Links - What Camera - Output - Recommended films - text

I attended a film course at Cardiff Chapter 35 years ago using 16mm real film on a Bolex and an Arriflex (I don't think I touched the Arri, but the Bolex was fun). I still have the film in a cannister somewhere. Amongst the tutors was Chris Monger, known as 'Jean-Luc' to his pals because of his devotion to M. Godard.
In October 2012, I started a video-making course at Greenwich. I'll keep some information here


What Camera

On the 2012 film course we use a Sony PD170. I tried at first to pick up a second-hand version of this, but they sell for £800-900 and, while that sounds not unreasonable given that it is a lovely piece of kit and originally sold for £4k, nevertheless it would be an old camera using a dying recording medium.
I contemplated the Sony prosumer VX2000 which sells for £400-500, but again, that's a large wad for a piece of kit with no guarantee.
If I were to choose a consumer unit, it would probably be the £300+ Panasonic V700.
But I'm still tempted by a Large Black serious-looking beast such as the £1,200 Sony MC2000E or, more likely, the £900+ Panasonic MDH1.
It's not only the look of a pseudo-professional piece of kit, it's the manual controls and the immediate access to those manual controls because even when, for example, manual focus is available on a pocket camcorder, it is via a menu rather than a wheel. That's not really acceptable, though paying an extra £600 for a few wheels might be thought excessive.
We'll see. Probably this week.

Canon XL1

[15Nov12] I've toyed with buying the cheap and expensive Panasonics, dallied with the expensive Sonys, noting that the large black models seem to be middle-range consumer units on steroids, not their best consumer units. On the night of 14th encountering on ebay the classic Canon XL1, probably the prettiest video camera in history, I also found on Amazon the heavily discounted Sony CX190. Pursuing Canon's current offering, I drooled over the remarkable XA-10 and XF100 (£1,300 and £2,200), made a start on raising the funds for at least one of those, but settled back down to earth with the Sony CX190 which I'll buy on ebay this week or, failing that, on Amazon for £188. It has manual focus, albeit a rather fiddly control

Canon XL1

[19Nov12] Sony CX190 bought on ebay for £142. That was a pound under my bid and it wasn't worth paying any more as Amazon are selling them new for £188. A 16G card is included, but against that I'm paying £6 postage, have no guarantee and Amazon would probably deliver more quickly. But that's enough negatives: I'm looking forward to reshooting all my material - shame I'll have to lose the shot with the cat in it.


On the course, I'm in a group making a short about a chap having trouble with his shoelaces.
I'd rather be working on a film about noises and will probably turn all my attention to that subject before long. I'm filming at home using a Lumix GF1 and learning enough to make the effort worthwhile, but I know I'll invest in a video camera soon and have to reshoot all the material.

Recommended films

The list will grow,


page started November 2012