The camera development has been in a state of flux for the ten to fifteen years. For decades, it remained essentially the same. But now, not only new models of cameras are coming out, but radically different ways of capturing footage is being created.
Depending on the type of film or video production, you might use totally different cameras. For instance, our films might call for a Red Epic, or a 35mm Arri 535, or even a Alexis. But for corporate video production, there are several different tools in the toolbox.
So here are my top five cameras for use in corporate video productions. I don’t rank them in order because the different corporate or industrial video shoots require different technology. A hammer is great if you need to drive a nail, but if you’re turning a screw, doesn’t work so well.
* DSLR (specifically Canon 5DmkIII). The DSLR is a camera that’s built on the venerable still photography camera, the SLR (single lens reflex). The Digital SLR technology evolved about 8 years ago to be able to record video as well as the still pictures. This enabled many people access to a camera that could use beautiful lenses to create narrow depth of field shots, that had been limited to the high end film type cameras previously. So on the plus side, beautiful, cinematic images. On the downside, audio is pretty difficult, camera record times are limited, and the narrow depth of field is trick to master.
* Canon C300 – This is combining a DSLR with a more traditional camcorder. Audio is easier and image is much sharper than the 5D. Like a DSLR, you need to be well practiced in narrow depth of field shooting, or you will end up with lots of shots out of focus.
* Sony EX-3 – The “camcorder” is a camera that combines the lens, camera body and recorder all together. Usually, the lens is a permanent fixture to the camera and can’t be changed (like the Panasonic HVX200). Often in corporate video, you might need to “run and gun.” Move quickly, wider depth of field, longer record times. The Sony or the Panasonic HVX (my second choice) is the tool you want. Audio in is a little easier to handle. More rugged and durable. A grab and go solution.
* GoPro Hero 3 – This tiny, inexpensive camera is becoming a bigger part of our repertoire. It gives a beautiful image in daylight and can go practically anywhere. In the last few months, I’ve mounted it to a truck, to a RC helicopter, to a light stand, to a pole. It’s been under the ground, over the ground, in water. This is a powerful tool. But not for low light, or when you need sound.
* Red Scarlet – Red basically offers three models– the original Red One, the Red Epic (used to shoot The Hobbit) and the Red Scarlet. The Scarlet is the smallest of the models but is still superior in picture quality to the others on this list. Use in corporate/commercial would be for company videos that are narrative (or movie-style), high end commercials and such. The whole principle behind the creation of the Red, was a camera that would beat the obsolete problem– it’s upgradeable and interchangeable. It’s extremely flexible. It’s not for running and gunning (see the Sony EX-3 or the Panasonic HVX200), but for high end production.
So there’s my list of the top five cameras for corporate and industrial video productions.