Everyone wants to know what THE best video camera is on the market. Friends (who don’t work in video production) will ask me this question before making a purchase, “What video camera would you recommend?” I’m flattered that they respect my opinion, but the answer is a little more complex than it used to be. Today there are an incredible amount of cameras out there – each with their own capabilities. I’m hesitant to say that one camera is BETTER than another camera, because I’m not quite sure that’s the case. Every camera is DIFFERENT. Each brings to the table something that makes it unique. Think of these different cameras simply as tools in a toolbox. Each one performs a specific function and each one is suited for a particular job. I feel the same way about cameras. They are simply tools that help you to tell a visual story. You should select a camera based on the type of story you want to tell and the style/look you want to achieve. For example:
- If a client wants the project to look a little raw and feel low-budget and home-made, I will select a camera and shooting format based on those parameters.
- If it suits the project, I might shoot standard-definition video in a MiniDV format.
- If I know that I will be going into a shooting situation with very low light levels, I will choose a camera that performs especially well in low light.
- If I know that I need to achieve a rich, cinematic look with shallow depth-of-field, I might select a large-sensor camera with the flexibility to change lenses.
You get the idea.
Editing systems are now fully capable of importing video footage from different cameras (with differing frame rates, formats, and frame sizes) into the same project. So now, producers can mix and match their source footage into one video if need be.
The goal has always been to tell the best story. All you need is the right tool for the job.