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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #1
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Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

In a month I will be travelling as a backpacker with one friend for 8 months to New Zealand, Australia, Asia.
As I am a director, we are going to make a tv-show about our travel. One episode for each country.

I would like to take 3 camera's with me. First one is a canon 60D which I already own. Second a Gopro HD.
As a third option I'm looking for a camera with tapes. Because we are backpacking I don't trust to shoot tapeless and store all the files on hard disks. External hard disks can easily crash on a trip like that.

So my question. Which tape-camera would be good?
I need a camera that:
- is not too big, because all the equipment has to fit in a (big) backpack.
- has XLR-connectors.
- can handle low-light situations.
- has an acceptable image for broadcast. Preferably HD. (for a youth channel)

I did some research and found following options:
- Canon XH A1 (S)
- Canon XL H1S (too big maybe)
- Sony HVR V1
- Sony HVR Z1

I read the canon cameras handle low light better.
On the other hand, I own a Sony PD-150, so I have some sony accessories that could be handy (extra batteries, wide angle adapter...).

So, what do you think?
Maybe other good options? (from jvc, panasonic...)

Thanks for the advice!

Danny, Belgium.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

For daylight exteriors I have worked on a show shot on a HVR-V1P and must say it did a pretty excellent job, in the hands of a good operator.

Digitizing lots of HDV footage was a bit of a hassle, but I think its a camera that holds up quite well still, especially if daylight exteriors are your main focus.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 06:38 PM   #3
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Hi Craig, thanks for the reply!

Right now I'm mostly checking out the pro's en con's of the Canon xh a1s vs. the Sony hvr v1.
In this post I read that the Sony is way better in low light conditions than the Canon:
Best Low Light- Canon XHA-1S OR Sony HVR-Z5U

On the other hand there are comparisons like this one that say the Canon is better: http://bit.ly/pzdoqr

So still difficult.
I guess they both work pretty well in daylight. In darker situations (e.g. city streets at night) it would be easy to be able to work with the camera as well.
But if it doesn't hold up I can always use my canon 60D, which performs pretty well in low light. (but is a hassle with sound and I won't have a shoulder mount with me, so not the ideal solution).

And yes, digitizing lots of footage isn't fun but a tape can't crash during the trip:)
+ when I've shot 10 or 20 tapes I can send them safely home with airmail.

Any other people by coincidence experience with backpacking for several months and filming?
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Old August 28th, 2011, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

You are mixing comparisons. One is an A1 vs Z5 and the other an A1 vs V1. You can't generalize brands like that.

One approach to solid state filming in the rough that I used was to use a $300 Nexto device. It's battery powered and would run long enough to offload a couple day's filming before recharge.

This offloads the cards to a disk based device that is pretty brainless. If you go with inexpensive media such as SDHC, you can then buy a boatload of them and not reuse them. Rather, lock them and pack them separate from the Nexto device. This way the data is in two places but not one backpack so if one is lost ... with tape you only have one copy. Do some searches here on DVinfo and you'll find some discussions about various strategies.

BTW, the Sony Z5 and Z7 record to both tape and compact flash. And the Z5, according to this review, is a little better in low light than the A1:
http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Edit...-Z5U-53359.htm

Last edited by Les Wilson; August 29th, 2011 at 07:09 AM.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 08:42 PM   #5
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Why?

SD cards are hardier, smaller, and now just as inexpensive as master HDV tapes. Just bring a lot of them and use a newer camera.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:57 AM   #6
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

OK this doesn't really address the question, but If I had an opportunity to do a once in a lifetime trip like that, I think I would leave most of the gear at home and just focus on enjoying the trip. How about travelling light with minimal gear and filing reports from the field as the trip progresses? I've seen some very cool websites of guys who post pics and video of their trips as they travel. Some even get sponsorship to help cut down on expenses. I guess the idea of carrying and tending to all that gear .... it really changes the whole tone of a trip. Hope you have a great experience whatever you do!
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Old August 29th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #7
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Thanks for the reply!

Iím sorry for mixing up the Z5 and the V1. My mistake.

Iíll do some research about the nexto device!

I know shooting tapeless is the new standard. I have quite some experience with tapeless cameras like the sony pmw EX1, but for this project I prefer a tape workflow for practical and financial reasons.

The amount of footage that fits on an SD card depends on the data rate of the camera.
For example when I shoot on my 60D 42 minutes is 16 GB.
One 16 GB SD card I pay here in Belgium minimum Ä25 (36 US$).
One miniDV tape costs me Ä10 for a really decent tape, for one hour of footage.

So tapes are cheaper than taking a lot of SD cards with me I guess.
I figured out that, if I would shoot tapeless, I would need 3TB for all the footage. (+ another 3TB backup drive)
Nowadays a 3TB external hard drive doesnít cost that much anymore, but the risk on a crash is quite big on a trip like this.

So, my idea for a workflow is: record on tape. Digitize the tape on a laptop I take with me. Send these tapes home (maybe every month). At home, someone digitizes them. Then donít have to worry about losing my files and I can delete them to make space for new footage.

Second reason to shoot on an older camera is they can be bought second hand much cheaper than a new camera.
There is a pretty big risk on theft, water damage... so I would feel better traveling with a cheaper camera. (I can get a canon xh a1s for the pretty good price of Ä1400 / 2000 US $)

So I hope this makes some sense for you guys?

Keith, I realize that traveling without camera would be easier. But we travel with a camera because I experienced it gets you into places where you normally wouldnít come. And afterwards a tv-channel will buy the show, so I earn money with it as well.

Thanks for all your answers!
I think Iím gonna buy the Canon XH A1S, unless someone suggests a good alternative.

Greets,

Danny
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Old August 29th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #8
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Ah, ok. My cost-per-SD is based on Panasonic AVCHD cameras I have and have used (HMC150, AF100, GH2), which pack about 42min of footage onto 8GB (which I can get for about $12-15)

You could do a lot worse than a XHA1s then.

However, in the interests of pure self-interest, I'll link to my for-sale Sony Z1U package. It's a world camera, so no worries about the region, and your PD batteries would also work.
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/private-...es-galore.html
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Old August 30th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #9
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

60D and gopro are SDHC media based so keep it simple and compact, get any latest higher end Sony, Panasonic or Canon consumer camcorder, they all have better picture quality than A1 or Z1,
as for the backup, I would use Nexto and BD media which i would mail home every time I'll be close to the post office,
in any case, good luck with your project!
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Old August 30th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #10
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Hi, thanks for the reply's!

Buba, you got me thinking, which is good):
I think most of the consumer cameras aren't fully manually controllable. Which I really need.
Also I really need XLR inputs (or another easy solution for sound recording).

Do you know any recent cameras that could do the trick?
The Canon XA10 maybe? Panasonic AG-HMC40PJ? Other ones?

Then file storage.
The cheapest NEXTO device would still cost me 1000$.
And storage on Blu Ray Discs is a good idea, but then I would need an external bluray writer with me. (Since my macbook pro cant burn BD media).
So in my opinion thats still quite some stuff I need to take with me. And far more expensive than a second hand Canon XHA1s + tapes.

A pro on the other hand is that a camera like the Canon XA10 is a lot smaller and lighter than the XH A1s. But overall more expensive I think...

Kevin, 12$ for a 8GB SD card is quite cheap. Where do you get these? And which type/brand of card?

Thanks and whatever my setup/workflow will be, I let you know! Suggestions always welcome!
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Old August 30th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #11
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Go XA10, amazing camcorder, i have G10, which is consumer version of XA10, no XLRs, it is just awesome, total manual control of all options even in cinema mode;
i didn't know you Mac person, with PC BD backup would be probably the best and the least expensive option
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Old August 30th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #12
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

This Nexto is $399
Nexto DI 500 GB Extreme ND2730 Photo Storage ND2730500G B&H


Here's a compare of the XA10 and HMC-40
HD camcorder reviews/tests and comparison of Canon XA10 and Panasonic AG-HMC40 Best values highlighted sorted by score
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Old August 31st, 2011, 01:34 PM   #13
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

You'll be taken care of with an XH-A1; even for night shots, if you're on a well-lit street, the picture will still be nice (if you're talking about shooting in extremely dark circumstances, any camera would have trouble with this). Personally, I'd use the 60D with a really fast lens for any low-light shots. V1U produces great pictures as well (look at earlier shows of "Ghost Adventures" on the Travel Channel).

It sounds like a lot of trouble with the tapes situation. I don't blame you for wanting a physical medium for your footage, but I think you're putting too much into the idea of your drives crashing. As long as you're not spending on cheap off-brand SD media or hard drives, which greatly increases your chances of problems, the likelihood of a crash is very slim (depending on how powerful and dependable your laptop is, of course). You're putting in a lot of time and effort into backing up your tapes when it can be as simple as copying files into a drive.

At the very least, try out a half-tape, half-card workflow. Maybe this will boost your confidence into using a tapeless workflow in the future.

Nevertheless, have fun!
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Old September 1st, 2011, 04:13 AM   #14
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Re: Prosumer HD camera on tape for world trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Balen View Post
Kevin, 12$ for a 8GB SD card is quite cheap. Where do you get these? And which type/brand of card?
For reasonably cheap cards: Salland Webwinkel | www.salland.eu
(Je komt uit belgiŽ begrijp ik, dus dat zou moeten werken)

Chip Foto-Video had a test of SD cards in their 5/2011 issue.

But, a well packed harddisk is not that easily wrecked, I mean, you are bringing a load of (equally vulnerable) camera's on that trip and even at $1 per Gb, yu are still looking at $3000 in cards (you could buy SSD's for that amount). You could even bring two hdd's and pack them seperately?
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