Upgrading to a Real Video Camera

first_imgThese video cameras have been used by television studios, independent filmmakers, and major studios alike. Here are the most popular options to upgrade to from a DSLR or mirrorless.Top image via Michael Maher/PremiumBeatLet me begin this piece but stating the obvious. Yes, I do know that not everyone has a large enough budget for a true video production camera. The intent of this piece is to shine a light on the many options that are quite frankly much better than using a DSLR or mirrorless camera.The Benefits of Using Video Cameras Over a DSLR and MirrorlessThere has been a very odd shift in the industry that has ruled out video cameras as a go-to option for video production. During the DSLR boom, filmmakers realized they could get amazing footage — even though the sound was atrocious. Users adapted a traditional cinema technique of running a completely separate audio setup. While this helped produce quality content, so many videos were produced by a single producer. One person shot with the camera, recorded the audio, and then would edit and upload their projects.If you’re already doing the workload of ten people, why go through so many steps to make things even more difficult? You can simplify the process by using an actual video camera — one built to capture cinematic footage and quality audio at the same time.Image via Michael Maher/PremiumBeatI, like many of the readers here, come from a DSLR background. Back in film school, I jumped on the Canon 5D MKII and 7D bandwagon. The cameras were affordable and offered a great image. Classmates stuck using gear reserved for freshmen were producing content on cameras already a decade old. With a DSLR, I could also get photos and video. One of the best things was the size of the camera. It wasn’t intimidating to the subjects I was shooting, and people were much more comfortable around the camera.Now I rarely shoot photos, and just focus on video. The more documentary work I do, the more of a hassle the DSLR and mirrorless cameras have become. I’ve gone through such great lengths to add support gear to my DSLR, when I should have just upgraded to a production camera in the first place.Image via Michael Maher/PremiumBeatVideo cameras are so much smaller and lighter than in years past. I recently got my hands on the Sony FS5, and I have to admit — I fell in love. An added benefit: much of the lightweight support gear I bought over the years still works with these new lightweight video cameras. Another great feature: a freaking handgrip. Do you know how much easier life is with a handgrip? Also, the variable ND was a treat. Now, the camera did have its faults; no camera is perfect. I don’t much care for the menu interface, which isn’t really an issue when it comes down to image quality. The FS5 is a broadcast beast that also allows you to capture a true cinematic look.The FS5 inspired me to write this post for any others looking to upgrade their camera package and turn their DSLR or mirrorless into your B camera.Types of Video CamerasThe following manufacturers and cameras are some of the most common production cameras you’ll see on set. The list includes cameras in the medium price range for documentary and independent filmmakers, as well as some high-end cinema cameras you may see when working on bigger productions.While this certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list, these cameras will give you an excellent cinematic look. We’ll start with some of the medium-budget cameras and work up to the major production camera bodies.SonySony offers an array of professional cameras in the XDCAM lineup and the CineAlta line for major motion pictures. They are used by countless television studios, news productions, documentary filmmakers, as well as sports teams like the Dallas Stars.Sony PXW-FS5Image via Michael Maher/PremiumBeatThe Sony FS5 is one of the new cameras on this list, having come out in Q4 of 2015. The camera is popular among news shooters and documentary filmmakers like Philip Bloom. The body alone is incredibly lightweight at 1.8 lbs.Specs:Super 35-Sized CMOS SensorSony E-MountUHD at 24/30 FPS, HD up to 240 FPSXAVC Long, AVCHD Recording Codecs2 x SD Media Card SlotsHD/3G-SDI & HDMI OutputNative ISO 3200 (S-Log3 Gamma)14 Stops of Dynamic RangeBuilt-in ND filter from 1/4ND to 1/128NDErgonomic Handgrip with Camera ControlsPrice: $5,599 (Body Only)Sony PXW-FS7The Sony FS7 is the big brother to the FS5. The camera is slightly larger and has been used on independent films like the 2016 SXSW film Donald Cried.Specs:Super 35 Sized CMOS SensorSony E-MountDCI 4K (4096 x 2160) up to 60p via External RecorderUHD up to 60 FPS, HD up to 180 FPSNative ISO 2000 (S-Log3 Gamma)XAVC-I, XAVC-L, MPEG-2XAVC-I Up to 600 Mb/sDual XQD Memory Card SlotsDual HD/3G-SDI & HDMI OutputBuilt-in ND filter from 1/4ND to 1/128NDErgonomic Handgrip with Camera ControlsPrice: $7,999 (Body Only)Sony PMW-F55The Sony F55 comes from the CineAlta line and is one of the premier Sony cameras designed for major motion pictures and television. It was recently used on the Oscar-winning film Ex Machina and the 2016 SXSW film Slash. Other major motion pictures include The Wedding Ringer, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and Tomorrowland. On television, the camera was used on Vinyl, The Blacklist, and the Netflix series Marco Polo.Specs:8.9MP Super 35mm CMOS Image SensorInternal 4K/2K/HD Recording14 Stops Dynamic RangeElectronic Global ShutterUp 240 fps 2K with Optional AXS-R5Native FZ-Mount and PL-Mount AdapterSxS Pro+ Media CardsPrice: $28,999 (Body Only)CanonCanon video cameras are very popular in the advertising and independent film worlds. They are frequently used in national ad campaigns and will sometimes serve as B cameras on major motion pictures.Canon EOS C100 MK IIThe Canon C100 MK II is the manufacturer’s entry-level pro video camera. It’s most used on weddings, documentaries, and short films, and is a great stepping stone for those coming from the Canon DSLR lineup. The C100 was recently used on the Sundance short film The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere, which earned a nomination for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize.Specs:Super 35mm CMOS SensorCanon EF Mount1920x1080p 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.98AVCHD + MP4 RecordingDual SDHC/SDXC Media Card SlotsHDMI Output with Timecode & Canon LogISO 320 to 102,400Canon Log and Wide DR GammaTwo XLR Audio ConnectorsPrice: $4,499 (Body Only)Canon C300 MK IIThe Canon C300 MK II is the middle-level pro video camera. It’s frequently used on full-length documentary films and as a B camera on major motion pictures. It was used in the documentaries Cartel Land, Sonic Highways, and 20 Feet from Stardom. The camera is also used on the VICE documentary shorts for HBO. The C300 was used on independent features like Blue is the Warmest Color and television shows like Deadliest Catch. In Hollywood, the camera has been used for stunts and b-roll on Rush and Her.Specs:Super 35mm CMOS Sensor4K, 1920×1080 60/50i, 23.98/25p/24pAvailable with EF or PL MountCanon XF AVC H.264 CodecDual Pixel CMOS AF TechnologyRotating 4″ LCD Monitor2x 3G-SDI Output2x XLR Inputs2x CFast Card SlotsCanon Log 2 GammaPrice: $15,999 (Body Only)Canon C500The Canon C500 was just marked down as we await news of the C500 MK II at NAB 2016. The C500 was the B camera used on the Oscar-nominated film The Big Short. The camera was used for stunts on major motion pictures like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Need for Speed, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and After Earth.Specs:Super 35mm-Size CMOS SensorAvailable with EF or PL Mount4K RAW (4096 x 2160) Output2K, Quad HD & Full HD2x 3G-SDI Outputs50 Mb/s Proxy HD Recording to CF Card10-Bit 4K RAW at Up to 60p10-Bit 4K Half RAW at Up to 120p12-Bit 2K 4:4:4 Signal at Up to 60pCanon Log GammaPrice: $9,999 (Body Only)Mark II: $TBA  ~$30,000 NAB 2016BlackmagicBlackmagic has gained a lot of traction in documentary and movie stunts. The company just finally started shipping the much-anticipated Ursa Mini 4K and 4.6K cameras. Their most popular camera is the Pocket Cinema Camera, which has become a go-to stunt camera.Blackmagic Pocket Cinema CameraThe Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a tiny camera, not much larger than a regular point-and-shoot. It has become a go-to stunt camera, recently used on the Oscar-winning Mad Max: Fury Road, the blockbusters Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Expendables 3, as well as the television show Mythbusters. It was the primary camera for the Sundance fake documentary Operation Avalanche, which was shot to look like 16mm film. Unfortunately, this camera isn’t the best for audio. I’ve listed it solely for its image quality and price point.Specs:Super 16mm-Sized Image Sensor1920 x 1080 Native ResolutionMicro Four Thirds Lens Mount13 Stops of Dynamic RangeRecords ProRes 422 HQ and CinemaDNG RAWPortable Design (5″ Long and 12.5 oz)3.5″ LCD Display with 800×480 ResolutionHDMI, LANC, 3.5mm Audio Input and OutputPrice: $1,095 (Body Only)Blackmagic Ursa MiniThe Blackmagic Ursa Mini is the newest camera on this list, with the 4.6K version having only shipped in the past few weeks. The camera is available in four different options at either 4K or 4.6K.Super 35 SensorFour Options – 4K EF Mount, 4K PL Mount, 4.6K EF Mount, 4.6K PL Mount4.6K Uncompressed Video Recording/4608 x 2592 – Depending on Camera Model4K Uncompressed Video Recording/4096 x 2304/4608 x 1920/4000 x 2160UltraHD Apple ProRes/3840 x 21603K Anamorphic/3072 x 25602K/2048 x 1152HD Apple ProRes/1920 x 108023.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps15 Stops5″ Fold Out MonitorDual CFast – Nonstop RecordingIncludes Full DaVinci Resolve SuitePrice: $2,999 – $5495 (Body Only)REDRED has become the go-to camera in nearly every type of video production. RED cameras are used in advertising campaigns by companies like Red Bull and are prominently used in commercials and film. Some major motion pictures will use RED cameras as the A camera, as well as a B camera. A quick aside — don’t let these brain only prices fool you. These cameras require a ton of very expensive support gear.RED RAVENThe RED RAVEN is the base model from RED. Yes, everything is pretty much always listed in all caps. This camera is most popular on independent films and medium-scale commercial productions.9.9 Megapixel CMOS Sensor16.5+ StopsUp to 120 fps 4.5K, Up to 300 fps 2K4.5K 2.1:1 (4608 × 2160), 2.4:1 (4608 × 1944)4K Full Frame (4096 × 2160), 2:1 (4096 × 2048), 2.4:1 (4096 × 1728), UHD/16:9 (3840 × 2160)3K Full Frame (3072 × 1620), 2:1 (3072 × 1536), 2.4:1 (3072 × 1296), 16:9 (2880 × 1620), 3:2 (2880 × 1920)2K Full Frame (2048 × 1080), 2:1 (2048 × 1024), 2.4:1 (2048 × 864), 16:9 (1920 × 1080), 3:2 (1920 × 1280)Integrated dual channel digital stereo microphones, uncompressed, 24-bit 48 kHzPrice: Starting at $5,950 (Brain Only)RED SCARLET-WThe RED SCARLET-W is one of the newest cameras from RED, updating the prior SCARLET DRAGON. The prior model was popular on independent film sets like Drinking Buddies and was most recently used on the SXSW film Claire in Motion. It also captured the intense action of The Raid 2 and was a stunt camera on The Expendables 3. Here are the specs on the newly updated SCARLET-W:13.8 MP Super 35mm CMOS16.5+ StopsUp to 60 fps 5K, Up to 300 fps 2K5K Full Frame (5120 × 2700), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3×4.5K Full Frame (4608 × 2412), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x4K Full Frame (4096 × 2160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x3K Full Frame (3072 × 1620), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x2K Full Frame (2048 × 1080), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3xIntegrated dual channel digital stereo microphones, uncompressed, 24-bit 48 kHzPrice: Starting at $9,950 (Brain Only)RED EPIC DRAGONThe RED EPIC DRAGON was just used as an A camera on the Oscar-nominated films The Martian, Room, Gone Girl and The Danish Girl. It was also used for a few scenes by three-time Best Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki in The Revenant. It was the camera of choice for 10 Cloverfield Lane, Straight Outta Compton, The Walk, and the television series Better Call Saul.  It was was used as a B camera on The Birth of a Nation, Steve Jobs, Furious 7, Spectre, Magic Mike XXL.19.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor16.5+ stopsUp to 75 fps 6K, up to 300 fps 2K6K Full Frame (6144 × 3160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x5K Full Frame (5120 × 2700), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3×4.5K Full Frame (4608 × 2412), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x4K Full Frame (4096 × 2160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x3K Full Frame (3072 × 1620), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x2K Full Frame (2048 × 1080), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3×2 channel, uncompressed, 24-bit 48 kHz. Optional 4 channel, and AES/EBU digital audioPrice: Starting at $24,000 (Brain Only)RED WEAPONThe RED WEAPON is currently available to consumers with a 6K DRAGON sensor, though an 8K Vista Vision camera is currently being tested on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.19.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor16.5+ StopsUp to 100 fps 6K, Up to 300 fps 2K6K Full Frame (6144 x 3160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x 5K Full Frame (5120 x 2700), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x 4.5K Full Frame (4608 x 2412), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x 4K Full Frame (4096 x 2160), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x 3K Full Frame (3072 x 1620), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3x 2K Full Frame (2048 x 1080), 2:1, 2.4:1, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, 6:5, 4:1, 8:1, and Ana 2x, 1.3xIntegrated dual channel digital stereo microphones, uncompressed, 24-bit 48 kHz Price: Starting at $29,500 (Brain Only)Are you looking to upgrade to a new camera? What camera are you most interested in buying? Let us know in the comments below.last_img

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