Newbie in need of advice! : LUSENET : Shooting DV Films : One Thread

Hi all

I'm looking to purchase a DV camera to put some shorts I have on paper on "film."

I'm trying to research DV cameras to see which would give me the best quality for the budget minded. I would love to try to distribute some of these shorts, so I would prefer to have a DV camera that would look good after a film transfer.

Could anyone offer any suggestions on what cameras (under $4-5k) I should look further into? I'm also in the market for an editing suite for my computer so I can edit my shorts once I shoot them. What editing software do you guys use? Should I look for anything in particular?

Like I said, I'm very new at this. I know computers and technology well, and have a small amount of experience in film (16mm).

I'm mainly curious as to the quality of DV films, and whether it would be a good route for me to take.

Thanks. =)

Oh, and if anyone knows of any good websites with information and tutorials, comparisons, etc, I would be eternally grateful.

Thanks again...


-- John P (, August 25, 2001


The short answer is to get any miniDV camera and Adobe Premiere to originate and edit the production.

There are, however, options. For one thing, the "video look" may be very discouraging. It is almost sure to add an amateur look to your production (unless you're going for a videit look ala 'blair- witch'). On the consumer end of the spectrum look for cameras offering a proscan (progressive scan) option.

Progressive scan captures and entire "frame" of video at once (much look real film). Typically video is captured interlaced. Interlaced video arrives to the monitor in two halves. First all the odd horizontal lines, then all the even. This essentially produces a 60 frames per second (fps) display of motion. This motion is smooth and as such is the biggest indicator that you are watching video (for better or for worse).

Cameras like the Canon XL-1 and the cheaper GL-1 offer a FRAME mode which is a basically "progressive scan" video (whole frames not interlaced) at 30 FPS. There is a loss of 25% of the vertical resolution (for reasons too complex to explane) but the result is far more "filmic" than regular video. The Sony VX2000 also offers full progressive scan video but at a dismal 15 FPS; too herky-jerky for feature production (great for web video though). But it does have, in its digital effects arsenal, a FLASH feature which captures sequential stills at various durations. Adjusting this one-up-from- off will set the camera at 30 FPS non-interlaced. This has only 50% of the vertical resolution but is passable and much more "filmic" in appearence. The setting is independent of shutter speed or iris size so you can adjust the depth-of-field (very important to achieve a good cinematic look).

So the three main contenders are the Canon XL-1, GL-1, or Sony VX2000. They are all 3-CCD camera's with great pictures. From there it is a matter of budget and person preference.

I own a VX2000 and have had pretty good success with it's picture.

Otherwise you could always go Super 8mm film. I use that too. I tranfer it using my VX2000 into my computer using a home-made telecine setup. I get great results and there isn't any need to TRY and make it look like film; it is film!

I hope I've helped a little.

Thanks, R. Tate

-- R. Tate (, September 22, 2001.

To get hi resolution video to have the motion and look of film do this !!

copy the same track of video into two video tracks one on top of each other

de interlace the bottom clip then set the opacity of the top clip to 30 % render this to a preview monitor and voila, the result is amazing

-- Clevo (, December 20, 2001.

eh, ya...just rent a 16mm camera and shoot it on 16mm, much better, I mean, you CAN buy some 3-chip camera and get good results but you may be better of shooting it on 16mm if thats going to be your final output. But if your stuck on the DV thing buy the Panasonic AG- DVX100, that shoots in 24P so no converting will be needed, and audio will be perfect, so I would defenately say get the dvx100, as far as software goes, it depends on you really, I would pop for the Avid Xpress pro with Mojo, great system, ive used premier and a lot of others (Excluding mac, if you want mac, final cut 4 is the way to go!) and none of them give me what avid does, I want to try FCP4 because i hear its superb, so do some testing, and Good luck!

-- Allen A. (, October 24, 2003.

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