To start.....

Started Feb 13, 2012 | Discussions
CharlieDIY
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To start.....
Feb 13, 2012

I'm thinking of getting into video in a very small way, so I've been checking used gear. My firsts thought was to pick up a super-cheap video camera and see what I could do with that. Then, I decided on used to keep costs down (in the 100 buck range). I've been looking at Canon's FS10 and am about to pull the trigger in the $100 to $125 arena.

Any comments? I know it's not perfect, but, then, neither are some of the $1500 to $2000 video cameras I've looked at.

For the most part, the camera will be used indoors. Hot lights are available, and most of the shooting will be talking head style, with some zoom in onto other objects. Nothing fancy, nothing very creative. I like the mic input as my experience, super limited, is that internal microphones go from lousy on down.

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Cy Cheze
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Re: To start.....
In reply to CharlieDIY, Feb 15, 2012

To start, spend as little as possible. The key investment will be the time spent editing the video into something people will want to watch.

An incredible amount can be done with an inexpensive camera, so long as you have good light, put the thing on a tripod, and use a lavalier mic for any talking head content. Heck, a lot of people still savor "golden age of TV" stuff shot with a single camera, cheap props, and low resolution.

Meanwhile, it will serve nothing to buy a mountain of gear and then learn that your goal to revive "Misterogers" or surpass "Barney" does not bode well with test audiences.

Save up those bucks for that retainer for blockbuster star talent, on-location shots at the corners of the globe, and bribes to city officials and affected merchants to block off a neighborhood to shoot for the chase scenes. Those expenses could set you back $1 million per day or so, especially on those days when the stars need to rest or are in a bad mood.

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CharlieDIY
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Re: To start.....
In reply to Cy Cheze, Feb 16, 2012

Cy Cheze wrote:

To start, spend as little as possible. The key investment will be the time spent editing the video into something people will want to watch.

An incredible amount can be done with an inexpensive camera, so long as you have good light, put the thing on a tripod, and use a lavalier mic for any talking head content. Heck, a lot of people still savor "golden age of TV" stuff shot with a single camera, cheap props, and low resolution.

Meanwhile, it will serve nothing to buy a mountain of gear and then learn that your goal to revive "Misterogers" or surpass "Barney" does not bode well with test audiences.

Save up those bucks for that retainer for blockbuster star talent, on-location shots at the corners of the globe, and bribes to city officials and affected merchants to block off a neighborhood to shoot for the chase scenes. Those expenses could set you back $1 million per day or so, especially on those days when the stars need to rest or are in a bad mood.

As I said, I'm looking in the hundred buck used range, but might go to $200. I've got studio hot lights that are almost never used these days, so they are available. I can borrow a mike if needed. I've got tripods just about coming out of my ears after 40 years of photography. That's it. Nothing fancy. At this point, HD isn't essential, maybe not even useful.

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jrsva
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Re: To start.....
In reply to CharlieDIY, Feb 21, 2012

Hi Charlie, I will be interested in how the cheap approach works out for you. I'm just getting started too but decided to take the HD route. I used to shoot some VHS video, some of which I've digitized. I'm not thrilled with the small image or fuzzy image if blown up. I'm mostly into outdoor stuff — wildlife, panoramic scenery, some sports — so HD seems important but I've hit some annoying issues already.

No simple answers I guess.

Best Regards, JRS

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caterpillar
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Skip the FS
In reply to CharlieDIY, Feb 21, 2012

CharlieDIY wrote:

As I said, I'm looking in the hundred buck used range, but might go to $200. I've got studio hot lights that are almost never used these days, so they are available. I can borrow a mike if needed. I've got tripods just about coming out of my ears after 40 years of photography. That's it. Nothing fancy. At this point, HD isn't essential, maybe not even useful.

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Charlie Self

Charlie,

If you mean the Canon FS series, those are SD video. I suggest you get an HD camera like the HF series. There's very little reason nowadays to go SD. We've been on HD and HDV format and resolution for almost 10 years now. If you have to go U$200 for that, go for it. In fact, you can get one maybe even brand new if it is an older model or last year's model.

Just try to avoid getting a camera with a HDD inside. The HDD will eventually crash and that's going to be another headache to fix. Get something that uses SDHC cards.

Good luck in your search.
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  • Caterpillar

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jralbert
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Re: To start.....
In reply to jrsva, Feb 21, 2012

I concur with the go-HD advice. And, SDHC memory cards. BUT -- you are experimenting and learning. What you are trying to understand is basic technique and workflow. And, most importantly, editing.

You are on the right track - go cheap digital, used, HDD or not. Read, play, experiment. Then when you are ready, move on to the next level. Chuck your cheapie stuff and settle in with the quality level you need.

The cheap stuff may not accept an external mic but if it does, get a good one (check the forum posts) and it will be usable in your better outfit. Also, get a good tripod such as a fluid head unit and you will be able to take that with you along your journey to video perfection. A Spielberg in the making
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ScottyNV
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I think you are on the right track...
In reply to CharlieDIY, Feb 24, 2012

starting with the inexpensive gear (minimalist) and learning HOW to shoot video first, then upgrading your gear.

you already have tripods, and know how to use them..

the largest significant difference between shooting stills and shooting video is that for video, you need to think about all sorts of filler or transitions that you simply would have ignored while shooting stills, except for the 'artsy' bits.

storyboarding and blocking out your scenes and exactly WHAT you are aiming to convey in each scene is a learned skill.. think of video as a short story.. everything in the final edit must contribute directly to communicating what you are trying to say and show.

learning the editing software will be another big challenge (and very different from stills software!).

all microphones NEED wind muffs (dead cats) to reduce wind noise.

initially, you will probably capture an hour or more of takes to produce a couple of minutes of final output (unless you are doing straight documentary with VERY little editing).

cheers,
S.
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RUcrAZ
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3 points from me
In reply to CharlieDIY, Feb 24, 2012

Have fun!

My experience (making amateur videos even before videos were invented) suggests two things:

1. The camera should have an external microphone input (indoors, the built-in mike picks up all the echoes of a room, sounds terrible. Outdoors, it picks up all the ambient noises at an equal volume level as your talent's voice.)

2. Consider, before you spend too much money, that even simple, amateur videos, from shooting to editing to finished product have taken (for me) about 2 hours' total work for every one minute on-screen. A 3-minute quickie typically requires 6 hours work from me.

3. Do you have editing softrware? Must add the cost of it and a fairly lengthy amount of time learning it. (But for starters, Windows has a simple one, free.)

Have fun, keep them very very very short. Remember Superbowl ads get their entire message across in 30 seconds.
RUcrAZ

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jrsva
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Re: 3 points from me
In reply to RUcrAZ, Feb 24, 2012

RUcrAZ wrote:

3. Do you have editing softrware? Must add the cost of it and a fairly lengthy amount of time learning it. (But for starters, Windows has a simple one, free.)

I've found Windows Live Movie Maker to be easy to use and quite satisfactory for simple SD videos — what it sounds like you want to do.

I've converted a bunch of 20-year-old VHS tapes to SD video and edited the result in WLMM, cropping out unwanted sections and adding a title block, supers to identify people, and credits at the end. I've also done various transition effects between scenes. These have all worked quite nicely, certainly all that is required for this sort of material. I have not tried to edit the original audio track. I don't even know if that can be done in WLMM. Since WLMM comes as part of Windows, I suggest starting with it to learn about video editing. You can then decide what features you want that it does not offer and choose a better editor.
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Best Regards, JRS

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