The Best Camera for Filming your Puppets!

by Puppet Nerd

There are HUNDREDS of different styles, models, and brands of cameras. How do you know which to choose? Here we’re going to talk about some different cameras that work well to film your puppets.

We’re not going to be talking a lot about specs or special features on these cameras. The focus is more about physical features of cameras that work really well for filming puppets. Especially for those who are a “one-man-band” in a “run and gun” style of puppet film making, like Jim Henson used to.

Before you know it you will be starting your own puppet show!

There are two of the cameras that we highly recommend to people if they want to level up their puppet videos from using a cell phone. If you click here, we actually already did a whole video on how to film, edit, and publish a puppet film completely from your phone. 

And if you are still filming on your cell phone there is nothing wrong with that, but using one of these cameras makes a noticeable difference.  These cameras particularly picks up the Puppet Fleece really nicely.

The Cameras

The cameras we like are the Canon m50 and the Canon m5. They look pretty similar but there is a key difference that is a big deal to puppeteers. The Canon m50 has a screen that flips out to the side, while the Canon m5 has a screen that flips down.

These are differences that normal camera people don’t think a whole lot about. But if you’re doing a “run-and-gun” shoot all by yourself this is going to make a humongous difference.

If you’ve ever filmed your puppets before you know how important it is to have a monitor. It is the only way the puppeteer can see their performance to manipulate the puppet correctly. Using a straight scan monitor is the industry standard for performing puppets for television. 

But sometimes there are those certain shots where you just can’t get a monitor in,

it’s just too big. Even if you have a small monitor, sometimes it’s just hard to get into certain spots. That’s why having a camera with a flip screen like this can be handy for some occasions, but which one should you get?

Canon M50

The Canon M50

The Canon M50 has a screen that  flips out to the side. Being able to see your screen like this is helpful, however having it flip out to the side can be a little bit annoying for a puppeteer. Especially if you’re right-handed.

For a right handed puppeteer, the screen is on the opposite side, which makes it hard to see. It is even more difficult to see the monitor if you have a kit lens on the camera since they stick out further.

But that makes the Canon M50 a perfect camera for left handed puppeteers!

Canon M5

The Canon M5

The Canon M5 on the other hand, has a screen that flips down. This gets rid of a lot of those problems we mentioned with the Canon M50. With a monitor that is directly below it is easy to see it perfectly without any strain or worry that your vision will be blocked.

However, there is an obvious problem if you try to put this on a tripod. Mounted to a tripod, the screen can’t flip down anymore. But we came up with a quick hack that can get your Canon M5 working perfect for any puppeteer.

You can see a short film we shot on the Canon M5 here!

The Rig

With this rig you can flip the screen down and have a perfect working monitor for the Canon M5 camera. Now this is the perfect camera for filming puppet spots. You can perfectly see the screen and there’s not even a chance of the lens getting in the way.

Follow along in this tutorial to learn how to make this camera rig in only 10 minutes! You’ll be glad you did! You will learn some other quick puppet camera hacks too!

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