLR's have XLR inputs for audio, which would inhibit your options since your looking to record live audio.

No current DSLR has XLR (balanced) inputs AFAIK; you'll need an adaptor.  Beachtek is probably the best bet.  I just purchased their DSA-XLR Pro.  Pricey, but it's penny-wise/pound-foolish to ruin your nice-looking HD video with the crappy sound that can only be avoided through the use of pro mics.  It's a noisy world, and the mics that pros use are all going to be XLR, particularly if you need long mic-cord runs.

Jan 17 13 03:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lovely Day Media
Posts: 4,062
Vineland, New Jersey, US


Fascinating OP, fascinating answers/advice after.  I don't have anything to add, but there is definitely some things I can take home and use for my own purposes.

  Thanks for asking/offering opinions.
Jan 17 13 04:12 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 21,130
New York, New York, US


If you're planning on renting (very smart) and it's a feature why would you even dick around with the DSLR option?

In order of preferance:

Arri Alexa
Sony F5/F55 (closely followed by the F3)
Red

For your budget and usage, the Sony F3 would be the perfect fit.

Others might disagree on the order, but there you have it.  If you have the budget, that's the way to go.  The F3 can be purchased very inexpensively these days and rented for even less.  Rental on the others might cost you, but if you've never shot a film before and are hoping to shoot 24p, you might simply be better off hiring an owner/operator to DP this for you.  He'll be hip to proper panning speeds, shutter angles, overcranking abilities, etc. Also, he'll be able to judge the scene and create a LUT for you to view on set so that you can get an idea for what the final image will actually look like (because you probably won't be shooting it anywhere close to that.

After you hire him, find a good sound guy...
Jan 17 13 05:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,982
Costa Mesa, California, US


photo wrote:
A RED camera would be your best bet for a film look, although expensive even to rent.  I don't think DSLR's have XLR inputs for audio, which would inhibit your options since your looking to record live audio.

Double system sound is the way to go no matter what camera you chose.

Jan 17 13 05:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
R Michael Walker
Posts: 11,982
Costa Mesa, California, US


jdmax wrote:
(being friendly here) but you are very wrong about it being cheaper to rent a camera.

If you buy a used camera and are shrewd and careful with you purchase, you should be able to sell it a month later for close to what you buy it for.  Maybe even the same price.

If you rent you are looking at $100 a day for something crap, or $200-300 a day for something decent.

And don't forget the deposit..unless you have insurance that will cover that. I'll also add that while HDSLRs are a great option you need to familiarize yourself with their shortcomings and see if you are willing to work around them. Also, the Nikon D800 can shoot uncompressed out via the HDMI connection. But then you have a computer or dedicated recorder you are tethered to so there goes a lot of the mobility. I don't know your story line but if there is not a lot of action this could be a great and inexpensive option.

Jan 17 13 05:36 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


the days of dslr are just about over
af100, fs100, c100, c300, c500, 1dc, f3, f5, f55, alexa, red
but the op never mentioned a budget?
Jan 17 13 05:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


op is not too far away, look me up if you come thru manhattan
here's is the last film I shot, it won a little award for cinematography
http://vimeo.com/30652279
for the guy who asked earlier about t2i, this was t2i without ml
Jan 17 13 05:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Loki Studio
Posts: 2,943
Royal Oak, Michigan, US


You are better off finding a skilled Director of Photography for your project and follow their recommendations for gear rather than random advice on from a forum. Many DoPs have their own camera systems that are included in their day rates.
Jan 17 13 06:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Barnes Photography
Posts: 206
Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand


jdmax wrote:
But you cannot have a shitty looking film with shit sound.
And you cannot have an awesome looking film with shit sound.
In both these latter cases, bad sound will do the film more harm that one would expect.

THIS.

If you can find a good soundie, they are worth their weight in gold. As is someone in post-production who can do good sound design. Bonus if you can find someone to do music for you. If you can beg, borrow or steal good sound, you're already a cut above most microbudget flicks.

I'd also suggest worry more about lights and lighting design than the actual camera. The 'look' of a movie is defined more by that than the camera, but you probably already know that from your experience!

No problems with a Canon 7D - hell, it's been used for shots on things like BLACK SWAN and THE AVENGERS. As with stills, it's more about the glass, in my opinion.

Jan 17 13 07:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bruce Merwin
Posts: 3
Saint Augustine, Florida, US


I shoot indi films, low budget films and enjoyed reading the threads to this question about what camera to use. Here is a thought for you. Story, yes story, think story, what camera is best to tell my story. Many cameras are mentioned, most are OK or better than others, think story, maybe it calls for hand crank some times, I used a De Vry 35mm Hand Cranked Movie Camera on one film I did about filmakers, it was a scene introducing Billy Bitzer, see: https://www.createspace.com/222633 for details. So... Cinematically tell your story with the right camera. You seem to be thinking about your project in 101 topics and forgetting story. You may want to ask yourself: "what camera will best cinematically tell my story" and then the right camera and or cameras will fall into place for you.
Jan 18 13 10:49 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kaouthia
Posts: 3,152
Lancaster, England, United Kingdom


jdmax wrote:
here's is the last film I shot, it won a little award for cinematography
http://vimeo.com/30652279

Very cool. smile

Jan 18 13 11:11 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jon Winkleman Photo
Posts: 89
New York, New York, US


For a camera I would strongly suggest looking into the Panasonic GH2 or the new GH3 (just came out and there is a waiting list)

Hybrid camera cheaper than the Nikons or the Canon 5D MarkII and III. A Russian hacked the firmware of the GH2 so you could change the bitrate from 20 or so up to 170. A number of professional cinematographers especially Nick Driftwood have designed and tested different custom setting geared toward spanning (how long you can record on a given memory card, higher the bitrate the shorter the spanning). A bitrate of over 40 or so will produce broadcast quality video on a GH2. I hacked mine for a bitrate of 70, its very easy. Another professional cinematographer, Phillip Bloom, has done test shots with the GH2, the GH3, Canon 5D Mark II & III and the Nikon D800. Though cheaper the GH2 and the GH# hold their own.

The newer GH3 has a broadcast quality bitrate out of the box and also includes time coding, video output to an external recorder and better sound input.

Also that the Panasonic cameras are mirrorless, you can use any lens from another system with a cheap adaptor including SLRs, rangefinders, old TV Studio glass, Russian Pro Cinema glass and even anamorphic lenses.

You can get all the information about the hack and different firmware settings on the website of the hacker, he also has links and forums about recommended lenses and cheap video gear.
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussions
Jan 18 13 04:52 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ren Murray
Posts: 542
Salem, Oregon, US


Ok, I'll chime in as the resident Sony fanboy, I guess.

The a99 offers uncompressed HDMI out to use with a Ninja, and sony mkaes an audio adapter with XLR inputs for pro quality sound.

The adjustable screen is a god-send when shooting at odd angles.

Sony offers to big advantages that I have found useful; autofocus during video shooting when you may want it...I used it when I shot a commercial with my a77. We mounted the camera on the back window of the van we were in to film the car we were shooting driving down the road. Without autofocus we couldn't have pulled that shot off without spending big money to rent special equipment/rigging.

It also has focus peak detection for shooting manual focus to help ensure quick, and reliable rack focusing.

Also, I have mixed footage from the Sony with a 7d and 5d MkII, and the Sony has much more dynamic range, especially in the shadows, where the Canons just crushed the blacks. the Sony held the details very well for a DSLR.

The Sony also records full 1080p at 60fps...pretty nice for slow motion shots, and something the Canons and Nikons don't do.

Fanboy rant over. smile

Ren
Jan 18 13 07:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


Kaouthia wrote:

Very cool. smile

thx !
I'm now working on my first feature

Jan 18 13 08:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,761
State College, Pennsylvania, US


First off, thanks again to everyone for providing their thoughts and information. A lot to absorb. I have questions (and yes, I am looking at other sites, talking to other people) and I see nothing wrong asking in an MM forum for more info. For me, the only dumb questions are the one not asked...

I should also say that my goal may be to have someone shoot for me: an artistically-minded person with their own equipment. That will or won't happen depending on many, many other factors, so let's start with something a little more direct...

This one should be simple (yeah, I know, it isn't... )

In terms of video footage, how much resolution is required to project to a large (festival size) screen?

For purposes of comparison, most films (in the mostly-film days) were shot on 35mm, some on 70mm, some on 16mm. So let's say the majority of films were shot on 35mm.

I saw 'Return of the Secaucus Seven' on the big screen - it was shot in 16mm - and it looked pretty good. As good as 35mm? Well, depends on what 'good' is.

So how much camera is required today to shoot something that could play on a large screen? Not talking brand, not talking lenses, just the basic 'capturing device.'

Man, I hope that is a question that can be answered with few variables. And I understand if it can't be, just learning here...
Jan 19 13 06:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MN camera
Posts: 1,860
Saint Paul, Minnesota, US


salvatori. wrote:
(...)

In terms of video footage, how much resolution is required to project to a large (festival size) screen?

For purposes of comparison, most films (in the mostly-film days) were shot on 35mm, some on 70mm, some on 16mm. So let's say the majority of films were shot on 35mm.

I saw 'Return of the Secaucus Seven' on the big screen - it was shot in 16mm - and it looked pretty good. As good as 35mm? Well, depends on what 'good' is.

So how much camera is required today to shoot something that could play on a large screen? Not talking brand, not talking lenses, just the basic 'capturing device.'

Man, I hope that is a question that can be answered with few variables. And I understand if it can't be, just learning here...

Have you looked at festival submission guidelines for what their preferred formats are?

Most people are still shooting regular HD, as displays for higher resolution electronic material are still not that common.

Jan 19 13 06:47 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


high definition is measured by counting the pixels on the vertical
1080p = 1920 x 1080
720p = 1280 x 720
and nearly every camera today will record these formats

Either would be sufficient for a festival because you might just find they will just play a DVD which is far less resolution. For the festival to play at 1080p you would need to pay for hdcam or if you are lucky they might take bluray.

35mm film is normally scanned at 4k (measured across the horizontal) and then if digitally projected in the movie theater its 2k (measured across the horizontal). It is very very unlikely that anything you make will be projected at 2k at a festival.

Some other things - make sure you shoot at s 1/50 (or s1/60 for flicker lights) or thereabouts so you have 180 degree shutter angle for 24 frames a second. This would give you the most natural amount of motion blur.

But really resolution is the least of your worries - SCREW RESOLUTION  !!!!!!

Dynamic range is far more important.
Highlight rolloff (handling) is far more important.
Rolling shutter or lack of is far more important.
Avoiding aliasing and moire is far more important.

And to trump all of those, acting and a well written script will carry a film much further than pristine images.
Jan 19 13 03:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,761
State College, Pennsylvania, US


jdmax wrote:
high definition is measured by counting the pixels on the vertical
1080p = 1920 x 1080
720p = 1280 x 720
and nearly every camera today will record these formats

Either would be sufficient for a festival because you might just find they will just play a DVD which is far less resolution. For the festival to play at 1080p you would need to pay for hdcam or if you are lucky they might take bluray.

35mm film is normally scanned at 4k (measured across the horizontal) and then if digitally projected in the movie theater its 2k (measured across the horizontal). It is very very unlikely that anything you make will be projected at 2k at a festival.

Some other things - make sure you shoot at s 1/50 (or s1/60 for flicker lights) or thereabouts so you have 180 degree shutter angle for 24 frames a second. This would give you the most natural amount of motion blur.

But really resolution is the least of your worries - SCREW RESOLUTION  !!!!!!

Dynamic range is far more important.
Highlight rolloff (handling) is far more important.
Rolling shutter or lack of is far more important.
Avoiding aliasing and moire is far more important.

And to trump all of those, acting and a well written script will carry a film much further than pristine images.

Great info, thanks. And I do know about that last thing.... lol

smile

Jan 19 13 04:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Darin B
Posts: 998
San Diego, California, US


I don't think anyone mentioned Black Magic Design's Cinema Camera. 2K Raw files. I would go that route over a DSLR for a film/video centric project.
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/product … emacamera/
Jan 19 13 10:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,761
State College, Pennsylvania, US


Bumping this thread with genuine intent......

So, this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK8LFq4vMKQ

has an aesthetic close to what's in my head (not the concert footage as much, but the stuff shot on the farm)...

so my thoughts are, 'was this shot on video?' The panning looks like film, and the yellowish overlays could have been done on either film or vid, since I am assuming it was done on post....

so thoughts on the process?
Jan 27 13 06:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


salvatori. wrote:
Bumping this with genuine intent......

So, this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK8LFq4vMKQ

has an aesthetic close to what's in my head (not the concert footage as much, but the stuff shot on the farm)...

so my thoughts are, 'was this shot on video?' The panning looks like film, and the yellowish overlays could have been done on either film or vid, since I am assuming it was done on post....

so thoughts on the process?

You can either shoot film on a vintage camera or shoot clean on digital and add the film artefacts, light leaks an color grade in post. Adding these in post is very easy.

I saw a lot of shallow dof so you might want to shoot s35 or aps-c.  You can shoot full frame but then your choice of cameras is limited to full frame dslr's and you wil get moire and aliasing. 

I also saw rack focusing so if you need those shots make sure you discuss that with the dop, it will influence the choice of lenses / follow focus.

Jan 27 13 07:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


you never mentioned your budgets so I'll hit you up with some cams.
under $3000 use a dslr, t2i with ML, gh2 hacked, or whatever.
$3000 - $5000 try looking at AF100 or FS100 used or new
$5000 - $9000 try looking at c100 or fs700
above $9000 look at c300 (my fave), scarlet, f3 with slog
even higher look at f35, f5, f55, epic, alexa.
I deliberately left off two cameras, the bmc and r1
edit:
sorry I mistakenly left off the 1dc which is just starting to hit the market now, its up there with the c300 and scarlet
Jan 27 13 07:18 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,761
State College, Pennsylvania, US


jdmax wrote:

You can either shoot film on a vintage camera or shoot clean on digital and add the film artefacts, light leaks an color grade in post. Adding these in post is very easy.

I saw a lot of shallow dof so you might want to shoot s35 or aps-c.  You can shoot full frame but then your choice of cameras is limited to full frame dslr's and you wil get moire and aliasing. 

I also saw rack focusing so if you need those shots make sure you discuss that with the dop, it will influence the choice of lenses / follow focus.

The shallow DOF and rack focus are the lesser of the things I like about it - the film-look more so. The vid just seems to have less of a video look when the camera moves side-to-side. Does that have something to do with the fps rate of the capture?

Jan 27 13 07:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
jdmax
Posts: 110
New York, New York, US


the things to remember on a pan (turning the tripod on the horizontal) and a dolly or slide shot (moving the camera sideways on a track) is the background is moving. The higher the bitrate in the codec you shoot on the better. You also need to be careful of rolling shutter which is directly connected to the read / reset speed of the sensor. Codec and rolling shutter will affect your choice of camera, my advice would be to avoid dslr's and look at af100, fs100 or better.
As far as settings on the camera go then shoot 24 frames a second at 180 degree shutter angle which equates to s1/48 or as close as you can get to it like s1/50 or s1/60.
Learn more about shutter angle here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_disc_shutter
Jan 27 13 07:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
salvatori.
Posts: 3,761
State College, Pennsylvania, US


Good reference. Looked at a couple of tutorials as well. All said that 24fps and a shutter speed of 1/50 will be close to a film-look.

For shits and giggles, I looked at a couple of camcorders and am not faced with figuring out some different terminology. But at least I'm learning....

Also, it is possible that I will shoot the whole thing without live sound and add it in later. Yes, I know that sounds like a shitload of work, but as there is a possibility that I will shoot this with local non-actors, shaving time off of the actual shooting schedule is an attractive thing...
Jan 27 13 07:56 am  Link  Quote 
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