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switters

Need video camera recommendation for very specific purpose

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Over the next several months I'll be recording some instructional videos for an online training program. The video camera will sit on a tripod in my home office, and everything will be blocked out. This will be the sole purpose for this camera; I don't plan to use it for anything else.

I'm a stickler for quality, and I would like to mildly blur the background (a bookcase), so I'd prefer an interchangeable lens camera with a large enough sensor to get the necessary shallow DOF.

Here are my criteria:[list]
[*]<$1,000 for camera and lens
[*]Lens can be manual focus (since the camera will be on a tripod in the same place)
[*]Audio-input mandatory (so I can connect my lavalier mic)
[/list]
With this in mind, what would you recommend?

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IF all your using the camera for is Instructional video, getting an ILC camera would be a waste of money, potential, and pointless, you want to save money, you can buy a $300 camera for that purpose..

$1000 for a camera for this single purpose just make my mind melt. Now a lavalier mic is RIGHT for this purpose and they can get up in price a little, I would focus your money to the audio... Shotgun mic and Lavalier mic and go for cheap HD camera, preferably non interchangeable.. Consumer Camcorder.. These would be more ideal for this.

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You can get an ILC camera for $300.. Just add a simple manual lens that costs next to nothing. Any camera would do, although audio input is another story. I think the cheapest camera with audio in would be the Canon 550D?

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These videos need to be highly professional in appearance, and because of the particular set-up in my home office, the only feasible background is a bookshelf. It's distracting if the books are in sharp focus, so I want to blur them slightly and in order to do that I need an ILC and sensor large enough for shallow DOF.

A simple manual lens is exactly what I had in mind. Thanks for the tip on the 550D. Maybe I can pick up a used one on FredMiranda.com or something.

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Lumix GH2 would fit the bill. An adapter and a 35-40mm manual focus Canon FD, Nikon F, Konica AR, Olympus OM etc... Although it would be a waste of good camera to let it hang there for months :rolleyes:

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[quote name='switters' timestamp='1344193694' post='14998']
These videos need to be highly professional in appearance, and because of the particular set-up in my home office, the only feasible background is a bookshelf. It's distracting if the books are in sharp focus, so I want to blur them slightly and in order to do that I need an ILC and sensor large enough for shallow DOF.

A simple manual lens is exactly what I had in mind. Thanks for the tip on the 550D. Maybe I can pick up a used one on FredMiranda.com or something.
[/quote]

I wouldn't use DOF to achieve the desired result, you need a simple three light setup to get you to stand out agianst the backround. You can get some cheap light 3-light kits for less than $200. Proper lighting in this setup will trump any kind of improvement in camera or lens on this tight of a budget.

Just look at the Sunday morning political shows. People are always giving interviews with bookshelfs as backrounds, and they don't really blur them out of focus. It's the lighting that makes them look pro.

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I have very limited space in my home office for light set-up. I have to sit/stand just a few inches in front of the bookcase. If I'm much further out than that, there isn't enough space for the tripod/lens unless I use a very wide angle, which then takes in too much of the background. I have two Fancier 500-watt LEDs on stands, and position them at roughly 45 degree angles behind the camera.

Do you know of any articles I could read that would teach me how to create the kind of separation from the background you're talking about?

Thanks.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iISwRT_mmM

This guy is using fresnels, but you get the idea. There are a ton of videos like this, so if you search for a bit you'll find somone doing exactly what you are.

Hopefully you can put a bright kicker light on top of the bookshelf, out of view, and point it down at the back of your head, this creates a nice little bright contrast between you and the backround. You can then use the LED lights as the key/fill lights. You could probably use a tungsten light for the kicker, without it f-ing up the white balance.

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