Mon May 22, 2006 6:36PM EDT - Article in Yahoo
In this episode we help a struggling student get the gear she needs to take on film school.
Oluwaseun (Seun for short- rhymes with own) lives in Brooklyn with her mom and sister. She's a student at Hunter College and desperately wants to be the next Sofia Coppola or Quentin Tarantino. But for a student on a budget, buying your own gear is next to impossible. And accessing the school's shared cameras, editing equipment, and online film resources is tough.
Who wouldn't want to help a starving student? Seun is a great candidate for a Hook Me Up, so I dispatch Jon Chase to help take her video aspirations to a high tech level.
The Expert Jon is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and tech support for his entire family. Most importantly, he's a big fan of all the new technology that's available for video enthusiasts.
The Budget This sector of the consumer market has changed radically in the last ten years. High quality video cameras and editing equipment used to cost thousands of dollars. But our goal is to get Seun shooting and cutting video for less than $5000.
The Problem Seun needs a camera and a computer to get her Hollywood dreams started. On a budget of $5000, we will have to make some sacrifices. The Goal: new computer, camera, and video accessories for under $5K.
The Camera For semi-serious video (anything more than the family videos), Seun should have either a 3 CCD camera or an HD camera using a CMOS chip. CMOS chips and CCD sensors are the components in the camera that capture images and transform them into digital data. Traditionally CCD sensors have been higher quality than the less expensive CMOS chips, but the introduction of High Definition CMOS processing is starting to change that perception.
Sony HDR-HC3 Jon decides to outfit Seun with a Sony High Def camcorder, the HDR-HC3 model. Its suggested price is $1599, but we got it for $1152. The upside on this camera is that it can record high definition video: creating crisp images and bright colors for display on a high definition TV. It can also record in the letterbox format, 16:9.
Aspect Ratio Most camcorders record standard analog images in the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio. Aspect ratio refers to the shape of the picture. 4:3 is mostly square; the shape of a traditional TV set. But some cameras are able to record in 16:9, the aspect ratio of movies, otherwise known as ‘letterbox' or ‘cinema display.' The Sony HDR-HC3 can do both.
Video output The HDR-HC3 is a very versatile camera: especially when it comes to the way you output your video. It has all the necessary video outputs: firewire (for transferring video to your computer) component video (for watching high definition video on an HDTV), and composite video out (for watching video on a standard definition analog TV).
Tape/data format There are multiple media formats you can record onto these days: Mini-DV, Hi-8, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, Micro-MV, Compact Flash, Smart Media....
For some people this is the hardest decision to make: what media should my camera use?
Here is what Jon decided to do for Seun: most videographers in the TV industry use Beta- this is a high-end, broadcast-quality video format that no struggling student could afford. After Beta, the most popular recording format in the industry is Mini-DV. It records onto small tapes that are easy to carry and store, it records a clear picture- 500 lines of vertical resolution, and tapes store an average of 60 to 90 minutes of video. The HDR-HC3 records onto Mini-DV.
NEXT: The Computer In my next post I evaluate the computer Jon got for Seun and tell you the one thing he didn't get that's a must for all videographers.