Camcorder vs DSLR for outdoor/street filming

#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?
 
#3
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
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.

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...
 
#7
5D Mk. ii with shoulder rig, loupe and followfocus accessory. 24-105mm f/4 L. Adobe Premiere Pro and lessons on using it (Linda.com is good).

Stand by to unbolt uour wallet.
Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 - Check.
Lynda.com 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?
 

Drivers_lag

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#8
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...
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.
 
#10
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.
 
#11
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.
 
#12
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.
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?
 
#13
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?
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.
 
#14
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.
 
#15
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.

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
c300.jpeg

This is what it looks like with all the gizzits attached.
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
#16
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?
Not really.. y'see a professional camera is designed to be adaptable, compensating for low light, glare and other such things. When you're paying professional rates for a professional job, you need that job done properly, quickly and right first time. So you need a great camera.

Ever hear the saying that jobs can be quick, cheap and good... but you can only pick two of those things?

Where you planning on publishing this? If it's the internet, it's hardly worth getting all bent up about the quality of your lens, is it?

Premier Pro isn't bad and you can correct many a sin with it, but the idea is not to present the editor with problems in the first place. That's your back up.

If you light properly, you don't need a wicked camera. Of course, it's best to always use professional kit but do you need to? Probably not, if you have plenty of time to set up properly.

And don't forget, even professional kit will turn out rubbish in the hands of a mug.

I use a Sony z1 (cos I love my faithful old camera) The people I was working with upgraded to z7's a while back, and there's not a ******* jot of difference in the finished product. Quadlite (softbox type affairs) continuous lighting and edit with Sony Vegas... because that's all I need to make a living doing what I do.

I use few of the camera's functions because I light it right to start off with. I don't use a DSLR because I'm making a video and I need the camera to handle like a video camera. I use few of the editing functions on Vegas because I filmed it right in the first place (because I lit it right) and I don't spend a fortune on lenses because I publish at 1280x720 3000kbps, which is plenty for the internet.

D_L
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
#17
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
View attachment 111436

This is what it looks like with all the gizzits attached.
EXACTLY!!!!

Can you imagine me trying to look up someone's skirt with that ******* thing?
 
#18
Ok, well thank you SO MUCH for all your advice everyone. I really do appreciate the knowledge that festers in the minds of the ARRSE 'community'!

BigEye, jesus man! I thought you NEVER show up!!! When I first posted this thread I thought "BigEye will be all this like a mullet on a redneck!"

And yet it took days to lure you from your Camera-Cave! :?

Well I think I'm unsold on the DSLR. I want to film documentary film which will be shot in a wide range of locations and conditions, very little static, indoors or staged.

I think if I was shooting in a studio the DSLR would be a nice 'arty' option, and make me oh-so-hip and sexy. However the realities of the fast paced stuff I want to do (public spaces, ghetto-like cities) mean I'd probably lose sight of the subject in an effort to produce good technical results.

For these reasons I'm thinking of treating myself to a good 'prosumer' (I hate these combi-words) camcorder (there's another one).

My options include:

1) Canon Legria HF G25 (a new model)

2) Canon Legria HF G10 (older but very well respected, see reviews on YouTube etc)

3) Panasonic X900 (don't know much about this one but again, it received good reviews.

4) Utter left-field notion... Get something like a GoPro HD with chest rig etc, or the image-superior Sony ActionCam (harder to mount due to design flaws). There's also a good one from JVC, the tridiculously named 'Adixxion' or something.

The beauty of these things is, they're cheap, water and shock proof, and if the subject I'm filming takes umbridge they are less likely to smash the **** out of my expensive camera than If I'm holding some enormous thing or a half decent but fragile camcorder in my main punching hand.

5) Purely for old-school looks and the 'pro' image it projects, which might work in my favour when approaching people on her majesty's pavements one of these...

Sony HVR-HD1000P Digital High Definition HDV Camcorder, PAL

(Sony HVR-HD1000P if the link doesn't fire.)

Any feedback?

P.S. Big Eye, it's way too early to start drinking man, have a cup of Oolong tea and wait for the magic 5pm bell like a good boy!! :nod:
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
#19
The trouble with the little cams is 1) As you point out, looking amateur gets you treated like one. And 2) it's much more difficult to hold the ******* thing steady. While it's perfectly possible to do so, if you're concentrating too hard on one thing, that's brain power that's not going into something else.

DSLR shooting in studios is NOT sexy... you look like a photographer doing a bit of filming, which always comes out shit because an interesting video is nothing like an interesting photo. Tripod work only looks good when it's backed up with a 'detail camera' Otherwise it's flat and shit. Just a moving photograph.

If you shoot tramps with a sports cam, you'll end up with a skydiving stylee video, surely... but of tramps... which is more interesting granted, but it's not the look you want I don't think?

Sony HVR-HD1000P Digital High Definition HDV Camcorder, PAL That's what I'd go for matey.
 
#20
Perhaps not entirely relevant now, but not bad for "pro-sumer" DSLRs and a Hero HD. Wouldn't look out of place on Top Gear.

[video=youtube;VDv4gFPsT2w]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDv4gFPsT2w[/video]

Shot mainly on a Canon 5Dmk2. The wheelspin and the interior shots were done on a Canon 550D and the front bumper shot was done on a GoPro HD Hero 2 - all edited in Premiere Pro.
Note: None of this is any of my work.
 
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