Planning to make indie film with Sony SR11 - advice & opinions?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by artzifartzi, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. artzifartzi

    artzifartzi
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    Hi folks

    As the title suggests, I'm hoping to make an independent 'mockumentary' film later this year (my first) using primarily a Sony SR11 at it's best HD setting. I've seen some discussion previously on this forum regarding 'professional broadcast standards' and am wondering whether I'll be able to produce something of minimum 'broadcast' quality with the SR11. Please keep in mind the following before contributing:

    (a) The script requires that the character doing the filming/directing (probably me) uses a 'handycam' rather than a shoulder-mounted professional grade Video camera, and the camera needs to be extremely portable, hence the SR11 (ie: the audience is aware from what is said in the dialogue, apat from the PQ that a low-budget movie is being made)

    (b) The film won't require too many (perhaps a couple) cross-fade edits but should be fairly straight-forward edit-wise. Music will be added later along with some sound effects and titles/subtitles, but most of the audio will be recorded live (I'm thinking on a seperate digital recorder/mics rather than thru the camera). I currently use Vegas Platinum 9 to edit with.

    I guess I'd like to know if anybody has any opinions on the following:

    Can I edit in such a way as to minimise picture quality loss from the original AVCHD files to the final product?

    Assuming I'm aiming at entering the finished movie into various film festivals, can the SR11 carry it off picture-quality-wise? What sort of quality-loss can I expect transferring the edited movie to 35mm film?

    I've noticed that the poorest performance from the camera arises when the light is low (lots of noise) but in bright conditions the image looks superb - if I decide to shoot in adequate light most of the time, will I get away with it?

    Has anybody out there had any experience in shooting a low-budget film with this or a similar camcorder and seen the results?

    I realise this is a fairly long-winded post but if anyone has any suggestions or ideas at all along these lines, I'd be really interested to hear them.

    Thanks for your time,
    Dave (in Sydney, AU)
     
  2. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    YES i have a sr 12 and the picture is certainly what you describe as minimum broadcast quality,i agree with you certainly the colours on a good monitor or tv are splendid and i prefer mine to the results my hdv cams give, personaly the low light is not bad for me as i have done tests against my fx-7 and the sr is every bit as good.but for making indoor films a cam like the fx-1000 would be needed ,i dont know if you will be doing handheld filming but i always use a monopod at least when filming,the af is probobly the week link on this cam so make sure everything is in focus before filming,i use a rode stereo mike with all my cams including the sr 12 and would advise you use an external mike.editing avchd is not easy on pcs so remember that.Regarding transfer to 35mm i dont know but realy a 35m lens adaptor is usualy used on videos transfered to film so this may not be poosible with any consumer cam although i think there are adaptors that may fit its small 37mm lens filter size.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  3. A n d r e w

    A n d r e w
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    Film runs at 24 frames per second, video at either 25 or 30, depending on whether you buy your camcorder in a PAL or NTSC market - cameras destined for the Australasian market will be 50i / 25 frames per second. If one was shooting video with the express intention of a film transfer, the best option would be to use a camcorder which records 24P (where the "P" stands for "progressive"), as the transfer process would be simplified (ultimately less jerky and more satisfactorily film-looking because you wouldn't be trying to divide either 25 or 30 frames per second by 24). But PAL / 50i consumer camcorders don't offer a 24P mode (many offer 25P). Some NTSC consumer camcorders will shoot 24P, however (often offering 24P and 30P). The Sony, as far as I know, doesn't offer progressive shooting at all.

    35mm lens adapters are for using regular 35mm SLR lenses with a video camcorder. This enables you to select different prime lenses and make the most of their superior depth-of-field / manual focusing capabilities - which sounds great in theory but such adapters ain't cheap, and the weight of a large lens and adaptor screwed on to the plastic threads at the front of a small camcorder means you'll also need to buy "rails" to support the adaptor and lens.

    However, after makign sure that your camera is adequately supported, the three most important factors in shooting high quality video are lighting, lighting, and lighting. Perhaps less important for mockumentary-style video, though.
     
  4. ddvmor

    ddvmor
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    I concur with most of the stuff said above. I made an indie film a couple of years ago and it's amazing the amount of difference decent lighting will make to your picture quality! I've just got myself an SR12 and having experimented with it a bit, found that a well lit (or outdoor) shot looks awesome, but anything underlit may as well be filmed with an SD camera!

    I also used an external Rode Mic as mentioned above - mostly on the end of a pole with a wind sock thingummy on it. The sound from that was vastly superior to anything recorded on the camcorders' internal microphone. Even if you're making a mockumentary style movie, getting the sound right is absolutely vital - don't compromise on this! :)

    Good luck. If your experience is anything like mine, it's damn hard work but worth it when you see your finished product on the big screen!
     
  5. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    the 35m adaptors are not cheap but i have read of several times they have been used on consumer cams.several owners of camcorders with progesive mode prefer the picture in interlaced whether this would matter on your film transfers i do not know but i prefer interlaced to a lot of the jerky efect progesive i see.
     
  6. artzifartzi

    artzifartzi
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    Thanks for replying Chris, Andrew & Darren, much appreciated. If anyone else has any opinions re: the original post, please chuck em' my way!

    Cheers,
    Dave
     

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