Video/still camera?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by vvaannmmaann, Nov 1, 2009.

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  1. Need one to take video of my house to send to my sister.I also want to take still images with it.
    Any thoughts on what to buy?
  2. Have you used either before? Other than the house, what do you intend/think of using it for after? Is there a budget? Are the stills to be just for computer type viewing or printed - if so to what size?

  3. 9.My sister lives overseas,so I want to "walk" her through the house.I have a Pentax DSLR.Not used a video/camcorder before.I was thinking that if I got the images onto a SD card or DVD I could send it to her.Budget? £250.I will probably keep it after this project.They are useful I imagine.
    Thanks for your response.
  4. I have a Sony Handycam DCR-SX41, its very good for video but average for stills, also the internal memory is quite poor.

    However video wise its great if you bump the picture quality up.
  5. He really wants it to make amatuer porn videos
  6. One of the Fuji Finepix series of compact digital SLR cameras has a video and sound capability, with a pretty good zoom lens , and internal editing, might suit your needs. altho you have to resize the picis to post them here
  7. First choose the recording format. If you pick tape then you have the hassle of transferring the film to dvd/cd. If you go for hard drive recording you can lose all the data when the camera gets whizzed ( unless you download frequently ). After trial and error I have gone for recording to memory stick, I can pop the stick from my camera straight into the computer and download and email / store films online. Quite good as you can view your films anywhere with internet access with no need to take your camera in order to play back. Downsides are better memory sticks can be expensive. Make sure that your camera is good in low light conditions.
  8. I have a Canon Powershot A2001S. Takes 15 minutes of top quality video and is also excellent for still pics.

    Highly recommended, and should be in your budget range.
  9. Thanks guys.Off to Evilbay now!
  10. Thanks for the expansion vm. I agree with others that it appears you are looking for a stills camera with video capability rather than the other way round. I have a decent video which does stills, but while producing quality video is only ‘token’ on stills – way below say an inexpensive dedicated Casio that can take you up to A3 prints.

    The Canon Spanky suggests sounds a good contender, but I’m not up on the latest offerings. Re format, perhaps consider what you existing computer/DVD is readily compatible with, and that/those of your sister?

    Also, how much fiddling you want/are prepared to do? If you want to fiddle, download to your PC and edit :OMG:

    If you have XP with up-dates it should include MS MovieMaker, which is fiddley, a pain, but does a reasonable basic job for free. In the end, whether you decide to burn your production to DVD or load to a stick or card, suggest you try it on another machine to ensure it just ‘plays’ and is generally compatible with generic standards.

    As you haven’t used video before, perhaps a few pointers passed on to me by pro cameramen when I first took the path.

    1. Full auto cameras are designed for quick point-and-press – but don’t expect miracles. Your eyes adjust in various light to see white as white – usually the camera needs to be told about the lighting environment, i.e. the white balance. Typical house lighting has a yellow cast so you need to tell the camera to adjust accordingly. When you’re happy with the colour balance, and level of exposure, for a room, lock/hold those settings. Why? Because if you don’t, if you pan around (SLOWLY) and centre on a light or a window, the camera will try to adjust for that brightness and the rest of the room will be shot dark. If say a window ‘whites out’, fine, you’re showing the inside of a room not what’s out the window. If you are, treat and adjust as a separate shot. If you don’t have that feature, draw the curtains.

    2. If filming inside a house, unless you want to portray ‘dark’ effects/contrast, turn all the lights on, even the table lamps, even in daytime filming.

    3. You are taking ‘moving pictures’, meaning the images should be moving, not the camera. ”Yeah, but I’m doing a house walk-through so I’ve got to move?” Fair comment, but (a) set the shutter speed to ‘fast/sport’ if available, (b) turn on ‘steady shot’ if available, (c) move slowly, evenly and steadily, and (d) rehearse and walk-though what you’re going to do. You can achieve some perceived movement by using zoom (if available). However, DO NOT become ‘zoom-happy’ and zoom in and out of every shot.

    4. If you’re effectively taking a ‘still’ scene, I presume you don’t have a tripod so brace yourself against a wall or something and perhaps tuck your elbows in and down on your chest. Slow release breath and squeeze the titty – sound familiar? :) If possible/applicable, rest the camera on a window sill/table or whatever. Generally if there’s no movement in a scene, only shoot – or edit down – to a couple of seconds.

    5. If you intend to edit, even with MovieMaker you can add commentary and/or music. If not, you might want to talk as you film and/or turn some music on in the house. Just one thing, if thereafter you start making basic cuts to the footage, you will also be cutting the dialogue and/or music – might not make too much difference? In the same vein, be very careful and certain about using camera effects when filming as invariably these cannot be removed after – better to edit a ‘clean’ film and add certain effects after. Viz.: ‘this is grannies room so I’ll film with a sepia tint’. After, you don’t like sepia, but, that’s how you originally filmed it and that’s what you now have. :)

    6. A common error – no not missing someone’s head in a picture, but filming with the camera level. Can happen while filming you notice the camera is at a slight angel from the horizontal. So you gently correct this back to level. Unless this is during a pan, looks awful when seen on TV. Re-shoot the scene or leave it p1ssed.

    7. Lastly, an old one which possibly won’t effect your shoot, but, DON’T CROSS THE LINE. The ‘Line’ is imaginary and is to do with brain interpretation of your finished effort. If say, you film something approaching you from your right, people viewing your film will expect it to pass and move off to your left. If you ‘cross the line’, turn round and film it moving off from ‘right’, it’s confusing – unless that’s what you’re after?

    Hope some of the above is useful.

  11. As a matter of interest which path is that?
    Auto-white balance can work on smaller cameras as it's subtle. The complexities of dealing with kelvin can be a nightmare. If shooting indoors with normal lighting the kelvin (measure of colour temp) will be about 3200 - if standard lamps are involved - maybe 2000- 2900: which is warm.
    Daylight colour temp can be from 5000k upto 25,000!
    If you really want to bother with all that then carry a bit of white card and every time you change position point the camera at the card (with auto iris ON and press the manual white balance button.
    Broadcast cameras will give you the temp in kelvin allowing you to light accordingly.
    Which may result in horrible white/balance issues. Generally it's better to have warm rather than cold pictures though.
    Do not zoom. Ever! The eye does not zoom neither should the camera. Rule No.1
    Rule No.2 Of course having said that crash zooms or slow pullouts/push ins do work for reveals. or both if you want to contra-zoom
    If you are aiming to be serious about your camerawork: Buy a tripod.
    Good advice
    It's called a 'dutch' shot. Romford charge a lot of money for a tripod that accomodates exactly that shot. If used properly it's a vry nice look.

    If you pan on a tripod with out balancing the head- the camera will start to go horribly on the p iss
    Crossing the line (via 360 rotation) and un-balanced frames are a very popular look at the moment.
    However before throwing away the rule-book, make sure you have read it.
  12. Thank you both very much.As always the collective knowledge around here is amazing.
  13. bigeye - "As a matter of interest which path is that?"

    Primarily the path of changing from film to digital. I had quite a good schooling in 35mm stills (colour and B/W), and though not 'Pro' had a number of shots accepted for National publication. Later on I ventured into 8mm cine - when the kit was inexpensive but the 3½min film processing remained prohibitive. And before anyone chips-in with 8mm being cr@p, the outside camera Newsmen of the BBC and others used to use 8mm ;)

    Eventually, well after digi prices and products settled down and formats were relatively stable, I retired film and went digital. I found the advances in video extremely impressive and now use about 90% video.

    "The complexities of dealing with kelvin can be a nightmare. etc.."

    I didn't want to get into Kevins, white or silver reflectors, etc, for someone starting out with a £250 camera. Even rooms with streaming sunlight will change colour during the day as the sunlight strength and angel changes. I just wanted to suggest there are a few 'free' things that can be done to try and light the room uniformly so you/the camera has a fair chance of dealing with it. And, from my old 35mm days, you can carry a piece of white card, and you can also point the camera to the back of your outstretched hand for a reading ;)

    "Do not zoom. Ever! "

    Have to say I usually use my zoom just for purposes of focal length, but as you state a slow zoom-in for say 'a talking head' can be effective just as starting with say a ranked soldier's face and pan out to the full rank. But then, my Sony has a sexy progressive variable zoom - just like the big boys. :D

    "Crossing the line (via 360 rotation) and un-balanced frames are a very popular look at the moment."

    Impossible to comment. While this remains an 'art' form it remains open to opinion. Couple of years ago the BBC produced a docudrama on D-Day - of course, what else. To me it was an anthology of how to film like a luvvie tosser, Lessons A to Z. To make it ‘look’ old, authentic, atmospheric (and cheap), they used a B/W grain effect with very tight angels and endless jiggling up and down and swish panning. It just made me nauseous and totally unable to get into the story – end result switch off as unwatchable. Now, if they wanted to give the impression this was 1944 footage, FFS why not TALK to real 1944 AFPU cameramen??? My good fortune I met one (friend of a friend) and he distinctly said they did everything they possibly could to make their footage like ‘Hollywood’ (for want of a comparison). They used the best possible film they could beg, borrow or steel, and aimed consistently to do a ‘Pro’ job. Something like the BBC showed would NOT have been submitted. (ps. Tight narrow angles/continuous close-ups in this case are not so much for atmosphere, but to cover-up a 5 bob budget. Believe me, if you’ve forked out on a hundred ships and 5’000 uniformed extras, you DO want your money’s worth with panoramic shots and a real sense of grandeur.

    Anyway, for my 5 bob, ‘don’t cross the line’, but go your own way, it’s your film. :D

  14. Jvc everio will do the trick
  15. I still love 8mm but rarely have the chance to use it nowadays. By the way I work with old timers who used to shoot on 8 and 16mm for news - both at ITN and BBC. What a great discipline - having a very limited amount of stock meant that you got the shot right first time!
    I had a hard time the other day trying to explain to a director why shooting a a 2 hour interview in a large room with windows both ends and translucent curtains in the late afternoon would be a problem. :roll:
    It was a BBC docco too! It lit it tungsten in the only shadowy bit of the room I could find.
    Of course zoom lens are not that common in 'film' - but who wants to carry a case of primes around - no time. Zooming in (using the doubler too) will ramp the iris down a bit for shallower depth of field - when you can't move the camera back far enough and you don't want to chuck in anymore ND
    Progressive variable zoom? Not sure what this is - The standard lens on my DSR450 is a Canon 15x8BERM - a little old but it does the job.
    I agree - my comment about knowing the rule book before disregarding it
    would apply here. The standard of the AFPU news reel footage was exemplary and I for one have been majorly influenced by this style when covering combat scenes and still borrow from it.

    On a BBC shoot (Childrens TV) I pointed out that when I reversed my position for a 2 shot I would cross the line, the new young director looked down at the ground and asked me 'What line?'