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connormwood

Airsoft Filming: Cameras

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So I have been filming 3rd person airsoft games for quite a while now, but only with a small handheld camcorder that looks similar to an IPhone. Not to say that I do not love my camera (it is waterproof, shockproof, touchscreen, shoots in 1080p 60fps, and is practically ballistic), but I really need a new camera.

My camera may sound great, I am really looking for something of higher quality, such as a Cannon DSLR or one of Sony's "handycams".

 

Here's my issue:

1. Cannon DSLRs (such as the Ti series) shoots in 1080p 30fps, but does not have any other options regarding 720p other than 60fps. I am used to shooting at 720p 30fps simply because it takes up MUCH less memory that 1080p and having the extra 30fps is similar to shooting in 1080. I just don't have unlimited memory on my hardrive at home. Also DSLRs are not very low-profile and end up being shot often. Trust me I film paintball as well...

2. My issue with Sony's Handycam is that it its frame is not as durable as that of a DSLR (although it has a much greater range of shooting options).

 

Here's what I am asking: DSLR or Camcorder? Do any of you guys or gals out there shoot video of airsoft? If so, what camera(s) do you use and what do you suggest? I just want to get some insight from fellow videographers on the field.

 

NOTE I am referring to third person filming ONLY, not first person (because if I wanted to film 1st person I would purchase a GoPro, as they have removed Contour from the market, there is no longer any competition).

Edited by Colonel Wood

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Frame rates and resolution aren't everything when it comes to the amount of memory being used. The Canon Rebel lineup generally shoot video at about 40-50Mbps (or about 7-8MB/s). In comparison, from what I've seen of most consumer-level camcorders, video bitrates are often 24Mbps (3MB/s) and below, and I'm sure there are exceptions (as some might give you 35Mbps). So, for the same amount of footage out of the Canon DSLR at say 1080p 30fps, you're going to take up twice the memory as that same footage on a typical camcorder at the same frame rate and resolution. Now, with the Canon DSLR, if you're willing, you could look into the Magic Lantern firmware to adjust bitrates and frame rates, so you might be able to get 720p 30fps at a lower bitrate, but I haven't tried it, so I can't really confirm what your results might be.

 

For reference, I own a bunch of Canon equipment: T3i, 7D, 5D3, HF M40, HF G10. I don't record any video of airsoft (I use them for other things), so I can't really give any insight there. But I'll tell you, there's little chance I think I'd take my 5D3 and 70-200 out on an airsoft field... Also, I'm not really up to date with what's available in the camcorder market (I've just been eyeing the G30/XA20/XF100, and we use an XF300 at work, but they're really all beyond what I really need).

 

As I see it, if you're looking to shoot video, get a video camera, not a DSLR. Some of the reasons I would pick a camcorder over a DSLR for what you describe would be autofocus, zoom range, battery life, recording time limits, and cost. Let me know if you'd like my more detailed analysis on those reasons.

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As I see it, if you're looking to shoot video, get a video camera, not a DSLR. Some of the reasons I would pick a camcorder over a DSLR for what you describe would be autofocus, zoom range, battery life, recording time limits, and cost. Let me know if you'd like my more detailed analysis on those reasons.

 

Thank you for all of your insight, and yes I am somewhat familiar with goes into the use or memory on a camera.

I would like to know, how much a DSLR might wear down visually. It seems when I purchased my first camcorder, the quality of video has actually got significantly worse over time, simply due to use. I would like to know if this is a factor when it comes to such cameras, or camcorders if you know.

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I may not be a smart man /gump when it comes to cameras, but I can tell you that Sony Handicams will LAST. A LONG TIME. Problem is the video processing software that some of them come with isn't compatible with newer operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 8

 

I have the same question for you, as I did with Yee. Does the video quality gradually get worse due to use of the camera? Also: How well do the handycams work on a Macintosh; I only use Macs for video editing.

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