Thursday, May 27, 2010


Well it's been a long time coming, but we finally have a new (to us) camera for the documentary!  We are now the proud owners of a used Panasonic AG-DVX100A with only 128 recording hours on it.  What a relief...

Camera shopping has been an incredibly long and tedious process because the original cameras we budgeted and got partial funding for are no longer in our price range.  When we first researched and estimated the cost of our ideal camera options for our KFW and Alternate ROOTS grant proposals, there were several used cameras advertised online that would have been affordable.  But since receiving the funds, their cost has increased and our personal purchasing power has decreased.

We lamented the prospect of giving up HD capability and SD format recording, but ultimately it became clear that we were losing more in waiting to get a good camera.  So we decided to research the camera right below the Panasonic HMC150 and HVX200, and voila!  We discovered that the DVX100A still has a 24P (24 frames progressive) mode for a film look, shoots 16:9, and includes a headphone jack and XLR inputs for microphones.  These were the primary qualities that we were seeking to upgrade in our video equipment, so we feel really good about the choice we made and the price we paid! 

We actually got a great deal when we did a cost comparison of the same or similar models, both used and new, not only because of its low price but also its low usage hours and its excellent condition.  The other great outcome of going with a more modest camera is that we can still purchase some of the key accessories (i.e., shotgun mic, tripod, carrying case) that we originally budgeted.  Plus, we can also pay someone to repair our old MiniDV camera so we can shoot with both cameras and record multiple perspectives of upcoming interviews.  When it seemed like we would never find what we were looking for, we focused on what we really wanted, and it worked out it well in spite of taking longer than we'd planned.

Thanks again to Alternate ROOTS (with help from the Ford Foundation) and the Kentucky Foundation for Women for their Artistic Assistance and Artist Enrichment support!
Props also to various informative mentor materials from Anthony Artis: The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide and his Down & Dirty DV blog.  I mentioned his amazing book and online resources in our first blog post, and they have both been indispensable throughout our ongoing documentary budgeting and planning, especially when researching and selecting our camera and other essential equipment.  His style is extremely approachable and to the point, and he's already saved us a lot of time and money by providing a basic boot camp for DIY documentary production.

No comments:

Post a Comment