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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 09:20 PM   #1
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Beating a dead horse

I'm sure this is up here somewhere, but I can't find it.

I do primarily bar mitzvahs, sometimes weddings. But Always in a darker room. Currently have two Gl2s and lights. I've found that I get a great, almost, film look when I'm on spotlight mode.

However, I'm thinking about going HD. So my questions are:

1) Should I? Are we there yet?
2) What's the best I can get for around 3k or so?
3) If I shoot with a new HD camera and want to mix in
some footage from my gl2, would it be way too drastic a difference?
4) Can I import HD and edit on imovie?

Thanks for any advice you may have!
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 10:07 PM   #2
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1. Only you can answer that for yourself.

2. There is no "best," there is only what's best *for you,* the best camera being the one which feels best in your hands and whose image appeals to you most, when properly viewed on an HDTV display. Meaning, you need to test them in person.

3. Yes.

4. Yes.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 12:24 AM   #3
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In regards to your first question, Kevin, the question of "are we there yet" depends on your specific market.

If a good number of your competitors have moved to HD, then yes, you're probably there. If a lot of your clients are asking about HD, you're there.

There are plenty of productions for which SD is still perfectly suited. If going HD is not a necessity based on remaining viable in your market, you might just want to take the time you have now to wait for things to change before making the investment.

Maybe it's not a necessity- maybe you know that offering an HD product will allow you to raise your prices and grow your business. It all depends on where you are and the expectations of your clientele.

Everything changes so quickly- look at the camera you can get for $6500 now in the Sony EX-1. Imagine what the landscape will look like just a year or two from now. If nothing's pressing you to go HD and if you're not assured of it making you more money right now, I'd hold off.


EDITED TO ADD:

For $3000, IMO, the Canon XH-A1 can't be beat. Your mileage may vary, but it's a good place to start. Check out anything of dvinfo member Patrick Moreau's (still-motion.ca) for examples of beautiful wedding footage with this cam.

I agree with Chris about intercutting HD with footage from the GL-2. It won't look great. Once you go, you should go all the way. Meaning, you'll really want to have an HD b-cam. The Canon HV20 is only $850 and while it looks cheap is very well suited for this purpose.

Also, while you can edit just about anything in iMovie, I really wouldn't recommend it. I'm not sure of your background or time spent doing video production, but I imagine you'll run up against iMovie's limitations very quickly and even quicker when trying to cut HD.

So, another good reason to wait, IMO. You can do it piecemeal if you want, but ideally you should have a fairly robust workflow in place before throwing HD into the mix. HD A-cam, HD B-cam, large LCD screen(s), a monitor/tv for HD preview, lots of storage (preferably RAID), and a pretty powerful pc/mac running Vegas, Premiere, Final Cut or something similar. Going HD is not going to be cheap which is why I'd advise waiting until you have to and until you can afford going all the way.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #4
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thanks

Great advice.

Our work flow is incredible, but at the same time, nobody is asking us for HD.
I just know how good I feel while editing when my footage is clean. Grain causes me a lot of anxiety.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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Hd

Another question. How would the quality of an $800 HD camera compare to that of my gl2. Is a camera's quality just naturally better because it's HD?
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Old December 4th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Ginsberg View Post
Another question. How would the quality of an $800 HD camera compare to that of my gl2. Is a camera's quality just naturally better because it's HD?
No comparison. HDV has more resolution, so the HDV camera looks better; however, there are other factors in play here. The $800 HDV cameras don't have a focus ring on the lens, no manual gain control (low light images are grainy), a fairly poor servo zoom, hardly any quick access controls. That's why an earlier comment in this thread used the word "B" camera, meaning backup. However, times are changing. Sony has a shoulder mount camera based on it's HC7 HDV camera for just under $1600 dollars. It isn't perfect, but it will have manual gain control and a ring on the lens that defaults as focus but can be assigned other tasks as well, like manual zoom. In other words, you will have a camera in a semi professional package like your gl2. Low light performance on any HDV camcorder is not great, but if I remember correctly, the gl2 wasn't that great in low light either.

If you are looking for a low cost HDV wedding starter kit, here's what I recommend:

- Sell your gl2, while you still can.

- Purchase either a canon HV20 or Sony HC7 as your backup camera and
editing deck.

- When available, purchase the new Sony HVR-HD1000u shoulder-mounted
camcorder.

This will give you two cameras for weddings, and you won't have to use your main camera to digitize your footage. If you get the HC7, the two Sony cameras (HC7 and HD1000u) should match almost exactly since both cameras employ the same sensor. I'm sure that you can also tweak the Canon HV20 to closely match the HD1000u or at least get it fairly close. Anyway, I shot some high school reunions in HDV using a Sony HC7 and downconverted the footage to SD. It looked great. The best part is you will only have to spend about $2500 for both cams.

I went with the Sony HC7 because the Canon HV20 didn't have a lanc jack for my zoom control. Of course, the Sony HC7 doesn't have 24p. Oh, another thing you will give up with these cheaper camcorders is zoom. All the cameras I mentioned come only with a 10x lens, including the new HD1000u.

Another low cost camera that takes real nice HD images and has a 20x lens is the Sony FX7, which is the little brother to the V1. It also gives you 3 sensors, but with the advancement of the color filters, those single sensor cameras look pretty darn good. As mentioned earlier in this thread, the Canon XHA1 is an excellent camcorder for the price. Of course, it's still $3k. Good luck on your choice.
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