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Old January 28th, 2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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First Pro camcorder advice?

Hi guys, be gentle with me here.

I have a panasonic TM900 and SD900, I have done several small projects over the last year, but I have been offered some work and think its time to maybe delve in to the professional camera market. I have used the auto settings a lot but started to train myself

BUT it's a minefield really, and the costs vary so much.

Should I look at a DSLR like the GH3 or 5d mk 3 or go for a dedicated camera (upto 3k).

I have audio equipment like rode videomic pro and zoom h4n but no lighting just yet ( on my list to do's)

Would appreciate any help whatsoever
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Old January 29th, 2013, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

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Originally Posted by Phil Gadd View Post
Hi guys, be gentle with me here.

I have a panasonic TM900 and SD900, I have done several small projects over the last year, but I have been offered some work and think its time to maybe delve in to the professional camera market. I have used the auto settings a lot but started to train myself

BUT it's a minefield really, and the costs vary so much.

Should I look at a DSLR like the GH3 or 5d mk 3 or go for a dedicated camera (upto 3k).

I have audio equipment like rode videomic pro and zoom h4n but no lighting just yet ( on my list to do's)

Would appreciate any help whatsoever
I depends on your projects. If you want a video camera then Panasonic AC130A because it should be possible to match the image with the TM900 and it is currently on sale.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #3
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Thanks..

Exactly what will be the difference between my pro-sumer camcorder and the Pro camcorder you suggested?

What should I look for in a first camera IYHO?

Thanks again
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Old January 29th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #4
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Hi Phil

Rather look hard at the Panny AC-90 than the AC-130 .. The 90 will suit you a lot better and the auto functions work a lot better than the 130. The 130 needs to be used more in manual mode and constant supervision with ND's that need to be switched in and out constantly and AF that tends to drift a lot!!

Barry Green at DVInfo has some great reviews and specs on the AC-90 and you will find that it's almost as easy to use as the 900 series.

Chris
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Old January 30th, 2013, 02:25 AM   #5
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Thanks Chris

That would be a real smart buy for me as its nots to big a jump, plus allows me to put some money towards a Sennheiser EW 112-P G3-Gb.

Im going to use it to film some interviews and an awards night, so Im hoping this unit will suffice?
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Old January 30th, 2013, 03:06 AM   #6
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

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Originally Posted by Phil Gadd View Post
Exactly what will be the difference between my pro-sumer camcorder and the Pro camcorder you suggested?

What should I look for in a first camera IYHO?
The AC90 as suggested by Chris is also a good option. The AC90 is like your TM900 souped up with a better lens, easier to use controls and XLR microphone inputs. While the AC90 and AC130A are both quite versatile, what to look for in a camera really depends on what you will use it for. For the interviews and stage events you mention, either ought to work well.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 03:29 AM   #7
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

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The 130 needs to be used more in manual mode and constant supervision with ND's that need to be switched in and out constantly and AF that tends to drift a lot!!
Chris,

You always manage to make manual NDs sound like they are a dreadful thing! I know a lot depends on the filming conditions (and I don't disagree with an AC90 at all for Phil's needs, or for an unattended B camera in weddings etc.). In some conditions, sure, the auto-ND of the Pannys is a great thing.

But what do pros do? How do they manage to shoot anything on the BBC or ABC with cameras with manual NDs? You don't see them being flicked in and out all the time. Surely within reason you can smoothly-adjust the iris to cope with slight changes in light.

I've missed manual NDs like mad in my last two cameras (Panasonic HMC41 then Sony NX70). My soon-to-arrive JVC HM600 has switchable NDs up to 1/64... I can't wait!
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Old January 30th, 2013, 08:29 AM   #8
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Hi Mike

Most pro camera do have a decent iris range and that will usually handle a situation where a cloud passes over the sun. On the 130 with 3 ND ranges (1/4, 1/16 and 1/64) I always seemed to have a situation where I would totally run out of iris ...with the sensor size the camera above F8 is not very flattering so you in fact have very little iris to work with and the only non invasive item is shutter which is a procedure and a quarter to actually change too. In auto there is no shutter switching at all ..it's only for manual so even in auto the camera runs out of iris very fast indeed ...I have plenty of weddings where the dreaded flash is on footage and had to be covered by a cutaway simply becuse a cloud moved across the sun. If I had to use the 130 I think I would opt for a decent variable ND filter and keep the manual switch turned off.

My new Sony's are absolutely brilliant and have a huge exposure range but then again that's an APS-C sensor. I just figured that the AC-90 would be a much smoother step upwards and can be used in manual or auto with no issues... I actually nearly bought two but the lack of facilities on the XLR channels killed that. However they still are huge value for money cameras indeed and well worth a look !! Also having familiar settings would be a bonus and the 900's are very much the same so no extreme learning curve at all.

Chris
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Old January 30th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #9
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Mike/Chris

Im finding it a little hard to follow your conversation but I think you are both trying to advise in the best way.

I think the option of a smaller, lesser ac90 will also allow me to purchase extra things like cards, cases, wireless audio lavalier, small lighting kit (actually I have just put a thread on about lighting for interviews if you guys have any information on it)

I would love the ac160, but if I am successful in the short term, I could buy the ac160 and use the ac90 as a secondary unit (thus allowing me to part with my Tm900 and SD900)

I feel like filming, Lighting, Audio and post editing are all individual professions and trying to do it self-contained is turning out to be a slippery but enjoyable slope!
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Old January 30th, 2013, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Phil,

You're fine with the AC-90, I'm just being nit-picky about built-in switchable NDs. These are ones that you must manually adjust to control exposure. The AC-90 has automatic NDs that will cope with normal shooting conditions. In fact, in auto it'll probably do pretty well in all conditions.

Absolutely, the AC-90 is a good starting point, and will probably do you for years, or until you are making enough money to buy something bigger and more confusing!

I think you're doing just the right thing, start small and work your way up. It's a better learning curve, and makes financial sense.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 11:29 AM   #11
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

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Originally Posted by Phil Gadd View Post
I think the option of a smaller, lesser ac90 will also allow me to purchase extra things like cards, cases, wireless audio lavalier, small lighting kit (actually I have just put a thread on about lighting for interviews if you guys have any information on it)
In my opinion the main advantage of the AC130 over the AC90 is the 22x zoom versus the 12x zoom. The advantage of the AC160 over the AC130 is the ability to shoot both NTSC and PAL compatible frame rates. However audio and lighting accessories are even more important as well as a real good tripod.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 01:22 PM   #12
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

thanks Erix

Yeah I have a manfrotto monopod and a Manfrotto TR546B with HD501HDV and MBAG90PN Video Tripod Kit.. a TM900 on top just doesnt look right tho. Thought about a steadicam BUT went with a konova slider which I loved (below is a recent attempt to help promote my friends business, as you can see I am very new to all filming but trying hard)


Cheers Mike

I am completely self taught (along with countless vimeo, youtube and lynda.com tutorials over the last 2 years). My plan is to try and deliver as good a film as possible then upgrade to the AC160 when I learn hot to use the manual controls more effectively.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 01:54 PM   #13
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

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Thought about a steadicam BUT went with a konova slider which I loved (below is a recent attempt to help promote my friends business, as you can see I am very new to all filming but trying hard)
The slider shots are nice. The TM900 works well on a slider. Try to fix the spelling and grammar.

"Sign & design Ltd can remove and sign you vehicle in the day, fast service and very competitively priced"

should possibly read

"Sign & Design Ltd can remove the sign from your vehicle in a day. Fast service and very competitively priced."

As far as the video content, I suspect people would be interested in seeing a new sign being designed and installed as well as the old one being removed.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 02:07 PM   #14
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

Thanks Eric

Yes I just noticed the spelling, I need to spell check everything I do as I am always in a rush :-)

The idea was to do a completed shot too but the temperature was -4 would you believe and my friend had difficulty with the adhesive (needed to be done outdoors).

Think I should look at colour matching in post edit or somehow adding more white balance checks in to my workflow at times
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Old January 30th, 2013, 05:32 PM   #15
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Re: First Pro camcorder advice?

I can tell you used a TM900 - nice and sharp.

But you do need to work on the WB - the truck changes colors across scenes, and sometimes the worker has a nice suntan and sometimes he does not. The weakest part of the TM900 is the auto white balance. With a white truck, setting the WB, in the absence of a grey card, would be easy.

I would try to get it right (manual WB) when you shoot, not in post.
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