DV documentary

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I plan to make a short documentary while living abroad next year. I hope to use DV. My background is in digital audio production, so DV is pretty new to me.

I am looking for advice about what camera to buy. I would like it to be capable of broadcast quality and yet not cost too much. Cost is key since this project is on a serious shoestring budget. But I do want to make sure that the camera I buy will be capable of other projects in the future. I have looked at the Canon GS1 and XL1. Are there other options?

I would also like to know what editing system to consider. My audio studio is PC based. One pII350 and an older PII200. I would like to stay with PC if possible but I would consider Mac if the price is better.

What software and hardware are required for a minimal but quality editing set up? Any suggestions?

Any other advice would be welcome regarding the tools to shoot and edit this project.



-- Kelly Williams (aizu@isomedia.com), December 16, 1999


It very much depends on what you want to shoot. The XL-1 is a great camera (I have one) the frame movie mode is amazing (try and get a demo at your local retailer) The PAL version shoots 25 full resolution frames per sec and although there is a little motion drag (just like 16mm) it looks beautiful in fairly static shots. If you are American and you would like to convert your Doco onto 35mm for theatrical release the pal version is probably preferable as you wont need to drop any frames during the conversion. The Xl-1 is very conspicuos however so if you want to be 'undercover' the VX-1000 or Canon Gl-1 may be preferable. (having said that The Xl-1 can, with a little acting, allow you to pass for either a hard-nosed professional cameraman or a bovine tourist with elaborate audio/video needs).

As to 'broadcast quality' IMHO it is total nonsense. i'm a video engineer in London and as long as you are not shooting on VHS or U- matic or something, broadcast quality is really dependant on wether someone wants to broadcast your story. It is very content driven. But the Canon Xl-1 is all over the terrestrial and cable channels over here.

I hope this helps get in touch if I can help you any more.

Good luck with the project.

All the best.

-- Aslan Livingstone-Ra (aslanlivingstone@hotmail.com), December 17, 1999.

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