Tips for Choosing the Best Video Camera for Low-Budget Moviemaking

A video camera is a centerpiece of a filmmaker’s kit, the first and most important piece of equipment every professional movie director must have in their arsenal of shooting gadgets. Depending on your movie and production budget, you need to pick the best one from a range of available camera types.

But first, ask yourself this:

Will your movie be an amateur DIY project or a professional low-budget indie piece?

We have recommendations for both, so take notes.

High-Quality Cameras for Amateur Filmmakers

There are four types of high-quality video cameras you can choose as an amateur moviemaker:

  • Compact still cameras (around $150)
  • Consumer camcorders (around $180)
  • Action cameras (around $150)
  • iPhones and iPads (around $250)

Equipped with built-in zoom lenses, compact “point-and-shoot” still cameras are perfect for shooting full HD video. Along with being very user-friendly and convenient for shooting on location, they are also packed with exciting features for amateur filming. Costlier variants can record Ultra HD (4k) too.

In terms of filmmaking capabilities, consumer camcorders are more or less the same as compact still cameras. Needless to say, their shooting power depends on their price tag, and you can get a really good one for around $180. Don’t expect exceptional image quality, though, as they are for amateurs.

Action cameras cost about the same, but they can’t be used as the main camera. iPhones and iPods provide the best solution for rookie filmmakers – not only is image quality better than with consumer camcorders, but you can also edit what you’ve filmed straight on the device, using film editing apps.

Low-Budget Filmmaking Cameras for Pros

Four other types of cameras can be used for creative filmmaking:

  • DSLR/mirrorless cameras (around $500)
  • Prosumer camcorders (around $1600)
  • Professional camcorders (around $2000)
  • Cinema cameras (around $1700)

Ideal for professional results, these high-end cameras cannot be bought for cheap.

Most filmmakers rent them out, regardless of how much money they have for production. Though DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are marketed as budget-friendly variants, they must be upgraded with costly lenses, light, and audio recording gadgets to achieve the same level of quality as pro cameras.

If you can’t make a decision on your own, a reliable film equipment rental house like eleven04 will be able to help you out. Run as businesses by indie filmmakers for filmmakers, rental houses have all the necessary equipment at your disposal, as well as film production experts for when you need advice.

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