What's the intended purpose? Shoot movies or teach how they are shot?
....Kinda out of the blue I was asked to spend 20K on "video cameras and stuff" by budget deadline. This is for a Middle School staff and students. I'm probably going to B&H to look for (record to disc) tapeless dv cameras, tripods, lav mics and? Would any of you be so kind as to recommend particular cameras or gear? Thanks....
For teachers to use (largely inexperienced) as well as students to use for shooting/editing class projects, school activities, archiving classroom events - Experience, skill levels vary, pro gear is not appropriate....prosumer, maybe. My thought is eliminate ongoing expense of tapes by going with record to disc cameras...
Most disc cameras in the prosumer range are fairly junky. Tapes are not a major expense unless you plan to shoot 1,000s of hours of footage. Even then you can recycle tapes if you get really desperate. You'd need to go XDCAM before you get something good and that would eat up your whole budget just with that. Do you want to go HD or SD? 24p or 60i? What editing system- for Mac or PC?
What editing system- for Mac or PC?
60i, using Final Cut Express -
Ok and what about lighting, tripods and sound gear? For 20K for example you could get a prosumer HDV cameras that can shoot 24p and 60i in HD and SD like the Sony HVR-V1U or Panasonic HVX200, an academic version of Final Cut Studio, a new computer, decent tripods, a lighting kit, some sound gear and some monitors. But it's pretty broad. Comes down to what brands you like and the like.
Here's what I'm looking at so far: SIX, Panasonic PV-GS500 3chip dv cameras @ $900 ea, (would not go HD due to storage limitations) + additional battery @ $70 ea Sunpak Ultra tripods @ $80 ea, camcorder bags, 100 tapes, and some Smartdisc portable (bus powered) 100 gig firewire drives - I'll probably add an editing system as well -
Sure I guess though I wouldn't even call that Prosumer, that's pretty much a Handycam type consumer camera. HDV and DV have identical storage requirements btw.
It sounds like you have it all worked out and ultimately you know what works best for your situation. An editing system is essential preferably more than one so your students and teachers aren't fighting over one machine with all that footage from six cameras. If you are going DV you can go iMovie on an Imac.
Watch the cams that record to optical discs, as they use MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 Long GOP formats, and are a royal PITA when it comes to ingesting and editing in any NLE. If you want tapeless, go with a solid state system like P2. Otherwise, I'd stick to tape in a school setting.
Digital Media Instructor for
Louisiana State University & Delgado College