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Camcorder advice please! :)


Joel Jost
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Hi,

 

I am an aspiring young(18 years old) filmmaker from Canada.

 

My Q is: I am saving up for a camcorder....I currently have Sony's HDR-HC1, but the LCD screen went on it...so I am looking to buy another camcorder. Its primary use will be for movie making(feature/short films).

 

At first I wanted JVCs hd110...but it is way out of my price range right now! I have heard a lot about Canons HV20...do you think the HV20 would be adequate to do a feature film with a 35mm lens adapter?? I already have BeachTek XLR adapter. Would you suggest on buying the HV20(600$) and use the money I save from not buying a higher-end camera to buy a 35mini adapter and lighting? And do think the HV20 would suffice until I can afford a higher-end camcorder??

 

Or should I continue and save up for a professional camcorder and not waste my money on a lower-end camcorder?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

 

 

Joel Jost

 

www.youtube.com/joeljost

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If I were in your shoes, I would probably look into getting a Panasonic HVX200 w/ some third-party 35mm adapter (Brevis & Redrock were both solid choices at the time I was initially investigating all of this). My opinion is based on the footage I've seen from various lower-priced HD cameras.

 

The HVX200 is far from "perfect" - you have to deal with P2 cards, carry an external HD monitor used for focusing, etc, etc. I would recommend lurking in the forums frequented by owners of each camera you're considering - get a sense of what they complain about most, etc.

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So you guys are saying not to even bother with the hv20? I heard a few people say the it comes close to the video quality of the HVX200.

 

JVC hd110 is about the same price as the HVX200 right now...would you suggest getting the HVX over the hd110??

 

Thanks.

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I'd say just get the best 3ccd camera you can that has fully manual controls. Whether you're shooting in HD or whether you have 35mm Depth of Field is less important to you at this point than learning to control what you're doing. If you've got something that you seriously think is going to go to festivals, then consider renting a nicer camera to shoot it with; you can probably get a good deal on it from local rental houses.

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So you guys are saying not to even bother with the hv20? I heard a few people say the it comes close to the video quality of the HVX200.

 

JVC hd110 is about the same price as the HVX200 right now...would you suggest getting the HVX over the hd110??

When I initially did my research, the JVC was my #2 choice. A couple reasons why I preferred the HVX:

  1. Something with the cost of lenses, or the need for an expensive lens mount converter (this one is a little foggy).
  2. At the time, the price of the JVC HD110 (or HD100U) was higher than the HVX200. This sounds like it's no longer an issue, but make sure to include the cost of 35mm adapters, lenses, lens adapters, etc, etc.
  3. The JVC didn't seem to have a very large online community, whereas the HVX200 did (dvxuser.com). To me, this is critical, because large forums are a goldmine when you're trying to solve a problem. For all I know, I wasn't looking hard enough - so please don't take my word for it.

When you get right down to it, this is a decision based on your personal taste more than anything. There is no substitute for reviewing test clips for each camera - if you make the decision "on paper", you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

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Stay away from the JVC. I have shot tons with the HVX and its a solid camera. I wouldnt waste your money on lens adapters. You need to be more concerned with first, becoming familiar with the camera as it is, and second, becoming a filmmaker. You dont need to focus so much initially on all the toys you can use to make your films better, you need to focus on making a good film to start with. Your focus right now should be on shooting and lighting, and making a great story. And editing if you are cutting this stuff yourself, which is also a reason to stay away from the JVC in my opinion.

 

All the rest of the bells and whistles is secondary. Get the principals of filmmaking down first. Get a camera, and start shooting. and shooting, with a little bit more shooting peppered in there here and there.

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Thanks guys for your advice and wisdom!! I really appreciate it, as I'm still fairly new to movie making(two years).

 

A little more detail on my situation: I am a very low budget film maker that lives in southern Alberta in practically the middle of no where.....I am the only movie maker in this area that I know of. So I'm one of those movie makers who has to be the director, producer, and DP, editor...etc. I don't think there is even a place to rent a prosumer camcorders around where I live...

I know you guys are thinking then why are you even trying to be a movie maker?? :rolleyes: Cause I love it!!

 

Now you guys know my situation a little better.

 

Thanks again! I really appreciate all your guys wisdom!

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