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Amateur Filmmaker Seeking Help

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  • Amateur Filmmaker Seeking Help

    I've been passionate about movies for as long as I can remember, and I'm not sure which camcorder to purchase. I had a Panasonic consumer camcorder that only lasted for almost four years. I would have got it repaired if the store it was purchased from wasn't out of business. Apparently, Circuit City didn't do well. Right now, I'm looking and saving money for a "prosumer grade" camcorder, as well as an external microphone for better audio recording. I'm saving up to a budget of at least $1500 - $2500. I've been through dozens of sites google searching "prosumer camcorders" and "professional camcorders" for the past few weeks, and still not sure which one to stick to my plan. BandH Photo Video help somewhat with detailed reviews, but no luck. I plan to use one for video blogging, as well as filmmaking for short films, and maybe feature-length.

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions: Despite that I've had only one consumer grade camcorder so far, I'm well aware of what I want in a camcorder. A camcorder with tons of manual features, including focus/exposure rings (maybe even a zoom ring). XLR ports are a plus. Something that can also record in low-light scenarios. Last, I'm aiming at a either a Canon or Sony brand. That's basically it. I know there should be more to look at, but I can't think anything else.

    I like to hear someone's opinion on prosumer grade camcorders, as well as their suggestions on purchasing a camcorder like I discussed, as well as external microphones. I really appreciate it.


  • #2
    Since I mostly deal with feature films I only know much about the cameras like Red, Epic, and a few more out of the range of your budget, be patient and I know there are some members here that can help you with exactly what to do. Do you have a specific look you are looking for, maybe a reference of some sort?

    Well now that I think about it, I will catch up on some of the lower end camera and check out their functionality setting and I will get back to you
    Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue


    • #3
      In that price range, either go used, or buy a dslr camera with video capability, and separate sound recorder. If you're interested, I'm selling my hvx200 with hard case, 35mm lens adapter, p2 cards, zoom controller, and more for just $2200. I paid over $8000 for this setup, but unfortunately can't afford to own it.


      • #4
        Some of the DSLRs, such as the Canon T3i, have a variety of uses, including the capability to record in full 1080p HD video. There are videos on youtube and other sites that have been shot with the T3i and similar cameras. For your budget, you could easily get the camera, lenses, a sound recorder, extra cards, etc. that you would need. You can even rent lenses to try them out, since some can be quite costly. DSLRs are very versatile with the ability to shoot still and video and would be practical for vlogging and shooting shorts. Something more advanced would be better for feature length, but once you are ready for that and have the budget for one, you'd likely be able to afford a recording system better for that application.


        • #5
          I'm totally there on the manual features on the camera. I use a higher-end consumer canon for my video business [5 of them]...and while I like what I get from them, the manual features aren't as easy as they could be. I come from the film world--starting out in super 8 and moving to 16mm in film it's frustrating that I can't just turn a focus ring to create my own depth of field when I want to. I gotta go to the menu and mess with settings.

          So, I'm also on the lookout for something more manual.

          Videomaker magazine did a breakdown recently on cameras--from mid-range consumers to prosumers and beyond, I think. All kindsa charts outlining various features so one can compare and contrast. This may help you to narrow your search. They may have it online...not sure.

          Kurt Hathaway
          VikingDream7 Productions
          Video Production & Editing