Best camera for filming magic?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by benfrancismagic, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. I'm deliberating over a camera purchase.. £500 is about my maximum cash limit and I'm hoping for a decent camera that would be good enough to create T11 / Ellusionist quality videos.

    Any recommendations?
    I've heard the Canon 550D might be the way forward.

  2. Are these videos for vanity? Something else?
  3. The Canon 550D or 60D is definitely a good option for high-quality video. You will also have to consider purchasing a decent microphone though, as the built-in microphones in those cameras aren't production quality at all. An external microphone with one of those cameras though and you'll have a pretty good setup.

    Not sure if that will push the limits of your budget though. You'll have to do some research and shop around.

    However it's worth noting that you don't need a super high-quality video camera to produce videos. You can get great video from a $100 camera. Just film in a place with good lighting that's quiet (and maybe consider a microphone) and you're set.
  4. Shooting magic with DSLR cameras is awesome, but if you are a beginner....there is a learning curve that doesn't just happen over night. It took me well over 10 videos or 2 months before I had what I thought was great, crisp, HD footage. You will have to learn various settings, shutter speeds, ISO, lighting in the room, etc. You will also need to pick up a decent microphone as mentioned, probably a back drop if you want, a TriPod, a few Class10 SD CARDS (Which are NOT cheap). Then keep in mind you will need some software or a converter to take the 1080 HD footage and get it back into 720 because uploading 1080 to the web takes hours upon hours to upload even small files let alone the size of the files are enormous. Unless you have some deep pockets, and I'm not saying you dont, you may want to just buy a cheaper HD camcorder to fit your needs. I'm just giving you food for thought because I traveled down the DSLR path and I have probably spent close to $2,000 on equipment needs.
  5. I definitely agree with Rick.
    I have a DSLR and would easily recommend it only if you're willing to put in the time and effort to learn a lot about it though, echoing what Rick said.

    As a vlogger/film maker, it's taken me over 10 videos to fully understand (I'm still learning new things here and there) how my camera works. And 'real' Class 10 SD cards are definitely a must, even if they aren't cheap - I went the cheap fake eBay SD card route and lost a lot of footage when I first started...with 2 fake cards which was half the price of a real one.
    For the backdrop, I find that just a white or black sheet stretched across your wall suffices as long as you have some very decent lighting and understand basic 3 point lighting set ups etc.

    If you're willing to learn and put in the effort, the end result will come out beautifully sexy, professional looking awesome-sauce!
    Also, you can get a 600D (1 up from the 550D with a flippy screen - very handy!) for £410 on eBay/Amazon, which is where I got mine. The rest of the money you can put towards other equipment~

    Side note:- I find that magic and film making can be some very expensive hobbies...*sigh*
  6. I agree with the above two statement. I am a photographer as well, and while I have a Canon 5D Mark III, if I was buying specifically for shooting video I would have bought a camcorder. Not saying the DSLR's are not capable, but you have to understand a lot more than just clicking it in video mode and going. For ease of use and cost a HD camcorder will do you a much much better job :)
  7. If this for practicing or for video promos. Because if it's for both, I highly doubt your clients are going to care if the video is in super HD and filmed with an expensive camera or just a decent hand cam.

    The same can be said for practice and rehearsal video's. Spending 500 bucks for one would be going way overboard and just silly.
  8. #8 Joey144, Aug 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2012
    wait what? My latest tutorial (1080p) is 4:35 minutes in length and the file size is about 100MB. I wouldn't consider 100MB to be "enormous" (nor does it take hours upon hours to upload).
    You shouldn't give advices like that if you don't know what you're talking about (no offense).


    PS: I agree with raven1
    Get a decent HD Camcorder and invest the money you saved to buy an editing software and learn some color grading.
  9. No offense taken,
    I don't claim to be an expert on the file size, but I do know that I have some videos that were shot in 1080p (1920X1080), duration is only
    6 minutes and the file size = 2.2 gig which is two times the size allowed for uploading as tutorials. Perhaps you are exporting differently in regard to quality, frame size, compression and such. I don't know. They are .MOV files not mp4. If you have more insight let me know because exporting and compression is still a bit of a gray area for me.
  10. Then you shouldn't give advices about it the way you did.
    I don't know your workflow when doing tutorials or performance videos, but I just assume you do your editing in any of the standard programms (vegas, final cut) and then import the timeline to After effects for color grading and compositing. If you render your final video out as an .mov file you want to make sure that you use "Photo-JPEG" as the codec. The default compression type is set to "Animation" which basically leaves your video uncompressed -> results in huge files. You can lower the quality from 100% to 97%-93% (when using Photo-JPEG). Your average viewer won't see any difference in quality + it makes your filesize pretty reasonable.
  11. Well there are many cameras available with different brands in the market according to your requirement and the budget. I would opt the Sony as it is the best camera with the better picture clarity.If you want especially a camcorder, then you can opt the Canon as it gives the better video recording options.
  12. Disagree - what makes you say it has better IQ?

    And again - if you are recording video - get a camcorder that is what it is meant for. Doing it with a DSLR takes an understanding of ISO, aperture, shutter, focal lengths, lens IQ just to name a few. Spend to get a camcorder and then use left over cash for other things - dont forget a tripod....
  13. Wow, its been a while since I've been on here...

    As a youtube vlogger/filmmaker/beginning freelance video producer, I know how expensive and time consuming video production can be. And if you're not too serious about it, I suggest getting a $200-300 camcorder that does HD.

    The main question I want to ask is what kind of magic videos do you plan on shooting? Youtube videos? Live magic videos? A trick for the wire? The answer will change what you may want to buy, and if you plan on doing a one-time thing like making a video for the wire, I reccomend getting a friend who knows a lot about video production to help you, or rent an easy to use DSLR, like a Canon t2i/550D or a Canon 60D. (Most places around where I live charge about $60 a day). You may also want to get a microphone if you want to do this, if you're shooting live magic, its much better to have a lavalier mic on your shirt to keep things clean.

    BUT, if you're looking to get more into videography, I reccommend buying a cheap dslr. Like others said, you'll need to get a basic understanding of ISO, aperature, shutter speed, etc. But those are things you'll need to know as a videographer anyways. They look great, don't cost too much, and are pretty easy to learn if you look up online tutorials and just play with the camera.

    Send me a message if you have any further questions :)

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