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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:51 AM   #1
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Philosophical Question about Accessorizing

At what point do you stop strapping and bolting accessories onto your HV 20?

The beauty of the HV 20, as I see it, is it's inconspicuous size and reasonable price for what it can produce. I've been investigating ways to improve on the audio and there are two options: the Canon accessories (which run off the hotshoe) or aftermarket gear, which will require adapters and cables and power. I just saw an ad for the Beachtek adapter: looks interesting but adds a fair amount of bulk to the unit not to mention now you need XLR cables etc.

When do you stop adding stuff? At what point do you say "This is no longer a handicam, it's a Frankencamera and I ought to get a different tool if I need XLR jacks etc"

I want good sound, but not at the expense of almost doubling the size of the camera and having cables hang off of it as I try to move around. It seems to me that there must be a practical limit before you find you need a different camera.

So where is that limit, in your experience? Do you find that having audio adapters mounted on your HV 20 makes you more conspicuous or diminishes your ability to work?

Bob
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Old September 30th, 2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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The only reasons I think of to use a Beachtek or other adapter are:
1. Use specific mics with XLR connectors
2. Use two xlr mics (some adapters work as little mixers).

In both cases you would be using the mics off the camera, probably with a sound person. If you are using an on camera mic, as far as I am concerned, there are excellent mics (see Audio Technica in addition to the ones you've mentioned) with 1/8" plugs.

I believe the first consideration what the circumstances you are shooting in are and what the final result must be.

If you want to carry the camera in your pocket, mic it appropriately.

If you are doing sit down interviews with the camera on a tripod) it would be reasonable to use a better mic on a boom over the subject. If you were doing a lot of these, it would be reasonable to use a Beachtek or other adapter with an xlr mic. However, there are single line adapters that do the same thing as a Beachtek for about $35 -- if in the interview scenario, that's all you need.

If you want to videotape travelogues and have someone in the picture talking, a small wireless would be very easy to use and give you excellent results.

The Audio Technica Pro88 has an 1/8" plug, is very lightweight and has a good sound, and it's under $200.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...arch&Q=*&bhs=t
(If you want even better, I think the Sennheiser G2 might be able to plug directly into the 1/8" plug, but I don't know.)

However, for just improving the "mic-on-camera" sound, I think the best deal is the Canon mic: no wires and no batteries. Both the wire connection and the batteries are problems sometimes and add to the fuss. (I wish the HV20 foot connector slid out of the way, though, instead of coming clear off.)

If you want two accessories on the shoe, there are some accessories to do this, but suddently you are bulking up the camera.

Anyway, the first thing is deciding exactly what the frinal result will be and what the circumstances are you are shooting in. This will give you the answer to how much you need to add to the camera.

Here's a thread on must-have accessories for the HV-20. It has some good thoughts on this subject:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=accessories
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Old September 30th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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simple general rule is if you put an accessory to solve temporarily a problem, it is enhancement (add light, a special mic, a bigger monitor, extended battery).
if you add permanent stuff because this is missing feature on you camera, you clearly need another camera.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
simple general rule is if you put an accessory to solve temporarily a problem, it is enhancement (add light, a special mic, a bigger monitor, extended battery).
if you add permanent stuff because this is missing feature on you camera, you clearly need another camera.
That's not always so easy though. That "other camera" may be considerably more expensive than the total cost of the camera + add-ons. Plus, if you already have a decent camera, then buying another one doesn't look like a good idea. I think where to draw the line is pretty subjective.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 07:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
simple general rule is if you put an accessory to solve temporarily a problem, it is enhancement (add light, a special mic, a bigger monitor, extended battery).
if you add permanent stuff because this is missing feature on you camera, you clearly need another camera.
Sometimes that another camera is just your simpler camera with added stuff, like A1U == HC1 + XLR. Interestinly, HC1 is not sold anymore while A1U is being still offered by Sony.

Obviously manufacturers want to segmentize the market. They want people to think that more features require higher level -- and more expensive -- camera. Should not customers resist to the tune of the piper?
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Old October 13th, 2007, 04:37 PM   #6
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Bob, sound is the one function I have thought worth enhancing on this and other consumer camcorders I have owned. Because you can adjust the sound level on the HV20, you can lower it to the point where the amplification by HV20's audio input circuitry and its noise is very reduced, then amplify your microphone's input with a quieter mixer or preamp. And the euqipment bought to improve this camera's sound could be transferred to a future one. Of course, I'm usually using a tripod, and this may not match your shooting style.
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