£1000 ($2000) - Looking for the best picture quality possible

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Barrius, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Barrius

    Barrius Guest

    I'm looking for a DV camera suitable for filming a short
    documentary-style video for my company.

    My budget is £1000 (so, just under $2000?)

    I would like the highest picture quality possible: clear, good contrast
    I would like as little blurring as motion when filming moving objects

    I would like good quality sound for this but I am willing to pay extra
    to invest in a seperate mic - in this case, which mic would be best?

    If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Most of the cameras
    I've seen are either quite a way below £1000 in terms of quality, or
    quite a way above £1000 in terms of price. Is there anything around
    this figure?


    Barrius, Feb 8, 2006
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  2. Barrius

    mv Guest

    I'm thinking of sailing around the world, can anyone advise me how
    close I can get to the edge without being in danger of falling off. Also
    I'd be happy to pay a bit extra for a sail for my boat. Will 74 Pence (
    about a $1.30) be enough?

    Barrius, apologies for the mild sarcasm, call it ironic commentary. I
    presume you're located in the UK, same as me. £1,000 is not enough to
    buy any new camera that I would consider good enough for a high
    technical value production. If you are happy with a 4x3 DV standard you
    might be lucky enough to find a a good used Sony VX1000 or a Canon XM1or
    if you're extremely lucky a Sony VX2000, all are nice three CCD miniDV
    cameras with full manual controls. No cameras anywhere near this class
    have on board mics that can provide 'good quality' due to them being
    fixed into the body of the camera and being tinny sounding stereo mics
    susceptible to servo noise, motor hum and handling pickup and without
    adequate directional integrity or wind shielding. The cheapest solution
    would be something like the Sennheiser ME300D with a Rycote furry
    windshield for around £150 plus VAT. This mic comes with a shoe mount
    that will fit these cameras, though a riser adapter is advisable with
    the Rycote fitted. It simply plugs into the mini-jack socket. I presume
    you intend to use a tripod? No? Surely you jest! Cheapest tripod worthy
    of use is the Libec 650 for about £130 plus VAT. It has the essential
    fluid action head and an independently levelling bowl. Next you'll need
    to do a short course on how to shoot adequately for the editor and
    overall production aims (I presume you'll be editing this production and
    have a post production plan?).

    Your stated requirements regarding motion 'blurring', within the context
    of your entire message, are bizarre and underline that you're not an
    experienced camera person/filmmaker. If your company wishes to be judged
    by the quality of this production I'd bet on the project, as currently
    developing, being hopelessly below requirements without some serious
    reference to reality.

    Hope that helps
    mv, Feb 8, 2006
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  3. Barrius

    Barrius Guest

    Well thanks very much for your extremely helpful and constructive reply
    John. Why do you feel it necessary to be so aggressive and rude, when
    all I wanted was a little advice from someone who is knowledgable
    enough to provide it?

    If I can't get a camera for that price, then what price could I get a
    suitable camera for. If it takes more cash, then it takes more cash:
    money is not an issue.

    To satisfy those who wishes to be so horribly condascending, perhaps I
    ought to rephrase my post:

    1) I want to produce a budget training video for my staff
    2) I want to be able to film at a very high picture quality
    3) I wish to get a camera that is relatively easy to get to grips with
    suitable even for an 'idiot' like me.
    Barrius, Feb 9, 2006
  4. Barrius

    mv Guest

    Yes you are quite right Barry but your initial presumption did demand
    sarcastic condescension, it's always been effective in education!!! A
    bit like the apprentice being sent off to get a left handed screwdriver,
    it might make the apprentice feel silly but he'd never make such a fool
    of himself again, it's traditional ;-)) I had hoped that a little
    metaphorical light hearted sarcasm might serve to illustrate the point
    without getting to laboured about it. But I guess you've demanded that I
    labour the point after all.

    Since money is not a problem you might ask yourself a couple of

    If this is an in-house training video, is it likely to effect the
    perceptions of those vital to your business, clients and customers for
    example? If yes then anything that seems markedly less in quality than
    people see on TV is likely to be counter productive. If no, you can do
    what ever you want as long as the training message works well enough. If
    the former though you might then ask a further question of yourself; If
    you need this production are you likely to need more in the future and
    do you want to provide for potential future development of this
    presumably new in-house resource? If yes and you are indeed located in
    the UK then buy an HDV camera, the cheapest with good ergonomic and
    fully controllable features is the Sony FX1 at round £1,900 plus VAT
    (There's also an amazing super compact A1 HDV camera for 1,400 pounds
    plus VAT but I wouldn't recommend it as an only camera) . It offers both
    Standard Definition (DV) and High Definition (HDV) functions at full
    resolution 16x9 ratio (wide screen). For an additional £1,000 plus VAT
    you can have the Sony Z1 version of the FX1 with a large number of
    additional features, that are very much worth having. A cheaper option
    would be to buy something like a Sony VX2100 for about £1,400 plus VAT.
    This is an excellent Standard Definition DV only camera prioritised for
    4x3 recording, but I'd suggest that in our European PAL Digital Plus
    16x9 TV world all 4x3 SD formats are obsolete for any production with
    'high quality' aspirations.

    Fundamentally though, editing should be considered from the outset. HDV
    post (editing) requires very specific and appropriate computers
    (powerful) and the market is currently littered with half baked and ill
    conceived software options whose only virtues are cheapness and a few
    others which add insult to injury by not even being cheap.

    The trouble with both your original post and subsequent reply is that
    you load your questions with assumptions that are non secitur to any
    simple reply. What do you mean by low budget? I just worked on a 'low
    budget' production that cost 1.1 million pounds ($1.8 million) on the
    other hand I've just quoted for a ten minute information film that at
    23,000 pounds is not low budget. However I recently got paid six
    thousand pounds for a two minute piece that was not at all profitable. A
    colleague makes commercials where a thirty second production can cost
    anything from 100,000 to a million or more. The term low budget without
    a frame of reference is utterly meaningless.

    When you talk of a "very high quality" picture, but what does that
    mean to you? One mans high quality picture is another's poor one. To any
    professional, very high might more likely be taken to mean High
    Definition or film. Most modern consumer DV cameras, even single CCD
    models, can produce pictures that are quite decent on a 4x3 TV monitor
    but fall considerably below the quality of professional 3 CCD types and
    fall even further below hen tasked with showing on a 16x9 TV/monitor.
    Video image quality is measured and or defined by vertical and
    horizontal lines of resolution, numbers of active pixels, colour and
    contrast handling latitude, dynamic range in terms of detail and colour
    registration, signal to noise ratio, light sensitivity (which determines
    how much artificial light is required to maintain quality in low ambient
    light environments), the size and shape of the CCD's and generational
    development in terms of HAD, Hyper HAD, Super HAD and now even non CCD
    'CMOS imaging devices', optical precision of the lens and indeed a shed
    load of other factors not the least of which is the competence and craft
    of the operator and director. Now that we're transiting from Standard
    Definition to High Definition the goal posts have been dramatically
    moved on, though as yet many domestic consumers and ersatz professionals
    will remain largely unaware of this until they see the neighbours new HD
    LMD LCD instant refresh rate 90 inch Super Broad Band Ready surround
    sound home cinema that they had previously presumed did not exist.

    You then say you'd like something you can relatively easily get to grips
    with, what you mean like a proper cameraman whose just spent a couple of
    years trying to become craftsmen enough to have someone actually pay him
    to shoot a programme, or perhaps you meant something altogether less

    Finally your original concern about motion blur whilst talking of
    consumer priced cameras was indeed ridiculous. Unless you're willing to
    spend over 20,000 on a camera, you'd have no choice but to accept the
    motion handling of 5 to 1 compressed DV or 20 to 1 compressed HDV
    formats, there's little difference between them and in any event such
    motion blurring should not be an issue for anything that you would seem
    to be attempting. I suspect that you have heard something of the now
    declining chatter recently going around regarding motion issues and HDV,
    mostly misconceived ones caused by erroneous post production and
    inappropriate monitoring, a debate that then follows in further
    misleading ways concerning the issues differentiating HDV in it's 1080i
    and 720p forms, but I won't go there just now because it'll take another
    ten minutes to write an explanation.

    There's quite a few of us who regularly frequent this news group, that
    is really miss named rec.video because most regulars are professional or
    semi professional TV and film folk. I really am sorry to have poked fun
    at you Barry old chap but think of it as an amusingly informative
    incident. I was minded of the hilarious moment when General Jan Smuts,
    the turn of the century South African Premier, revealed himself to be
    flat earther when he argued with Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail
    single handed around the world, that the mariner had in fact only sailed
    in a circle on top of the World, hence my earlier joke. Just how does
    one reply to someone asking the wrong questions?
    mv, Feb 9, 2006
  5. Barrius

    Mark Spacey Guest

    a canon xm 2 can be bought on e.bay for around £950, used by the bbc
    where betacams are too bulky, if its good enough for the bbc its good
    enough for you
    Mark Spacey, Feb 9, 2006
  6. Barrius

    Barrius Guest

    Thank you - I appreciate that my questions may have been woefully
    misguided but at least you can see where I'm coming from - well, sort

    Thanks for your help!
    Barrius, Feb 10, 2006
  7. Barrius

    mv Guest

    The XM2 is a nice camera and £950 is an excellent price for a GOOD used
    one. However apocryphalic stories about equipment that the BBC use
    should be taken with a pinch of salt. As a long time broadcast
    professional myself I can reveal that at one time or another the BBC has
    used just about every type of camera there is, but neither the XM2 or
    indeed any other Canon DV type has ever been taken up by them in any
    significant measure. The BBC DV Dept. at London's Wood Lane have been
    responsible for testing and choosing the DV and HDV kit for large scale
    acquisition and since 1997 these have included, pretty much exclusively,
    the following Sony models;

    VX1000, VX2000, VX2100, DSR PD 100, DSR PD 150, DSR PD170

    Most of these models were acquired in the many hundreds if not thousands
    of units.

    Currently all compact DV's are being replaced by the Sony Z1, mostly
    used in their DVCAM mode but particularly prized for their full
    resolution 16x9 CCD's. The BBC is slowly, like all lumbering beasts,
    learning how to use and integrate the HDV format into it's lumbering
    and excruciatingly inefficient machine. (If 80% of their staff
    disappeared tomorrow I doubt the viewing public would notice) I'd
    predict that during the course of the next year or so HDV acquisition
    will become the BBC's standard mode of shooting with these cameras
    mv, Feb 10, 2006
  8. Barrius

    mv Guest

    All the very best to you Barry
    mv, Feb 10, 2006
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