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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 April 5th, 2007, 08:59 PM   #1
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HV20 + sensitive videographer + ?

Hope I've got this in the right section. I'm getting an HV20. Two actually. My wife and I have a small K-8 school and I'll be shooting our school shows. Indoors, but there are stage lights and I think I'll be okay (especially if I go with 24p, slow zooms, slow pans). My son is also a mountain biker so I'll be shooting cross country events (now you see him now you don't) and short track events where you can sometimes see and shoot the whole event (about 25 minutes). As an amateur I know from my own experience that without a good video head (I have a good Manfrotto tripod) it's really hard to get good-looking footage. The Manfrotto 503 ($275) looks good to me. But if there were something for $500 or so which would be much better I'd get it. I'm also getting a steadicam Merlin. So for the shows I'll have one on a tripod and one on the steadicam. Sound will come in to the tripod camera from a mixing board. I plan to sync them up on my Mac laptop and edit with iMovie HD which I am familiar with and I think will be fine (I don't do much in the way of fancy editing) unless someone thinks I could do better with some other software without a horribly long learning curve. Okay, so it's cameras, iMovie HD, Manfrotto 503, steadicam and steady hand. And I'm studying a bit to learn more of the tech of shooting itself.

Okay, so here's the big "but...." I'm very aware that I know a little and don't know a lot. So I would really appreciate any input along the lines of: A. You're making a big mistake; B. Sounds good, but I would recommend this change C. You've just about got it, but there are these other little things, accessories, etc. which amateurs tend to forget about, and if you get them you'll get a much better result. Okay, thanks. Bob
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #2
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24p and iMovie

You won't be able to extract/edit the 24p content from this camera with iMovie.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Warner View Post
The Manfrotto 503 ($275) looks good to me. But if there were something for $500 or so which would be much better I'd get it.
What about the 516 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...oryNavigation)?
It looks like it might meet your needs.

Good luck.

Dennis
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kurt Madel View Post
You won't be able to extract/edit the 24p content from this camera with iMovie.
What about Final Cut Express HD? Would that handle 24p?

If it does, then I suggest getting FCE HD, Bob. I once used iMovie and after FCE I'd never go back. Two things helped me greatly with the learning curve: Tom Wolsky's "Final Cut Editing Workshop" and the Apple FCE Forum (where Wolsky himself answers a lot of questions:

http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=936
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dennis Vogel View Post
I've never used the 516, but after looking at the specs, I think that'd really be overkill. It's made to hold up to a 22lb camera and, in my experience, using a really small/light camera on a head that's set up for something much bigger isn't the best idea.

I'd go for a Sachtler, although I'm not sure you could get more than their smallest head for $500 but you might be able to get the DV1 (which I think is their smallest) for around that price. (I just glanced around B&H but didn't see it there) I'd pick a Sachtler over any bogen or Manfrotto tripod, the downside is that they're pricey.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 11:06 PM   #6
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Bob

You DON'T want to use a "heavy duty" head for this small camcorder. The balance and swing feel will be all wrong with a "heavy duty" head.

For the HV20 you would do VERY well with a Bogen 700RC2 sized head and carbon legs.

Regards
JohnG
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Old April 5th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #7
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I'm using the HV20 on a 700CR2 attached to a Velbon El Charmagne 530 (a well-built but affordable carbon fiber tripod). This set up seems to work well. I think the fluid head is less than a $100 US. It's not as smooth as a really expensive head, but it's pretty good, especially after a little practice.

Pat
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Old April 5th, 2007, 11:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kurt Madel View Post
You won't be able to extract/edit the 24p content from this camera with iMovie.
If you're talking about removing the pulldown in the 60i stream to create "true" 24p (23.976 fps), you're right. But for "home movies" there's no problem simply shooting in 24P mode (60i), capturing to iMovie HD, exporting to iDVD and burning a disc. Did it the other day and it looks gorgeous even after both iMovie and iDVD do their things with the footage (compression/encoding.)

I'm not saying it would be suitable for projecting in a movie theater or trying to pass off as a Hollywood production, but my test the other day was still the best-looking home video on DVD I've ever made with the consumer apps.

Bob, for the activities you're describing, I think iMovie HD would serve you well.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 11:18 AM   #9
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Thanks very much for responses. Much appreciated. Okay, so I'm offered the Bogen 700RC2 (under $100), the Manfrotto 503 ($275) and the Sachtler DV1 ($500+). At this point I should probably just try them out and compare. My understanding is "smooth" is the watchword here and in my opinion the line between smooth and not quite so smooth shows up pretty easily in video (like the difference between a circle drawn with a compass and one drawn by hand?).

Regarding the 24p and iMovie I'm a bit confused on this. A problem? Not really a problem for what I'm doing? Future problem? Some other software handles this, is much better, and not that hard to learn? Thanks. Bob
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Old April 6th, 2007, 12:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bob Warner View Post
Regarding the 24p and iMovie I'm a bit confused on this. A problem? Not really a problem for what I'm doing? Future problem? Some other software handles this, is much better, and not that hard to learn? Thanks. Bob
Hi Bob, if you already have iMovie HD, I'd give it a try first and see if it fulfills your needs before spending $$ on new software.

That said, I neglected to see in your original post that you plan some two-camera shoots. I believe (board members, correct me if I'm wrong) you can only have one video track in iMovie HD. If that's the case, it will be a challenge to sync up the two cameras' footage accurately. If you plan a lot of two-camera shoots, you might indeed do better with Final Cut Express or Pro. (To give you an idea of the learning curve, here's an overview provided by Apple about moving from iMovie to Final Cut Express: http://www.apple.com/finalcutexpress...rs/imovie.html)

Regarding 24P and iMovie: If all you're concerned about is that 24P "look" you can use iMovie and retain that look. If you're looking to create a true 24P progressive stream -- that is you want to remove the interlaced frames from the 60i footage shot in 24P mode for transfer to 24 fps film or create a progressive DVD -- then iMovie won't don't that for you.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #11
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Bob, a footnote. I have no answer on this yet, but so far, do not plan for moving this to a helmet cam too. The HV10 had a major problem with vibration while shooting causing a really bad element shake. The HV20 is suppose to have the same setup, so may do the same thing. No one has said otherwise or not yet. Even a full-suspension bike will not fix it. Currently, I am planning on using a HC7 instead.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:48 PM   #12
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Rob, that overview was very helpful. Thanks for that. Looks like going from iMovie to Final Cut Express should not be too tough and I can get a good educational discount from Apple, so this looks like a fairly painless way to upgrade. Now I'll go test out some heads.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 04:43 PM   #13
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Bogen 701RC2

If you are looking at the Bogen 700RC2 I would recommend the 701RC2 instead. In my opinion its a better tripod head and it only costs a tiny bit more.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 11:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bob Warner View Post
Thanks very much for responses. Much appreciated. Okay, so I'm offered the Bogen 700RC2 (under $100), the Manfrotto 503 ($275) and the Sachtler DV1 ($500+). At this point I should probably just try them out and compare.
I did a quick search on Adorama and they have the Sachtler DV2 but not the DV1. The head there costs $679. You should note that that price does not include the legs or a spreader. http://www.adorama.com/SCDV2.html

The DV1 should be less expensive. Your profile says you're out in LA, which means you should be able to test these tripods out and, as you say, that's really what you should do. It'll be the only way to actually compare the feel of each of these. For some reason I'm having trouble finding the DV1 for sale online in the US. I've found a couple US ebay auctions, but that's about it. It's still listed on the sachtler website, but maybe it's being phased out or something.


And I should note again that I've never used this specific sachtler head, only larger units for heavier cameras but if you've never used a sachtler, I think you'll be amazed at how smooth it is compared to most fluid oil-filled heads, particularly when adjusting pan and tilt tension, a sachtler really is a piece of precision equipment.

Additionally, it is a ball head, which is a deal breaker for me. It makes levelling easier and faster than those which aren't.

It comes down to what you need and how much you want to spend, and I personally own an inexpensive Bescor/Libec/Heiwa tripod that I bought for DV work long ago. For a low-budget rig, it was a good value at ~$150, but it in no way compares to the accuracy and control I get from a sachtler. It's night and day and I don't use it for any professional use at all.

Here's the DV tripod I bought years and years ago. I'm not recommending it for what you're looking for, this is just FYI:
http://www.wvip.co.uk/cgi-bin/output...7_CCU_1203.pdf
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