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Old May 28th, 2011, 12:43 PM   #1
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looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

hi,


I'm planning to shoot a low-budget road-movie with lots of talking taking place in a car. Other parts of this feature will be recorded with various camcorders, incl. eos 5d2 and red/cinealta type stuff, but for these scenes I need something different, more suited to this environment.

I want to place 3 or 4 cameras around the two subjects sitting in the front seats, this requires a small form factor, basically handheld consumer devices. The faces will be static in the frame but the background will be moving fast, almost parallel to the camera plane.

So this rules out cmos cameras because of the rolling shutter issues. I went looking for older ccd cameras like the jvc gz-hd7/hd5/hd6 but they record interlaced and that also introduces motion artifacts.

Also, the native resolution should be 1080/24p or 25p (PAL) which is something I've only found in the panasonic sd9/hs9 cams but it seems it's de-interlaced in the camera from 60i. It looks like the issue with ccd-s is that they're always interlaced, at least in these cheap cams.

Maybe I should use a cmos cam and correct the skew with some software? If the background is very visible then won't it look fake? (even if it's blurred by motion) Which one's easier to correct: rolling shutter or interlace skew? Or if this is not possible, then what is the angle between the direction of motion and the camera plane where the shutter issues won't be seen?

Also, regarding the encoding process: can I expect artifacting on the border between the face and the background? I expect the face to be sharp and the background to be blurred, but where these two areas meet can be problematic. So a higher bitrate seems to be more beneficial.

I was even thinking about green screen so I could use 5d-s and wouldn't have to resort to wide angle lenses but it's a lot of work to do a background which doesn't look ridiculous - if it can be done at all.

I'm at my wits end, please help :)

thanks,
Zsolt
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Old May 28th, 2011, 01:30 PM   #2
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

I've done tons of recording with cameras on my motorcycles. I've found the CMOS to be a problem not from the background as much as the vibration. In a car, the vibration should be significantly less as my motorcycle is essentially a race bike with very stiff suspension.
Before I got into HD, I had several small handycam style cameras that of course were interlaced. I had no issues with interlacing.
I would grab something like a Canon hfs20 which has a decent lens, a mic input, records to cards and is pretty inexpensive and try it. I think you'll be surprised. Key that i found with any vehicle mounts is make it as solid as possible. If the mount has any play, it will accentuate the vibration of the car. Also play with in camera image stabilization. In a car it might work well, on the bikes it doesn't work at all. Don't bother with the "helmetcam" stuff as they all look terrible...oversaturated and pixellated.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

Maybe a silly suggestion, but "greenscreen"?? While there are some places where you probably want the realism of an actual travelling vehicle, most of the time your background will be totally out of focus and a blur anyway (you want the focus on your actors... right?). And safety is an issue - there's a reason things involving a couple tons of moving metal are shot on a "closed course"...

Not saying it can't be done, but those things struck me...
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Old May 29th, 2011, 06:46 AM   #4
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

Panasonic LX5 has a CCD sensor and with the 24mm f2.0 lens it should be appropriate for the job.

IQ is prety decsent too, It's only 720p but for what you want to do it will probably be fine. 720p scales well to 1080p on a 1080p timeline if the image quality is good.

I've tried it in low light conditions and performs better than most small camcorders I've seen so far except maybe the new Canon HF-M406 (which I finally bought instead)
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Old May 29th, 2011, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

I agree with Robert a canon HFS20 would be an ideal camera, I personally have a canon HF11 and find it superb for this type of shooting. One note though is that these small camera's do not do progressive recording very well and I find it is better to shoot 1920x1080i 50i and then make the footage progressive from the edit.

That is not normally the best way to do things but the 25p shooting on the HF11 can be very smeary due to the small cmos sensors so keeping it 50i make the shots look better once they go down to 720p or 1080p.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 07:57 AM   #6
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

The HFS20 actually does record 1080p. ;)

Canon VIXIA HF S20 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder 4316B001 B&H
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #7
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

hard to beat the sony cx560. i have the 550 and am amazed at the quality of the footage and the lowlight quality.
i shot a wedding //reception this past weekend with it and my new ex1r that i just got thursday.
i went back and forth on using these cams at the reception.
also, the active steadyshot on the cx is very good so this would easily handle any shake in the car.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #8
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Re: looking for small form factor camcorder for in-car use

thanks to all of you for the suggestions! im still hesitating over a live or a green scene, but at least it's good to know that cmos isnt that bad if used properly.
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