equipment: June 2008 Archives
“What camera should I buy?” is just about the most common question I get asked by prospective SciCast film-makers. My usual reply is “What have you got already?” — most people, it seems, have a mobile phone that can record video, or a stills camera that has a video mode, or a mate who has a video camera, or there’s something stashed away in the back of the cupboard in school, or…
When people actually want an answer, however, things get trickier. Broadly, you get what you pay for. We’ve some basic notes on the main SciCast site to get you started, but it’s hard to know what you’re actually getting for your money.
Enter the BBC. Springwatch last week featured an excellent story with a pair of teenage brothers who are keen wildlife cameramen. It’s a lovely piece, but it’s also interesting (and useful) since it sets footage from their cameras alongside professional equipment. The brothers are using cheap-and-cheerful Sony miniDV cameras, and the footage from them looks rather flat and blurry, and somewhat purple-edged, next to the shots from the ‘proper’ camera.
But you know what? Once the clips are compressed down to web video quality, it doesn’t make anything like as much difference as you might expect. Having a good eye is more important than having the ‘best’ camera gear.
Don’t believe me? You’ve three more days to catch the film on iPlayer. It starts about 24 minutes in.