Cameras: There are many camera options available. Many filmmakers still prefer 35mm
and 16-millimeter film cameras over digital cameras. However, remember that this is visual art, so getting your actors’ emotions can be done with any camera, so keep honing your skills to get great performances from your actors.
Lighting is always important for the best image quality of all cameras. Instead of buying an expensive camera for a production, consider renting one. There are many companies that, of course, also offer crew with their equipment at an additional cost.
You Can’t Afford This Expensive Hollywood Camera Gear
In my opinion, if there is discussion about using film stock or digital for your project and you want to push this as a big film, unless you are using a red, a Viper, or a Sony F23, then go with 35mm film stock and use a good quality lens.
The main reason for this is that, unless you are an already established director and have a reputation, using digital video can be considered “not professional.” This is a stigma that video unfortunately still carries, especially with people trying to break into the industry who tend to only use video.
You’ve worked hard and tried your best to make a movie. If the 35MM project costs more to shoot, sell it for more when it’s done. There are deals to get 35 film stocks if you are a student. Get a student card by enrolling in a community college.
Shoot in 35mm but do the cut and edit in digital. You can digitally transfer the 35mm through a process called Telecine. If you still want to use digital video, get a good (the best you can afford) high-definition camera. Right now, my preference among 10,000 would be the Panasonic HVX 200A.
The Sony PMW EX1 also gets very good reviews, although the HVX200A is slightly more popular.
For those adamant about the use of digital video, let me mention a few things about some high-quality digital video cameras. The camera George Lucus used on Star Wars was a Sony HDW 900 that was modified by Panavision with a new lens and controls. Sony later released the HDC 950, which was an improvement over the 900.
Currently, Sony’s highest standard for digital movie recording is the F23. Two more exciting digital cameras are the Red and the Viper. The Red is the least expensive of the three and the best.
For the professional line of low-end camcorders, consider a 35mm lens to give you a good depth of field. Because cameras age so quickly due to ever-evolving technology, consider renting them for a project.
From entry-level to high-end cameras, keep in mind that, as many people have access to large screens, high-definition (HD) is becoming the norm. Standard Definition can seem a bit grainy on these larger screens.
If you’re going to try to sell your video project to a TV company, some will only accept high definition. Go get your movie made.