Digital Video Forum

Digital Video Forum Discuss camcorders, HD video, HD DSLRs, video editing, DV software, and video techniques. Your DV forum moderator is Skyman.
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  1. #1
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    Wink question about videocameras in general

    hi

    i want to buy a videocamera that has the following things:

    can record audio from an external source
    can film in HD, the best currently available (is it 1080i??)
    can use multiple lens filters
    can change lenses
    can film well in dark places (see clearly in dark places)
    can manually adjust focus and exposure, and has many picture editing options on camera
    comes with a reasonably good video editing software (Adobe Premiere if possible )

    which camera best fits this?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: question about videocameras in general

    in a word none of them, the main sticking point would be the software, almost no camera comes with good video editing software. the rest of it is fine. you are looking for almost any pro camera with interchangeable lenses. full hd is 1080p, so would want that as standard. in the top end video cameras, you are looking at something from sony, panasonic, canon (although canon only have 1 model that fits your list) and jvc. incidentally most of these cameras are system cameras, so you would be looking to customise them with the lenses you want and the recording backs you want (mini dv, solid state, hard drive, digi beta xdcam, dvc pro to name just a few formats) the other issue you will have is ability to record in the dark. a broadcast camera will almost never have zero lux capability, as most decent lighting directors will be able to control the lights and the shadows to give the feeling of dark without having to get any of the gain grain artefacts degrading the image as they would in low light. what exactly do you want to film and how as this will impact on your choice.

  3. #3
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    Re: question about videocameras in general

    hi Skyman

    i noticed that many many DVD movies have scenes shot in the dark, but that the cameras can capture pretty well without any grain at all (is it a question of the lighting then?) thats why I asked for that.

    i currently have a basic videocamera that can only film, edit the white balance, delete, do some colour filters, and change the brightness of the screen i want something where i can control everything about the film (exposure, add external audio, etc etc) but not so incredibly expensive that I will have to work for several years to buy it haha. my number one desire is for a camera that can film clearly: without all the grain you see on 100% of home videos. if professional directors can film clearly why can't the lowly commoner?

    thanks again

  4. #4
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: question about videocameras in general

    for starters most movies are shot on film not video, but the grain you describe is called gain grain. This happens when the camera electronically boosts the ccd's sensitivity so that it can "see" in lower light. A professional will deliberately light a scene so that a camera doesn't need to turn the gain on. they will also do things like put blue gels on the light to make it look like it is night time. very carefully controlling the lighting will make it look like it is dark without the scene actually needing to be dark. I shot a short while I was at uni that due to time constraints was half recorded on a $10,000 broadcast camera and half shot on a $1,000 camcorder. The final screening for marking was at a local cinema and my professor couldn't pick the difference in the two cameras. this is largely because we got lucky matching exposure and white balance. if you were listening for it you could tell because of the change in audio quality. but i would be very suprised if your camera didn't let you change aperture (most commonly called the iris on video cameras) and sutter speed manually. it may be buried in a menu somewhere, so you may have to set it before you start recording, but normally the way a camcorder works is that you can control the shutter speed and if the scene is still to dark after the iris is open all the way, then the gain will come on. you would want to control depth of field, so you want manual control of the iris anyway, but if you set up your lights (the ones you get at your local hardware store work quite well if you are on a tight budget) and then pick a fast shutter speed and close down your iris (so you are nearly underexposing your shot) then everything will look dark without spending the $$$.

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