Camcorder vs DSLR for outdoor/street filming

Discussion in 'Photography' started by SausageDog, Feb 20, 2013.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I'll keep it brief.

    Which is best for outdoor and street filming (and some indoor stuff) for good results?

    Low light, bad weather may be a consideration.

    Depth of field is nice on DSLR cameras but the short filming times and need for constant manual focussing put me off in a fast paced situation.

    What do you guys use, for video and sound?
  2. What kind of window are you perving, sorry i mean filming through!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    What kind of filming are you doing?

    If you want continuous capture and aren't going to edit then a using an SLR is pretty much pointless.

    Video with SLR is designed to be shot for proper editing; ie cutaways, short sequences (5-15 seconds) etc and then spliced together. Hence the lack of follow focus.

    If you are taking point and squirt type film then you'd be far better off (and less poor) with a beginner to mid range video cam.

  4. I've already got a mid range camcorder but I was looking to be able to get more professional looking results.

    I appreciate rapidly changing focus isn't going to be easy with a DSLR but not many camcorders offer the ability to get that DOF for the arty stuff...
  5. 5D Mk. ii with shoulder rig, loupe and followfocus accessory. 24-105mm f/4 L. Adobe Premiere Pro and lessons on using it ( is good).

    Stand by to unbolt uour wallet.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 - Check. tutorials - Check.

    Canon 5D Mk. ii - body only £1500 !!!

    Standby for a divorce you mean!! :D

    Would a Nikon D5200 with the Kit AF 18-55 be any cop for starters or am I pissing in the wind?
  7. Drivers_lag

    Drivers_lag On ROPs

    Professional looking results have almost nothing to do with camera quality. Camera handling, editing and lighting is everything. If you're green enough to be asking about cameras, you're wasting your cash on a nice camera. You need an HD camcorder that works well and some experience. DSLR's are shite, no matter what photographers tell you.

    Edited to add - I ******* hate photographers.
  8. Not famiiar with current Nikons. You can get a used 5Dii for about £600 or so.

    For starters, I'd suggest that the rig, loupe (viewfinder attachment) and followfocus are the priority, you need to get familiar with them first. Pretty much any DSLR with zoom and a reasonably wide aperture lens would do whilst you get to grips with the rig and editing, I'd have thought.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. And you'd do better buying used than from 'grey importers' like Pro Camera Shop. Someone I know ended up taking a thumping loss when he tried to use the warranty on a D3.

    Btw, the D90 was said to be good for its video capabilities.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. And here openeth a mahoosive can or worms....

    I'm not green, I shoot reasonable video on a Panasonic HD Camcorder, albeit a lowly HDC SD10, and also an Olympus Pen EPL1 which will do 720p.

    I edit using Adobe Premiere Pro and get decent results, but to say it's all down to lighting, editing and camera handling is a bit like saying Lloyd Grossman could knock up gourmet treats for his restaurant goers using frozen horse mince from Iceland and Tesco Value tinned carrots.

    If it were all the skill of of the lensman, and the editing boys, surely the high end RED and ARRI cameras would all be sat on shelves with SALE tags on in a stock clearance, and all the latest TV/Cinema releases would be filmed on iPhones and GoPros, and just touched up back at the gaff?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. It depends entirely on what you wanting to be shooting.

    If you are running and gunning in a situation where you have no idea what or where your subject will be doing then you need to give yourself a fighting chance of shooting it properly:
    -properly framed
    -correctly Exposed
    -in focus

    If you are running around with a DSLR achieving the above will not be easy.

    However' if you are shooting a pre-scripted event or drama where you know exactly where your subject will be then possibly use a DSLR.

    I really wouldn't bother with all the gizmos such as follow-focus, camera rigs and additional batteries. By the time you've forked out for all this crap you could have bought a decent dedicated 'video' camera. Buy a tripod instead.

    Personally I never use a DSLR as a main camera - it's too fiddly , the sound is purely 'automatic', the audio input is unbalanced and it's too small. As a second camera, where the main camera with proper audio inputs will be recording sound, it provides a nice shallow DoF look. Incidentally by too small I mean that I prefer a shoulder mounted camera both for comfort and stability of shot. However, a 3 CCD, 2/3 inch sensor shoulder held HD camera is not cheap: the one I recently lost in the sea was insured for £30,000.

    My advice SUBJECT TO BUDGET AND REQUIREMENTS would be buy a good quality prosumer HD 'video' camera with built in lens and some auto features - the auto focus on modern kit is pretty good although they do get confused in low light. Auto iris is fine as long as the background light levels remain constant: For example should you subject pass in front of a strong light source the iris will auto-expose for this thereby underexposing the subject. An easy to use manual option would be ideal.

    Oh yes....Buy a good tripod.

    On the subject of DoF:
    If you want to achieve shallow DoF, shoot as open as you can and move away from the subject.

    I have a pint calling me and there is a lot more to consider including choice of mic, lighting and editing.

    More info on what you want to shoot would help as basically different tools suit different jobs.
    • Like Like x 3
  12. And there speaks the Bloke What Knows. Some people I work with shoot promo vids with the kit I described and seem to like it; but I'd put the advice of a full-timer like Bigeye over theirs any day.
    • Like Like x 1

  13. TBH I'm a bit rusty on prosumer stuff - although in the past few years the quality of the latter has over taken that of the so called broadcast stuff. The GoPro HD for example!

    The DSLR is grerat for pre-scripted promo shoots for the reasons I've stated and if you are going to use the camera regularly then for this sort of stuff it's maybe worth investing in the rigs.

    On the other hand there is the C300 which is all the good bits from a video camera married with the swell aspects of the DSLR

    This is what it looks like with all the gizzits attached.
    • Like Like x 1