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Filmaking with Security Cameras
January 25, 2005 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to shoot a series of shorts with security cameras, as well as some with lipstick cameras and the like. Nothing illegal or snoopy - I'm just going for the look itself in some films. Does anyone have any recommendations, or advice from experience?
posted by Sticherbeast to Technology (5 answers total)
 
I actually find security cameras, lipstick cams can be expensive and a pita to work with. Use them because they're the best way to shoot.

For me, it's easier to shoot with a regular camera (whichever type you have) and degrade it in post.

A wide angle lens while shooting; add extra in post.
Bleed most of the color out.
Add grain
Possibly add add some sort of date/time information.
Some roll/jumps.

All of this can be done in AE/FCP/Avid/Adobe
posted by filmgeek at 8:00 PM on January 25, 2005


Just shoot it with a normal camera and degrade it in a compositing program, look at some examples of the type of footage you like and try to match it. Things i would suggest- suck all the colour out, lower frame rate, heaps of grain, darken the edges of the frame..

A lipstick cam might be hard if you want to make it look like its being caried. Im sure a small miniDV cam ould look ok.

This will be easier than actually buying one of these cameras, and you will have heaps more control over the look of your film, you wont lose detail that you need because of a poor quality camera.
posted by phyle at 8:01 PM on January 25, 2005


or yeah, what filmgeek said
posted by phyle at 8:05 PM on January 25, 2005


If you want crap quality, get the cheapest thing you can find at Fry's/Outpost. The little tiny postage-stamp cameras have wide lenses with plenty of flaws. Sometimes you can find wireless cameras that run off a 9v battery. The intermittant interference can be interesting.

If you buy "real" security cameras, you have to really dig to find the bottom-of-the-barrel chinese-made-and-didn't-pass-QC cameras *and* lenses. Korean made cameras and lenses are generally very good. Japanese made cameras and lenses will often be as good or better than a prosumer camcorder.

Keep in mind that these cameras typically output a composite signal, either with a BNC or a RCA plug. You will need some coax cable and the proper ends, as well as some kind of video capture device to make the project work.

Another option is to buy a few UV(0) or other clear filters for your camcorder and abuse the hell out of them. Try smudging grease on them, scratching them with sandpaper, dripping glue on them, etc. Don't hurt the camera though.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:05 AM on January 26, 2005


I'm actually online editing a reality/hidden camera show that's all shot with webcams and hidden cameras. The composite signal and the cheapness of the cameras certainly gives an authentic look, but the fact that its very easy to overexpose and go outside legal NTSC limits makes it very frustrating to colour correct and much detail is unrecoverable. Fix it in post as the old adage goes.
posted by phirleh at 7:43 AM on January 26, 2005


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