Kaspar had this question to ask:
I’ve come across your webpage and have been reading your reviews on HD cameras. May I ask you a question concerning this? It seems you have quite some experience — and I seem to lack it!
I am working together with a small group of creatives and we would like to make a series of short movies: some movies about dancing/arts (for fun) and some ad movies for customers (to be shown on fares, public advertisement screens, and maybe one or two clips on television).
We have experimented a little bit with MiniDV (in combination with FinalCutPro, After Effects, and Shake) and found it disappointing. We frequently had to use keyers (to get rid of a white/green background) and the results were really bad, even though we started with a pretty good white background.
I am now hoping that HD changes this a little. But I see that many HD cams use heavy compression and therefore I fear that the resulting artefacts will make editing difficult, again. Is this so?
Or more concrete: Could you tell me maybe a camera that you could recommend (without responsibility, of course) for this type of
work? A low-budget one (say up to $2000), a semi-pro one (up to $4000) and an even better one?
I thought the answer could be helpful to others as well:
I’m afraid the quality of the video won’t change much from DV to HD. The resolution definitely will change but it seems to me you’re not after resolution. From the sound of it, you have a problem with removing the background.
First off, when doing blue/green screen work, you need a studio of some sort. You could probably do it yourself but the resulting video will suffer. The key problem with greenscreen is EVEN lighting. The way it’s done in studios is that you create a “rama” with lights spread out at precise intervals. It’s rather expensive if you want to create a similar setup at a stage (if you’re dancing on a stage that is).
In terms of cameras, any camera below $6000 is going to use HDV (25Mbps) to record the signal which means a lot of compression. So you’re right about that – HD will introduce more compression artefacts, not less. At about 6,000, you can get Panasonic HVX200 which supports 100Mbps recording ( i.e. much higher quality recording).
I certainly understand your frustration. When I bought my first camera (a SONY VX2000) I was pretty disappointed as well. Then, I bought a Lowel light kit (4 lights) and I loved the results. Your goal is a bit more ambitious but I think you’ll find out that once you solve the lighting, everything else will be easy.
Keep the questions coming