Which camera for music videos

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Which camera for music videos

Postby AndyTR » 25 Dec 2013 02:23

Hi Everyone,

I have a specific camera need and this seems to be the place for sensible advice.

My partner is a singer and we need to create showreel videos for her act. This means filming her at gigs:
1. Always from a tripod (occasionally hand-held ... but stationary).
2. Sometimes the scene will be very dark and often there will be high contrast between unlit background areas and a strongly lit performer.
3. Audio camera recording will mainly be used for ambient sound with the performer vocals recorded from the mixing desk.
4. The videos will mainly be viewed online.
5. Cost is a factor because it will only be used about 5 to 10 times a year.
6. I don't know much about filming but can learn if the ideal camera needs manual settings rather than auto.

This is a short unedited video just to give an idea of the dramatic scenes we need to be able to capture (sorry it has a long black section ... but stick with it). The out-of-focus projections are the result of an 'auto' setting on a borrowed camera: http://youtu.be/84gXxwk_mfE

What would you recommend?

Posts: 2
Joined: 25 Dec 2013 00:04
Location: UK

Re: Which camera for music videos

Postby AndyTR » 03 Jan 2014 14:01

Any suggestions, anyone ??

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Re: Which camera for music videos

Postby Stephan » 03 Jan 2014 23:54

Hi, welcome!

No offense, but it's a very generic question and hard to answer! It's good that you thought over your requirements and drilled down to what's essential to you... but, in summary, you're looking for an inexpensive camcorder with high dynamic range and good manual control. That's what everybody wants, I would say. And that's what each camcorder tries to achieve, the only limit being the cost compromise.

Now, there are good inputs in your requirements, so let's address them:
2. [Priority #1] High contrast / high dynamic range => the larger the optics + the larger the sensor = the better. Get the largest, fastest optics & largest sensor you can afford.
1. Shooting from a tripod: means that the ergonomics & form factor aren't too important to you.
3. Onboard audio: it's excellent that you can get the main audio recording, so try & stretch your requirements here. Good audio is *very* difficult so consider using onboard audio only for sync'ing the footage in post when you edit.
4. Sharing online: look at recording 30p or 60p, not the usual European video rate of 50Hz. Although this is secondary because you're taking stationary video, still anyway 50Hz video just looks cheap online.

All in all, and now thinking for something completely different... Have you thought of capturing video with a DSLR instead (photo camera)? It seems to me this would fit the requirements quite well, although they're a kind of different beasts to tame. I haven't taken a look at them for a while (being happy with my ordinary consumer camcorder for what I need), but I'd suggest you look that way for all the reasons above (especially for the larger sensor & optics vs. cost trade-off). If you need to take pictures too, you would decrease the cost in a way with a single piece of equipement. But optics can cost a lot, don't settle for cheap.

Not sure this can help, but these are my suggestions... It's impossible to judge how "contrasty" your scenes really are, so try & borrow some gear maybe to test them.


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