Filming a blockbuster? How to choose the right digital film camera
Whether you’re shooting solo or have camera assistants and crew to hand, you need the right digital film camera and it can be a challenge ensuring you get the right one for your needs. There are quite a few features to look out for, so here’s our guide to choosing the best digital film camera, no matter what you’re shooting.
A fold-out monitor can be useful no matter what you’re shooting, whether you’re working on set with a large film crew or going for single person shooting. It’s easier for everyone to see what’s going on and it can be used by camera assistants too.
Dedicated assistant screen
For those working with a team, large or small, a dedicated screen for camera assistants, such as the one found on the Blackmagic URSA camera, means your camera assistants can check and update settings independently, without getting in the way of your filming. You’ll find this feature on several high-end digital film cameras, and it is well worth looking out for.
Super 35 size sensor
Shoot your films and documentary with the ability to be creative with shallow depth of field with a super 35 size sensor. A camera with a wide dynamic range means you’ll get images that look like true digital film, with highlights and shadows preserved, which makes post-production a breeze! Look for digital film cameras which give you the option to shoot in Ultra HD if you’re after superior quality.
Dual recorders are an incredibly useful feature which you should look out for when buying a digital film camera. This means you can continue recording constantly, without having to change media. If you’re interviewing a celebrity or shooting a news report, dual recorders are critical to ensure you don’t miss any of the action! When the original memory card is full, recoding switches automatically to the second card, so that the first card can be switched for an empty one. Look for dual recorders which use Cfast card technology, which supports recording at speeds of up to 350MB/s.
Standard broadcast connections
It might not be the first thing you think about when buying a digital film camera, but connectivity is an essential factor to consider! Choosing a camera with standard broadcast connections means you won’t need to invest in custom cables, which can be expensive. 12G-SDI output can give you Ultra HD quality when you need it, or can be down-converted to HD when you don’t. Look out for audio connectors too – XLR connectors will allow you to use the highest quality microphones, so your documentary, feature film or interview will sound just as good as it looks!
Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider too, such as budget, weight and other features you may be looking for, but hopefully this guide has given you plenty of food for thought!