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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:11 PM   #16
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I just saw your post about the gels that must have came in while I was writing the above one. I think 12" X 12" gels are too damn small, unless you're using something like Lowel Pro lights. If those SV lights are like the photofloods they make, they're going to be bigger, and you'll get spillover on the top and bottom. I'd wait till you figure out what you need and buy gels from a theatrical supply house or some film/video equipment rental place. B&H is great but not necessarily for that item.

I use Lee gels mostly. The 205 diffusion is a good all round one, but you might want a lesser diffusion. It's better to get a few sheets of thinner diffusion (I can't think of the number off hand, but if you go to a lighting place or theatrical supply house they'll usually give you the little booklet of all the gels they have), because you can always use more than one.

You may want some CTB (ie., blue gels which will convert your lights to daylight color). You can get 1/4, 1/2 and full CTB. The full is 5500K, but eats more light. Lots of times if you're trying to balance to daylight you can use 1/2 CTB, which is, I think, around 4500K, and that's close enough for lots of things. In fact it may be desireable because it'll warm up the skin tones a little. It won't eat nearly as much light as full.

I don't know what else you'd need, unless you want some theatrical colors, like red, green, etc.

Yeah, you just clip the gels onto your barn doors with C-47s (I dunno where that came from, but people in the biz have been calling wooden clothespins C-47s for many years). Clip the gel out on the edge of the barn doors, not right up by the lamp, where it can get scorched or melt. Don't buy plastic clothes pins (a film production company where I worked years ago hired a new gaffer and he was sent out to buy C-47s and came back with plastic clothes pins...true story, no kidding. I think he became a producer).
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #17
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Bill, thanks for the great advice! You are a HUGE help. :)

Mostly I need red, orange, green and blue for gel filters. I can hold off on some of this stuff if necessary...

The dimensions of each light head in the kit are: 3.75 x 3.75 x 6.5" (9.9 x 9.9 x 16.8cm). So 12x12 gels won't work?

I was going to use bags of rice for cheap sandbags.

In order to view my projects on a regular TV, it looks like I need a Grass Valley Canopus ADVC-110 Bidirectional Media Converter $220.

Last edited by Jim Duggins; February 28th, 2007 at 09:23 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:23 PM   #18
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I forgot to answer your Smith-Victor light question. Most people bash them, but they are cheap and you can get by with them. Three of anything else is going to trash your budget all to hell. You need more lights, rent or borrow them.

Chinese lanterns can also be used for soft closeups. If you don't know what a Chinese lantern is,it's one of those big white paper things they sell at places like Pier 1 and Target, etc. They cost five or ten bucks. You hang them from a pole. You can only use up to about a 60 watt bulb safely (they can burn) in most of them, although the ones you buy from a cine supply house will have ceramic sockets and you can use a bigger bulb but you still have to be careful. I plan to try one out with a 200w compact fouorescent bulb one of these days and see what happens. Fluorescents run pretty cool.

If you're shooting a scene at night, closeups, the Chinese lantern can create a really nice look. If you have, say, 4 people sitting around a table, hang one in the middle, just out of frame, and the light is really nice. The light is nice, but there isn't much of it, so it's for nightime use, or in dark rooms.

I have a lot of nice lights in my life now, but over the years I have used whatever I could find or afford. I've lighted a person inside a car at night by bouncing one of those big rechargeable boxy flashlights off a piece of foamcore. Once I shot a nightime exterior with fill light from the assistant's car lights, bounced off a big piece of that white foam you get at Home Depot that looks like what they make cheapie beer coolers out of.

Making low budget indy films is like buying wine--anybody can go out and buy an expensive bottle of wine and it'll be good...but it takes talent and experience to find a bottle of cheap stuff that's good. It can be done.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I forgot to answer your Smith-Victor light question. Most people bash them, but they are cheap and you can get by with them. Three of anything else is going to trash your budget all to hell. You need more lights, rent or borrow them.
So you don't think these 3 lights are enough? I know the Smith-Victors are only "ideal" because it's the only 3 light tungsten kit I can afford, LOL.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #20
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If you're looking for books I highly recommend the "Guerilla Filmmakers handbook" or "the Gueriila Filmmakers Blueprint" (but don't buy both as they contain a lot of the same information - The handbook is more inspirational whereas the Blueprint is more nuts and bolts)
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Old February 27th, 2007, 06:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Paul Jefferies
If you're looking for books I highly recommend the "Guerilla Filmmakers handbook" or "the Gueriila Filmmakers Blueprint" (but don't buy both as they contain a lot of the same information - The handbook is more inspirational whereas the Blueprint is more nuts and bolts)
Thanks. What about this one?
http://www.amazon.com/Nuts-Bolts-Fil...e=UTF8&s=books
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Old February 27th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #22
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The 3 lights might be fine for many things. Just depends on what you get into.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 06:08 AM   #23
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I'm not familiar with this book, although Focus press do lots of good technical books (Despite the similar title I don't think it's related to the books I mentioned)

http://www.amazon.com/Guerilla-Film-...e=UTF8&s=books
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Old February 28th, 2007, 06:51 AM   #24
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Jim, be sure to browse through our "Read About It" forum, which is entirely devoted to books and other training materials. It's located at http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/forumdisplay.php?f=36
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Old February 28th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #25
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Okay, thanks for the advice. I'm going with the A1! After the external HD (I'm getting a mini-stack 2), what else do I need for my edit set-up? Magic Bullet--is that cool or unnecessary?

You may want to look at Nattress film effects filters (nattress.com). I find they are faster than Magic Bullet and more affordable. They are great for tweaking your "look".
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Old February 28th, 2007, 11:25 AM   #26
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You may want to look at Nattress film effects filters (nattress.com). I find they are faster than Magic Bullet and more affordable. They are great for tweaking your "look".
I also saw Video Copilot had some nice-looking, similar software... Their site is so much cooler-looking than Nattress's. http://www.videocopilot.net/
__________

In other news, I went ahead and took the $4,040 plunge: my A1 and Libec-22 tripod are on the way. I held off on the lights, audio, and almost everything else (except a Tiffen UV filter, LCD hoodman (with 2x magnifier), lens pen, headcleaner and some blank tapes) for now. Gonna familiarize myself with the camera first and do some more research, so if anyone has any more ideas on either audio or lighting (or anything else you think I'm missing), I'd love to hear it. My budget is around $1k for both audio AND lighting. Yeah, yeah, not enough, I know... Can be fudged upward by maybe $250.

What is the best audio/boom kit for around $500-600? I am seriously considering the AT897. Somebody mentioned a wireless boom set up a page or so ago but didn't give the details, like brand names, model numbers and links.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 11:48 AM   #27
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If you want to limit yourself to three lights, here's how I'd do it: A good workhorse of light is the Lowel Tota. You can use 200 to 750 watt bulbs and works best thru softbox or bounced off white foam core. Go for about $135. Next I'd buy an ellipsoidal (my fave is ETC Source 4) which can be found used in the $150 range for effect lighting, new they run $300. Spend a few bucks for several patterns and you can create a look with much more texture. Next I'd get an Arri 150 fresnel ($300), a butterfly clamp with light stud so you can mount it easily to drop ceilings to use as a back light, for stands I like Bogen which will cost around $100 a stand new. I use a C Stand for the ellipsoidal as it's pretty hefty, but you can get one in the $125 range. I know this blows your budget, but if you use these three lights, you will be amazed how good it can look if used properly. And properly cared for (read: buy cases for them, I prefer Tenba Attache as they're lightweight but strong) they can last a lifetime and longer. If you have the time to shop used, you can save a fair bit.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 06:22 PM   #28
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What do you guys think of the Oktaba MK012A "Bello Nero" with Hypercardioid Capsule? It was recommended to me as being way better for my indoor/outdoor purposes than the AT897.

I'm looking for lights on eBay...
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Old March 1st, 2007, 07:24 PM   #29
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Oktava's MK012 with hyper cap are great for indoors, but it is extremely sensitive and you'll absolutely need to get the Rycote BBG to protect it indoors, and a jammer to protect outdoors. You really shouldn't be using the MK012 outdoors since a shotgun mic will work much better.

If you do get the Oktava, buy from Sound Room as they screen and hand pick the Oktava's they sell. Use 'DV' as a coupon for a discount.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 08:46 AM   #30
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Depending on what you're shooting, you'll be really frustrated using all broad (flood) lighting, even with barn doors.

I'd spend your $400 on directional light; maybe two Lowel Pro lights, which focus almost like fresnels, then buy some construction lights from Home Depot for your broad lighting, bounced into foamcore or umbrellas.

Get dimmers, too.

Sound and lighting have a bigger effect on your end result than the camera.
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