Best camera and computer

D1a1v1e11 Posts: 75 Just Starting Out*


       In your opinions, what is the best camera (under $50,000) and best computer for film makeing? For the camera we are going to be moving it a lot and doing quite a few action scenes. and for the computer it needs to be able to run about 10 or 20 layers of 4k fairly smoothly in HitFilm (possibly pro) and also it needs to work with very high poly things in blender and run symulations fairly well. Lastly it needs to be good at rendering in Hitfilm and (more importantly) Blender.




  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,196 Power User

    Under $50,000?

    Probably a RED or Varicam. Once you've got that much budget this might be a question for @WhiteCranePhoto and maybe @Aladdin4d. By the time you have that much money you're into higher end cameras than I get to play with.

    As far as Hitfilm goes, you're limited by its design. Hitfilm was optimized for consumer/gaming computers and might not take full advantage of workstation GPUs like Xeons. Hitfilm doesn't take full advantage of Workstation GPUs like Quadros and doesn't use multiple GPUs.

    So, basically the tip-top i7 and the Nvidia 1080ti is your buy. After that you'll need fast SSDs. Lots of them. You'll want your OS, programs, library, projects and renders all on separate drives (you might spread projects and libraries across multiple drives). 

    Blender, I think, takes advantage of workstation CPU/GPU chips and multiple GPUs. Optimizing a computer for Blender is different than for Hitfilm. 

    Of course you're giving me a theoretical budget of $50k for a camera. This means you have the budget for multiple computers. I'd argue you're better with two or three high-end "gaming" PCs than one kick-ass workstation. Set up network drives so Computer A can render while editing happens on B and C. 

    You're absolutely dreaming at any level running 20 layers of 4k in real time. There's a reason low-res proxies are the norm in most workflows. 

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,466 Enthusiast
    edited October 2017

    50 Grand?!?! Too rich for my blood. Occasionally I end up working with footage from high dollar cameras but I don't get to actually play with them. 

    I would add ARRI and Sony CineAlta to the list for consideration. Understand though, at this level getting the camera is just scratching the surface of what you need. Linus Tech Tips dropped 140 grand on two Red cameras earlier this year.

    Corridor Digital responded to Linus' complaints

    And then there was a full explanation from LTT featuring Corridor Digital

    All of this kind of brings me to my next point - Whatever you choose buy two of them or at least add rental costs for another one into the production budget. At this level the last thing you want to have to do is halt production because your camera won't fire up. To actually own two cameras don't be afraid to consider buying used. As I write this there's a seller on Ebay with a group of 7 ARRI Alexa Classic EV's and they're going for $11,500.00 each or less. Since they're ARRI, somebody reputable, probably even ARRI themselves, will set you up with a service contract in lieu of having a warranty. 

    When it comes to the computer I would seriously consider something AMD Threadripper or high end Ryzen based too. The bang for the buck scale might tip in favor of going with AMD if it means 2 systems vs 1 high end Intel system. Keep in mind if you go with Red for the camera, the Red Rocket cards don't work with HitFilm.

    @WhiteCranePhoto is the one that really needs to weigh in here. With the kind of stuff Triem23 and I end up doing just having the shot is often more important than the quality of the shot. To that end, both us would usually be happier in the long run with eight $5000.00 cameras than one $40,000.00 camera. That's not to say we wouldn't love to have the 40 grand camera but it does mean if I had it I would still be sprinkling some GoPro's around "just in case".



  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,196 Power User

    @Aladdin4d I'd get six $8000 cameras (One kickass event, or two three-cam rooms) and use the rest of the  for batteries, remotes, supplimentals... Ursa Mini Pros with viewfinders, maybe?

    Aladdin raises a good point. The $50k camera is aimed at the group that can get several. 

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,466 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 My eight camera wish is based on having two as spares ;)

    Ursa Mini Pros - As long as there's spares yeah, I wouldn't mind going that way. 

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,196 Power User

    @Aladdin4d Spares? How about 10 DVX 200s? 

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,466 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 If I had the budget I'd do that in a heartbeat. I'd take JVC GY-LS300's too. Or something from Sony's 0% finance/lease list like the PXW-FS5. I'm not that picky..........

    The only thing that really bothers me about anything from BMD is reliability.

  • D1a1v1e11
    D1a1v1e11 Posts: 75 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks guys, sorry for my late response, I will talk this over with the leader of the project and I will tell you what ends up happening.


    @Aladdin4d You said "Red Rocket cards don't work with HitFilm" does that mean that I won't be able to use footage from a RED camera in HitFilm? If so is there something I can do to make them work? If not, what does that mean?




  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,466 Enthusiast

    @D1a1v1e11 Red Rocket cards are for working with REDCODE Raw files and HitFilm doesn't have support for REDCODE yet. I know it's high on @WhiteCranePhoto 's wish list. Red's own Redcine X can use the rocket cards of course and Resolve does too. To incorporate HitFilm into a Red workflow you're going to have to transcode the Red clips to ProRes or Cineform (if it's available) or image sequences.  If I remember right, WhiteCranePhoto has transcoded to 12 bit ProRes for HitFilm work.

  • WhiteCranePhoto
    WhiteCranePhoto Posts: 923 Enthusiast

    If you're seriously looking at a $50K camera, then you're looking at playing with the big boys...

    And be ready to shell out megabux for post hardware also. A 1080Ti is about the bare minimum if you want to be able to work with 8K raw footage in realtime at full resolution (or even 4K). On a machine with a quad core processor (overclocked) and a 1080, I can get realtime playback at 1/8th resolution with 8K -- but it needs faster disks.

    I've been using 10 or 12 bit ProRes or Cineform for using Red footage in HitFilm, though I use Ignite more than HitFilm nowadays. I edit mostly in LightWorks now, unless I'm on a fast enough machine to handle Redcode in Resolve.

    The Red Rocket is dead, thanks to the NVidia/AMD processor war. (That's not an error, that's the real war going on right now... the CPU side isn't nearly as interesting right now.)

    For working with 10-20 streams of Redcode, good luck. I doubt that you'd be able to do that even with a Baselight X, which is designed and rigged out to handle 120 FPS 4K footage. More than a layer or two? Yeah, not happening.

    For that complex a composite using that high end footage you're looking at Nuke, Fusion, Mistka, and Flame. Fusion and MambaFX (soon to be reborn as MistikaFX) are pretty inexpensive... but that's a rather high end requirement.

    There's currently (unfortunately) no way to work directly with Redcode in HitFilm, and equally unfortunately there's no way to integrate HitFilm into an offline editing workflow.

    That said, other than being limited to a single GPU, the non-support for professional graphics hardware isn't that much of an issue; the gaming graphics cards are generally faster anyway -- though the professional cards tend to have more memory and are tested more thoroughly... they get driver updates less often, but they're also more dependable.

    Before you decide whether you want to go for a single $50K camera package or multiple cheaper cameras, you do need to determine what your needs are; contrary to popular indie belief, multicamera cinematography isn't generally a great idea.

    That said, there aren't a lot of current cinema cameras that you'd actually go wrong with on the market today, including the Ursa Mini 4.6K. I'm happy shooting with an Epic-W, but there are advantages to the Varicam and Alexa Mini and C700 in the same price range as well. For the most part, the differences are in features and ergonomics, though. Image quality isn't really that different, though the "default" look varies a little bit.

    The C700 and Varicam have nice out-of-the-box looks, but neither records internal raw (you need an external box), and neither has the higher frame rate options that the Alexa Mini and Red Epic-W/Weapon offer, though the Alexa Mini requires an external recorder for higher frame rates.

    The two main adavantages that Red has feature wise is higher resolution and dynamic range as well as high frame rate options. Also, it's a lot easier to set up a compact Red rig than the others, the down side being that the Varicam and C700 and Ursa Mini Pro are more user friendly without any rigging than a Red or Alexa Mini. Most DPs end up favoring a full-sized Alexa over the mini because of the requirement for rigging a Mini to make it usable, it's more like a Red in that regard.

    But yeah... if you're serious about a $50K camera package, your upper limit for the camera is probably Varicam 35, C700, Venice (don't underestimate that one, though it's not actually shipping just yet), Alexa Mini, and Epic-W, if you don't already have your lenses and other required accessories ready to go.

    And don't forget the computer... you do need a fairly beefy machine to do realtime work with 8K footage... but I'm actually able to edit at 1/16 resolution in 8K redcode on my Ultrabook when using LightWorks as long as my disk keeps up. And that's 2K. :)

    But throw it into Resolve, and it's another story altogether. You'll probably end up doing one-light grades and rendering Cineform for editing in HitFilm, though you'll still need a pretty powerful machine for it no matter which camera you choose.