How to Choose the Right Camera for Filmmaking: 7 Tips
Have you decided to become a filmmaker? If so, congratulations! Filmmaking is an exciting activity, whether you want to make a career out of it or are happy to keep it as a hobby. But choosing the right camera is essential, and many beginners get this part wrong.
If you choose a filming camera that doesn’t suit your needs, you could be holding yourself back from achieving the type of footage you want to capture. Plus, you end up stuck with something too big to carry around, making you less likely to use it and stick with the movies in the long run.
What should you pay attention to when choosing the right camera for beginner-level filmmaking? Let’s find out.
1. Think about your shooting style
Finding your style in photography takes years, if not decades, and the same goes for filmmaking. Still, you probably have a good idea of the types of videos you’d like to create at first. If you don’t, you’ll likely notice a consistent theme among the high-profile YouTubers you watch.
While any camera is better than none, the reality is that your gear matters to some degree. Cameras from different manufacturers produce a wide range of image types, and while you can make the necessary adjustments in post-production, your job is much easier if you choose a tool that suits your needs.
To find the best camera for your shooting style, you can find various overviews of different brands and models on YouTube. Alternatively, you can choose one that meets your other requirements and modify it later if necessary.
2. Consider camera profiles
This point is somewhat related to the previous one. Many photographers later add filmmaking to their skills; if you’re one of those people, you’ll already have some familiarity with different camera manufacturers with varying profiles.
You will find several profiles in your camera and you can apply them while shooting. Many filmmakers like to go for a neutral tone, so they have more to work with in the post-production stage, but you’ll find all sorts of effects.
Again, you will find a range of online resources on color profiles from different manufacturers.
3. Choose a case with interchangeable lenses
These days, newbie filmmakers have a wide range of choices when choosing a camera body. Many vloggers start with a standard point-and-shoot with a fixed lens, like the Canon G7x series. And while these devices are great if you’re on the go or just want to make talking head videos, you’re limiting your creativity by only using one lens.
If you’re serious about filmmaking and want to learn as much as you can, you’ll want to seriously consider getting an interchangeable lens camera body. Virtually every major manufacturer offers a range of cameras and lenses, and you can choose your preference from zooms and prime lenses.
If you’re already a photographer and have amassed a decent collection of lenses (along with having a good camera body), you can use your current camera’s video mode to shoot B-roll. You’ll still need to know more about color correction and color grading for video, but you’ll save a lot of money compared to buying an entirely new set when you can’t. -be not needed.
4. Don’t ignore prices
Speaking of money, understanding your budget is key to choosing the right camera to start your cinematic journey. You’ll quickly learn that filming cameras can get expensive, and that’s just for bodies; many lenses are just as expensive (if not more so).
When choosing a camera for filming, you don’t want to go into debt by choosing something out of your budget. Stop and think about how much you’re willing to spend and limit your search options to that range. Remember: you can always upgrade later once you’ve learned everything you can with your first camera.
Whether you have a lot of cash to spend or your budget is tighter, you can save a lot of money by buying used items instead of new. You will also reduce waste and therefore promote sustainable practices.
5. Consider additional accessories
If you’ve been a photographer or filmmaker for a while, you’ll know that the camera and lenses are just the beginning of your expenses. Buying extra batteries is a good idea, especially if you plan to spend long days without access to power outlets.
Since you’re buying a lot of expensive equipment, you should also think about getting adequate insurance to cover you in case anything goes wrong. Below is a selection of other accessories to consider including in your budget:
- A waterproof camera bag
- Additional lighting
- Rain covers for your cameras and lenses
6. Do you even need a camera to get started?
If you want to have an extended film career, you will need to buy a camera. But when you’re just starting out, you should ask yourself if you need it; in some cases, you may already have an ideal solution in your pocket.
Many smartphone cameras these days are excellent for stills and video. You can often shoot in different qualities with the latter, including 1080p and 4K. Some newer iPhones can rival the image quality you’ll find on many beginner cameras.
If you’re not sure you want to stick with long-term filmmaking or haven’t saved enough for your camera, consider starting with your smartphone and upgrading it once you you can afford it.
7. Consider usability
Of course, image quality is one of the most important factors when choosing your first filming camera. However, you’ll also want something that doesn’t have such a steep learning curve, especially if you have little or no prior experience with a non-smartphone camera.
Cinema cameras at the lower end of the price scale generally have fewer features, which can seem limiting. But at the same time, you better learn the basics and advance your skills once you get more comfortable with your craft.
Choose Your First Film Camera Wisely
If you are looking to get into filmmaking, there are several factors you will need to consider before committing to buying a camera. Price is crucial, as is image quality, but those aren’t the only two essentials to consider.
Buying a film camera usually requires buying additional accessories to help you work more efficiently. On top of that, you’ll also need to think about the style you’re aiming for and how your camera will affect it.
If you keep these tips in mind, you will choose a better camera to start your cinematic adventure.