DSLR’s are the lastest craze in video. Very good “bang for the buck” when it comes to shooting video. Full HD video, interchangeable lenses and good price compared to similarly featured camcorders. Almost.
Professional camcorders have interchangeable lenses, shoot full HD quality, but they cost more. But how much more. Pro camcorders also have XLR inputs, can be shoulder mounted, not all models of course, but there are still some out there you can hoist on your shoulder. They have a place to mount a shotgun microphone, and even a light or “sun gun.”
Getting that with a DSLR has spawned an entire cottage industry of add-ons. Shoulder mounts, cages, XLR adapters, external audio recorders.
So is the financial comparison valid? How much does all of that additional gear to turn a DSLR into a device that has the functionality of a Pro Camcorder cost? How does that really compare?
I don’t know, but it probably brings the two a lot closer together than some DSLR proponents would like to admit.
Some shooters are advised, cajoled and mocked in order to get them to go for a DSLR. But sometimes a shooter just doesn’t want the DSLR form factor. Right now, I am in that group. I have held a front heavy non-ergonomic (for video) DSLR and I don’t like it. Given the shorter recording times, audio issues and the need for all that add-on gear, it’s not for me. I’m shooting with a Sony Z7u and a Canon HV30.
Let’s not even get into the digital recording media versus tape debate or we could be here for weeks. Just kidding. I’m old school, I still like tape. It’s easier to archive. I still batch capture from tape. I only import what I want to use. When I use the Z7u and record on a Compact Flash card, there are some issues. I have to copy the files to the PC, then import them into my edit system. Avid wraps them itself so it doubles the time. Then backing up and archiving means copying to another device which takes time. One reason I opted for the Z7u is that it records to MiniDV tape simultaneously with the same timecode, so I have instant archive.
There’s another issue with the CF card recording. Tape has saved me a couple times. When you stop recording, the video is written to the Compact Flash card. That takes a bit of time, not much but some. If you start recording again right away you can lose a shot, either the one that ws writing, or the new clip.
Just the other day, I spent time (some would say wasted) looking thru the arcanely named files from the CF card for a specific shot. I never found it. I did however find it on the MiniDV tape. It saved me, and it’s not the first time, nor do I suspect it will be the last.
Proponents of digital recording media tout it’s time savings. I haven’t seen it. I make edit decisions when I log a tape, and decide which shots I need and which I do not. Then I set it to batch capture. Avid batch captures from tape, and Magix Video Pro X does as well (though it has a tendency to skip some clips at times). I tell it to capture and then go get a coffee, or work on something else. Multi-tasking at it’s best.
What’s best? I don’t know. I do know what I like and what works for me. I also know that when it comes time to replace my trusty Canon HV30 I may well wind up with a DSLR. Then again maybe not.
How about you?
And let me know what you think, DSLR, Camcorder, or bear skins and stone knives?