This article will take you through some of those considerations and some suggestions for purchasing at the end. Budget is typically a primary consideration when buying and I have discussed this in the last paragraph if you want to skip straight to there! Battery An 80 minute rugby match typically lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes from the blowing of the first whistle to the last. Ideally, you want to record the game, the whole way through.
On a very tight budget, choose a basic camcorder or a used DSLR or mirrorless camera. Avoid very cheap camcorders from unfamiliar brands.
Buy a better camera used or refurbished, or use your phone. But they are the most affordable way to get into creative low-budget filmmaking. But they have fairly small sensors. They can record in pro video formats which are easier to adjust and correct than most video filmed with DSLRs and camcorders.
Most of them have better image quality, especially in low light. Smartphones are discreet and portable and some of them can shoot great video in the right conditions.
You can mount them on bikes, helmets, cars, your body, or even animals. The more expensive ones let you monitor the image with a wireless monitor or an iPhone or Android app. You could also consider the new Osmo Pocket below. It can shoot 4K at up to 60fps and Full HD at fps.
Choosing a camera: what to look for Ease of use Is the camera comfortable to hold? Are the controls easy to use?
Can you change the important settings with buttons and switches, or do you have to use menus? Does the camera have an accessory shoe so you can fit a microphone or light? Manual control Can you set exposure, white balance and sound levels yourself, or are they all automatic?
These controls might not matter to you now, but you may need them if you get serious about your filmmaking.
Lens How far does the camera zoom out wide angle and zoom in telephoto? The wide-angle setting is probably more important as it lets you get close and makes handholding easier. Sound Is the built-in microphone good?
It comes with features, such as Wide View and Stabilisation, and is Waterproof, so you can take pictures and videos even under water.
Is there a headphone socket so you can listen to the sound while you film? Can you plug in an separate microphone?
If you want to be able to use pro microphones, you need a camera with three-pin XLR inputs. Image stabilisation Image stabilisation can make pictures less shaky. They also let you use smaller apertures without diffraction softening your image. But for news and events shooters, the greater depth of field you get from a small-sensor camera can be useful.
Recording format Does the camera record in a format that your editing program can handle? Which do you need?
Things to ignore Special effects. If you want them, add them when you edit the film. Digital zoom. Only the optical zoom counts.
This tells you how many million light-capturing pixels there are in the sensor. Tom Barrance I teach all kinds of people to make films. I provide training for businesses, arts organisations, nonprofits and education. This page includes affiliate links.
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