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Author Topic: FILM STUDENT- PANASONIC HMC150 VS CANON DSLR  (Read 2493 times)
MichaelAmira
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« on: April 08, 2012, 08:48:04 PM »
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Hey everyone,

So i have a question for all the experts here. Im in my final year of film school, and the film program only uses Panasonic HMC 150'S. In fact, i won't say the film school, but lets just say its one of the top ten in the country, and the film equipment is so limited and outdated, its unbelievable. You join film school, and they don't even teach you about lenses, let alone teach you practical use of them. In any case, i could go on forever, but that's not why im writing today.

Here we go. So, were using the HMC-150's, HD cameras, Digital hardrive, a good camera with good specs on paper. However, as i'm watching more and more of peoples work on youtube, i.e. music videos, short films, i noticed something.

PEOPLE WHO SHOOT WITH DSLR'S, THE QUALITY OF THE VIDEO LOOKS SO GOOD, IT LOOKS CLEAN, THE COLORS ARE BOLDER, THE DEPTH OF FIELD IS BETTER, THE CONTRAST IS STRONGER. AT THIS POINT, I CAN TELL WHETHER IM WATCHING A VIDEO SHOT ON A DSLR OR PRO-CONSUMER VIDEO CAMERA. WHEN I SHOOT WITH MY HMC 150, THE QUALITY ALWAYS LOOKS SUB PAR, EVEN WITH PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING, EVEN AT 1080P. IT JUST LOOKS LIKE VIDEO. I HOPE THAT MAKES SENSE.


CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME IM NOT CRAZY, AND IF THERE'S A REASON FOR THIS? IS IT THE CHIPS IN THE DSLR'S? IS IT BECAUSE IT HAS BETTER LENSES, CMOS CHIPS? I CANT FIGURE IT OUT. I ONLY WISH MY FILM SCHOOL WOULD PURCHASE DSLR'S, BUT WHEN I TRIED CONVINCING THEM WE NEED THEM, AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY, THEY DIDN'T SEEM TO BE THRILLED HEARING THAT.

HELP ME OUT FELLOW LUMINOUS LANDSCAPE FRIENDS....WHATS THE DEAL?
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 09:04:54 PM »
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1. 1/3" CCD vs. CMOS sensors many times the size.

2. a 13x zoom lens vs. primes.

Probably a host of other reasons but those two make most of the difference IMO
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Christopher Sanderson
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 10:17:07 PM »
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...In fact, i won't say the film school, but lets just say its one of the top ten in the country, and the film equipment is so limited and outdated, its unbelievable. You join film school, and they don't even teach you about lenses, let alone teach you practical use of them. In any case, i could go on forever, but that's not why im writing today.

I sense your pain. I learnt on a PD-150, which was a brilliant (and legendary) camera by the way. My thoughts on film school: http://sareesh.com/2011/05/film-school-or-not/

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AT THIS POINT, I CAN TELL WHETHER IM WATCHING A VIDEO SHOT ON A DSLR OR PRO-CONSUMER VIDEO CAMERA. WHEN I SHOOT WITH MY HMC 150, THE QUALITY ALWAYS LOOKS SUB PAR, EVEN WITH PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING, EVEN AT 1080P. IT JUST LOOKS LIKE VIDEO. I HOPE THAT MAKES SENSE.

It makes sense. But if you have the skill to distinguish between a DSLR and a prosumer camera then you are way better than most videographers. Here's the idea: if a video is shot by an experienced professional, it should be almost impossible for a lay person (in some cases even professionals) to distinguish which camera was used. A really good videographer can make videos from a HMC-150 and a 5DMIII look the same. Having said that, if you prefer the look of DSLRs, then stick to it. There are people out there who think exactly the opposite! Don't get taken in by the hype.

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CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME IM NOT CRAZY, AND IF THERE'S A REASON FOR THIS? IS IT THE CHIPS IN THE DSLR'S? IS IT BECAUSE IT HAS BETTER LENSES, CMOS CHIPS? I CANT FIGURE IT OUT. I ONLY WISH MY FILM SCHOOL WOULD PURCHASE DSLR'S, BUT WHEN I TRIED CONVINCING THEM WE NEED THEM, AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN QUALITY, THEY DIDN'T SEEM TO BE THRILLED HEARING THAT.

The difference would boil down to one thing, and that is the lens used. DSLRs can use standard 35mm still camera lenses and this gives the output traditional film-like DOF characteristics. In all other respects, DSLRs  are 'passable' compromises at best. How can you expect to learn about video, if you plan on using a camera that cannot show you how to use and manipulate all of video's tools and characteristics? If you want to know what these tools are, I highly recommend you download and read the manual for a professional broadcast camera (1/2 inch and up). If you are interested in feature films, I recommend you read the manual for the Arri Alexa, and try to figure out why it has the features it has.

I also recommend you rent a professional shoulder mount broadcast camera (the cheapest with great design would be the JVC proHD series cameras) and carry it around for a day, and then try to do the same with a DSLR rig. And then imagine doing that everyday for twenty years. Every camera has its own raison d'etre.

Many professionals use DSLRs today, and more will use them tomorrow as the technology gets better and better. But every professional who started off with DSLRs (almost always for budget reasons) dream of the day when they won't need to use the damn things anymore. A dedicated video camera is a better learning tool for video than a DSLR. I'm not sure an HMC-150 is good enough (but it is definitely on par with a DSLR any day), but a camera like the FS100 or AF100 would be a much better choice for learning, since it bridges the gap somewhat between the HMC and a DSLR. You might have better luck selling one of these cameras to your school. Hope this helps.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 02:04:52 AM »
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A dedicated video camera is a better learning tool for video than a DSLR.

I would suggest that a DSLR is the best cinamatographers learning tool ever. You get the full cinemtic look, learn the lenses, the rolling shutter forces dicipline in management of the stability of the camera. The thin codecs force dicipline in exposure control, contrast control and lighting ratios

DSLRs moire, poor sound, jello, thin codec, challenging focus, short takes, whatever, can make them innapropriate for commercial jobs but for learning .. wow .. totally perfect and cheap too.

Weirdly I think there is also value to learning with a small chip video camera, maybe a phone, such tools you cannot hide behind a look and must tell a story that engages

S
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 02:11:47 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 11:03:43 AM »
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Michael,

The big difference with the DSLR is the much larger chip and the much shallower depth of focus.

That said, the camcorder shouldn't limit you to "video" look.

Years ago I shot this with a dvx100:   http://brucealangreene.com/fadeawaytheater.html

There was so much depth of focus, we never changed focus during a take! But I think it looks quite "filmic". Motion is a little jerky on this Internet version to save bandwidth...so ignore that aspect.

Make sure you shot at 24fps and turn down the detailing in the camera menu ( you'll need to experiment)
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 02:26:34 PM »
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Michael,

IMO that's not the important thing, the camera. Don't let yourself contaminate by the internet pressure.

Don't look too much at the other's footage. There will always be someone with a higher IQ as yours, regardless of the camera you'll invest in. Look at your footage.

The important thing is instead loosing your precious time and energy on those questions and frustrations, get beeter at story telling with what you have and what you can buy. If it's a point and shoot camera or an Arri.
Tell a story, don't think about the image quality, the lenses etc...you'll always have the time to get the gear that suit you. Beleive me, gear is very easy to adquire, being a good director is another story.

Never focus your energy on cameras (unless you want to sell cameras), never look at other's footage and feel frustrated because it looks more "cinematic".

Do good stuff with little first.

Here on this forum, there is a high level of general equipment, but not a so high level a part from some exceptions, when it comes to casting. People shoot a 800 bucks talent with 60.000 bucks cameras: that's backwards. If you want to do something in this business, do exactly the opposite: shoot a 60.000 talent with a 800 camera. You'll have more chance to grow.

The camera is nothing.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 02:28:12 PM by fredjeang » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 04:47:38 PM »
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Great answer Fred!
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Bruce Alan Greene
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 02:28:54 AM »
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Michael,

The big difference with the DSLR is the much larger chip and the much shallower depth of focus.

That said, the camcorder shouldn't limit you to "video" look.

Years ago I shot this with a dvx100:   http://brucealangreene.com/fadeawaytheater.html

There was so much depth of focus, we never changed focus during a take! But I think it looks quite "filmic". Motion is a little jerky on this Internet version to save bandwidth...so ignore that aspect.

Make sure you shot at 24fps and turn down the detailing in the camera menu ( you'll need to experiment)

Pardon me while I just put on my nerdy hat.....but. Larger sensor/film has greater depth of focus and less depth of field.
Also longer lenses give more depth of focus and less depth of field. Depth of field and depth of focus are different.
OK nerdy hat off now.

Kevin.
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Kevin.
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 11:48:45 AM »
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I've always thought depth of focus and depth of field were the same thing....
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Bruce Alan Greene
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Bern Caughey
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 12:24:45 PM »
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Michael,

As it's said, there's no perfect camera, & they all have there strengths, & weaknesses.

But before we discuss which model might fit your needs we need to know what you hope to accomplish with the camera. Is your short term goal to film weddings, documentarys, dramatic films, or ...? Do you want to DP, Direct, or both?

This forum is populated by photographer entrepreneurs who do both, but that's not how most the "Industry" usually works. For a typical DP, owning a motion camera is a great learning tool, but as a business plan it's not always viable as many clients will dictate which model is used, & usually they provide it.

There will be a lot of used cameras coming on the market after NAB, & I would strongly consider one of these.

Best,
Bern
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 12:28:47 PM by Bern Caughey » Logged
Bern Caughey
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 12:31:44 PM »
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I've always thought depth of focus and depth of field were the same thing....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_focus
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KevinA
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2012, 12:54:47 PM »
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I think depth of focus probably has more effect when shooting on LF, either way it all comes down to circles of confusion.Neither is it anything to consider much day to day.
It's something to whip out at cocktail parties if you like boring people:-))

Kevin.
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Kevin.
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012, 01:00:43 PM »
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I think depth of focus probably has more effect when shooting on LF, either way it all comes down to circles of confusion.Neither is it anything to consider much day to day.
It's something to whip out at cocktail parties if you like boring people:-))

Kevin.
What it does reveal though if how accurately a small sensor needs to be positioned.

Kevin.
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Kevin.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2012, 12:46:25 PM »
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I needed a camera for my sons music group 4/21. I have a Nikon D800E on order.

Bought a Canon T3i with kit lens - 18-55 - for $617 with tax and shipping.

I have many Canon L lenses, I usually don't like kit lenses. But spend a couple of months shooting with a camera like that, then sell it (if you want) for a net cost of $50.

Throw on an adapter and use older manual Nikon and other primes for cheap.

Bought mine through Canon Direct with a 15% discount - look around.

That said: Content & Vision is the end all and be all. When I was in grad school at a top school for photography, the basic idea was that you could teach someone that was successful in any crewtive field everything they needed to know about photography in 6 months.

That goes against the grain of 99% of the discussions here. You need both skill sets - creative and  technical/engineering. But the later is a dime a dozen.  

Creative vision is what school should be all about! You need to know the tools so that you think in terms of images that you can achieve. But you can hire or collaborate to find good techs.

Good luck.

Michael
« Last Edit: April 13, 2012, 12:50:17 PM by mmurph » Logged
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