Posted:Can I start a thread about DV Cameras for filming fire performers please? There's been lots of threads in the past about still cameras, but my searches for video cameras has drawn a blank.
First off i'm not a *complete* n00b to video cameras and editting - I got lucky and a job in a small recording studio a few years ago, so have gotten to play with various bits of kit in the past (many of which cost more than some people's houses (mmmmmmm betacams)). It has however been a while and my student budget doesn't extend much more than 300 quid. Thankfully with DV and Firewire/USB, I can sponge off all the editting to warez software on a PC, instead of spending half my budget on editting/effects hardware. I've got a fairly decent digital still camera at the moment (Olympus c3020z) which does great fire pictures, but it shoots video in 15fps @ 320x340 for upto 37 seconds, which i shouldn't have to say is pretty nasty.
I've read various reviews for cameras in my budget, but the reason for posting here is that generally they don't test the cameras for filming people at night doing fire, and as this will constitute at least 50% of it's use (the other will most likely be filming drunk friends at night) then it's obviously something i want to get right. I know also that I want DV, mini DV or Digital8 (Sony's equiv of DV on ordinary 8mm tapes) with a USB connection (Firewire is good, but my laptop doesn't have it). Also something that is a must is manual control, i need to be able to adjust focus, white balance, exposure rate and attach filters/wide angle to. This is a gripe i have with my still camera - its fully manual for still but video is automatic and rarely gets the settings right at night.
So, can people who film post the make and model of their cameras, how much they paid and what they are like for fire filming? My shortlist at current is:
Sony DCRTV245 - 300 quid Panasonic NVDS60B - 339 quid
but of course I have no idea what they are like at filming fire at night. Thanks muchly
still can't believe it's not butter Location: Melbourne, Australia
Total posts: 6979
Posted:you could always try before you buy - and most night vision is stoopid monochrome, and slow shutter has AWESOME night lighting (sometimes firetwirling is too bright to film!) at crap framerate. unfortunately, the best fire footage come with the worst pricetag - the 3ccd broadcast quality Sony minidv - ya know the big long silver one - is the best i've seen (though it makes me look tanned!) for budget, the canon MV series of miniDV have consistently offered the best feature set to price ratio for the last 2 years. the slow shutter night shot is still around 15 fps, which barely registers 'my' weave. A graceful twirler would have better luck with it's shots
Posted:Both Josh and my ex both use the same cannon dv camera and its picture quality is superb for the money. You'll have to get those of Josh though.
Not sure about Josh's model but the one I played with plenty didn't have the function to record back to the tape in the camera after editing on the pc which made it cheaper.
I have heard that they disable this feature for some reason so they can class it as something slightly different but this can be unlocked by inputting a code. Other way to get round this is to get a little converter that is available at Jessops that is supposed to do the same job.
I use a dv viewcam and love it to bits cos of the rotateable screen, it lets yo easily and steadily film really low or high. You can turn the screen round so you can see if your in the picture when you practice just by looking up and it has a neat remote control too. It has performed great for me and the only flaw I can think of is that the battery time is reduced compared to normal models as the lcd is always on.
If you intend to edit then I would go down the fire wire route if possible and use a mini dv cam in my opinion, hope it helps.
Posted:ok, I got panasonic NVDS30 its ugly, but it was cheap and i'm really happy with it.
I would say definately get firewire in AND out. adds 50 quid, its essential. even if you don't have firewire now. DV format tapes good look at effects but most of them are useless, the ones that are useful for fire are: manual focus control of shutter speed, (mine i think only has 2 settings, PK's sony has about 5) also not for fire, but good thing is ability to set the white balance.
get a bag get an extra battery (essiential) get tapes if you can also get a tripod and get a firewire port
Posted:right-o, thanks for your input guys. With a budget of 350 I finally decided upon a JVC GRD20EK. I had a serious look at it, Sony DCRTRV245, Samsung VPD80, Canon MV600 and Panasonsic NVDS60B, all of which range from 300 to 340. I kind of ditched the idea of USB, cause it's slow and the sony was the only one with it, and it's 540k pixels, whilst all the others are 800k. The sony is also very chunky and heavy, with the samsung being not far off (the only reason i looked at samsung was it boasted DV in, which later turned out to be an error in the ad). The panasonic is the smallest and lightest, but at 339 didn't leave me any money for a firewire card (and it too had usb printed as a feature which turned out to be bogus when i contacted panasonic uk). I couldn't afford anything with DV in, but I'll just store editted footage on harddisk, 120gb drives cost 80 quid at the mo and the price is only gonna drop. In a few months i'll just buy a 200gb drive for video use. So, I bought the JVC for 300 quid, a firewire port with software for 26 (i'm gonna hafta nab a copy of premiere from someone next time i'm in london), a tape for 5, i already have a tripod, so the bit of remaining money will go towards battery fund. Hopefully it'll be with me tomorrow, but knowing my luck it'll be monday
Anyway, thanks for your help, hopefully i'll have a fire video of myself online soon and can post back here a report on what the camera is like for shooting fire scenes.
Posted:Flid, How's the quality of the camera? I'm thinking about buying one, is 800,000 pixels decent quality? I've a sony hi8 camera the moment and was thinking about buying a dazzle dv80 capture card deely but the reviews are dreadfull (even though it's the one SHOK used on his vid, which I haven't seen). So I'm thinking rather that having to spend 150 euros of a card (which could still be bogey) I could put that toward a chep DV camera and get a still camera at the same time. What are the stills like on the camera too actually?
I've bee hemming and hawwing on this for ages so any advice'd be well appreciated...
personally I wouldn't bother about 'quality' of the firewire card if we're talking consumer grade cameras. It's digital after all, there shouldn't be any quality degredation between the minidv tape and getting onto harddisk (assuming you don't transcode it to something smaller). You can pick up cards for a fiver off ebay.
As an update to the thread, cameras with DV in are now cheap, and highly recomended for storing editted footage. I'd also definately go for proper (ie with IR Leds) night vision if i were to buy a camera today. It's no good for fire, but for general night footage it isn't a gimick.
800,000 pixels is ok, it depends whether you want to diaply the footage on a TV, HDTV or a PC. For TV usage it's more than addequate. For compressing videos and sharing online it's fine too. My parents got last summer a Sony Digital8 camcorder, because several adverts (including a FAQ online about the format) claimed to be able to read their old hi8/video8 tapes and allow digital uploading via firewire to computer/dvd writer. Of course that was marketting rubbish, only the high end sony digital8 camera has that option.