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Old December 2nd, 2005, 10:52 AM   #1
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Optura 60-Should I ask?

Just got an Optura 60. Shoot wide screen only. Love it!

Normally I'd be embarassed to ask, but I read about everyone else doing it....

As as established website designer, I've finally decided that I've got to satisfy some of my clients and start providing video services. The Optura 60 does a perfectly wonderfull job shooting industrial scenes, but how do I maintain my professional appearance? What "bells and whistles" can I add to the camera tomake it look like I'm something other that a tourist?

Mike? Wide angel? What?
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 11:09 AM   #2
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nattress or magic bullet (depending on your OS), to tone down the shiny video look will certainly set you apart....
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 12:13 PM   #3
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The Optura 60's body design is a consumer form factor, so it's going to be a real stretch to make it look like a higher end "professional" camcorder.

Since you're doing website work, my guess is, it won't matter most of the time. But you're not going to get around clients who have it in their head that professional work can only come from a "professional looking" camcorder.

I have a few clients that I sense are looking for the "professional camcorder", so I rent and charge them accordingly. Others clients don't care and just want to see the results, bless them.

Accessories:
I'd start with a decent tripod, smooth movements go a long way towards a professional look. And anyone setting up even a cheap tripod, tends to look more professional.

You could get a light/microphone bracket, that will give the camcorder more bulk, but then you might also end up highlighting how small the Optura 60 really is.

For mics - using a shotgun, lavalier, shockmount, boom, and/or hand grip always look cool to the average person.

A wide angle lens and/or sunshade are good additions as well.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 12:47 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for your input. ..... Guess I'll just have to tell them "...I left my good camera in the car"..... and someday get a pro look-alike ...perhaps the shouldermount panasonic AG-DVC-60 or something.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 12:58 PM   #5
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If you're buying accessories now, get the best you can, so when you move up to a more pro camcorder, it'll be easy to take them along.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 02:05 PM   #6
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This issue always bothers me. The Optura line will spank many older "pro" looking cameras. And there are still 2-3K prosumer cameras that don't even shoot high resolution 16x9 video. But its absolutely true that if you show up to a gig the customer probably will not be happy at the site of the small camcorder.

I almost wonder if you gutted one of those old full size VHS cams and stuck an Optura in there if that would make the customer happy :) Seriously, everyone accepts that computers have gotten smaller and better. Car engines have gotten smaller and yet achieve greater efficiency and power. But camcorders? Oh no, they should be big!

Ok, enough ranting. To the point at hand of making an Optura look more "professional", I of course agree with the recommendations for a nice wide angle lens, a shotgun mic and a good tripod.

Personally I use the MKE300 shotgun and it looks great. When combined with a wide angle lens though a longer shotgun might not clear the lens if mounted on the camcorder shoe. I recommend adding a small shoe adapter to move the mic up off the body. This has the added benefit of making the whole package look bigger too. A good item to add some "bulk" on the cheap is the cokin filter system. Very inexpensive and they look really snazzy on the optura (You'd need 2 adapter rings if you plan to use with and without your wide angle). And of course it lets you easily use filters and provides a hood (yes, we actually get some functionality while trying to make our camcorders look huge).

Here are some links to some of the products that I use:

Shoe extender:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Shotgun:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Cokin:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...hs=t&shs=cokin
(I believe I use the "A" series items myself. The smallest adapter ring is 36mm, so you'll have to use a step ring if you mount directly to the camera. If your wide angle lens is threaded, you can get an adapter ring for that too)

On a final note, remember that Canon's 34mm thread size is a bit of an odd ball. If you buy really nice lenses or filters in that size, chances are probably good that they will not migrate to a future camcorder upgrade. I originally had an Elura with a 30.5mm thread and used a step ring with 46mm accessories. After I upgraded to my Optura, I bought one 34-46mm step ring and transferred everything over. Just some food for thought.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 05:33 PM   #7
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Well Philip... this is what bothers me also. Finding that the Optura 60 with it's 1/3.4 lens shoots native DVD quality 16:9 for under $600 compared to some of the elite cameras that won't even do 16:9 has made me wonder... what's going on here.

I'll keep my eye out for an old BetaCam housing, but meanwhile I'll check out some of your recommended accessories.

Thanks.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 06:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Seymour
Well Philip... this is what bothers me also. Finding that the Optura 60 with it's 1/3.4 lens shoots native DVD quality 16:9 for under $600 compared to some of the elite cameras that won't even do 16:9 has made me wonder... what's going on here.

I'll keep my eye out for an old BetaCam housing, but meanwhile I'll check out some of your recommended accessories.

Thanks.
Oh yes, one more thing. You may already know this, but the Opturas tend to over expose. Blown out skies and highlights are very common with these cams. Not to the point of being unusable of course, but its something to watch for if you're doing work that's to be more professional. I've pretty much made it a habit to ride the exposure manually any time I'm shooting something important. Its a quirk, but its worth the effort for the extremely nice video these cams can produce.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 03:04 PM   #9
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Well, I've got our Optura 60 on a Steadicam JR and when you mount it on a tripod it's pretty mean looking. I mount it with a sliding plate and a second quick release plate. I also have a WD58, sunshade (with filters) and the largest battery I could find. The sliding plate is very handy, as it allows me to quickly balance the camcorder when I take off a filter or add one. It also lets me slide the camcorder forward when using the JR in the shoulder mount position so I can see the viewfinder better. This is a really handy function by the way. The second quick release plate is so that I can mount the camcorder on a tripod without the JR if I want to. It also adds weight, helping the JR to balance better. The mounting screw on the quick release plate slides back and forth in a groove, making it more convenient to find an optimum side to side adjustment. It actually flies pretty well. I tried putting an XLR adapter on the Steadicam, but that seemed to enter Dr. Seuss territory, and there was no point anyway, since I don't need XLR inputs when using the Steadicam. Instead, the XLR adapter mounts underneath the Steadicam, along with a Mighty Wondercam Mini-Rover, which sometimes holds a mic or an external VU meter. It doesn't look as ridiculous as it sounds, I swear. :) If you want to dress a diminutive camcorder to impress, this might be a way to go. Initially I was just trying to find a way to make the camcorder heavy enough to allow the stabilizer to work, but this has turned out to be a really useful combo, and a surprisingly elegant set-up.
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 09:25 PM   #10
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That sounds like a great setup Marco! Do you have any pics?
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Old December 4th, 2005, 08:52 PM   #11
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I'll work on it. I don't have a digital camera, but maybe I could borrow one.
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