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1st Time Filmmaker Camera Choice :/ X900,60D


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Good morning everyone J


I am new to the idea of making a feature film and especially trying to make it look professional.

I have played with video work and editing for many years but my photography skills in terms of manual use are at the moment beginner, I’ve been told to make a film by a uk film maker I know and really excited about the prospect of giving it a go.


If it’s possible I would really love some guidance, I would like it to look as professional quality as possible but of course budget is really tight (same as everyone I would imagine!),

I’m considering between the Panasonic HC-X900EB-K HD Camcorder or a Canon EOS 650D

Budget is a big issue, and that is probably the best I can stretch as a I will have to get other accessories as well, I’m sticking to a mixture of Cinematic & found footage style mainly for the more forgiving nature of it, thought it was wise for a first attempt.


Not being a pro the Panasonic seemed wise with the better auto modes if I found manual too hard to get it right, but my big concern is the 50p mode, I will be editing in Premiere / After Effects, with the final render going to Bluray & DVD, the primary format will probably NTSC ideally, but it will all be filmed on UK PAL equipment (I know, I know), the Panasonic doesn’t have a 24p native mode, the primary format will be NTSC for the reason if I manage to pull it off and its all watchable and ok my film maker friend has said he would distribute it (has a few independent film distribution companies) but of course this means a hell of a lot of video conversion going from the 50p format to NTSC DVD, after editing, I’m worried this will also effect the pacing of the final edit, I have never converted files that drastically before.


The problem with the Canon is I feel while it has the 24p recording mode, I’m worried about the lack of stabilization with the idea of a newbie film maker and especially found footage style, and especially my lack in experience of manual use of cameras, I just keep going around and around in circles changing my mind constantly :/

I don’t want to make the process too complicated for a first time hence why the film itself will me very small production and if it makes a difference quite a lot of it will be night time footage.

Sorry for the long rang, I would appreciate anyone else’s experienced input if I haven’t put you to sleep J what do you guys think ?.

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My first short movie I used a Panasonic HMC-80. It did not look like video according to most. But it was a challenge and there was a lot of color grading necessary. I have since stepped up to the T3i. I wish I had started with this camera since it was cheaper and more capable than my video camera. There are issues with this however. You will need to record sound externally or get a Juice link or Beach tek pre-amp and a decent mic.


Are you planning to make one movie or make movies for many years? If you plan to make a career out of this get the 650D or even the Panasonic GH2. You will be able to learn about Exposure, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, and the expressive use of lenses. You will have to learn how to control your image manually but it's also an investment in your craft and not just your project. Also the Canon and the GH2 are both 24p NTSC. You can also get decent Nikon glass on Ebay for less than $60 each. Learning the manual controls is really not that complicated. There are a lot of good videos out there explaining it all simply. I am sure there are plenty of other valid options others may know about.

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thanks so much for your reply... I've loved playing with video work for many years in a self taught fashion,

I was originally planning on going into media at further education but as life takes many turns I never did in the end.


I will continue to use the equipment for any foreseeable future be it my home movie stuff, and still of it has that function or trying to make future film projects if I manage to pull it off well enough it willdrive me to do more, I've had some praise on my editing skills and have been told to make a movie by a filmmaker so it's given me a bit of a buzz with the concept that I may actually be able to pull it off :), I'm not expecting it to be an amazing looking project but if it plays out like a watchable film (in a independent underground way I will be happy :).


maybe I will go the route of the Canon, little bit nervous on the side of the stabilization and things but I may be able to borrow a camcorder for some of the shots and merge the footage in the end.. shooting the bulk in 24p would do away with my fear of heavy conversions going down from 50[ if its watchable I will submit it to a mini distro (usa) to see if they are interested.


thanks again for your response.

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If you buy Canon IS lenses they have stabilization. What you really need to do is get a shoulder rig or the best tripod you can afford. Then Image Stabilization is not as necessary. Shooting it hand held with no rig is going to get a lot of rolling shutter problems and look like jello. As you progress in your skills you can get better equipment but a tripod and shoulder rig is something you will use regularly.

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thanks for the input... yes I would be getting another better tripod than my old one, and a shoulder rig for use on any cam I get, along with a cheaper external mic, will think about it for a bit I keep seeing different advice, one person said to go for the X900 as the quality is as good and better for video, then I see lots going the other way, but also comments saying the Canon video modes are really only a after thought :/.


thanks for all of the advice.. I would primarily be using the kit lens at least for a period of time if going for the Canon.

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