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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 May 14th, 2007, 09:12 PM   #1
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Zoom control: impossible

I'm fairly new to the camcorder world (my background is still photography, all formats) so I suspect my ignorance has gotten me in a bit of trouble. If I had the same control Toshiro Mifune has with swords and chopsticks I still don't think I could predictably control the vari-zoom on my HV 20. Sorry, I just can't do it. I think I'm given about 2 mm to control all levels of zoom. If I want to use zoom I usually just set up the shot as best I can with the fixed zoom level I'm planning on using. Might not be the MOST aesthetic, but at least I won't ruin the shot with a sudden speed change. I love the image quality, but I'm thinking this is just one of those areas where you can't get a professional look with a $1000 camcorder. I'm shooting events at a school I run and I'm shooting my son's mountain bike races. I would especially like to be able to smoothly back off (slow down) the zoom as I approach the subject or move away. If I just need to put out more bucks let me know what I might get - I'm NOT a pro, I know this is just personal stuff, but zoom glitches are just so obvious and annoying. What are my options? Would appreciate any advice.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #2
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I agree the zoom rocker on the HV20 is most lacking. Have you considered a lens adapter? That way you could stick a real zoom lens on the front and just use it. Do a search for adapters in this forum and you'll see some people are getting awesome footage with the HV20.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 09:31 PM   #3
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Yep - you can't have it all. As you say I use one of the 3 fixed zoom speeds. You could use fibre optic cable as someone did here and gaffer tape the remote somewhere, but operationally no different from using the fixed speeds as the remote only uses the presets or uses speed 3 (fastest) if the zoom menu is set to variable.

Guess it's done for cost considerations but no doubt to protect manufacturer's semi and pro line of products as well. But you're right, trying to steady the cam and the (lack of) subtle zoom control are some of the compromises you make buying this level of HDV at ~USD1k.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 12:59 AM   #4
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Bob you'll soon get fed up with zooming especially if it's not easily done on your cam. Typically it's used to reframe the shot and is usually edited out in post.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #5
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http://www.lousyheros.com/sweet7dvi2.wmv

I just start the scene mid-zoom... occassionally use it to re-frame as I'm filming

Either way it's not THAT bad

I'm using an HV10 so I'm not sure how much different it is
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Old May 15th, 2007, 02:52 AM   #6
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Generally footage flows best with instant cuts at desired zoom levels by quickly stopping and resuming recording at a desired zoom or new position. Maybe not as fun to record but produces better end results in most circumstances. It's good practice to use zoom sparingly for a certain effect, and even in the majority of those situations a set zoom speed works perfectly well.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #7
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Thanks for the good ideas and recommendations. I'll see what I can do. I agree on the judicious use of zoom. For the school stuff I don't much need it. But for sports such as road cycling or mountain biking some of the best film work I've seen uses subtle zoom quite a bit and effectively. I think it has to do with the fact that you often have the subject(s) moving towards you/away from you quite rapidly. I think it helps, for example, to be able to move in a bit closer to the rider(s) and then pull back slightly as they come towards you and pass or go into a corner. I agree, a fixed rate is usually fine. I'd just like a little more flexibility/control than my HV20 has, but I really can't complain much at this price and quality. Bob
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