“Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” - Alfred Hitchcock
There’s a long history of cinema in the UK.
So what goes on behind the camera?
Whether you’re using an entry-level compact camera or a high-end reflex, it’s never been easier to start filming.
So which camera should you use?
We’ve got the answers right here!
Why Buy a Camera to Film Video?
New technology allows us to do everything with a single device. Smartphones, for example, can take high-quality photos and video. Similarly, while we used to use camcorders 20-odd years ago, now you can film with smartphones or digital cameras.
Amateur filmmakers need to start by choosing the right digital camera for film and for photos as you need something versatile that can do high-quality photos and video. Versatility is key when it comes to your first camera.
Being able to switch between high-quality photo and video modes is something filmmakers could only dream of in the past.
The second advantage is that both your photos and footage will be of a really high quality. Of course, before we got there, there needed to be several technological revolutions. Today, the images captured by full-frame or APS-C sensors are better than what our grandparents could see through their telescopes.
The beautiful imagery of Full HD from our cameras won’t immediately look like cinema quality. They’ll be fine for YouTube videos but it can be difficult achieving cinema-like quality.
The depth of field is something you can get with a camera that you couldn’t with a camcorder. Depth of field can be used to focus on something while leaving everything in the background really blurry. This process is great for highlighting an important part of a scene and is great for cinematography.
However, it can be difficult to use this technique with travelling shots. Cameras are designed with taking photos in mind. Travelling shots can make all of the above more difficult. Autofocus doesn’t work very well with a lot of movement and it can be even trickier for beginners to do this manually.
Finally, it can be difficult getting good audio with the built-in mic. I recommend that you invest in an external mic to get better sound.
When it comes to getting a camera for shooting video, it needs to be practical and record good footage.
What Makes a Good Camera for Video
Choosing a good camera, and we mean a camera for both stills and video, there’s no hard and fast rule. Each user needs to work out what they need and the criteria by which to define a good camera. Some might want to get slow-motion footage whereas others may never use this functionality. Furthermore, you might be looking for something that’s good value for money.
It might be tempting to get an expensive camera but in some cases, you really need some decent lenses to get the most out of the device. You can invest a professional-quality and expensive camera but without good lenses, you won’t get anywhere near its full potential. You should know that larger sensors absorb more light.
Finally, most cameras can now film in 4K, an image quality that’s hard to beat. That said, you don’t always need to film in 4K. In most cases, full HD will be fine.
The Best Cameras for Filming
Fujifilm, Sony, Panasonic, and Canon make the cameras that are in our top 5. They all have good image stability, shoot in 4K, and offer clean footage. Of course, new and better models are coming out all the time...
This Fujifilm camera has been a competitor thanks to how good value-for-money it is. Expect to pay around £800 for just the camera (no lens). That said, it’s still one of the cheaper models on the market.
This isn’t a reflex camera but rather a hybrid. Unlike DSLR cameras, it doesn’t have a full-frame sensor but rather an APS-C sensor. However, it has an ISO range of 200 to 12,800.
ISO dictates the amount of light needed for good exposure. Of course, this can result in noise if set too high.
The photo modes can offer 24.3 megapixels and the video modes can film at 30, 25, or 24 frames per second.
Models with a lens will cost closer to £1,000 upwards.
Check out our tips for shooting video.
Sony Alpha 7
Sony is becoming a bigger player when it comes to cameras and they make some models that do really good video. The brand’s hybrid camera has been lauded by critics for having a full-frame sensor and the same image quality as DSLRs but in a smaller camera body.
Since the launch of the Sony Alpha 7, new models such as the Sony Alpha 7R III have been added to the range. This has an even better ISO range than the Fujifilm and goes up to 30,000 ISO. Of course, you have to pay for 4K footage.
To get the latest model from this range, you’ll be looking at close to £2,000 without a lens. This can be quite the investment, especially if you’re just getting started.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S
This camera is designed with video in mind and is really for those wanting to shoot video first and foremost and take a few photos on the side. You can film at 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 frames per second.
There are also different modes to shoot in. Finally, the ISO range makes up for its smaller sensor and goes up to 50,000.
The downside... The lack of stabilisation integrated into the body.
You’ll pay around £1,600 for the body on its own.
Olympus OM-D E-M1
Olympus cameras are famous for their comfort and the quality of the video they capture. This range of hybrid cameras come with a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor and an ISO range of up to 25,600. The 4K video can be shot at 30, 25, or 24 frames per second.
You can expect to pay around £1,300 for just the body. However, there’s a good offering of second-hand models available for much less.
This is a little costlier than the other models in our list but the Nikon D850 is a great camera for those with a focus on photography first and foremost but it can also shoot good video. This digital SLR camera can cost around £2,000 for just the body.
Budget Cameras for Filming
The best cameras for shooting video don’t need to be expensive. You can still get decent cameras on a budget.
Check out some of the accessories you can get for your camera.
This cheap camera is great for shooting video wherever you go.
It can shoot at up to 50 frames per second and at 4K. They’ve managed to make a compact camera that can shoot expert-quality video. You can pick up one for around £300.
There are also the Sony RX100 II, III, or IV which have more options than the original model.
Canon G7X Mark III
A bit more expensive than the Sony, the Canon G7 Mark III with its little body can also film in 4K. At around £700, it’s really only for those who are passionate about their photography and their film but don’t want to carry around a bigger camera.
If you'd like to learn more about photography and film, there are plenty of private tutors on Superprof who can help you. There are different types of tutorials for different budgets and learning styles so it's up to you which one you go for.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most costly but are also the most cost-effective. With just you and the tutor, the tutorials can be tailored to you, what you want to learn, and your preferred learning style.
Online tutorials are similar but instead of the tutor being there in the room with you, they'll teach you remotely using video conferencing software. While this is fine for academic and theoretical subjects, it can be trickier for hands-on subjects that benefit from having a tutor there in the room with you.
Finally, there are group tutorials which tend to be the cheapest per student per hour. Since the cost of the tutor is shared amongst all the students in attendance, each student will be paying a smaller amount than they would in face-to-face or online tutorials. However, this also means that the lessons aren't as personalised as the other types of tutorials and you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor as they have other students to worry about.
The choice is yours!