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cam for documentaries

Posted by johnnyhmn 
cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 02:58PM
Hi, just curious about some cameras. I used to do documentaries in SouthAmerica, many years ago. Now, I have a GL-2 and HV-40, just for weddings. most of the time I am editing for local video guys. Soon, I will be doing some documentaries for Christian organizations in CentralAmerica, so I am just curious about what cameras do they use for things like animal planet, discovery, etc. I have seem some "small" cams doing great things. Thinking of SonyHXR-NX5 or the JVCHM710. Anyone some experience with these or any others? Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

new iMac, i5, 8GRam, 10.7.3, FCStudio3 and X
Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 03:42PM
I looked into this a few years ago. To know what kind of footage some of these networks will except. Go to their website and look for a spec sheet. Most of the time they will list cameras that are expectable for their network. It's not really the camera, it's a data rate, or the Mbps that the camera produces. I remember that 35 Mbps was okay for documentaries footage. I'm not a tech head so maybe someone else will come along and jump in with better info.

If you find out anything please post it. I'm working on a WWII documentary and I'd like to know some of that info. I'm in the research and writing stage right now.
Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 04:07PM
THX! these would be not for any network, but just for the organizations, of course they might decide later to air the documentaries, but right now my concern is just about a good cine-like cam, HD quality, and not too expensive.

Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 04:13PM
Then I think those two cameras you listed will work fine. Anyway the JVCHM710 does 35 Mbps. And I think the Sony does 24Mbps. What's nice about the JVC is that it's a shoulder camcorder. So you'll be in good shape.
Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 07:01PM
My 2cents

We did Manilla, and brazil with a hmc150 shooting 720p60. Slow mo was acceptable but there were a few time that i wondered how much nicer it would be at 120fps.

But if shoulder mount is important this will not be the ticket. And it will only do 24mbps as far as i know.

There are some slightly awkward shoulder mout kits out there.

If you remove the need for a shoulder mount i would choose something that does 120fps Like a gopro which i think is at 32mbps out the box. or maybe something in the panasonic hpx line up.

If you can rent then the sky is the limit. Varicam / red / arri. Those cams make me wet.

""" What you do with what you have, is more important than what you could do, with what you don't have."

> > > Knowledge + Action = Wisdom - J. Corbett 1992
Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 07:33PM
Thank you Russ and J. The 1.25 lux is something I like about the JVC.
No experience with 60i, does it have to do with more quality? or does it help with pan? motion? moving characters? (when using my HV40 in 24p I have to be careful with panning too fast).
Also, what is your opinion about "i" or "p", I have heard different things about it.

Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 09:55PM
JVC's do nicely. I have only used panasonic ( hmc150, hpx170, hpx500, gh2 ) and recently had a chance to shoot on arri and a red epic.

if you were filming say running zebras in 1080p24 you will get more blur between the movement of say the legs cause the cpu has to create frames ( you get better interpolation from AE or Motion). When you go to post to do slowmo then that blur is mor seen in 1080p24 than say 720p60 as 60p has more frames happening in a second.

But to me personally it becomes super clean slomo at 120fps (1080p120 or 720p120). you can drop that to like 10% and its still clean with less blur from interpolated frames.

In my experience, FPS above 60 is only important if you plan to do slowmo or if the subject and the cam will be moving. And when i say moving i am not talking about a pan. If you are on the back of a jeep and you are riding beside zebras moving at 30mph the jeep is going to be shaking you and the cam, even with upper-mid level steady can equipment rigged.

If you write out or storyboard a tentative shot selection you can think thru those shots and have a better idea of what you want to catpture and the possible problems with those shots in relation to shutter, lens, filters and fps.

PS. Have waterproof cases handy for your stuff. Trust me at some point you will think about it for some reason. In my case it was cars passing and splashing water from a broken pipe in manilla. thank goodness my tripod wasn't electronic.
oh and dont forget your monopod.

""" What you do with what you have, is more important than what you could do, with what you don't have."

> > > Knowledge + Action = Wisdom - J. Corbett 1992
Re: cam for documentaries
May 23, 2012 11:42PM
Thanks J. 120fps??? In my good old times we just got up to 30fps, haha
Waterproof case, good idea...a security guard would be good too!

Re: cam for documentaries
May 29, 2012 10:52PM
I think Discovery accepts Panasonic's DVCPROHD 100 which all of Panasonics shoulder mount and handheld P2 camcorders can do. I use the HPX170 and I think it's great camera for doc work and National Geographic has used my footage from it. It's a very fast camera in that allows you to find your shots quickly and its lightweight so you will not get worn down with a full days worth of shooting. Fairly clean image and light sensitive enough for most circumstances. It will get noisey on you quickly in dim environments however.

The other route is to go DSLR - super light sensitive, low noise and a great image but a host of other issues that will slow you down if you are shooting alone. eg: you can not hand-hold a 5D or 60D as you'll get the Jello effect, you'll most likely need a separate audio recorder (in which you'll need to sync the files up in post), and you'll need to swap out and carry around a few lenses to really make the most use of it.

If you got an extra 15K for this project then you might want to consider the new Canon C300. You can hand hold it, built in XLR audio ins, and it has a LOG gamma setting. All that combined with the ability to swap out lenses?... Gets me excited every time I think of it.

My contribution to LAFCPUG!

Good luck.
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