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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Montreal, QC Canada

    Best Camera for filming sketches?

    Hi, this is my first post here, I'm John.

    Anyway, I have a troupe of improv actors and we're looking to shoot some of our performances. Most of what we do is improv but we do like to perform sketch comedy too.

    The budget we have is a meager 1500$-2000$ CND (Today it's like 92 cents to American$).

    As much as possible, we'd like to get something that requires as little messing around with to get the picture we need. In other words it'd be awesome to get a "what you see is what you get" kinda camera. My main worry is that things come out too dark, or washed out.

    Of course, I'm not at all adverse to learning how to use a more complicated machine.

    As a side note, could you also suggest what other sort of equipment we might need? (like a boom or any sort of attachments?)

    Thank you very much for your advice!

  2. #2
    Producer, Media Educator (Video Dude) kkolbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orlando, Florida USA

    Re: Best Camera for filming sketches?

    The problem with video is that it is not a what you see is what you get tool. Our eyes see very differently than current video cameras. We can see, say 1000:1 in contrast. A good video camera is around say, 250:1. Reducing contrast by filling in shadows and dimming hot spots is the only way to make video look good. Color is also an issue. Where you see sunlight as white and the lamp in your house as white light, the camera sees them as shades of blues and reds relatively.

    Video taping on a stage such as your performances may be problematic to say the least. Stage lights specifically are designed to have serious hot spots and high contrast. All of that said, when you are taping you will want to request some changes in the lighting to help your video. Add a camera operator who is quick with an iris and you can do it. For sketches, you can control the light and you will be fine. You connect a video monitor to the camera so that you can see what is being recorded and then you can adjust the lights to what you like.

    For the camera, there are tones of choices out there. If these tapes are going to be for more than just your fun, audio is a major consideration. In that price range, good audio as well as a good camera is hard to find. There are only two that come to mind that I like in that range for semi-pro style stuff. That is Sony's HVR-A1U which runs about $2,000 or a little more with rebates. The Canon GL-2 runs about $1,800 - $2,000 but you have to buy the MA-300 audio adapter for it. I personally prefer the A1U, but I have a GL-2 as well.

    Remember to budget for a good tripod and head. $300-$700. A video tripod head is much more expensive and much more critical than one for still photography.

    Hopefully other will have suggestions so that we can all discuss pro's and con's with you. I do not believe that there is just one "best" tool. It is what fits your needs.
    Keith S. Kolbo
    Producer, Media Educator and Author
    Sony Vegas Certification Trainer

    My forum participation is provided by
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  3. #3
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    Re: Best Camera for filming sketches?

    I agree with kkolbo but i have to add that many consumer cameras these days will give you an acceptable result on automatic (please not acceptable doesn't mean great or often even "good") is most of your work in a theatre or outside? as this will be a consideration. If you can spare the time and money I suggest you hire a couple of different cameras and see what works for you. You can also check out our reviews section to see what sorts of cameras meet your needs. get back to us once you have chosen your camera and we will be able to help you get the most out of it. Happy shooting!

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