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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old July 3rd, 2008, 04:20 PM   #1
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HV30 Low Light - HELP!

I was thinking about purchasing a Canon HV30 to film my son's band (dark night clubs) but after reading all the threads I’m thinking it's not the correct camera. I planned to use the wide angle adapter which I think would require even more light. I prefer a small compact camera but now I’m leaning to the XL H1. I appreciate your comments.

I also heard the Sony P170 is a great low light camera but not HD.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 04:52 PM   #2
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You are correct that the PD170 is excellent in low light, but it only shoots SD. There is not an HDV camera as good.

Is there a store where you can go try an HV30? That might give you a better idea.

Whether the HV30 is satisfactory depends on what you expect. The image may be very grainy, but you can probably see the band fairly well. The XL-H1, XH-A1, or Sony Z1u/FX1 will do better, but they are much more expensive.

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Old July 3rd, 2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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Randy, see my post on HV30 for a school play. I was satisfied with performance given its low price against a Sony V1 caveat emptor. But I would agree in that if 80% of your footage is going to be in nightclubs which is even worse lighting conditions there might be better low light camera. I saw a post here that said Sonys SR11 AVCHD camera was better for low light, you might want to search on that. Cheers.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 08:12 PM   #4
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Which one do you recomend

The XL-H1, XH-A1, or Sony Z1u/FX1 will do better, but they are much more expensive.

Buddy[/QUOTE]

If I dont mind spending more $$$ which one do you recomend? I dont want to buy a P170 knowing it's out dated.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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If you don't mind spending a lot more money, the Sony EX1 is said to have the low-light capability of the PD-150 (The PD-170's predecessor). However, it can be over $8,000 with memory cards.

The Canon A1 and Sony Z1 are just about the same in low-light. However, the A1 is about $800 cheaper. There are a lot of different adjustments you can make on the A1, but you have to take the time to find ones you like. The A1 default is very dull. The Z1 looks good right out of the box and the only adjustment you might want to make in low-light is to turn on Black Stretch.

So, if you have time to fiddle with settings and want to save money, go with the A1.

There are other factors you might want to looks at. Including that the Z1 takes the same battery as the PD-170. I suggest you download both manuals and study them.

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Old July 6th, 2008, 09:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Scott View Post
I was thinking about purchasing a Canon HV30 to film my son's band (dark night clubs) but after reading all the threads Iím thinking it's not the correct camera. I planned to use the wide angle adapter which I think would require even more light. I prefer a small compact camera but now Iím leaning to the XL H1. I appreciate your comments.
I also heard the Sony P170 is a great low light camera but not HD.
I used my HV30 several times in clubs and the footage was quite acceptable for online use...looked good in hi-def on my Sony 32 inch Hi Def TV screen, too. Shot in Walt Disney Hall from first balcony, and that's on the www.hollywoodreporter.com, search for "dudamel," who's the new L.A. philharmonic director. Other stuff not on Web but I guess I could put it on Vimeo if you're interested. Not rock, though. Freddie Hubbard and some preppie jazzers in a club.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #7
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If you don't even blink an eye between the difference in cost of an HV30 and a XH-A1, I would look some more before you decide. Most people buying the HV30 over $3000 plus cameras, do so because of cost.

That said, I have shot band videos in nightclubs several times sucessfully with my HV's but you really need to arrange for externally micing a speaker or attaching to the soundboard. The crowd noise in a nightclup will turn a nicely shot video into a piece of crap very easily.

Will a $3000 plus camcorder make a better video? Most likely if you know how to operate it.
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Old July 10th, 2008, 06:50 PM   #8
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Audio is everything for bands

John, you are right, whether shot on a HV30 or A1 or V1 or EX1, audiences will forgive your footage if the audio sounds good - there is nothing worse than weak, distorted audio, or audio with too much external noise (crowds, chatting right next to teh camera mic, etc).

the typical way is to take stereo out of te mixing board into a digital recorder and sync up with the sound from the camera in your NLE (but watch out for drift) or use a wireless device from the mixing board to the camera.

an hv30 or an A1 using the onboard mic for bands will give the poorest sound for me...
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Old July 11th, 2008, 05:53 AM   #9
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Many event videographers who liked the PD 170 are now buying the Sony Z7U for ~$5k as an HD replacement. At that price range the EX1 is also worth a look but requires several expensive memory cards for a long shoot.

For me the Sony FX1 with 1/30 shutter, auto gain and some tweaking in post does pretty well in most low-light situations, including dark stage performances and dimly lit wedding receptions. Other than lacking XLR inputs it's still a decent value compared to other options, with the Canon XH-A1 being another good choice in this price range.
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Old July 11th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #10
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taking audio directly from the soundboard in a small venue is not the greatest idea. What you'll get is an extremely awkward and vocal heavy mix. I run sound at a small club here in nashville and I was thinking of bringing my camera in and doing just this...I patched my headphones in one night while I was mixing to monitor the stereo output of the board...mostly vox and whatever else I had cranked. u see, the point of the soundboard is to reinforce sounds of the instruments that don't have a lot of stage volume ie. vox, direct input instruments like keyboards, etc...so those will be most prominent in the mix. Not saying u shouldn't snag a line out of the board, u can still get a pretty decent sound, and clear vox, but I wouldn't depend soley on the board mix. I'd suggest getting a nice stereo mic or a zoom h2/4 and setting it up in the room and then synching and mixing the two feeds in post. of course I would also clean the tracks up in Logic or Protools 1st. and it's good to have some crowd ambience too!! makes the video seem more realistic and true to a real performance

I've seen so many incredibly shot live music performances with piss poor audio and it sux cuz in this case...the audio is gonna be 80% of your video
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Old July 11th, 2008, 02:36 PM   #11
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We're getting a bit of the low light subject but since audio is important to discuss in night club shoots, I'll come back with a few comments about audio. I new someone who was a band archivist and what he always did, which blew my mind was to setup a $2k Neuman's at the front of the stage and grab a SB out and mix the two into his digital recorder. I have a Zoom 4 myself but I have yet to try and sync up a separate audio into my video audio yet. I have been (because I don't have to get permission or deal with the sound people) setting up a mic directly in front of one of the speakers (small venues) or speaker farms (festivals) and feeding that mic via xlr to my audio adapter.

I'd set it up so that it would feed to both channels of the camcorder inputs. I'm sure that sound people feed the same audio to left and right speakers on both small and large venues. There just wouldn't be any reason for them to blast out stereo, other wise the audience on the right wouldn't hear the same thing as the audience on the left. I've had good success with this method but it of course depends on the sound system to be good and the sound person to set things up well. I've always figured that a SB feed would be superior but I just haven't pushed for that as of yet. I know that in some cases the sound guys are a little reluctant to allow it.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 09:43 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=Kevin Shaw;905851]
For me the Sony FX1 with 1/30 shutter, auto gain and some tweaking in post does pretty well in most low-light situations, including dark stage performances and dimly lit wedding receptions.[QUOTE]

Just wanting to second this suggestion. I own an HV30 and have shot a couple of shorts with a Sony Z1U (Fundamentally the same camera as the FX1) that required low light and I have to say that it's low-light performance is quite good. At least it certainly blows the HV30 out of the water. It also has far handier manual controls than the HV30 which would allow an easier time of doing dramatic focus and zooms, etc. I haven't played with the Z7U, but I can only assume performance is similar.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #13
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I have never tested the Z7U, but I have heard that its low-light capability is not as good as the Z1u.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #14
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In low light or dim lit room, I always shoot with Tv mode 1/30 shutter speed. Then use the light trick to lock the exposure to F1.8 aperture. Then add 2 to 3 EV value. The noise free video looks great even in low light.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #15
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Ask the Band....

[QUOTE=Fernando Ramos;906634]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
I own an HV30 and have shot a couple of shorts with a Sony Z1U (Fundamentally the same camera as the FX1) that required low light and I have to say that it's low-light performance is quite good. At least it certainly blows the HV30 out of the water. .
I would shoot with my Sony V1 as first choice over my HV30 (which I use as 2nd B Roll) as it is simply better HANDLING and performance - but I really want readers to understand my own surprise that by the time i mixed band footage down to standard DVD my viewers could not tell the difference between the Sony V1 and HV30 footage (yes of course I had color corrected using Magic Bullet - who doesnt color correct?). If I hooked the cameras up directly to a 42" plasma yes u can see the difference the V1 has better low light footage.

So if you dont have the budget you can still get pretty good shots with an HV30. I would say get whatever camera your budget allows - but its the sound that matters on band footage - much more so than the video quality. ASK THE BAND :-)
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