I am an Atlanta-based filmmaker specializing in practical miniature effects and giant monster movies in the style of classic Godzilla films and Ultraman television series. My reel is here:
So I've recently gotten really into the idea of shooting films on Super 8 after seeing how lovely it can look when done with great care and it's appealing to me to shoot on a physical format when I am so fiercely practical about all my other approaches to fantasy filmmaking as well. I like to avoid CGI at all costs when I can help it. Plus, I've found that miniatures just tend to look more natural on film than on digital video. The trouble I'm having is figuring out just what camera I should start with. I'd very much like the following things in a camera:
The ability to shoot at high frame rates – at least 54fps (technically my scale calls for 120fps but ~60fps usually gets the job done just fine because I'm rarely aiming for complete realism anyway)
The ability to focus on very close objects and capture a fairly deep depth of field. There were some cameras I thought might be good until I found out their minimum focusing distance was, like, 3-5 feet. I often need to be able to have the camera focus inches away from my miniatures.
The ability to shoot with a super wide or ultra wide angle lens. Partly for style reasons but also to help my miniature shots feel big and expansive when the camera is up close and surrounded by the sets.
The latter two issues also combine into one other issue. I want to be able to get Jeunet and Gilliam-style wide angle close-ups of my actors. I like getting my camera right up in their faces instead of just popping a longer lens on or zooming in, so I need to make sure I can get that close focus.
I'd like to keep my base camera budget under $100, maybe willing to stretch that to $150ish if the guaranteed perfect camera comes along. Willing to spend more to accessorize it though.
The cameras I've been looking the most at are the Nizo models. Specifically, there's an S56 and an S560 on ebay right now that I've got my eye on since they shoot 54fps (plus their aesthetic appeal!) but based on my research, I'm guessing if they're not macro models, I won't be able to get up close on things or use a wide angle adapter? Would there be any way to adapt one of these cameras to suit me or do I definitely need to go after a macro model?
Also, if Ebay doesn't work out for me, is Cheap Super8 Camera Shop worth looking into? They seem to have a lot of options that might work for me.
I would appreciate any feedback you folks have for me. Even if you can just honestly say I'm barking up the wrong tree and asking for too much in one camera for my tiny budget!
Thanks for taking the time to read this!